Listening to Bodies of Water
The River as a Site of Knowledge
Abstract: This paper is a plea for acknowledging the pluriverse through the act of listening. I use the Rhine river as an example. I live beside the Rhine, which is currently one of the most polluted rivers in the world. Contemporary water crises such as this one and poor water management are both caused and implemented by the One-World World—that is, the Euro-modern world with its single set of world-making practices. Using Astrida Neimanis’ onto-logic framework of amniotics, I explore the connections between bodies of water through my own body of water/while being a body of water myself. I then suggest listening as a technique to embody the hydrocommons. I argue that listening is a way of knowing, which can enable us to make kin with the river and allows us access to the polyphonies of the river.
Keywords: Hydrofeminism, sense-making, Deep Listening, non-human wisdom, educational structures
I have been living on the Rhine river, which runs through Arnhem, for nearly three years. During this time, I have seen her host cormorants, gulls and swallows, as well as ducks, school of fish and the occasional red bull can. I have seen her rise to tremendous heights, flooding the quay next to my house. I have seen her calm waters transform into massive waves crashing against the groins. I often try to imagine her journey before she makes her way to the house boat I live on. Once a narrow stream carving her way through the rock masses of the Swiss mountains, she saw the mountains turn into hills and the hills into flatland as she transformed into the river I behold every single day. She has already travelled more than 1,100 kilometres before passing by my house and will continue her journey for 130 more before becoming one with the North Sea.
I recently discovered that the Rhine river is not only one of the longest rivers of Europe but also one of the most polluted in the world. She involuntarily hosts 892,777 particles of micro plastic per square metre.1 Micro plastic pollution is only one of the outcomes of water abuse by humans: rivers are running dry, waters are becoming uninhabitable, and coral reefs are going extinct. These symptoms of poor water management are not being ignored. On the contrary, many new hydrological technologies are being put into action.2 Those technologies provide individual solutions for the symptoms— polluted water equals high-tech filtering systems—but often neglect the causes of these water crises, e.g. the privatisation of water, the use of fertilisers, and the dumping of medicinal waste.3 Furthermore, I believe that these causes all stem from the same root: the othering rivers caused by the absence of a deep connection with them.
It is not strange that we, in my home country of the Netherlands, have lost many connections with the river. The waterways were once vital to Dutch society because they provide the right living conditions for humans: fresh water, fertile soil and transportation routes. Due to massive technological, mechanical and economic growth in Dutch capitalist society, inhabitants are often no longer directly dependent on the river. Because of advanced water supply and sewage systems, our houses can be built miles away. As a result, we no longer see, hear, smell, taste or touch the river. We no longer know her. How do we reacquaint ourselves? How do we make kin? In what ways can we (re)grow a healthy, mutual connection with the river? How can we grieve together, heal together and grow together?
By ‘we,’ I refer to the inhabitants of the One-World World (OWW). Arturo Escobar defines the OWW as a single world that ‘we usually refer to as the dominant form of Euro-Modernity (capitalist, rationalist, liberal, secular, patriarchal, white, or what have you).’4 It is a world where only one set of world-making practices fit. Moreover, the OWW actively un-produces different sets of world-making practices. In doing so, the OWW is actively ‘othering’ by actively upholding dichotomies. For instance: OWW/other, human/non-human, global/local. This is also the case with the Rhine river. However, Escobar stresses that the diversity of the world is infinite: the world is a place where many worlds fit.5 In order to foster this pluriverse, it is important to acknowledge and practise many sets of world-making practices. How can we foster a pluriverse when (re)growing connections with the river? How can we sense the river, grow sensitive towards the river and make sense of the river while cultivating the pluriverse?
In this paper, I first define the similarities between the Rhine river and myself by adapting Astrida Neimanis’ onto-logic of amniotics. By thinking in bodies of water, I am able to see the ways in which we are entangled. I continue with an explanation of the concept of hydrocommons and propose practising listening as embodied radicalisation of the hydrocommons. Drawing from experiences within my artistic practice, I argue that the Rhine river is a site of knowledge to be deciphered by listening. Deep Listening to the river simultaneously enables the growth of connections with the river and challenges the binary thinking of the OWW. I conclude by explaining the premise that learning what one can listen to is equally as important as learning how to listen.
