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Cures and Curses: Ritual and Cult at Holy Wells Paperback – 1 Sep 2006

5.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Product details

  • Paperback: 199 pages
  • Publisher: Heart of Albion Press (1 Sept. 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1872883958
  • ISBN-13: 978-1872883953
  • Product Dimensions: 17.4 x 1.4 x 24.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 714,493 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

'A wealth of material has been gathered here, and it has been well digested before being compiled into this book.'
-- The Druid Network

'Charming and comprehensive dip into well folklore' Richard Alexander -- Fortean Times

'Highly recommended.' Michael Howard -- The Cauldron

... an invaluable book.' Carl Merry -- Facts and Fiction


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Format: Paperback
This is an excellent book, consisting of seventy-five short essays (in alphabetical order) discussing different aspects of Holy Wells, from Ampullae to Witches, looking at topics such as Dragons, Healing, and Rituals along the way. It is satisfyingly well researched and easy to use - many of the essays are cross-referenced, full details are provided of sources and there is a good index. It is well illustrated, too, with photos and drawings on most pages.

The essays explore both historical and current day responses to wells, considering how they have changed. Clouties, or rags, are, for example, are now more frequently left at wells as compared to twenty years ago. Nowadays, people are less likely to leave pieces of fabric ripped from their clothing, but do still tend to leave clothes or coins or (increasingly, it seems) other items. Our purpose in leaving these items has shifted as well- the author suggesting that whereas in the past it arose from a desire to seek a cure for an ailment, it has changed into the making of an offering to the spirit of the place. We may no longer hope that holy wells will cure our problems, but do wish to respond to the atmosphere and energy of the wells with honour and respect.

The author does not just cite beliefs about wells uncritically, being unafraid to say when there is no evidence for stories about a particular well. She argues, for example, that there is no real evidence that Holy Wells predated the Romans coming to Britain.

A wealth of material has been gathered here, and it has been well digested before being compiled into this book. It is a very useful reference book for those of us who are interested in the water element in general and in wells in particular. I found it both inspirational and interesting.
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