Water Worship


The Celts used to worship sacred springs and wells devoted to the deities.  One of the best known ones of these is the baths for Sulis Minerva in the town of Bath in England.  Sulis was a Celtic goddess who the Romans thought was the equivalent of Minerva, so they stuck the appellation of Minerva on to her name and with time I think she would have become Minerva.

Because the church failed to stop people making sacrifices and offerings at these springs and wells, the church took some of them over and consecrated them to the saints and they became holy wells and springs.  Others have become wishing wells in England, or clootie wells in Scotland.  A clootie well is where you take a piece of cloth, dip it in the water and wash the afflicted part of your body with it.  You then hang the cloth (or cloot) on a nearby tree.  This practice combines both tree and water worship with it.

The Celts would often throw damaged swords, damaged jewellery and coins into bodies of water as a sacrifice or offering to their deities.  Our wishing wells derive from these practices.  There is an old wishing well in the village of Sheldon in Devon, but a lot of wells are modern ones where the money goes to charity.

A few years ago I was living by a canal and working as a temp because I couldn’t get permanent work.  One of my agencies phoned me up offering me some work and I accepted.

On the first day I had to take a bus which got me to the job an hour early, so I hung around a shopping centre for a while.  This shopping centre then had a modern wishing well, so I threw a pound coin in and wished for what I wanted in my new job.

And I got it.  For the next year I threw a pound coin into the canal where I lived and wished for what I wanted to happen at my job and every time I got it.  I used the canal because we were living on and making offerings to the land next to the canal, so I thought the local spirits were more likely to be friendly to me.

And each time I got exactly what I had wished for.  Two years ago I got my present job and at that time doubts had crept in about what I was doing and I was wondering if it really worked.  So I didn’t do it for my current job and as a result I have been trying to leave that job from when I was a month into it.

I have also given a pound coin to a local body of water when I went on holiday and as a result have had great weather for the duration of the holiday.  One time we were in Venice and I foolishly decided to give it to a beggar instead.  The next day rain was forecast and we got a storm instead.  We had booked a walking tour and were drenched and our shoes and my favourite handbag were destroyed.  The next time I gave an extra pound coin to the waters of Venice in restitution.

In Rome it is also said that if you put money in the Trevi fountain you will return to Rome.  My betrothed has done this and gone back to Rome since he threw the money in the fountain.

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