As this paper addresses the concept of listening (a practice fuelled by sense-making experiences that the OWW would regard as subjective), it is important to include sense-making experiences of my own in my writing. A memory—including an experience with a body of water—marks the beginning of each paragraph, after which I place these memories in a discursive context.
Being in Water
From my kitchen window, I can see a waterfall. This is the Sint-Jansbeek flowing into the river. If I were to walk up the stream for 10 minutes, I would arrive at the Nederlands Watermuseum (Dutch Water Museum). When I was nine, my parents took me there on a trip. As I wandered around, I laid eyes on a big scale connected to a plastic, see-through tube that filled itself with a blue liquid as soon as a person stood on the scale. Fascinated by this piece of technology, I stepped on the scale and before I knew it, the liquid started to rise higher and higher until it stopped at 78%. That day, at that exact time, my body was composed of 78% water. I did not realise at the time, but this material representation of the water in my body has been the initial entry point for starting to understand my body as a body of water.
As Neimanis points out: ‘We are created in water, we gestate in water, we are born into an atmosphere of diffuse water, we drink water, we harbour it, it sustains and protects us, it leaves us—we are always, to some extent, in it.’6 Through breathing, we inhale water vapour from the air; through sweating, we give water back to the world outside our own membranes. Our membranes, and in specific the amnion, are the material basis for what Neimanis calls ‘an onto-logic of amniotics.’7
This term requires diving into the biological dimension of the body. The membrane that encapsulates the embryo of a mammal, bird or reptile carries the name amnion. This amnion not only encapsulates the embryo but also the amniotic fluid that provides life to the embryo. As bodies of water, we both facilitate a body of water (in the form of gestation) and are facilitated by bodies of water (through the gestation of our mother). As bodies of water, we also differ from the watery environment and the body of water that housed us. This, again, is a result of the function of the membrane as ‘it is not a divisive barrier, but rather an interval of passage: the amnion is solid enough to differentiate, but permeable enough to facilitate exchange.’8 Through repetition, bodies of water differentiate.
Water is always flowing, dripping, streaming and moving from body of water to body of water through the membranes. ‘The water is always different—perhaps not in its chemical scientific properties, but in terms of its forms, rhythms, meanings and gestational potential.’9 Because of the water’s fluidity, a body of water is always in a state of becoming. This happens not only through gestation, repetition and differentiation but also through drinking, sweating, excreting and other forms of membrane permeation. Becoming through permeation shows that we are not just dependent on the facilitation of water within our own body but also on the many bodies of water that we drink, eat or bathe in, that we call our friends, our pets, our elders. Our whole support structure is built upon interconnectedness between these bodies and the hydrological cycle of becoming: gestation, repetition, differentiation and inter-permeation.10
Thinking through, with and in bodies of water is an onto-logic as opposed to an ontology, as it does not try to question the whole realm of (individual) Being. Rather, amniotics focuses on finding common ground between many different bodies of water. Where an ontology is tied closely to the idea of the individual, an onto-logic reveals the commonality of and relations between bodies of water. However, this does not mean that all bodies of water are identical. They share a way of being because they are all constituted from the same element.11 The idea of thinking through, with and in bodies of water thus overturns the OWW dichotomy of human and non-human. It gives way for a more-than-human realm of watery relations.
Even though the percentage of water in my body may fluctuate, I share a way of being with the Rhine river because of this element. I drink her water, she absorbs my sweat. I inhale her evaporated particles, she catches my dirty cleaning water. I visualise this way of being as a network in which both the actors and the connections between them are in continuous movement—a web that shows our entanglement as a process of becoming.12 The Rhine and I are part of a large rhizomatic structure of all kinds of water inter-permeation.13 These visualisations of inter-permeation host bodies of water of all sizes, indicating the connectedness of the global with the local and vice versa. More importantly, thinking in networks, webs and rhizomes unravels our entangled complex connections. The difficulty lies in responding to this onto-logic without sacrificing its complexity.
