Monday, 21 November 2011

Myths, modernity, and hot springs

In some countries and places, hot springs evoke such mythical beliefs and stories. In the mountains of Badakshan in Tajikistan, for instance, the Bibi Fatima Chushma hot springs are where women go to bathe to increase fertility or have their prayers answered. A prayer is said, and the spirit of Fatima is meant to be present and will hear the prayers of the pilgrims.

In contrast, in the U.S. there are also beautiful hot springs. And as lovely as they are, they are just that: hot springs. There may have been mythical beliefs to explain their existence but now that wonder has gone and all that remains is the scientific explanation.

Does being western or modern mean we no longer are left to be amazed by the world in a spiritual or superstitious sense? Has science replaced all other forms of reasoning?

In Turkey, Pamukkale was one of these magnificent sites: hot springs, calcium deposit plateaus. I can attempt to give the mythical and scientific explanation for this uniquely beautiful place but I’ll leave you to wonder about it in amazement :)

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