W is for What-the-Doctor-Ordered Water & Women—A to Z Blog Challenge

We are pleased to participate in the A to Z Blog Challenge (http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com/). The Story Crossroads theme for this year is Hope & Healing…folktales around the world that beat back viruses. Each post highlights one or more balms to soothe and cure our struggles of today with oral tradition and lore of the past. At times, a post will make a connection to history. You can guess what inspired this theme. Yes, the COVID-19. What better time to delve into tales where things can and do turn out “happily ever after”?

What-the-Doctor-Ordered Water & Women

From First Nations Canada-

A plague spread throughout the land and everyone was affected in some way. Many had died and gone to the Land of Shadows. This story explains how Mineral Springs came about.

50-word-or-less summary:

Woman told man of bird that lived near Healing Waters. Man rushed to save wife from plague. Rabbit and bear gave no help. Man buried body in path. Fox came and said was body’s spirit. Guided. Voice—“Release us!” Dug, spring—and Healing Waters! Made pot. Healed wife and villagers. Happiness!

Finding the Story: https://www.worldoftales.com/Native_American_folktales/Native_American_Folktale_72.html and https://face2faceafrica.com/article/mami-wata-the-most-celebrated-mermaid-like-deity-from-africa-who-crossed-over-to-the-west

Compare to History:

The history of humans includes being at least 60% made of water. We need water to replenish and heal every day. Water affects physical strength, energy levels, increases brain functions, prevents/heals headaches, relieve constipation, treats kidney stones, and even encourages weight loss. This is only skimming the surface…so drink up! Healing Waters are all around us.

More on the History: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/7-health-benefits-of-water

From throughout Africa to Caribbean to Brazil & United States-

Mermaids of many kinds are natural for anyone by the seas, oceans, and rivers. The Mami Wata (with many different spellings) originated from the large continent of Africa with no real claim to one particular country. Her area kept expanding as people were forced from their homes to be slaves. She is the mother water and a deity with the power to capsize slave ships. She sometimes appeared as human to give hope to those taken into slavery. Some say she is one being while others argue she is a plural matriarchy.

50-word-or-less summary:

Mami Wata swam in rivers. She gave water for animals/people to drink. Kept people happy/strong. Monster killing people. She hid, watched monster cry. Comforted monster. Learned was man. Taught monster/man to sing, dance. Laughed-turned back to man. Swallowed people returned.

Finding the Story: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DNM0qiDuCoU

Compare to History:

The Smithsonian had an exhibit in April 2009 to honor Mami Wata from the prayers people gave to her to boost fertility to material wealth to freedom. She had a darker side connected to lust and murder though mainly she was celebrated. This is not medically connected, yet the stories of her giving hope to those sold into slavery is a hope and healing that no doctor can prescribe.

More on the History: https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smithsonian-institution/the-many-faces-of-mami-wata-44637742/

Please share in the comments…or anything on your mind.While you enjoy this blog, Story Crossroads has year-round offerings in process of being adapted due to COVID-19.Our 2020 Festival has been transformed into Story Crossroads Spectacular, a virtual experience. See here: http://www.storycrossroads.org/spectacular on May 13, 2020 starting at 9am MDT with events all day.

We thank our funders such as National Endowment for the Arts, Utah Division of Arts and Museums, Western States Arts Federation, Utah Humanities, Zoo, Arts & the Parks of Salt Lake County (ZAP), City of Murray, Salt Lake City Arts Council, and many other businesses and individuals. Join us in the support by donating today!

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