Reclaiming the wells

Let’s recap the story as it is currently told. The land suffers. Crops fail, hunger and misery are rife. The king lies wounded. Heal the king and the land will recover.

Do not ask what role the king played in turning the kingdom to wasteland. He and the land are one. It suffers because he does. Do not ask about exploitation, or the way wealth flows in opposition to water, from low to high.

Do not ask for the name of this king, or else you may reveal his specific failings. This could then cease to be a tale about asking the right question to heal the king. Ask the wrong question and you will damn him forever. He hopes you are persuaded that without him, the land is lost. It is better you do not ask.

Once upon a time there were wells and well maidens who gave water and life from their golden cups. Do not ask where the wounded king got his grail from. Do not ask why there are no more wells and no more well maidens. Do not ask why the land is so dry. Power flows uphill from the weakest to the greatest and the king demands that he alone matters in this story. Heal him, and only him.

Do not snatch the golden cup from his rotting hands. Do not run in search of the old wells. Do not lower the grail to bring up fresh draughts of water, cool from the dark embrace of earth. Do not offer water to all who need it. Do not imagine that the real world can tolerate anything as naive and generous as a well maiden.

Just keep telling the story the way the king says it has always been told. He wants to fester in his authority and he wants you to feel sorry for him. You, who have the power to take his chalice and go back to the source.

About Nimue Brown

Druid, author, dreamer, folk enthusiast, parent, wife to the most amazing artist -Tom Brown. Drinker of coffee, maker of puddings. Exploring life as a Pagan, seeking good and meaningful ways to be, struggling with mental health issues and worried about many things. View all posts by Nimue Brown

2 responses to “Reclaiming the wells

  • lornasmithers

    Funny… my recent thoughts and meditations have been turning back to the times when the source of Awen was neither a grail or cauldron but a well. And, yes, the well maidens do tend to get forgotten unless they’re causing floods. The Fisher King… I do believe may once have a significant water deity in his own right – he’s been connected both with Bran who was wounded in his foot and with Nodens/Nudd/Lludd who was missing an arm. Is the sickness of the land his fault or the thought of those who injured him? Interestingly in Peredur it’s the Witches of Caer Lowy who get the blame… Anarchists would certainly argue it would be best to get rid of the king! But that’s if he is a king, rather than a maimed water-god and part of the land, which tends to be my reading.

  • Cadno Ddraig

    Is it not our maimed conceptions of authority and power that waste the land, quite literally? Can we pretend that the land can find healing without healing first those misconceptions?

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