Sacred Waters: A Cross-Cultural Compendium of Hallowed Springs and Holy Wells, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Sacred Waters

A Cross-Cultural Compendium of Hallowed Springs and Holy Wells, 1st Edition

Edited by Celeste Ray

Routledge

424 pages

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Description

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 most 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 with also 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, religious studies, sociology, geography, archaeology, history and folklore.

Table of Contents

Holy Wells and Sacred Springs

Celeste Ray

Part 1: Ancient Influences

Chapter 1: Fons et Origo: Observations on Sacred Springs in Classical Antiquity and Traditions

Christopher M. McDonough

Chapter 2: Water Sources and the Sacred in Modern and Ancient Greece

Evy Johanne Håland

Chapter 3: Life and Death from the Watery Underworld: Ancient Maya Interaction with Caves and Cenotes

Nicholas Dunning

Part 2: Stewarding Curative Waters and Caring for Pilgrims

Chapter 4: "Go Drink from the Spring and Wash There": The Healing Waters of Lourdes

Michael Agnew

Chapter 5: The Well of Zamzam: A Pilgrimage Site and Curative Water in Islam

Ahmad Ghabin

Chapter 6: Sacrality, Waterfront Sacred Places in India: Myths and the Making of Place

Rana P.B. Singh

Part 3: Genii Loci and Ancestors

Chapter 7: Freshwater Sources and their Relational Contexts in Indigenous Australia: Views from the Past and Present

Liam Brady

Chapter 8: Inca Shrines: Deities in Stone and Water

Marco Curatola Petrocchi

Chapter 9: Dragon Wells and Sacred Springs in China

Jean DeBernardi, Yan Jie and Ma Junhong

Chapter 10: The Sacred Springs of the Tewa Pueblos, New Mexico

Richard Ford

Part 4: Temporal Powers, Social Identity and Sacred Geography

Chapter 11: Divine waters in Ethiopia: The Source from Heaven and Indigenous Water-Worlds in the Lake Tana Region

Terje Oestigaard and Gedef Abawa Firew

Chapter 12 : Ori Aiye: A Holy Well among the Ondo in Southeastern Yorubaland, Nigeria

Raheem Oluwafunminiyi and Ajisola Omojeje

Chapter 13: Sacred Wells of Banaras: Glorifications, Ritual Practices and Healing

Vera Lazzaretti

Chapter 14: Yaksutŏ: Korean Sacred Mineral Spring Water

Hong-key Yoon

Chapter 15: Sacred Hierarchy, Festival Cycles and Water Veneration at Chalma in Central Mexico

Ramiro Gómez Arzapalo Dorantes

Part 5: Medieval Europe

Chapter 16: Between Fons and Foundation: Managing a French Holy Well in the Miracula Sancti Theoderici

Kate M. Craig

Chapter 17: Finnaun y Doudec Seint: A Holy Spring in Early Medieval Brycheiniog, Wales

Andy Seaman

Chapter 18: Gvendarbrunnur of Medieval Iceland

Margaret Cormack

Part 6: Contested and Shared Sites

Chapter 19: A Higher Level of Immersion: A Contemporary Freshwater Mikvah Pool in Israel

Robert Phillips

Chapter 20: Waters at the Edge: Sacred Springs and Spatiality in Southwest Finnish Village Landscapes

John Björkman

Chapter 21: Memory and Martyrs: Holy Springs in Western Siberia

Jeanmarie Rouhier-Willoughby

Chapter 22: Sacred and Healing Springs in the Republic of Macedonia

Snežana Filipova

Chapter 23: Water Sanctuaries of Hatay, Turkey

Jens Kreinath

Part 7: Sacred Waterfalls

Chapter 24: Sacred Waters of Haitian Vodou: The Pilgrimage of Sodo

Elizabeth McAlister

Chapter 25: The Olympic Mountains and the Sacrality of Water in the Klallam World

Cailín Murray

Chapter 26: Back into the Light: Water and the Indigenous Uncanny in Northeastern Japan

Ellen Schattschneider

Part 8: Popular Pieties

Chapter 27: With Sacred Springs, without Holy Wells: the Case of Estonia

Heiki Valk

Chapter 28: Holy Wells of Wychwood Forest, England

Martin Haigh

Chapter 29: Holy Wells and Trees in Poland as an Element of Local and National Identity

Wojciech Bedyński

Chapter 30: Visiting Holy Wells in Seventeenth-Century Sweden:

The Case of St. Ingemo’s Well in Dala

Terese Zachrisson

Chapter 31: The Buddha’s Thumb, Nāga Legends, and Blessings of Health: Sacred Water and Religious Practice in Thailand

Rachelle M. Scott

Part 9: Hydrology, Stewardship and Biocultural Heritage

Chapter 32: At the End of the Field, a Pot of Nemunai is Boiling: A Study of Lithuanian Springs

Vykintas Vaitkevičius□

Chapter 33: Hydrogeological Characteristics of Irish Holy Wells

Bruce Misstear, Laurence Gill, Cora McKenna and Ronan Foley

Chapter 34: The Holy Springs of Russia’s Orel Region: Traditions of Place and Environmental Care

Jane Costlow

Chapter 35: Sentient Springs and Sources of Life: Water, Climate Change and World-Making Practices in the Andes

Astrid B. Stensrud

Chapter 36: Cures, Flora and Fauna: Ireland’s Holy Wells as Sites of Biocultural Diversity

Celeste Ray

 

About the Editor

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 is the editor of volumes considering ethnicity and Historical Ecology.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SOC002000
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Anthropology / General