Describing sacred waters and their associated traditions in over thirty countries and across multiple time periods, this book identifies patterns in panhuman hydrolatry. Supplying life's most basic daily need, freshwater sources were likely the earliest sacred sites, and the first protected and contested resource. Guarded by taboos, rites and supermundane forces, freshwater sources have also been considered thresholds to otherworlds. Often associated also with venerated stones, trees and healing flora, sacred water sources are sites of biocultural diversity. Addressing themes that will shape future water research, this volume examines cultural perceptions of water's sacrality that can be employed to foster resilient human-environmental relationships in the growing water crises of the twenty-first century. The work combines perspectives from anthropology, archaeology, classics, folklore, geography, geology, history, literature and religious studies.
Country of Publication:
26 February 2020
Further / Higher Education
A / AS level
Holy wells and sacred springs Celeste Ray PART I Ancient influences 1 Fons et Origo: observations on sacred springs in classical antiquity and tradition Christopher M. McDonough 2 Water sources and the sacred in modern and ancient Greece Evy Johanne Haland 3 Life and death from the watery underworld: ancient Maya interaction with caves and cenotes Nicholas P. Dunning PART II Stewarding curative waters and caring for pilgrims 4 Go drink from the spring and wash there : the healing waters of Lourdes Michael Agnew 5 The well of Zamzam: a pilgrimage site and curative water in Islam Ahmad Ghabin 6 Sacrality and waterfront sacred places in India: myths and the making of place Rana P.B. Singh PART III Genii loci and ancestors 7 Freshwater sources and their relational contexts in Indigenous Australia: views from the past and present Liam M. Brady 8 Inca shrines: deities in stone and water Marco Curatola Petrocchi 9 Dragon wells and sacred springs in China Jean DeBernardi, Yan Jie and Ma Junhong 10 Sacred springs of the Tewa Pueblos, New Mexico Richard I. Ford PART IV Temporal powers, social Identity and sacred geography 11 Divine waters in Ethiopia: the source from heaven and Indigenous water-worlds in the Lake Tana region Terje Oestigaard and Gedef Abawa Firew 12 Ori Aiye: a holy well among the Ondo of Southeastern Yorubaland, Nigeria Raheem Oluwafunminiyi and Victor Ajisola Omojeje 13 Sacred wells of Banaras: glorifications, ritual practices and healing Vera Lazzaretti 14 Yaksuto: Korean sacred mineral spring water Hong-key Yoon 15 Sacred hierarchy, festival cycles and water veneration at Chalma in Central Mexico Ramiro Alfonso Gomez Arzapalo Dorantes PART V Medieval Europe 16 Between Fons and foundation: managing a French holy well in the Miracula Sancti Theoderici Kate M. Craig 17 Finnaun y Doudec Seint: a holy spring in early medieval Brycheiniog, Wales Andy Seaman 18 Gvendarbrunnar of medieval Iceland Margaret Jean Cormack PART VI Contested and shared sites 19 A higher level of immersion: a contemporary freshwater mikvah pool in Israel Robert Phillips 20 Waters at the edge: sacred springs and spatiality in Southwest Finnish village landscapes John Bjoerkman 21 Memory and martyrs: holy springs in Western Siberia Jeanmarie Rouhier-Willoughby 22 Sacred and healing springs in the Republic of North Macedonia Snezana Filipova 23 Water sanctuaries of Hatay, Turkey Jens Kreinath PART VII Sacred waterfalls 24 Sacred waters of Haitian Vodou: the pilgrimage of Sodo Elizabeth McAlister 25 The Olympic Mountains and the sacrality of water in the Klallam world Cailin E. Murray 26 Back into the light: water and the indigenous uncanny in northeastern Japan Ellen Schattschneider PART VIII Popular pieties 27 With sacred springs, without holy wells: the case of Estonia Heiki Valk 28 The holy wells of Wychwood Forest, England Martin Haigh 29 Holy wells and trees in Poland as an element of local and national identity Wojciech Bedynski 30 Visiting holy wells in seventeenth-century Sweden: the case of St. Ingemo's Well in Dala Terese Zachrisson 31 The Buddha's thumb, Naga legends and blessings of health: sacred water and religious practice in Thailand Rachelle M. Scott PART IX Hydrology, stewardship and biocultural heritage 32 At the end of the field, a pot of Nemunai is boiling: a study of Lithuanian springs Vykintas Vaitkevicius 33 Where does the water come from? A hydrogeological characterisation of Irish holy wells Bruce Misstear, Laurence Gill, Cora McKenna and Ronan Foley 34 The holy springs of Russia's Orel region: traditions of place and environmental care Jane Costlow 35 Sentient springs and sources of life: water, climate change and world-making practices in the Andes Astrid B. Stensrud 36 Flora, fauna and curative waters: Ireland's holy wells as sites of biocultural diversity Celeste Ray
Celeste Ray is Professor of Environmental Arts and Humanities at the University of the South, USA. She is the author of The Origins of Ireland's Holy Wells and Highland Heritage: Scottish Americans in the American South, and the editor of volumes considering ethnicity and historical ecology.
Reviews for Sacred Waters: A Cross-Cultural Compendium of Hallowed Springs and Holy Wells
In describing the extraordinary ubiquity of sacred water places around the world, this comprehensive collection simultaneously celebrates the rich cultural and historical diversity in the beliefs and practices through which people engage with them, celebrating water's essential role in generating life, health and societal wellbeing. A veritable wellspring of ideas. Professor Veronica Strang, Institute of Advanced Studies, Durham University