Sacred Wells: A Study in the History, Meaning, and Mythology of Holy Wells & Waters

Sacred Wells: A Study in the History, Meaning, and Mythology of Holy Wells & Waters

Sacred Wells: A Study in the History, Meaning, and Mythology of Holy Wells & Waters

Sacred Wells: A Study in the History, Meaning, and Mythology of Holy Wells & Waters

Synopsis

Sacred Wells is an in depth study of springs, wells and waters that have been venerated from California to Cornwall, Russia to Australia. Tales of faeries, black hounds, hauntings and miraculous cures are explored. Many of these sites are still locations for religious festivals and ritual, unchanging for hundreds of years. The book is illustrated with photos taken by the author.

Excerpt

Sacred Wells was originally published in 2002. Since that time, I have visited a large number of additional sacred sites, including those associated with Native American rock art, gargoyle-embellished cathedrals, sacred landscapes and, of course, sacred wells. I have written a number of books having to do with folklore, mythology, the environment and the history of religion since Sacred Wells was first published. However, I continue to travel back to the subject of holy wells and waters and when Algora Publishing gave me an opportunity to expanded and reissue Sacred Wells in this present volume, I couldn’t resist.

Much of our mythic environment is forgotten, discarded or abused. the thirst for coal and oil, for land for housing developments and business parks, and the desire to control the few wild rivers to harness energy, consistently degrades our habitat and the habitat of the wild animals that continue to struggle to survive. It also destroys much of the landscape that, for a variety of reasons, has a special meaning for various people, some of that revealed in ancient tales that used to be told. Now, many of the mysterious locations our ancestors held in awe are forgotten. I am pleased to reissue Sacred Wells so that these sacred places and their legends will continue to be known to those who may wish to learn from them and perhaps even travel to them to experience their special nature for themselves.

I would like to express my thanks to good friends Ricky and Holger Jordan, editors of the German journal Magister Botanicus, for their kind permission to include some of their beautiful photographs taken of several holy wells in Cornwall, England, which appear only in this expanded edition of Sacred Wells. All other photographs were taken by the author.

—Gary R. Varner, 2009 . . .

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