Cures and Curses : Ritual and Cult at Holy Wells Paperback
by Janet Bord
- Format: Paperback
- Pages: 199 pages, 100 b&w photographs, 35 line drawings
- Publisher: Heart of Albion Press
- Publication Date: 01/09/2006
- Category: Worship, rites & ceremonies
- ISBN: 9781872883953
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Review by Dead_Dreamer
If you ever wanted to know the folklore and history behind holy wells, CURES AND CURSES is the place to start. The book details legends and beliefs associated with holy wells and the various practices performed at these sites. The book explains how holy wells (whether approached from a religious or mystical context) were and are used for various purposes such has healing, blessing, and cursing; each site dependant upon it's own particular legend. Bord goes into great detail explaining the lore of dozens of holy wells throughout the British Isles. She also includes numerous drawings and photos of actual sites. Further, she explains in detail the physical make up of many wells, from the simple bubbling natural spring to grand Gothic structures built over ancient wells. The book is laid out alphabetically by subject: sites, folklore, gods/goddesses or saints associated with them, beliefs, relics/offerings found in wells, etc. This makes it easy to find certain topics when investigating the history behind a particular feature of holy wells. The only problem with the alphabetical system is that some of the entries reference each other and occasionally duplicate information. One thing I really appreciated about Bord's approach is she's not afraid to say "who knows?" when the history of a site is unknown. Other authors may be tempted to speculate, or at worse, try to present a story or theory as fact. Bord sticks to what is known. She presents plenty of wonderfully colorful legends, but is quick to point out they're just that: legends.Overall this is a great book on the subject.