Artwork by Mukesh Singh
In Celtic Mythology, the holy well is considered the source of all life. Certainly because it is the concealed origin from which water springs, but also because it is a gateway between the worlds; seen and unseen.
Originally regarded as the domain of the Earth Mother, holy wells were places to which one would make a pilgrimage to offer gratitude for the riches of village life, petition the well priestesses and fairies for healing, and if you slept near one, you might even receive dreams foretelling the future.
It was understood that if one of these wells would fall into disrepair, the village was at risk of losing not only their literal life-source, but their connection to the Otherworld.
Each of us faces a time when when the holy well within needs tending. When we’re no longer able to bestow blessings on others because we’ve overgiven, or when something precious has been taken from us, or life’s demands are too great on our fragile system. But when the moisture goes out of our lives, and we’re no longer able to see beauty or converse with magic, we must ask ourselves how we can replenish our well-ness.
Too often, we fall into the misguided belief that the known world is our source of vitality. We wait for its cues, its permissions, its notifications. We forget to honour, petition and receive from the well within. Unconsciously we’re terrified to turn away from the world, because we think we’re putting our ‘heads in the sand,’ or that we’ll lose everything if we don’t keep the pace.
But the truth is that there is a different rhythm trying to temper us from within. And if we let it make periodic attrition to our strength and effectiveness, we come to see that it’s in service to a steadier, more harmonious way with our own bodies, and our greater earthbody.
To tend to the well is to replenish our devotion to the deep feminine aquifer from which our world is thirsting. When we recognise ourselves as a tributary of that greater upwelling, we can allow things to be decided, spoken, and created not by us, but through us.