One of my first attempts at a “nature shrine” was simply bringing shells and crystals to this local well and placing them around the outside. I am a lover of the sea. I lived on the beach in Maine for ten years before I came to Vermont. I miss the salty smell in the air, the sound of crashing waves, and the sand between my toes. I was baptised in the ocean, my parents were married on the beach, my father’s ashes were released into the sea. It is always a place of ceremony in my upbringing. I love the mountains and woods too. My motivation was wanting to bring the energy of the sea to this local spring in the woods near my home. I was hoping to somehow energetically connect these two bodied of water.
Wells have always been a magical place. A place of between the worlds in mythology and stories. Throughout Europe people often still leave offerings at Wells. It stems back to a time when there used to be witch women, or seers who lived by Wells and would serve as oracles for the people. These Well Oracles were cherished and revered in the old times. They were honoured for their psychic and healing abilities and protected by their communities. Unfortunately, when Christianity moved into these areas the magic of the Well, and Well oracle, was destroyed. Legend has it that most of these women were actually met with very violent ends. That’s not too surprising as we see this so much with the fear of women’s mystical powers across many cultures and times.
Recently with the “Water is Life” movement we have all been thinking about how precious and important water is for our survival. Aside from it’s physically nurturing qualities, water also quenches another thirst within us. Waterfalls, Oceans, rivers, and lakes have always been a sanctuary for humans and place where many of us find peace and spiritual connection. It is also a place of community. It used to be going to the Well for water, nowadays we talk about meeting at the “water cooler.” Also people meet near bodies of water to swim, walk, relax, and gather with friends and family.
Water has many moods; from a gentle rain to a stormy sea, from a clear still lake to a babbling brook. We relate to water and it’s malleable, changing qualities. In astrology the element water is associated with emotions. It has a way of expressing itself. Water is also associated with our subconscious mind and dreams. There are many hidden things lurking in the the depths of the dark churning sea. Water is mysterious and holy. It also has cleansing properties and is used to clean things both physically as well as spiritually. Or to act as a conduit of spiritual energies, such as in the case of baptism.
I wanted to honour all of these aspects of water when I began decorating the Well. Much to my surprise when I came back two weeks later others had added more treasures to the Well wall. Feathers, flowers, someone had even been burning a candle down there! I felt so touched and filled with gratitude. By my simple act I had made the Well a gathering spot once more. Even more profound than that, I had made it a sacred spot again. A place to pause, reflect, have gratitude or say a prayer. Something we all sorely needed in this time of isolation from each other, and with fear sweeping through us all. The Well has now become a place of reverence, and in a way a means of communicating with other from afar.
This also showed me that humanity is truly craving spiritual connection to nature, and for some sacredness in their lives in general. People long for this, often times not recognising the sad emptiness they feel inside is due to the fact that our society has gotten so far from these practices. As a culture we value material wealth and productivity above all else. But this comes at the expense of our spiritual fulfilment. Time is money, we must be productively utilising our time at all costs. There is no room in our lives to slow down and reflect. Covid-19 is teaching us how to do just that. How to not have the distractions of travel, restaurants, workshops, and friends to be out with. In a way it has forced us to go back in time to a simpler way of life. We are close to home, out walking more, cooking home cooked meals more, and those of us who can be are with family. We are also checking in with loved ones, old friends, and neighbours more often. We are remembering what’s important. We are remembering what is in our very DNA, how our ancestors lived. We are being forced to slow down, to pay attention, to look into the Well of our beings and see what we can find there.
Someone added a purple prism this week!