Do you have secret place you go to make a wish? I think everyone does. For many these days, it’s just a fountain in town or a little manmade pond. For some it’s an actual “wishing well,” and for others it’s a small stream or quiet pool of water. You’ll notice that it always involves water, though. You can’t seem to make a proper wish without water.
A nice clean spring or stream was a very important thing to ancient people because they couldn’t just turn the tap on like we can. They needed a clean, clear, unpolluted place from which to gather water. This was a vital need for everyone. Over time, certain places gained more prestige and veneration than others for having the “best” water. In ancient cultures all over the world, we are told of certain deities or entities living in these special wells or springs. They guarded the wells and blessed the water, often making them a source of healing.
|My sacred spring.|
As the reputation of the sacred well or spring grew, people would travel many miles to drink or bathe in the healing waters. Many would proclaim themselves cured after having done so, and the fame of the water and its deity or protector would grow. Indeed, many of these springs and wells contained a large amount of minerals or sulfur, and soaking in them might very well have helped people’s health.
Very often, a person would approach a well or spring and say out loud why they were there. This “saying out loud” was an important thing to the ancients, and it should still be important to us today. Voicing your opinion, ideas, hopes, and dreams solidifies them, taking them from the realm of thought to the realm of real possibility. With the “saying out loud” came the offering of a gift in return for healing or longevity. This could take the form of simple ribbons and coins to the deposition of an enemy’s armor in the water. It was a “give and take” idea. The ancients weren’t stupid. They knew if you wanted to receive, you must first give. They knew that if you received, a token of your gratitude should be left. It was a simple form of request and appreciation. After all, nothing in this world is free.
And so the idea of the wishing well or the sacred spring was born. We still carry this tradition with us today. Surely you have been to one of these special spots? Not a crowded fountain in a city, but a quiet pool of water in the country. There seems to be an air of peace, abundance, and health to them, and who’s to say it isn’t true? The birds themselves seem to sing just a bit sweeter at these places.
So always bring a coin with you in your travels. When you find the special well or pool, which could be anywhere at all, say your wish out loud and drop the coin in. And then say thank you, of course. You may be surprised with the answer you get. The wishing well is a good listener.