Observing Sulis Minerva's Day

by Wishbringer Molly Blue Dawn

This year, The Cauldron of the Celts, a multi-faith devotional group within CAYA Coven, is observing a calendar of holy days in honour of our deities.  On March 19, I observed the holy day of my goddess, Sulis Minerva at my altar.  A few days later, on March 22, which is World Water Day, I made offerings and brought petitions to Sulis Minerva at Santa Teresa Spring in San Jose.

Sulis Minerva is the Romano-Celtic goddess who is the patroness of the healing springs at Bath in England. It’s difficult to know anything very concrete about how the Celts or the Romans saw her.  Some inferences can be made from archaeological evidence, but it’s subject to a lot of interpretation.  There are several conjectural etymologies for the name Sulis, all of which seem significant to me, so I incorporate all of them into my understanding of her.  The Water which emerges from under the Earth, Heated by Fire, steaming into the Air, unites all the elements.  The passage from the Underworld to the Upper World, with warmth associated with the Sun in the Sky, unites all the realms.  People prayed to her for healing, but also to bring curses down on their enemies.  From studying her, I am learning that being able to assign something to one category is not always possible or desirable, that partaking of every category at once is a form of balance which ultimately brings healing.  

Since the Roman feast day dedicated to Minerva was held on March 19, I chose to observe this day in honour of Sulis Minerva.  However, instead of attempting to reconstruct Roman traditions associated with the non-Celtic forms of Minerva, my practice consists of making offerings and bringing petitions to Sulis as the goddess of healing waters.

I was accompanied on my journey by Verity Blue Midnight, Priestess of Courageous Becoming - thanks to her for all of these beautiful photos from that day!  CAYA’s new Wildflower Initiate, Akasha, was also able to join us later in the day, along with her young daughter.  Santa Teresa Spring is a beautiful place, situated within Santa Teresa County Park.  The spring flows down into a pond, where many, many turtles enjoy basking in the sun!  It was a joy to spend time there with my merry band of adventurous votaries! The spring can be seen from an observation deck, so that it is easy to gaze rapturously at the water, but not so easy to walk through the copious poison oak on the way to having a possible mishap with the pond.  

Earth and Sky reflected in the Water

Earth and Sky reflected in the Water

I brought waters from around the world, some of which I have collected myself, some which were given to me by more widely-traveled friends.  I carried the waters and my offering cup in a bag which Yeshe Rabbit brought me from Bath, along with other gifts - a reproduction of a Roman coin, a tile with an image of Sulis Minerva, and a bottle of Aquae Sulis, the sacred water of the healing spring at Bath.

Each Water has its own story...

Each Water has its own story...

In the offering cup, I placed the coin and then poured the waters, telling the story of each one’s origin, while affirming that All Water Is One Water. I then added some colloidal silver, so that no organisms living in any of the waters could infect the pond.  Then I poured in the offering of mingled waters, and the coin decided to offer itself as well!

Pouring Water into Water

Pouring Water into Water

Verity and I prayed for the petitions which Coveners had submitted to Cauldron of the Celts, and for our own intentions of healing for ourselves and others, and for rain!  As All Water Is One Water, All Healing Is One Healing, and the magic we do for ourselves and our loved ones is also for the healing of the entire biosphere of the Earth.

Water flows into Water, and separation gives way to Unity.  This is power of Sulis Minerva.

O Uniter of all the Elements and all the Realms,
You who partake of the joyous inspiration of Air,
The healing warmth of Fire,
The living magic of Water,
The deep wisdom of Earth,
You who dwell both in the Land and in the Sky,
Conduit between worlds, always open Eye
O Sulis Minerva, you are the substance of Healing and of Justice.
You bring Balance and Truth.
You bring Comfort and Strength.
Let your substance Flow within me.
Bless me with Healing and with the Power to Heal.
Bless me with the Wisdom to know what is Just, and the Courage to act in Justice.
O Wise and Loving Sulis Minerva, be here now. Hail and Welcome!

Some links to more information about Sulis Minerva:

A brief history of how the Roman-Celtic syncretic goddess Sulis Minerva emerged in Roman Britain

A collection of information about the name Sulis

An overview of the history and pre-history of the healing spring at Bath

A collection of Roman inscriptions and artefacts connected to Sulis Minerva

Thalia Took’s beautiful portrait, which first called me to my dedication

A lovely collection of photos of Bath from a traveller’s blog


Cauldron of the Celts 2015 Sacred Calendar Year:
February 1st - Brigid’s Holy Day
March 19th - Sulis Minerva’s Holy Day
June 21st - Honoring of the Selkie
August 1st - Lugh’s Holy Day
August 9th - An Dagda’s Holy Day