Explaining the inexplicable. The human endeavor.
Sacred well. Westport, County Mayo, Ireland. Healing Well
Magic, and sacred, areas remain from old traditions. There are places where later religions, like the early Irish Christians, or the later Roman Christians taking over the earlier religious places, some being Celtic. Although the new put the imprimatur of a new faith and name on an old sacred place, or new miracles or healings were said to occur there, the old remains are there. See Celtic Mysteries, The Ancient Religion, by John Sharkey 1975 (US). Find there traces of even older spiritual and cultural sources, India for example, linked linquistically and in some religious ways with old Celts, p. 6.
Water as a first principle. The triple goddess reappearing as a trinity, blue as a favored color of the earth mother, adopted by the Marianists, fear of the devouring mother, p. 8 -- does that underlie the prohibition against female priests in a major western religion?
Find the sacred places, and stop. There are niches, places for petitions, steps into blessed waters. Where supplications are granted, or may be. In Mayo is the Well of St. Brigid, with steps descending like this one. Brigid was the mother goddess for the Celts, who could heal, and control fire and water. She was Christianized as St. Brigid, but her patronage as patron saint of hearth, home and sacred wells remains. See Celtic Mysteries, above, at figure 48. See also http://www.druidry.org/obod/deities/brigid.html
Look closely at these sacred wells, from Ireland. One, the pool with the descending steps, has a sign nearby that indicates it had been an ancient healing well, that later Christians incorporated into their church beliefs. It is near Westport.
And; and the other, a "rag-tree." A place for hanging "clooties", Sharkey at 83.
A clootie is a piece of clothing, or a strip, even a bit of hair, related to a person in need of healing or the deliverance from a burden, see http://www.writingthevision.com/thinplaces/celticspiritualityglossary.htm. For Scots, it has become a dumpling, like a fruity pudding in a little package, see http://www.clooties.co.uk/products.html
Sacred well. Rag tree at healing well, County Mayo, Ireland.
We came across several, on back roads, little springs and wells in the middle of other ruins, or on their own with small pieces of cloth fluttering on the branches around. Those represent, we were told, the prayers, pleas of the people. A prayer tree, a vestige of the old, the old living, but not to the later gods that took over. Look closely for the bits of cloth, the clooties.
The twiggy one we found was also on a back road. It looked like a hawthorne, but we were there in March, too early for spring, before buds were out.
Hard to see here, but look closely. See Ireland's sacred wells at llewellynjournal.com/article/713. About midway down the site, read about leaving little votive offerings, a bit of cloth perhaps. Invoke whatever spirit or healing is needed, tie the bit on, say your words and tiptoe away. Does the disease sigh away with the faded cloth? See the place of wells in the Celtic world at http://geocities.com/Athens/Troy/7080/wellstext.html.
Celtic Ireland has much to say for it. Saint Brigid - who invented whistling and keening, says http://realmagick.com/articles/07/1807.html; and whose fires were kept burning until the institutional church extinguished them, with so much else, in the 13th century.
This topic of healing wells is the linchpin of the 2006 novel by author Maeve Binchy, "Whitethorn Woods," see http://www.fantasticfiction.co.uk/b/maeve-binchy/whitethorn-woods.htm. Is the bush here a whitethorn? Acacia albida. Hawthorns are said to have healing qualities. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Common_hawthorn. Save the trees.
Hawthorne: See Ancient Celtic Tree-Wisdom at http://divine-ogham.com/pages/readings/trees Fairies live under them. See http://doon.mayo-ireland.ie/hawthorn.html. Believe and it will be so.