Man climbing towards a well, illustration by Frits Ahlefeldt

The well and its meaning

My Landscapes of Understanding project – the Well landscape element

The well

Text and illustrations by Frits Ahlefeldt ( )

The well is often used as a symbol of resources – both limited and unlimited. People go to  the well, both to meet, to socialize and to wish

Well as resources

Man climbing towards a well, illustration by Frits Ahlefeldt
The well, is often used as a place to renew resources

Resources are often limited in the open land, but in some places they are more plentiful, and we see those places as more attractive. The well is one of the archetypes of this kind of place with plenty of resources.

Wishing Well

Well with small garden elf. illustration by Frits Ahlefeldt
The wishing well is a magical place, where you can make dreams come true

The wishing well might be seen as the wishful thinking logic of investments  – Wishing wells has been in use through history, at least since the Nordic God Odin sacrificed his right eye into the well of wisdom, Mimir’s well, to be able to see across the illusion of time and gain insight and knowledge and become a better leader

Odin was the top Chief and CEO of the overall well being in Nordic mythology, and well-being is an interesting word here… closely related to wellness and welfare… these are actually real words often lingering around the wishing well of modern society

Wells as symbols of money and control

Illustration of man standing in front of a well, saying a dollar sign. Illustration by Frits Ahlefeldt
Controlling the access to the well is very important in both trade and power-structures

The well has long been an important place and in many societies and communities. It is a place of resources and to be able to control the resources, and charging people for them is one of the oldest kinds of trade on the planet, still going strong.

Money and prosperity are also often associated with the well, with water, liquidation, seeding, growth, thrive and other well and water related  metaphors queuing up around them.

Even in a scientific way wells seems to create well-being by attracting money, at least if you throw in silver coins, as silver helps purify water from harmful bacteria and substances in a way that can actually help make you well, when drinking the water… from the well…

Wishing wells build on investment-logic to create a unique kind of wishful thinking: Throw your money ( or in Odin’s case, an eye)  into the water inside a pitch dark hole, leading into the ground, and magically, eventually, something good will come back to you.

Magical well creatures

Magical blue creature sitting on a well, illustration by Frits Ahlefeldt
Magical well spirit creature

In many societies a creature inside the well could be sought – or was feared for its magical powers.

Eyes as wells 

Fish jumping in front of a blue eye, drawing by Frits Ahlefeldt
Looking into eyes like a well

Looking into the eyes of a person are sometimes compared to looking into a well, where feelings, emotions, understandings or love can be found