The sheer diversity of popular magic connected with sacred wells and springs is remarkable. Inseparable from the ancient cults of saints and spirits of place, the natural springs and wellheads of the British Isles have come to be famed loci of healing, divination, and spiritual revelation. Some, possessing long traditions of votive and sacrificial offerings, have assumed powers of spirit-guardianship, or, indeed, divinities of water. Other such wells are the repositories of eldritch lore connected with the cult of the skull and the Holy Head. Additionally, bodies of magical practice have developed around some wells, serving a variety of magical purposes, including blessings and curses, healings and the dispensation of prophetic power. In almost every case, there is a specific magical relation between the waters as a medium of spirit, and the surrounding features of the land.
It examines both the lore of holy wells as well as their associated cultic activities, whether religious or earthed in the practical magic of folk-sorcery. While examining many a well in Britain and Ireland, much of the text focuses on the lore in the West Country and Cornwall. The numinous hangs heavy around bodies of water – places of liminality and otherworldly congress, haunted by eldritch presences and rituals of magic and custom.
Wisht Waters explores the spirits, deities, magical traditions and ceremonies of holy wells, sacred springs, pools, ponds, lakes, rivers, streams, the sea and dew, alongside matters of hydromancy and the use and significance of water within the witch-cult.
(Wisht – a dialect word from Devon, Cornwall and Somerset meaning ‘weird’, ‘uncanny’ or relating to supernatural influence)
First published by Three Hands Press in (2014) as part of the Occult Monograph Series as Wisht Waters – Aqueous Magica and the Cult of Holy Wells, Troy Books is pleased to reissue the title with the addition of extensive complimentary photography.