Water Walking Exercises
DREAMS OF INTERVENTION
In 1979, Margaret Stewart started a campaign to reopen the Cross Bath for bathing. The effort gained considerable momentum and then the dreams began.
In one dream, Margaret found herself inside the Cross Bath surrounded by many nonhuman “inner plane” beings. Her sense of privilege at being there amidst so many magnificent creatures turned to dismay and embarrassment as the largest of these beings told her that she was to stop her campaigning and that the baths were meant to be closed at that time. She contacted all the protesters and ended the process the next day.
On reflection, she believed that the baths needed to be closed for a period of inner purification. In the time since bathing had been prohibited, there’d been a change in the springs’ temperature. The three springs are all from the same aquifer in oolithic limestone (nonsulfurous, nonvolcanic). The Cross Bath Spring is the deepest at 1.8 miles and used to be the coolest, at 103°F; the Hetling Spring was the hottest at 120°F; the King’s Spring was 115°F. Today all the springs have a similar temperature around 111°F.
A recent mineralogical analysis of the hot springs has shown that all the thermal water contains sodium, calcium, chloride, and sulfate ions in high concentrations. Although there are some small variations, allowing for changes in analytical methods, the composition has remained constant over the past century.
When a borehole was put into the King’s Spring (the source of the largest volume of water) to get amoeba-free water, Margaret formed the Springs’ Foundation to stop plans to cap the Cross Bath Spring and take water from the King’s Spring borehole and pump it into the Cross Bath. As each of the springs comes up from different fissures, they each have slightly different mineral constituents; and Margaret wanted to retain the integrity of the Cross Bath water. As a result of her action, another borehole was made into the Cross Bath Spring’s source to provide amoeba-free water to the Cross Bath.
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The Springs’ Foundation has since seen modern-day pilgrims from all over the world find their way to the Cross Bath and feel blessed.
I’d come to Bath to report on a story about Margaret’s fears that the springs might be tapped off and replaced by ordinary heated water from the main water supply. As I listened to her talk about the importance of protecting the site, I remember letting my right hand play in the hot water. It felt thick and strangely “pregnant” with life. It made my fingers tingle.
Four hours later, Margaret was still talking about the strange dreams that had brought her to be a protector of the site, about unusual winds that had thrown the planners’ only redesigns into the water, and about the sudden illnesses that had afflicted the key proponents of the unwanted refurbishment. Having failed to bring the “interview” to a polite end, I took the only option available: I abruptly informed her that I was leaving and, with her voice still echoing behind me, walked away. What I’d imagined would be a pleasant hour-long interview had turned into a four-hour experience of extraordinary mania.
By now I was feeling very strange, and the world around me was echoing this, becoming somehow dreamlike and viscously fluid in a most disconcerting way. As I walked to my car, the night seemed darker than it should have been against the lights of the city.
Upon returning home, I felt an uncharacteristic need to go directly to sleep. What I didn’t realize at the time was that I, too, had been affected by the water and was about to experience its powerwhether I wanted to or not.