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The Sacredness of Water

Michele du Plessis

Water if life…

A giver of life, a source of purification and a sacred blessing. We utilize water in our rituals –the washing of oneself before prayers, pilgrimages to sacred rivers and wells, baptism. We pray for rain in times of drought. Yet, in everyday life, we forget this and we fail to acknowledge the importance of water.

Water is crucial for the existence of life: blood that carries nutrients through our body that is 75% water, to the rivers and oceans that feed the animal and plant kingdoms. The entire planet’s surface is over 70% covered by this essential element. We drink it, we bathe in it, we cook with it, play in it. The versatility of water allows it to move through land and sky. Solidified in glaciers, running in rivers, floating as molecules in clouds, coalescing, then raining.

“Facing climate change, widespread hunger and the destruction of the Earth‘s ecosystems, we urgently need viable ecological solutions and alternatives to survive. These solutions must be tested and optimized before they can be applied on a large scale. We will need to make fundamental changes in the way we think and act in our contact with nature: humans must reintegrate into the ecological cycles. We are working on cooperation and contact instead of exploitation; for open, holistic, decentre systems instead of central control and for diverse biotopes instead of mono-cultures,” said Bernd Walter Müller, Nature researcher, a specialist in the construction of Water Retention Landscapes and permaculturist.

“We humans know how to transform deserts and semi-deserts back into living landscapes traversed by fresh spring water streams. In most cases, desertification is not a natural phenomenon but the result of incorrect water management on a global scale. Deserts do not arise because of a lack of rain, but because humans treat water in the wrong way.

If the water cannot sink into the earth-body, then it is lacking there. Through the resulting aridness, the soil life suffers, the micro-organisms retreat, the fertility of the land decreases significantly, and fewer and fewer plant and animal species can survive. Soil dryness and the loss of biodiversity are the most important indicators of desertification. The water table is falling – worldwide and dramatically so. The global supply of drinking water is diminishing.”

The term ‘Water Retention Landscape’ is always connected with the concept of nature-healing. The construction of Water Retention Landscapes is an active and effective answer to the destruction of nature.

The aim of this work is that no rain or wastewater will runoff the area anymore. Then we have transformed a landscape into a “retention landscape.” All outflowing water should be spring water. In Tamera, we have created a series of interconnected retention areas (from pond-sized to lake-sized), in which the rainwater can collect behind a dam constructed from natural material. The retention spaces themselves are not sealed with concrete or any artificial membrane so that the water can slowly but steadily diffuse into the earth-body.

A water retention space is not only to be understood technically but also exists to give an understanding of the being of water to a new kind of engineers. A water retention space has to be shaped in a way that the water does not stagnate, but on the contrary, can move according to its being. As with every living being, water also needs to be allowed the freedom to move in accordance with its being. Water wants to roll, swirl, curve and meander – then it remains vital and fresh. By such movement, it purifies itself, at the same time it also calms down and has time to seep into the earth body.

Water is not only a physical or chemical substance that the human may deal with at his convenience or merely according to industrial norms. Water is a living being. We modern people have to learn to understand this all over again.”

Water is life…

*The basic concepts of water retention are described in detail in the text by Bernd Walter Müller of the Global Ecology Institute.

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