It would be great to now reveal the many ascetic years I spent high in the Himalayas at the source of the Ganges river, pouring over ancient Ayurvedic texts on papyrus scrolls by day, and chanting in meditation with yogis throughout the nights, until one fine day I was zapped with esoteric enlightenment into all the mysteries of our mortal bodies as I knelt down beneath the immense Gangotri glacier from whence gusheth the mighty Ganges river to dip my hammered copper cup, beaten and formed by my own hands between two granite stones, and drank of the icy cold water as it flowed from the dark maw of its cavernous birth canal.
But that didn't happen.
However, last week I was zapped in a different way while bending over at my fridge as I unloaded a 12 pack of aluminum beer cans by a bright lightning bolt of pain shooting across my lower back. It was a pretty good reminder about taking care of my body in many ways. I'm sure there's a yogic lesson to be learned there and I'll eventually pick it up going my merry way through la vida. What I'm getting at here: while I am a professional at my craft, I am an amateur in my pursuit of knowledge: I do it for the love.
The Ayurvedic practice of storing your water in one of our hammered copper pitchers overnight and starting your day with a cool copper cup of this refreshing water is a wonderful way to start the day. There are many resources regarding the specific benefits Ayurveda attributes to copper for health. And I fully believe in all this potential. But I can speak to you only regarding my own experience and knowledge regarding copper, water and life. These things fall into a similar vein from which the Ayurvedic understanding springs. I'll relate them to you in four categories that can help to deepen your own experience integrating copper into a healthier life: Intention, Medium, Litmus, and Shine.
It's best to start by emphasizing what you probably already understand, that a large part of health, healing and well-being begins with intention, the will for wellness wherever it may come from, whatever form it may take.
This first step of intention may be why you are choosing to integrate copper into your life for health in an Ayurvedic practice. You have chosen very well! Copper is a conductor. And throughout our human history, copper has been a very potent medium for power and communication, from modern applications such as transferring power in the electrical grid, electric motors, and computing, to ancient times when most copper items were created as a means to focus earthly communication with the spiritual realm.
Here at Sertodo, copper has been the medium for us to realize so many things in so many different facets of our lives. And all of our goods are charged with this highly focused intention which can be seen and felt in every hammered facet. We strongly believe that good intentions multiply through the proper medium. Please, add your own intentions, our copper will pass these intentions to your water, and away you go to realization!
Ok, enough waxing esoteric, nuts and bolts please, maybe with a little less nuts... Water is usually good for you, but not all water is equally as good for you. And copper will help you to recognize this. It acts as a litmus, changing color depending on the minerals and chemicals present, ph balance (acidic or basic), and let’s you know about the purity of your water. This changing color is actually a chemical reaction with the copper, especially in the presence of oxygen that forms a ‘Patina’ which usually shows up as spots or rings when used with certain drinking water or when washing your copper.
Soon after I began using copper for my drinking water, I noticed rings forming at the water line around the inside of the cup. I didn't think too much of it until after the city of Austin, Texas had a tremendous algae bloom in the source of it's municipal water during a particularly dry and hot summer that changed the taste of the water. The city then announced that they had changed the chemical cocktail used to purify our drinking water (usually some combination of chlorine molecules) to keep this from happening again. The color of the rings and the speed at which they formed on my copper changed as well. Our ‘new’ purified tap water seems to actually off gas as the Chlorine evaporates from the water, darkening the copper even well above the water line.
So I began to try different waters for drinking with my copper cups, mostly bottled spring and purified waters which showed very little or no reaction with the copper as the tap water had shown. The water’s source and/or purification process all factor in to affect its balance and quality.
Currently, I use Mountain Valley Spring water in my home. I have heard it’s the only water that Elvis would drink. And the copper confirms with it’s clear bright shine that it is indeed good enough for the King. I had taken my copper to a healthy living exposition in San Francisco a few years ago where they were purifying the city’s tap water with a very nice filter and the results were phenomenal, also, no reaction. I was told that San Francisco’s source for their drinking water comes from reservoirs high in the Sierra Madre Mountains and is a very good quality to start with.
I have also noticed that some mineral waters react with the copper, leaving a variety of soft purple and blue hues that reflect their chemical composition. As a child, my grandfather would take me to Saratoga in New York to visit the ‘therapeutic springs’ and always make sure we drank and bottled lots of the water there. “It tastes so bad because it’s so good for you!” he would tell me. It has a high sulfur content, but is supremely smoothe when drunk. On a recent trip to New York, I found Saratoga Springs water in a blue bottle, just as smoothe and not so foul smelling as I remember. But indeed, it turned the copper a light grey-blue color within a couple of hours. (Distillers have told me that copper lines in the distilling process help to remove sulfur without removing the ‘smootheness’) So, please note! A reaction or 'patina' from your water is not necessarily an indicator that your water is bad or tainted.
Which brings us to the conclusion of this little blog, shine. Personally, I like a little shine, especially when it comes from the inside. And some waters leave the inside of my copper cups shining like the 41st day after the rains, as if somehow a little bit of sun fell into the bottom of my cup, no rings, no stains, no patinas, all shine. There's balance and purity in these waters. And they are a great source for the most essential element to sustaining the human body. The copper, as your litmus, reflects that.
Alas, not even the sun will shine forever. Some tarnishing will happen to your copper even if you were to fill it with the tears of Buddha, Allah, or Jesus… (Maybe not, I haven’t tried those) However, with a little love and even less work, your copper can shine as long as you and even your grandkids with proper care. It’s another nice act of intention to keep the shine going, especially on the inside of your cup or pitcher, with a little polish every once in a while. It’s satisfying and instantly gratifying.
It's a subtle, poetic and powerful idea that works in a circle. An intention sprung from the imagination of your mind, focused through a medium to charge the element of our bodies' most basic need and then returned to nourish your body with this pure water and clear intention. Perhaps a little Abra Cadabra is in order, or maybe even a Hallelujah! as your imagination is made real. Drink the shine!
End Note on drinking other liquids from your copper and some links about polishing your Sertodo Goods:
Temperature affects this litmus reaction. I do not recommend using your copper for drinking hot beverages! It is conductive and speaking from my personal experience trying to drink some hot tea out of one, OUCH! However, I use my copper for drinking most any cold or iced beverage, from tea and lemonade, to beer and mixed drinks. Colder temperatures slow any kind of reaction the copper will have with your drink. Luke warm lemonade sitting in your cup for a while is going to taste like you are chewing on copper lemons. Not really harmful for you, but not particularly pleasant either!