The Watery World
Over the past three years of living on the Rhine river, I have become aware of the entangled web of our shared being. By being in her presence, I come to know her continuously shifting ways, which are embedded in her flowing nature. My house—and thus its residents—is dependent on her currents, her flows, her streams. As our complex relations have revealed themselves over time, I have simultaneously realised that current water management strategies propagate OWW ways of thinking because the river is actively ‘othered’ by being seen merely as a resource. Thus, responding to amniotics not only requires an awareness of our connections but also an active paradigm shift towards strategies that give space for the pluriverse.14
One way of responding to amniotics is by recognising water as a commons—land or resources shared by and in the common care of the whole community. Neimanis defines practising the hydrocommons as a shift from thinking in terms of ownership towards custodianship. Water is not approached as a resource but recognised as a common good with its own agency. An active form of water custodianship requires letting other bodies of water be, at least to the greatest extent possible.15 Water custodianship thus comes with a responsibility to take care of bodies of water. Practising hydrocommons means expressing care towards bodies of water, which is drawn from both our communalities and entanglements. In order to care for a body of water, we should submerge ourselves in her watery world.
Neimanis argues that ‘[a]s trustees of a local commons, communities are best equipped to appreciate the unique qualities of water—its flowing nature, its essential role in the ecosystem, its important cultural and spiritual dimensions.’16 Being a resident of the Rhine river, I am a trustee of this body of water. To me, it requires being water aware. This term is frequently used to describe the use of water resources or risk management plans, but I propose defining it as being aware of shared commonalities between bodies of water. Being water aware requires knowing bodies of water. As local water communities often possess this awareness, and therefore specific sets of water knowledges, I believe those communities should have more agency in hydrological decision-making.17 Particularly since we know her ways by being present and so are able to think with the river. By involving us in water management issues, our world is not just acknowledged—it can emerge.
The responsibility of holding this body of water in trust exceeds the local Arnhem community. The Rhine river covers distance and time much further than the small segment I inhabit. It will flow longer than the days left in my human life. When considering the hydrological cycle and specifically the inter-permeation, the local constantly extends into the global and vice versa.18 Practising the hydrocommons means transcending binary ideas of local/global, human/non-human, and individual/plural.
Thinking in commons requires a shift from ownership towards custodianship, from right to responsibility, from the individual human subject towards interconnectedness. Thinking in hydrocommons means taking up the responsibility to let bodies of water be as much as possible while acknowledging their multifaceted expressions water and the hydrological cycles in which they partake. Neimanis argues that thinking in common with bodies of water provides a key starting point for an embodied radicalisation of the hydrocommons. Instead of falling back into the habit of solution-based thinking, I propose to actively practise listening as a first step towards an embodied radicalisation of the hydrocommons.
Hearing the World Anew
Last autumn, I resided in Biella, a small Italian city at the edge of the Alps. I made a pact with myself to actively wander every day. On the third day, I started walking upwards from my residence towards the mountain tops for fifteen minutes. During that quarter of an hour, my surroundings transformed from tightly built flats and fast-driving cars to a forest path, leading me towards a body of water. I could already hear her, the river, from a distance—her sounds echoing between two walls of metamorphic rock.
I shivered upon touching her, the temperature so cold it was as if the snowflakes from the mountain tops had not yet had a chance to melt completely. A fresh memory of the clouds they once were. I submerged my whole body in the snowy water and let myself flow down the stream until the water became too cold, after which I took some time to let my body warm up on a massive stone in the sun.
As I lay there, I suddenly heard the symphony of sounds the river produces. A symphony composed by the rocks and the water, the flow and the erosion, ever-changing in its continuous movement. A symphony encompassing the accumulated histories, relations and encounters of, with and by the river. A symphony that strongly vibrated within me. I rose up and found my body moving to the sound of the river. My ears were moving along with my body as I became aware of these devices that gave me the opportunity to sense the world. Hearing started to slowly turn into listening as I adjusted my movements to the sounds surrounding me.19
The moment hearing turns into listening we are able to hear the world anew. Our perspective changes, a new realm becomes audible. According to Robin Wall Kimmerer, attentiveness helps us to learn how to see more clearly and ‘attentiveness alone can rival the most powerful magnifying glass’; or in this case, the most powerful sound recorder.20 However, (re)learning to listen not only requires attentiveness—finding the right words is equally important.21 When we are able to recognise that dripping differs from drippling, leaking from seeping, and sprinkling from spraying, the differences in sounds are easier to recognise and our listening expands. Ultimately, learning to listen takes practice and time.
Furthermore, listening is a means to creating intimacy, a way to make kin. As Kimmerer points out, ‘[j]ust as you can pick out the voice of a loved one in the tumult of a noisy room, or spot your child’s smile in a sea of faces, intimate connection allows recognition in an all-too-often anonymous world.’22 It is a way to grieve together for the damages done, heal together by acknowledging interconnectedness between bodies of water, and grow together by continuing to listen as way of knowing.
