On our next-to-last day in England in early January, my husband and I took the train from London to the town of Bath. We sought out the thermal springs of the Roman Baths, a warming of the spirit on a day of record cold temperatures and gray skies. At the Roman Baths' Sacred Spring, the Celts had worshiped the goddess Sulis and then the Romans their own goddess Minerva. Combining veneration of the two goddesses, the temple of Sulis Minerva offered its hot, healing waters to the sick and in turn received their offerings--coins, jewelry, scribbled notes, tokens of their professions, and representations of their bodily ills.
As we toured the baths from the Roman aqueducts below ground level to the street-level Victorian Pump Room, history revealed itself layer by layer. The rising and falling levels of the water had left rust-hued rims on the stones lining the baths.
As we traversed the temporal journey from Celt to Roman to today, we also experienced a lesson in geology. The hot waters in the spring had fallen thousands of years ago in the form of rain on the nearby Mendip Hills. The rain had trickled down through fissures in the limestone until intense heat and pressure had forced it back up. On its reverse, meandering journey, the rain absorbed minerals from earth and stone, giving the waters their reputed healing powers.
Healing of body and spirit has been much on my mind in recent weeks since the earthquake in Haiti. I crafted the Sacred Spring Stone shown above as part of my own healing and as an offering to the relief efforts in Haiti. It can be purchased at Haiti by Hand; all proceeds directly benefit women in an artisan community in Despinos, Haiti.