Sunday, July 26, 2015

"If wishes were horses,

beggars would ride."
 ~James Kelly

This proverb actually dates to Kelly's Scottish Proverbs, Collected and Arranged in 1721.  I remember hearing it all the time when I was young if I would wish for anything!  I think wishes are many of you have wished upon a star?  Like Pinocchio...When you wish upon a star / Makes no difference who you are / Anything your heart desires / Will come to you...

So, wishing is today's theme and the wishing well planters that were popular in the late 1940s and 1950s.  Here is a different McCoy is the horse for the beggar!
Then, this is the well-known wishing well planter from McCoy...

I do like the theme planters...this is not a well...but a mill...still there is a color palette that makes them compatible.
But, the wishing well actually has a historic origin.  Before indoor plumbing, water filters, and "Brita", underground streams provided clear fresh water.

The Celts and Germanic people thought these streams and springs had healing powers, but they could be guarded by unfriendly spirits.  If a water source was found, the landowner or community would erect a wood or stone structure around the source with a roof to keep debris out of the water.  Some had a statue or carving nearby for protection from bad spirits.  I imagine the well was a gathering place like the office water cooler.

The belief that a wish spoken over the water asking for a blessing from the spirits would come true.

Silver or copper coins were tossed to the spirits for good luck or help....see even the spirits wanted cash!  Actually the coins helped.  Copper and silver had chemicals that neutralized harmful bacteria, including those that caused the sulfur "rotten-egg" smell.

A well in Northumberland, England, dedicated to Covetina, the Celic goddess of wells and springs, had 16,000 coins of different eras of the Roman Empire.  The coins were comparable to nickels and dimes not bigger denominations.

Another well in Oxford, England, had pieces of clothing not coins.  The Well of Pen Rhys was supposed to have healing powers so people tossed buttons, pins, and clothing that might carry disease into the well.
The most popular place for tossing money and wishing is probably the Trevi Fountain in Rome which was built as the ending point of an aquaduct called Virgo, the goddess who would guide soldiers to water when they were thirsty and tired.  Tossing a coin in or taking a drink from the fountain was supposed to guarantee good health.  Now, if you toss a coin over your shoulder into the fountain means one day you will return to Rome.
                     "Three coins in the fountain
                      Through the ripples how they shine
                         Just one wish will be granted
                         Just one heart will wear a valentine
                        Make it mine!
                           Make it mine!
                                Make it mine!"

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