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					In Christian symbolism the well falls within the group of ideas
associated
with the concept of life as a pilgrimage, and signifies salvation (4).
The well
of refreshing and purifying water is symbolic of sublime aspirations, or
of the
‘silver cord’ which attaches man to the function of the Centre. Demeter
and other
deities were shown standing beside a well (15). But this symbol is found
not only
in the higher cultures of Antiquity but also among the primitives.
Schneider has
noted that, in the medicinal rites of peoples at the animistic level, the
centre of the
scene is taken up by a lake or well in whose water the sick wash their
hands,
breast and head. At the water’s edge, reeds grow and shells are to be
found, and
both are signs of the waters of salvation (51). In particular, the act of
drawing
water from a well is—like fishing—symbolic of drawing out and upwards the
numinous contents of the deeps (31). To look into the waters of a lake or
well is
tantamount to the mystic attitude of contemplation. Finally, the well is
also a
symbol of the soul, and an attribute of things feminine

				
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