chapter  3
19 Pages

Focus 1: spring, lake, river

BySpring and well

Spring and well 39 What a spring is 39 Prevalence 41 Purity and health 44 What happens at springs and wells 45 Saints, the conversion of the aniconic, and heads 49 Other water 50 Lake 50 River 5 1 Water worship 55

Having distinguished a focus of adoration from an area which acts as a sacred environment, we can now look in detail at the nature and uses of springs, stones and trees. These, above all, are the heart of pre-urban paganism and survive with surprising tenacity even when the temple culture has provided the technological replacement. In this chapter we look at those instances of focus where natural water, a force powerfully felt, 1 is taken into the language and culture of religion. Lakes and rivers will be of importance, but it is springs that are most remarkable.