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originally posted by: beansidhe
a reply to: Wifibrains
That is an excellent post, well spotted! Thinking strings, what a wonderful way of describing it, I love that.
Who are the watermeid?
The "Watermeid" (or Karoo mermaid) has been an integral part of Karoo folklore for years. Stories passed down from parents and grandparents, warn children not to go near deep pools in case the "Watermeid" drags them in and drowns them. Modern man dismissed these stories, saying these stories began as a way to protect children from the dangers of deep water, until archeologists started finding Khoisan "Rock Art" depicting the Watermeid and even groups of these Karoo mermaids.
A drowning water fairy, you say? That's a coincidence.
It is an extraordinary thing to consider that there are still literally thousands of holy wells in the British Isles. Most of these are natural springs; some open pools like St.Madron's, while others are contained by a stone edifice, often covered. The majority, however,are in ruins, overgrown and no longer visited.
People visited the wells for their traditional virtues of healing and divination. If a physical cure was sought, the believer would drink or sometimes bathe in the water.
Additional features of the holy wells, along with other sacred features of the landscape such as certain megaliths, caves, trees and lakes,they stand as entrances to the world of spirit - the Otherworld.
This is particularly appropriate because in Celtic mythology the Well of Wisdom stands at the center of the Celtic Otherworld, the spiritual source of all, of which the holy wells of Britain and Ireland are mere tributaries. Early Irish literature tells us how this well gushes up as a fountain in the courtyard of the palace of Manannan mac Lir, the king of the faeries
Supernatural qualities automatically cluster about the manifestation of such a powerful archetype. The holy wells of the British Isles were, in fact, such popular places of worship in pagan times, that the early Roman Church took great pains to stamp them out.
In folk-tradition, the wells were only visited at special times of the year: May or at Midsummer were the most popular, two turning-points of the Celtic year when the gates of the Otherworld were open wide. At these times, too, those Otherworld denizens, the faeries or pixies, were frequently sighted at holy wells. It is not surprising then that a guardian of the Otherworld is usually found overseeing the holy wells of the British Isles.
Although since the Christianization of the wells this figure is generally a saint of either gender, the well-guardian was originally female. Most dealings with the Otherworld in the Celtic tradition are facilitated by a female spirit or goddess. This is particularly so when the Otherworld is located beneath the earth, which in pagan Britain and Ireland, as in most cultures worldwide, was always regarded as feminine.
When Christianity came to Britain, pagan holy and healing wells were aggressively rededicated to the Virgin Mary and other saints while remaining places of Old Religion practice. Also known as 'Our Lady's Well', Glasgow's Ladywell is an artesian spring noted on early city maps and can be reliably assumed to predate the city.
originally posted by: Logarock
a reply to: beansidhe
Something for one and all. From the Port of the Gauls.
Adomnán’s biography of Columba reports that the pagan Picts believed in powers associated with deep water. In this they would be no different from peoples throughout Britain in the first millennium AD, when many pagan holy springs were blessed and adopted by the new Christianity. Wells and springs were associated with healing, and Pictish burial grounds were often sited next to them.
Burghead is a small town in Moray, Scotland, The present town was built between 1805 and 1809, destroying in the process more than half of the site of an important Pictish hill fort.
The fort was probably a major Pictish centre and was where carved slabs depicting bulls were found; they are known as the "Burghead Bulls". A chambered well of some considerable antiquity was discovered in 1809 and walls and a roof were later added to help preserve it.
Prior to 1808, a green hollow was visible in the NE corner of the fort. Tradition held that it was a well. In 1809 the ‘well’ was excavated to serve as a municipal water supply. This led to the discovery of a chamber, 5m square and 4m high, together with a 3m square cistern and a flight of steps leading down to them, all cut out of solid rock. The cistern had a free-standing stone pedestal in one corner and a basin cut into another.
The date when the ‘well’ was made is not known; nor to we know how it was used. It seems too extraordinary a feature simply to have served as a water supply for the fort. Theories about its function include a shrine to Celtic water deities, a place of ritual execution and an early Christian baptistry. Perhaps the most plausible is that of a Pictish cult centre, later converted to some Christian use. A rock-cut well, identified by some as an early Christian baptistry associated with the local cult of St Ethan.
But what is the fascination with well-heads and springs that even today urges us to toss a coin into their mystical waters in some vain hope of receiving a blessing or piece of good luck? For a hint of the answer one must delve back into the prehistoric pagan days when springs were regarded as being the portal between the underground world where the spirits dwelt and that of the living. It appears that our ancestors have always sought help for cures, vengeance, repentance or improvement in fortunes by depositing votive offerings to the deities associated with water sources.
Among the earliest enthusiasts for holy wells in modern times was the Neopagan movement, for whom wells formed part of 'earth mysteries' study along with ley lines and ancient sites; the view that the Christians had ‘stolen’ holy wells from the Pagan religions fitted in well with their position.
