Superstition Wednesday Wishing Wells.
Good morning, and Happy Wednesday. It's January 6th, 2021, and it's also the first Wednesday of the new year. I thought this year Wednesday would be dedicated to Superstitions and their origins. If there is a specific superstition you are curious about, let me know in the comments below, and I'll do my best to answer them.
The first superstition of 2021 is Wishing Wells. I have seen plenty of people making wishes and goals, so Wishing Wells is a perfect start. When Mini-Monster was a little girl, we would go to the park and throw pennies into the wishing well. As the curious child she is, she asked me, "Why do we make wishes on pennies?" I thought about it for a moment then answered her. "No one works for free. Some cultures believe you have to pay the boatman to ferry your soul to the underworld. When you make a wish, you throw the penny and pay the wish maker for their work ." Fast forward ten years, and she asked me again while doing a school project, and this time we took an adventure on the Google train.
We started our journey going back in time, when people believed in water spirits and river deities, such as Danu, a continental Celtic river goddess often depicted as the mother goddess. Or Melusine, a female spirit of fresh water in a sacred spring or river. Melusine is described as a woman on top, with a fishtail on the bottom, much like a mermaid.
Over the years, the discoveries of bog bodies have been discovered. These bodies were almost perfectly preserved and are thought to be sacrificed. Along with the human bodies were weapons, other valuables. The people of that time believed that you couldn't just throw any random thing at the spirits, god, and goddess. To get the favor of their deities, the sacrifice needed to be expensive, preferably something with an emotional attachment to the wish maker. Once the wish granter was satisfied with the amount of gift, they would grant wishes. People would throw entire feasts into the bogs, their servents, favorite battle weapons, etcetera.
During the Roman conquest, the Romans did not ban the practice of sacrificing. They changed what sacrificial items were. They traded human sacrifice for small metal figurines, jewelry, money, and other sentimental items were given as sacrifices.
Enters the well. Several wells from the Roman period have also been found with sacrificial items inside. Gifted things like iron tools, and animal heads, and occasionally a human skull as well. These sacrifices were made when the water well was dug. Gifts to thank the spirits for the water that would come. Or at the end when the well ran dry and needed filled. Another way of thanking the water spirit for the water provided and for luck in finding a new water source.
As more archaeological finds are made, we learn that people have been offering gifts to the water deities for thousands of years in exchange for their hearts' desires.
The only question that remains is, when was the last time you made a wish and offered a sacrifice to your favorite water diety?
My favorite water goddess is Danu.
Danu, Continental Celtic river goddess. Her Irish variation was an ancestor/mother goddess. Not much is known about Danu. Her story began at the beginning of time, and as the old Irish started fading, so did Danu.