The type of listening I experienced in Italy connects closely to Pauline Oliveros’ practice of Deep Listening: a meditative practice ‘intended to heighten and expand consciousness of sound in as many dimensions of awareness and attentional dynamics as humanly possible.’23 Deep Listening aims to grow conscious of all sounds in the space/time continuum and functions as a tool to develop compassion and understanding of the (audible) world around us.24 Deep Listening is a method I can practise to grow attentive to the river through meditative listening. It is a tool to grow knowledgeable over time.25
Making Kin with the River
I host (Deep) Listening sessions at the shore of the Rhine river across from my house as part of my artistic practice. I will discuss two listening exercises: the first is aimed at activating the ears and the second one at experiencing interconnectedness as bodies of water. At the start of each session, I hand out water filters to the participants. We begin our listening experience by filtering water from the river. We listen for five minutes to the water splashing on the gravel, after which it seeps down through the sand in the cup below. I want the participants to grow familiar with the sounds of the single drops of water and the compositions that arise when the drops go through a process of assembling and disassembling within the filter.
We continue with purifying the filtered water.26 We drink a sip of Rhine water, after which I ask the participants to imagine the sip of water travelling through their bodies while the molecules travel through the membranes. I challenge us to feel the connection between the Rhine river and our own body while listening to the sounds within our own body, the sounds of the river and the sound of our surroundings. Finally, I encourage the participants to envision a map of entanglements between the bodies of water at the river site (including themselves). This exercise challenges the conceptions of the human/non-human and the global/local dichotomies in two ways. Firstly, by acknowledging similarities as bodies of water and secondly, by understanding the way those diverse bodies of water are entangled on and through different scales within one imagined map.
Listening as the first step in practising an embodied radicalisation of the hydrocommons makes sense to me, since my senses function because I am a body of water. My tongue needs water to be able to taste; my nose inhales water vapour when I try to sniff out a certain smell; the water in my eyes gives me the ability to see; and vibrations have to travel through the watery liquid in my inner ear before I can hear sound. As I argued above, we are continuously becoming as bodies of water. Because we are always becoming, listening is also a practice of becoming. This inter-permeation of water within our body and between other bodies sheds light on the subjective perception of sounds.
I believe that no listening experience can be identical, as both the material composition of the listener and the bodies of water that are being listened to alter in an instance. I notice this in the listening sessions as well. At the end of a session, I ask participants to share their experiences. Even though our experiences are similar, they are never exactly the same. We then take a moment together to unpack these different experiences in order to take in the sounds we did not previously hear, thus expanding our river listening map. The subjective perception of sounds therefore feeds into finding multiple connections between bodies of water.
By defining listening as becoming, it becomes clear to me that listening to the Rhine means listening to a multiplicity of bodies of water with constantly changing compositions through my own becoming body. By being an attentive listener, I am able to distinguish the different sounds. I can slowly meander through the polyphony of the river area. By taking time, the map of these river sounds expands gradually as my ears open up to different river melodies. Growing any relationship requires time and attentiveness to grow and, as a result, I am able to make kin with the river.
Illuminating Hidden Worlds
The Rhine river connects the Ruhr region with Rotterdam, making the river a popular trade route. Whenever a transport ship is nearing my boat, I not only hear the roar of the engine but also feel the ship passing as the waves crash against my boat, causing it to move. Some days, she slowly rocks me awake, whereas other days I wake up startled as the boat is shaking back and forth with a brute force. When I actively pay attention to the rocking patterns, I grow knowledgeable of the waves. Her ripples lay out temporary maps containing the stories of the undercurrents, the wind and the ships. The longer I am present with her movements, the better I can decipher these water maps. These embodied experiences with the waves demonstrate that listening is more than ‘just’ hearing: it extends to all the senses.
In Invisible Cities (originally published in 1972), Italo Calvino gives his character Marco Polo the ability to construct material histories. He is able to decipher the origin of the chess board on which he is playing from a single scratch in the wood.27 As Rosi Braidotti argues in Nomadic Subjects, Calvino has given his character the nomadic skill to memorise imperceptible maps.28 The single scratch in the wood tells the story of the tree, the craftsmanship and the previous players. Knowing what can be listened to is equally as important as the skill of listening itself. The river holds many secret maps of smell, temperature, flora and sediments that can only be deciphered when the listener is aware of their existence.