The Chalice Well at Glastonbury (Somerset) is at the centre of a Neopagan- and New Age-orientated spirituality and retreat centre. Other wells, however, are often visited on an informal basis for religious or sightseeing reasons. New forms of holy well reverence continue to emerge now and again, notoriously the so-called Well of the Triple Goddess at Minster-in-Sheppey (Kent).
Minster Abbey stands on the site of an earlier worshipping site. The Abbey itself is built in the centre of a former Druid or pre Druid place of worship. The site is marked by the ‘Minster Triangle’, the triangle is formed by three ancient healing wells. Excavations of the wells found artifacts that proved the wells were used for worship of the Celtic triple headed fertility goddess. A three headed metal cast, depicting a heavily pregnant goddess who is squatting in an ancient position of childbirth over the main well. This well is now known as the well of the triple goddess. Also found was a broken beeswax picture of the goddess, it is believed the picture was broken up and dropped down the well as an offering to the goddess. The wells have been dated to approximately 1500BC, some people still believe the water from the main well can help fertility.
The site is marked by the ‘Minster Triangle’, the triangle is formed by three ancient healing wells. Excavations of the wells found artifacts that proved the wells...
Sometimes with creative inspiration you can contact the essences of well priestesses in the Celtic tradition in even the most neglected urban well shaft or pipe that may be the only sign that the sacred waters still flow.
The Isle of Sheppey in Kent where Water, Sky and Earth converge is perhaps best known for the heavy industrialisation of the surrounding River Thames or the caravan and chalet sites that provide a haven for Londoners. But local historian, author and archaeologist Brian Slade has pieced together the story of the sacred wells of Sheppey and the ancient abbey, Monasterium Sexburgha and in doing so has come across evidence of the Druidesses who once tended the sacred waters.
Other historians share his view that Sheppey may have been the last remote stronghold of the old Druidical rites in England.
This site, called The Birth Bracelet Well or the Garden Centre Well as its location is within the auspices of a Minster Garden centre car park. Little was known of the well among locals, but excavation revealed coins dating to at least 1600s, and shreads of pottery. The so-called bracelet was found at the deepest layers, and believed to be the oldest artefact in the well. Its exact age and origin may be unclear, but its small size suggests that it was indeed intended to be placed on a newly born infant’s wrist. Further research may indicate its true meaning and whether we can truly refer to the site as a holy well.
The Minster Garden Centre has now moved to opposite the site of the Birth Bracelet Well which can be located at 29 the High Street, below a fish and chip shop. It is capped however.
originally posted by: beansidhe
That's interesting, the wells formed a triangle. It reminds me of this:
I don't know why, but this stone seems to suggest that the triple disc is cutting the crescent (moon?) in three.
Saturn’s high north is a seething cauldron of activity filled with roiling cloud bands and swirling vortices.
Like Jupiter, Saturn seems to be a bubbling cauldron of liquid gases.
At the center of the cauldron of storms spinning around the south pole is the south pole itself, which literally appears to be the eye of this vast polar storm system.
originally posted by: Logarock
originally posted by: Wifibrains
a reply to: beansidhe
It's also then possible you did not have to "die" to travel on them. Or so legend would have it.
Would that have anything to do with hyperventilating or eating fungus? There must be some missing catalyst here. lol
The huge bank and ditch of the enormous circle-henge of Balfarg was used as a ceremonial centre from around 3,700 BC onwards. A Causeway was left at the north-east. On the central plateau, nearly sixty metres across, the people put up a ring of timbers whose posts increased in size and width towards the south-west, where two colossal trunks stood. This impressive circle was later replaced by a stone circle of ten or eleven stones.
The Use of Henbane as a Hallucinogen at Balfarg:
The specialist report included in the excavation publication identified high pollen values and seed numbers of henbane (Moffat 1993). Organic residues adhering to pottery sherds, which had been broken and often scorched at the time of deposition, were examined by Moffat. The context of these sherds, associated with what has been identified as a ritual monument, and the manner of deposition, has been interpreted as ritual activity. The presence of henbane in significant concentrations has been interpreted as the use of a hallucinogenic drug, as part of these ritual activities. To date, excavations at other `ritual' sites have not been able to produce comparable evidence for the use of poisonous or hallucinogenic plants at these sites (Long 1998) and Balfarg is unique in this respect. However, this evidence has been used to support theories of the use of hallucinogenic drugs in the Scottish Neolithic and parallels have been drawn to the use of other members of the Solanaceae in South America and Australia (Sherratt 1996).
In Greek mythology, the dead who wander the shores of the River Styx are crowned with henbane, most likely because of its real life ability to make one forget oneself. Greek oracles were said to breathe the smoke of this baneful Saturn herb in order to divine the future.