Thursday, May 23, 2013

Thursday's Children - The Chalice Well

I've been fascinated with Arthurian lore since I was a kid - probably because in addition to Winnie the Pooh and fairy tales, my mom would also tell us stories about King Arthur.

When I was in college, I stumbled across The Chalice Well. Well, not literally. But in some research I was doing for a paper for a Medieval Lit class. I was instantly fascinated - from the wood and wrought iron well cover to the history - actual and literary. 

As near as archeologists can figure, it's been in constant use for over 2000 years. The spring produces 25,000 gallons of water a day and it's believed to possess healing qualities. The well has long been associated with goddess worship and there are also connections to Christianity. Supposedly the well is the final resting place of the Holy Grail. And in Arthurian tradition, Excalibur (and according to some) Arthur and Guinevere are buried nearby.
The well is also considered a gateway to the spirit world as symbolized by the overlapping circles of the Vesica Piscis on the cover.  It represents the connection of the spiritual and the physical, the magic and the mundane and to me it symbolizes the interconnectedness of everything.

I can't write in the vacuum of only my own head. I need the interconnectedness of life and imagination, and this symbol always reminds me that everything affects everything else.

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  1. Ooo, that is a cool thing! I spent a good deal of time engrossed in Arthur retellings as a teen. The ones I liked best were the grittier, more realistic ones based on early British rulers who "might" have provided the grist for the Arthur legend-mill. So in that sense, where legend-circle and reality-circle connect.

  2. I've added this well to my list of places to visit! I'd love to see it in real life...and Somerset isn't that far from where I live. Hope you're having a great writing week!

  3. Oo how pretty! I need to find that well now too. Any reasons to return back to the UK are good enough for me, and this is a good reason! Coming? ;) I also studied Arthurian Lit when I was doing my semester abroad. It was really something to be reading about locations and then actually going to see them. :)

  4. Wow. Very mystical. I can see why this well intrigues you.

  5. I love Arthurian legend too, and have never heard of this! Thanks for enlightening me to something so cool... will be putting it on my "to-google" list (yes, I have one). :)

  6. I didn't know you studied Medieval Lit. My PhD was on Morgan la Fey! K x

  7. Yay for the Pendragons. :D I loved the Arthurian legends too--especially Mary Stewart's chronicles. Fun facts re: the chalice well. Enjoyed your post.

  8. This is so close to where I live and yet I've never been - really should do something about that! Really interesting post.

  9. Very cool! I'm a huge fan of Arthurian legends AND Grail lore. This would be an awesome element to include in a future novel! (Don't tell Dan Brown...)

  10. "I can't write in the vacuum of only my own head. I need the interconnectedness of life and imagination..."

    Love this. Word to the nth power! That's the same reason I love road trips and travel so much. Brava!