By creating a search image for maps within the landscape, I am able to unravel the stories of the river or, following Tim Ingold’s approach in his paper Footprints Through the Weather-World: Walking, Breathing, Knowing, I can draw a tale from the impressions in the ground (and the water).29 Listening to the river entails unravelling the stories embedded within the landscape as well as the stories between bodies of water. Listening to the river means opening ourselves up to the multivocality of the world and requires an active search for stories to listen to.
Listening not only challenges the OWW because of its de-othering capacity, but it also puts a shift in motion from the sociology of absences towards a sociology of emergences. The sociology of absences is an OWW sociology in which worlds other than the OWW are actively produced as non-existent. On the other hand, a sociology of emergences entails an enlargement of experiences and worlds considered valid or credible alternatives to what exists prior.30Where the former is a result of the OWW, the latter gives rise to the pluriverse. Listening enables our senses to perceive the many worlds of the river (spiritual, material, ecological, etc.) as long as we practise where to listen, what to listen to, and how to listen.
Giving way to the pluriverse means bringing multiple forms of listening into practice because these give the opportunity to experience and acknowledge the polyphonies of the river. As I argued before, listening is a practice of becoming because I am becoming as a body of water. I therefore believe that a listening practice should be as fluid as the streams of the river; a listener has to constantly look for new channels to flow through as those offer insight into different worlds.31 Ideally, a listening practice is transdisciplinary, divergent rather than convergent, and lets others speak without altering their worlds. Listening to the river means letting her flow, taking time and attentiveness to decipher her polyphonies while simultaneously looking for new channels to further let the pluriverse emerge.
Giving a Voice to the Silenced
I am currently looking out on the water as I am writing these final words. The quay is flooded, the water level is high, and it takes quite some skill to access the boat via the walkway. The current is strong, and I imagine the undercurrents to be even stronger. However, I find comfort through our commonalities. We are both bodies of water that share a way of being because we are constituted of the same element. We are always becoming through the hydrological cycle of gestation, repetition, differentiation and inter-permeation. We are blurring binaries, thinking in common and sharing responsibilities. We are able to express our care for each other through embodying the hydrocommons, and we become water aware because of it.
Listening is a first step in an embodied radicalisation of the hydrocommons. A listening practice is only possible because we are bodies of water; it is a means by which we are able to navigate the web of watery entanglements. Listening requires being attentive and taking time. Listening requires presence. Listening is active. Listening means making kin with bodies of water by means of my own body of water. Listening is making deep connections that extend beyond the individual, beyond the local, beyond the OWW. Listening is knowing what to listen to as much as learning how to listen. Listening enables the listener to decipher the knowledges and maps that are hidden in the water. Listening means giving back the agency to the bodies of water we are directly dependent on. By listening, we can give voice to all the worlds that we have silenced for far too long.
- Bakker, Karen, ‘The “Commons” versus the “Commodity”: Alter-Globalization, Anti-Privatization, and the Human Right to Water in the Global South.’ Antipode 39, no. 3 (2007): pp. 430-455. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-8330.2007.00534.x.
- Braidotti, Rosi, Nomadic Subjects: Embodiment and Sexual Difference in Contemporary Feminist Theory. New York: Columbia University Press, 1994.
- Calvino, Italo, Invisible Cities. Translated by William Weaver. New York City: Vintage Publishing, 2002.
- Escobar, Arturo, ‘Thinking-feeling with the Earth: Territorial Struggles and the Ontological Dimension of the Epistemologies of the South.’ Revista de Antropología Iberoamericana 11, no. 1 (Spring 2016): pp. 11-32. https://doi.org/10.11156/aibr.110102e.
- Ingold, Tim, ‘Footprints Through the Weather-world: Walking, Breathing, Knowing.’ Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute 16, no. 1 (April 2010): p. 121-139. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-9655.2010.01613.x.
- Kimmerer, Robin Wall, Gathering Moss. Corvallis: Oregon State University Press, 2003.
- Mani, Thomas et al., ‘Microplastics Profile Along the Rhine River.’ Sci Rep 5 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1038/srep17988.
