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The Religion of the Ancient Celts

Page: 86

ex voto, the last occurring even in late survivals as at S. Thenew's Well, Glasgow, where even in the eighteenth century tin cut to represent the diseased member was placed on the tree, or at S. Winifred's Well in Wales, where crutches were left.

Certain waters had the power of ejecting the demon of madness. Besides drinking, the patient was thrown into the waters, the shock being intended to drive the demon away, as elsewhere demons are exorcised by flagellation or beating. The divinity of the waters aided the process, and an offering was usually made to him. In other cases the sacred waters were supposed to ward off disease from the district or from those {196} who drank of them. Or, again, they had the power of conferring fertility. Women made pilgrimages to wells, drank or bathed in the waters, implored the spirit or saint to grant them offspring, and made a due offering.


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