Describing sacred waters and their associated traditions in over thirty countries and
across multiple time periods, this book identifies patterns in panhuman hydrolatry.
Supplying life’s most basic daily need, freshwater sources were likely the earliest
sacred sites, and the first protected and contested resource. Guarded by taboos, rites
and supermundane forces, freshwater sources have also been considered thresholds
to otherworlds. Often associated with also venerated stones, trees and healing flora,
sacred water sources are sites of biocultural diversity. Addressing themes that will
shape future water research, this volume examines cultural perceptions of water’s
sacrality that can be employed to foster resilient human-environmental
relationships in the growing water crises of the twenty-first century. The work combines
perspectives from anthropology, archaeology, classics, folklore, geography, geology,
history, literature and religious studies.