The Well

The image of the well is an archetype based on the primal need for water, which is essential for life.  We are dependent on water, on fluids in our internal and external environments, from the time we are embryos.  The archetype of the well springs from this need and includes other needs: the need for inner wisdom, coming from our deep selves, the need for respite and refreshment, the need for renewal by cleansing, sovereignty over our own resources, the inner feminine which is often seen as hidden, mysterious, and life-giving.

Wells, and all bodies of water (including those within us), are affected by the tides and  cannot exist without connection to the earth-wide system of oceans, lakes, rivers, ponds, and aquifers.  Like all other bodies of water, are replenished when other bodies of water are replenished.  Wells need rain and responsible stewardship.  They run dry.  So do we.  Anyone looking for a dependable well looks for the deepest one they can find.

The sun burned hot, it burned my eyes 

Burned so hot I thought I’d died 

Thought I’d died and gone to hell 

Lookin’ for the water from a deeper well 

I went to the river but the river was dry 

I fell to my knees an I looked to the sky 

I looked to the sky and the spring rain fell 

I saw the water from a deeper well 

Well…lookin for the water from a deeper well 

Well…lookin for the water from a deeper well 

I was ready for love I was ready for the money 

Ready for the blood and ready for the honey 

Ready for the winnin’, ready for the bell 

Lookin’ for the water from a deeper well 

I found some love and I found some money 

Found that blood would drip from the honey 

Found I had a thirst that I could not quell 

Lookin’ for the water from a deeper well 

Well…lookin for the water from a deeper well

Well…lookin for the water from a deeper well 

“Deeper Well” lyrics (Dave Ohey/Daniel Lanois/Emmylou Harris)

Celtic mythology includes many tales of holy wells guarded by maidens, who are also often seen as the spirits of the wells.  As long as the maidens/spirits are treated with respect and honor, the wells remain pure and enduring sources of sustenance and renewal.  They also marked boundaries, identity, and sovereignty.  In ancient British lore, the Chalice Well at what is now known as Glastonbury (formerly known, many believe, as Avalon) was considered holy.  It still is, although the religious affiliation has changed.  It remains a place of pilgrimage.

What happens when a well is polluted, deliberately or not, or runs dry?  The water becomes unusable or unavailable.  Either way, the precious source of life within is gone.  The well must be cleansed and replenished.

In Celtic tales, when the maidens who guarded the wells were attacked, raped, and dispossessed, the wells were desecrated and no longer could serve their people.  Instead, they served the attackers, who invaded the country and usurped the people’s sovereignty.  Around the world, when invaders sought to take over a nation, they took over or polluted the wells and often salted the fields or otherwise ruined the crops.  Conquerors always steal resources and seek to destroy sovereignty in the name of their own power.  Despite the fact that many conquerors throughout history rely on religious justification, their actions desecrate the spiritual meaning of the resources and lives they destroy.  This is a present reality, and extends all the way from the belief that water and other natural resources are not human rights, to the demand for slave labor to create and maintain financial profit.

We do not gain wholeness and wellness by conquest.  We gain these by collaboration, which requires respect, acknowledgement, and humility, not to mention hard work—even, and perhaps especially, if we seek to collaborate with our own inner resources, with the parts of ourselves we tend to ignore, forget, or hide.  We have to trust the process even if we cannot yet trust ourselves or others.  We have to believe that despite everything we’ve been through, the process of collaboration will bring us more wholeness and wellness than we currently have.  We have to trust that we do have a deeper well inside of inspiration, nurturance, and wisdom, and that we do know how to find it and how, if necessary, to clear and reclaim it.  If we can collaborate with the hidden parts of ourselves, with the strength and power of our own deeper well, we can better collaborate with one another and with the natural world.  Inner and outer realities tend to mirror and guide each other.

And that’s where therapy comes in.  Psychotherapy offers no less than a guide and companion to transformation.  Psychotherapy is one of many resources that do this, and offers an amazing complement to other forms of self-discovery and self-improvement.  It is also a deeper well offering the wisdom that we don’t have to do all the work alone, that some of the work needs to be done in collaboration and community, even if with just one other person.

If this speaks to you, if you are drawn to this form of collaboration, and if you have questions about how I can assist you in your own transformation to greater wellness and wholeness, call me at 541-262-0080 or email me at  


Speak Your Mind


311 SW 2nd Street
Corvallis, OR 97333
(541) 262-0080

Got Questions?
Send a Message!

By submitting this form via this web portal, you acknowledge and accept the risks of communicating your health information via this unencrypted email and electronic messaging and wish to continue despite those risks. By clicking "Yes, I want to submit this form" you agree to hold Brighter Vision harmless for unauthorized use, disclosure, or access of your protected health information sent via this electronic means.