Water Exercises For Sciatica
Ritual washing in water or immersion in a pool has been part of various religious systems since the dawn of time. The priests of ancient Egypt washed themselves in water twice each day and twice each night. In Siberia, ritual washing of the body accompanied by certain chants and prayers was a part of shamanic practice. In Hinduism, ghats are traditional sites for public ritual bathing, an act by which one achieves both physical and spiritual purification [see Post 19]. In a strict Jewish household, hands must be washed before saying prayers and before any meal, including bread. In Islam, mosques provide water for the faithful to wash before each of the five daily prayers. In the Christian tradition, baptism is described by Saint Paul as “a ritual death and rebirth which simulates the death and resurrection of Christ.” [See Post 11.]
In numerous stories, Earth itself is reborn after catastrophic floods. In Greek legend, Zeus sends a flood in which all perish except Deucalion and his wife, who manage to survive by floating in a chest for nine days and nights. Landing on Mount Parnassus, they wisely make a prompt sacrifice to Zeus. The god instructs the obedient couple to throw handfuls of stones over their heads. These turn into a new, better race of men and women, who repopulate the planet.
In Welsh myth, the lake of Llion overflows and drowns the British Isles. One couple escapes in a mastless boat filled with animals like Noah’s Ark and lands on dry land at last in Prydain, or modern Wales.
In Persian tales, the world is filled with wicked creatures ruled by the demon Ahriman. An angel, Tistar, comes to Earth three times as a man, a horse, and a bull. Each time he brings ten days and nights of heavy rain, flooding the globe. After several pitched battles with Ahriman, Tistar prevails and the demons are driven from the world; but their poison, flushed from the land, causes the oceans to turn to salt.
In Norse myth, the blood of the ice giant Ymir, who’s slain by Odin, causes a massive flood, wiping out most of the ice-giant race. Ymir’s body becomes the earth, and his salty blood forms the oceans upon it, creating the world that humankind has inhabited ever since.
India, Africa, Russia, and Tibet all have ancient tales of monumental floods, after which the blessed (or just plain lucky) members of the human race start anew.
REGENERATION THOUGH WATER
The idea of regeneration through water is echoed in tales around the world about fountains and springs with miraculous powers. The native peoples of Puerto Rico, Cuba, and Hispaniola all told tales of a magical Fountain of Youth located somewhere in the lands to the north. So pervasive were
these stories that in the 16th century, the Spanish conquistador Ponce de Lean actually set out to find it once and for all, equipping three ships at his own expense. He found Florida instead.
One Native American story recounts how the Fountain of Youth is created by two hawks in the netherworld between Heaven and Earth. But this fountain brings grief, as those who drink of it outlive their children and friends, and eventually it’s destroyed.
In Japanese legends, the white and yellow leaves of the wild chrysanthemum confer blessings from Kiku- Jido, the chrysanthemum boy who dwells by the Fountain of Youth. These leaves are ceremonially dipped in sake to assure good health and long life.
“A mermaid” by John William Waterhouse
In the Alexander romances, Alexander sets off to find the fabled Fountain of Life in the Land of Darkness beyond the setting sun. The prophet Khizr is his guide, but the two take separate forks in the road and it’s Khizr, not his master, who finds the fountain, drinks the water, and obtains knowledge of god. Khizr is still venerated in modern India in both Hindu and Muslim traditions. In Muslim practice, he’s honored by lighting lamps and setting them on little boats afloat on rivers and ponds.
To the Celtic people of the British Isles, certain waters were deemed to have healing properties and thus were under divine protection. The famous hot spring at Bath (Aquae Sulis) was dedicated to the goddess Sulis, who was linked from Roman times with one of the Romans’ own goddesses to become Sulis Minerva. The Romans built a temple on the site, and a magnificent public bathhouse that still stands today [see Post 18].
Chalice Well in Glastonbury is reputed to be among the oldest of the continually used holy wells in Europe; archaeological evidence suggests it has been a sacred site for at least 2,000 years [see Post 17].
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