Symbol of healing, magic.

The wishing well has long been a symbol of good luck and good fortune. Children would throw their pennies into the well and make a wish that some power would grant. People would throw coins into streams and make a wish. If they landed heads up, the wish would be granted. If it landed tails up, the wish was not granted. Water was believed to have magical and healing powers. In Nordic mythology, Mimir is the Nordic god of wisdom. He is the wisest of all beings and guards a well. His well is where the world tree gets its sustaining water. If someone sacrificed something special to Mimir, they would get what they wished for. Odin, the prevalent Norse god, sacrificed his eye to the well to gain wisdom for saving the world from destruction.

Wishign Well

There is a runic charm from Iceland called the wishing charm. It looks like the top of a well with four dippers surrounding it. The four dippers represent the crescent moon. Sacred women used to honour and guard wells and springs. To offer a prayer to the water goddess, people would throw an offering in the well after making a wish. That is one of the origins of the modern wishing well. 

 In Celtic and Germanic traditions, some soldiers would throw their defeated enemies’ shields and armour into a stream as a sacrifice to the gods. In Germanic society, people also believed that spirits lived in wishing wells. They would grant wishes as they pleased. People would whisper wishes to the spirits of the well. Celtic traditions include throwing a coin into the water to appease the goddess Coventina. Coventina’s well was located in the center of a small temple.

Coventina’s well

Today, people still throw coins into fountains, hoping to have their wish come true. Some charities can collect this money and help other people’s wishes come true. General wishing well symbols have been used by businesses and on map legends.

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