- Neimanis, Astrida, ‘Bodies of Water, Human Rights and the Hydrocommons.’ TOPIA: Canadian Journal of Cultural Studies 21 (May 2009): pp. 161-182. https://doi.org/10.3138/topia.21.161.
- Oliveros, Pauline, Deep Listening: A Composer’s Sound Practice. New York: iUniverse, 2005.
- Rijkswaterstaat, ‘Waterkwaliteit.’ Accessed March 8, 2022. https://www.rijkswaterstaat.nl/water/waterbeheer/waterkwaliteit.
Thomas Mani et al., ‘Microplastics Profile along the Rhine River,’ Sci Rep 5 (2016), https://doi.org/10.1038/srep17988.
For some examples, see Astrida Neimanis, ‘Bodies of Water, Human Rights and the Hydrocommons,’ TOPIA: Canadian Journal of Cultural Studies 21 (May 2009), p. 168, https://doi.org/10.3138/topia.21.161.
‘Waterkwaliteit,’ Rijkswaterstaat, accessed March 8, 2022, https://www.rijkswaterstaat.nl/water/waterbeheer/waterkwaliteit.
Arturo Escobar, ‘Thinking-feeling with the Earth: Territorial Struggles and the Ontological Dimension of the Epistemologies of the South,’ Revista de Antropología Iberoamericana 11, no. 1 (Spring 2016): p. 15, https://doi.org/10.11156/aibr.110102e.
Escobar 2016, p. 15.
Neimanis 2009, p. 164.
Neimanis 2009, p. 163.
Neimanis 2009, p. 165
Neimanis 2009, pp. 164-165.
Neimanis 2009, p. 164.
Here, I refer to Bruno Latour’s ANT (Actor-Network Theory) as a mode for knowledge in which not only humans have agency.
The rhizome is another mode of knowledge, introduced by Deleuze and Guattari in their book A Thousand Plateaus, which focuses on making knowledge decentred and non-hierarchical.
Karen Bakker provides an exploration of activist responses against water privatisation, including community response. See: Karen Bakker, ‘The “Commons” versus the “Commodity”: Alter-Globalization, Anti-Privatization, and the Human Right to Water in the Global South,’ Antipode 39, no. 3 (2007): pp. 430-455, https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-8330.2007.00534.x.
Neimanis 2009, p. 174.
Neimanis 2009, p. 175.
I would like to see our community have a permanent advisory role whenever Rijkswaterstaat (the caretaking organ of the main Dutch waterways) wants to initiate projects that seriously impacts the river.
Neimanis 2009, p. 175.
Freeman House writes about a similar experience in his book Totem Salmon: Life Lesson from Another Species (1999).
Robin Wall Kimmerer, Gathering Moss (Corvallis: Oregon State University Press, 2003), p. 8.
Kimmerer 2003, p. 11.
Kimmerer 2003, p. 13.
Pauline Oliveros, Deep Listening: A Composer’s Sound Practice (New York: iUniverse, 2005), p. 13.
Oliveros 2005, p. 14.
The podcast Sounding Places, Listening Places (2021) unpacks the concept of Deep Listening through in-depth conversations about and artistic practices involving Deep Listening.
I boil the water for a minute on a stove or open fire.
Italo Calvino, Invisible Cities, trans. William Weaver (New York City: Vintage Publishing, 2002).
Rosi Braidotti, Nomadic Subjects: Embodiment and Sexual Difference in Contemporary Feminist Theory (New York: Columbia University Press, 1994), p. 17.
Tim Ingold, ‘Footprints Through the Weather-world: Walking, Breathing, Knowing,’ Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute 16, no. 1 (April 2010): p. 135, https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-9655.2010.01613.x.
Escobar 2016, p.16.
We should not forget to listen to and give voice to the bodies of water once we have developed a deep connection with fellow bodies of water. Examples of giving a voice include indigenous peoples from all over the world who outed the urgency for a change of global water management in the Indigenous Peoples’ Kyoto Water Declaration (2003) and the online publication Water Teachings, which discusses traditional knowledges, the communal aspects of water, and the sacred waters of many different indigenous peoples in Canada, such as the Coast Salish peoples, First Nations communities and the Lummi nation. We should not forget the witches that practise the craft of water magic, honour the spirits of the river, and draw upon the connection between the moon and water following the Celtic tradition. And we should not forget the rich oral tradition of Rhine lore and legends.