Overview

All of life is dependent upon water for its very survival. Since the birth of human civilization, people have moved to settle close to water. People move when there is too little of it; people move when there is too much of it. People move on and across it. People pray for it. People write and sing and dance and dream about it. People fight over it. And everybody, everywhere and every day, needs it: for drinking, for cooking, for washing, for growing food, for energy, for ...
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Sacred Water

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Overview

All of life is dependent upon water for its very survival. Since the birth of human civilization, people have moved to settle close to water. People move when there is too little of it; people move when there is too much of it. People move on and across it. People pray for it. People write and sing and dance and dream about it. People fight over it. And everybody, everywhere and every day, needs it: for drinking, for cooking, for washing, for growing food, for energy, for transportation, for rituals, for fun.

Because it is the source of all life, water underlies the beliefs and practices of most of the world's religions, including Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Buddhism and Hinduism, and appears in the mythologies of many cultures, among them the ancient Egyptians, Greek, and Celts. It is revered as holy by numerous indigenous peoples. The Jordan, the Ganges, and the Nile, Lake Manasarovar in Tibet and Peru's Titicaca, and the Chalice Well of Glastonbury, England are but a few of the innumerable sacred lakes, rivers, waterfalls, springs, and wells around the world.

Essential for the growth of civilizations and cultures, water is the primordial element that underlies many creation myths. In ancient Egypt, the sun god Atun (Re) was thought to repose in the sacred ocean (Nun), while the Babylonians believed that the gods arose from the fusion of salt water and fresh water. In Genesis, the spirit of God is described as stirring above the waters. Four rivers flow forth from the Garden of Eden.

Drawing from a variety of religious teachings, anthropological evidence, and myths and legends of the world's cultures, Sacred Water is the first book to show the vital role water plays in all aspects of our spiritual lives, as an element of sustenance, cleansing, initiation, healing, gaining wisdom, and enchantment. Passionate and timely, Sacred Water is an invitation to reclaim our inner connection to the sacredness of water, and to become inspired to appreciate, honor and protect the waters of the world.

About the Author:
Nathaniel Altman is the author of over twenty books on natural health, ecology and spirituality, including Sacred Trees, The Little Giant Encyclopedia of Meditations and Blessings and Healing Springs: The Ultimate Guide to Taking the Waters. He lives and works in Brooklyn, New York.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Altman (Sacred Trees; Healing Springs) has created another engaging and useful volume that integrates the natural world with the human need for the sacred, "a thing or a place... somehow able to energize within us those feelings and concepts we associate with the spiritual dimensions of life." Much more than a comparative religion study, this book begins at the beginning, with the simple science of water inside and outside our bodies. Altman addresses the usual suspects (rivers, wells, oceans, etc.), but also includes the unexpected, such as bridges, agriculture, hammams (Muslim sweat baths) and even sewage treatment. More than 60 illustrations visually convey the global scope of the work, and varied chapters (e.g., "Sacred Space," "Cleansing," "Healing," "Initiation," "Wisdom," and "Enchantment") literally cover the rainbow and much more. In addition to the so-called major religions, Altman includes Sikh, Jain, Shinto, ancient Greek and Native American views on water. With so much material to cover, the sense is that Altman opted for breadth over depth, tantalizing readers with the possibilities of this essential element for life. Easy to read, this is a true companion volume to Sacred Trees, as both point toward ways to appreciate our common essentials. Readers interested in ecology, spirituality or a combination of the two will definitely want to purchase this cornerstone work. (Jan.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781616434892
  • Publication date: 1/2/2002
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • File size: 8 MB

Table of Contents

Introduction 1
1. Water: Essential for Life 7
2. Sustenance 39
3. Civilization 61
4. Sacred Space 89
5. Cleansing 117
6. Healing 145
7. Initiation 169
8. Wisdom 185
9. Enchantment 205
10. Protecting the Waters 231
Resources 249
Recommended Reading 249
Organizations 250
Notes 255
Bibliography 263
Index 275
Acknowledgments 289
Picture Credits 291
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