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> Miraculous Fountains In Brittany, An Interesting Article
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Posted: 04-Jun-2004, 08:04 AM
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Miraculous fountains are abundant in Brittany

They are venerated by the people and enhanced more often than not by remarkable architecture. In order to wipe out the pagan origins of the worship of springs, the christian clergy imposed very catholic patrons. A niche frequently shelterd the statue of the patron saint. Thus glorious martyrs replaced the gods of the former celtic world.

Acne, colic and company
Numerous were the springs supposed to heal all ills. But the Bretons always prefered to consult specialists rather than generalists. The young lame, suffering from the traditional ailment of Brittany, the hereditary dislocation of the hip, had their magic waters. They would go to Ploërmel, Gourin, Dirinon, and Locarn. They would were plunged into these waters placed under the protection of Félicissime, Philibert, Divy or Notre-Dame of Bleuen.

In the Côtes d'Armor, there were several fountains for treating abcesses, acne or colic.

Deafness was treated, notably, in Pontivy (Saint-Mériadec's fountain), blindness in Chatelaudren (Notre-Dame-de-la-Clarté) and in Reguigny (Saint-Clair).
In addition, therapeutic virtues were given to several fountains for healing headaches, rhumatisms, sterility, coughs, stomach aches, and even madness (Locminé).

Distinctive rites
To sprinkle oneself with water, to drink it or to be plunged into it was not sufficient. To be healed a distinctive rite had to submitted to. In Baud, for colic, the sick (especially the women) had to rub the stomach with pebbles and then drink the the water of the fountain. In Saint-Guyomard, after quenching their thirst, would rub themselves against one of the great stones in a recess of the chapel and the rhumatisms would simply vanish. To treat children, it was recommended to soak one of their shirts in the fountain, to slowly let it dry and then to make him wear it.
It was tradition to throw pins into the water to speed up the recovery. In Edern, a spring shoots up which makes one fertile, so one is told. Women drown three pins in it, before sprinkling the stomach and the breasts with this miraculous water.
The fountains also had divinatory functions and the pins were considered as efficient mediums : if they floated, the wishes were granted.

In 658, the clergy reunited in council at Nantes. They condemned the worship of fountains. Thirteen centuries later fountains still fascinate people.

Slàn agus beannachd,
Allen R. Alderman

'S i Alba tìr mo chridhe. 'S i Gàidhlig cànan m' anama.
Scotland is the land of my heart. Gaelic is the language of my soul.
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