Water and Well worship in Germany Part 3
The water of life is ladled in silence. This is the most important rule, that has to be observed, when the women of the rural community go out to ladle sacred water into the vessels, exclusively reserved for that purpose. An image of such a vessel may be found at the end of part 1 of my blog on water and well worship.
Another rule referred to the correct time for ladling the sacred water: it had to be ladled before or exactly at the moment when the first rays of the rising sun are appearing over the horizon, tingling the sky with the exquisite hues of the vernal sunrise.
Once the ladling of sacred water may have been done on Spring Equinox or Beltaine. As forced conversion could not extinct water and well worship in the region, a lot of it stayed alive in the area’s folk traditions. Now Easter morning ad become the appropriate time for the ladling of sacred water.
Folklore has also some instructions referring to the location, where the water may be ladled. Often the water is ladled from a well, but if it is ladled from a river or stream, the place has to be one where people are crossing the water or being carried over it – a bridge or ford.
When the sacred water was brought home, it has been vital to avoid crossroads, as in that case it would loose all it’s magical properties.
The sacred water, also called “Easter water” was not allowed to touch the earth, except whern being used. A special container, which was hung under the house´s ceiling was used to ladle the sacred water. it was thought, that the water would stay fresh for for a year and a day.
Some drops of that water were added to the breads’ dough to protect the bread from mould growth.
A few drops were also added to all kinds of preserved food to protect it from ” worms”, which could infest the food and make it inedible. “Worms” was in the Middle Ages a synonym for all kinds of germs and bacteria, which could harm human and animal.
The rooms were sprinkled with Easter water as a protective charm against vermin. The cattle was sprinkled with it, too. Animals and humans got some of it into their drinking water to protect them from sickness or to heal them.
Bees and their hives were sprinkled with Easter water to make the bees peaceful. Wouldn’t it be great, if the same would work to pacify cantankerous humans?! Anyway…
Easter water had a wide range of usage in the field of healing: wounds were washed with it , some was added to the washing water for the patient, and it was added to all herbal preparations for the patient’s recovery.
Some Easter water also had to be added to a baby’s first bath to protect it from diseases, kidnapping and other and “elvish pranks”.
Some wells were said to have special healing properties for skin diseases, anaemia or diseases of the eyes.
A special method to obtain sacred water had been used sometimes by healers. The water didn’t come from a river or well, but directly from the sky. That was done by spreading a cloth of clean white linen on the gras. The rules and taboos accompanying the procedure were the same as those for ladling the water from a wellpond or a running water.
Healers use to strengthen their healing power in touching the fresh dew with the palms of their hands, saying: “What I grap shall disappear, what I touch shall prosper.”
… May the clarity of the water be the condition of your mind and spirit!”