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The Three-headed Goddess and the miracle wells

von Brian James

Two ancient wells and a prehistoric bronze statue of a three-headed goddess are drawing hundreds of pilgrims in search of miracles to a tiny village on the Isle of Sheppey in Kent, UK. People from as far away as Australia and Mexico are being drawn to the village of Minster, according to an article by Peter Birkett in the Daily Express.

Until five years ago, Minster was an unremarkable village containing two Chinese take-aways, a video hire shop and a working men's club. That was until Brian Slade, a local amateur archaeologist, asked and was granted permission to open and excavate one of the two wells situated at Minster Abbey, a nunnery founded in 640 AD by the Saxon saint Sexburga, the widowed Queen of Kent.

The two wells date back about 3,500 years. The one beside the surviving abbey gatehouse is 40 feet deep, while the second lies in the old Abbess's garden. During the excavation in 1991, many artifacts were uncovered, including Roman tiles and pieces of Bronze Age pottery. Then came the discovery of the three-headed goddess - and with it the start of the 'miracles'.

The statue was almost the last thing unearthed by one of the team of excavators, Ian White, who found it beneath centuries of silt at the bottom of the deep well. It was nine months later that he decided it must contain a mysterious, miraculous power - for that was the time that his wife gave birth to a healthy baby girl. For years, he and his wife Sharon had tried to start a family, only to have the attempts end in miscarriage.

They had even visited a number of medical specialists, without success. The Whites firmly believe that the Triple Goddess, the name they gave to the prehistoric fertility icon, was responsible for the birth of their new-born baby.

When Dr Ian Godsland, a medical research scientist at Imperial College, heard about the Whites' baby, he decided to send £50 towards the excavation of the well. His wife had also endured four miscarriages and was pregnant yet again. Six months later she gave birth to a healthy son.

Ian White told the Daily Express: "Of course I can't say it was the goddess for certain. No one can. But we both like to believe it."

Dr Godsland, who lives near Leighton Buzzard, said: "I really believe that the goddess may have played a part. Don't ask me how it happened or for any explanations. I just believe now that the world can work in a different way to the one we scientists think we understand."

The Triple Goddess is being kept in the Minster home of Brian Slade. He says he has heard of three similar accounts of women successfully having babies despite a history of miscarriage. "There is little doubt of a life force here," he told the newspaper. "It is ancient, pre-Christian, but I believe it is a force for good."

Meanwhile the gatehouse well has been resealed, although the Abbess's well, which is fed by the same source of water, remains open. The garden in which it lies is owned by Mr Leon Stanford.

He reports that hundreds of people have come to his house asking to drink the water, some hoping to start having families, others to cure serious illnesses, including cancer and blindness. A number of visitors have filled 25-litre water containers to take back to Germany.

Visitors are not charged for either the water or for touching the statue. The only restriction is that people are advised not to throw offerings into the well. Mr Stanford has the water regularly tested for its purity as he and his family drink it in the house.

He is convinced of its healing powers, for when he came to the village two years ago he was partly crippled by a painful and long-term condition in the heel of his foot. He could only move about with the aid of a walking stick. Just several months of drinking the water and the condition healed.

Tests last year by Swale Borough Council found the water to be completely pure, with no traces of sewage or chlorine. It was also found to contain a number of valuable trace elements such as potassium and magnesium.

The Abbess's well is now listed as a Grade One historical site by English Heritage and the owners, Swale District Council, are thinking of opening it to the general public. Meanwhile the mysterious healing powers of the wells and the Triple Goddess continue to draw the lame, the sick and the childless, all of them hoping for the miracles to continue.

Quelle: Share International, Januar/Februar 1997

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