The Cult of Sacred Wells: Introduction

This is an informative post on sacred wells — past, present, Christian, pagan. In this time of dwindling access to clean, fresh water, we would do well to honor the sacredness of wells. For some reason, this post also reminds me a bit of a book I read a long time ago, called “Taking the Waters: Spirit, Art, Sensuality,” by Alev Lytle Croutier. I no longer own the book, but it has haunted me for decades. Thanks for the reminder, and I look forward to future posts on wells.

Fairy faith in the Northwest

  “There is no superstition stronger in Ireland than a belief in the curative power of the sacred wells that are scattered over the country; fountains of health and healing which some saint had blessed, or by which some saint had dwelt in the far-off ancient times. But well-worship is even older than Christianity. It is part of the early ritual of humanity, brought from the Eastern lands by the first Aryan tribes who migrated westward, passing along from the Mediterranean to time Atlantic shores,” (Wilde, Holy Wells).

The great regard that the people of Ireland had for wells is so great that, at one time, they were referred to as The People of the Wells. Within Ireland and Wales, many sacred wells dotted the landscape, each coveted for their holy powers of magic, insight, and healing. From ancient times, to the spreading of Christianity into the British Isles, and even…

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