The Sacred Well
Last year (2020) I was walking along a remote country lane, the location of which shall remain anonymous, and eventually reached a point where the lane was met by a second lane to the right. I decided to pause for a few moments at this T-junction and was suddenly joined by two dogs, neither of which paid the slightest attention to me at all. Suddenly, one of the dogs stared ahead down the narrow lane and began to bark quite loudly. At this point, the second dog began barking too, almost in unison with its canine partner, at what seemed nothing at all. I looked along the lane, which was perfectly straight for quite a way ahead, to discover what had alerted the dogs, but could see nothing at all. I was a little puzzled by this. But after a moment or two, and with a shrug of the shoulders, I decided to continue on my way along the second lane.
When I arrived home, I looked at my Ordnance Survey map of the area and discovered that very close to where I had encountered the dogs, is an old and abandoned natural well. I had never before heard of this well and, despite having an interest in such features, had no idea that it was there at all. A search on the Internet provided little information, except to say that the well was once considered a holy well and according to the folklore of the locality, was long ago associated with fertility; women who drank of its waters were said to conceive. On reflection, I now wonder if the dogs saw something of a paranormal nature – something that was beyond the spectrum of human sight. I wonder, too, if the now overgrown and sadly neglected well has an invisible guardian, the presence of which the dogs sensed at a psychic level.
Taken as an isolated event, of course, dogs barking at nothing would mean very little. However, if it had not been for their odd and sudden behaviour, I would have had no reason to later check the map and discover the existence of the well. One wonders if, for some unknown reason, my attention had deliberately been drawn to the well. If so, was the guardian of the well unhappy about the well’s long neglect and therefore highlighting the fact? Having since returned to the site with an expert map-reader equipped with GPS, and who had previously succeeded in locating the well, we both stumbled around for over 45 minutes searching for it. On that particular occasion, I began to suspect fairy glamour and wondered if the well was deliberately defying the curiosity of humans.
Might it be that the well is content with its current “neglect” and no longer welcomes the intrusion of humans disturbing its solitude – particularly if they intend to light candles, which drip wax everywhere, bang on shamanic drums and perpetually disturb the serenity of the site? All that would impact negatively on the established Spirit of Place. Humans, unfortunately, can often be insensitive and driven by self-interest. Perhaps this particular well simply wants to be left alone - in which case we humans are duty-bound to respect the well's wishes. Now, there’s a thought …