Mental well-being comprises multiple affective and cognitive components, including happiness, (purpose, meaning, and fulfillment); self-actualization (accomplishments, optimism, and wisdom); resilience (capacity to cope, adaptive emotion regulation), and healthy relationships. A growing body of empirical evidence is revealing the value of nature experience for mental health. The specific ways in which people interact with nature may account for differential impacts of nature exposure on mental health.
Predominance of patriarchal culture in societies, and subjugation of feminine values may have influenced environmental sanity. There might be an intimate connection between despoiling the Earth and suppression of feminine qualities of inspiration, chaos and ecstasy. In the very early 13th century, a lengthy poem now known as, The Elucidation , was written by an unknown author, as a prologue to Chretien’s Grail romance. The Elucidation explained that originally, throughout the land, there were many Maidens of the Wells. These enchanting, faerie-like, women were the site guardians of all of the sacred springs and wells. Any traveler, pilgrim or knight, could go to the wells and be refreshed with food and drink from the sacred spring of that location. All was idyllic until one dark day, a bad king, King Amangon, raped one of the Maidens of the Wells and encouraged his men to do likewise with all the other Well Maidens. Because of this crime the Well Maidens took away their golden cups and left the land – thus the land died and became the barren wasteland. “The Tale of the Well Maidens”, speaks of how men have diminished the world by seeking dominance over others.
“In patriarchal cultures, it is common to find patterns of domination and control aimed at both women and the land” (Roszak et. al, 1995, 112).
The movement of Bioregionalism involves restructuring the existing social, cultural and political structures so that they are based on the integrity of natural system. Facing nature on its own terms, and learning to live sustainably by reawakening the dynamic feminine values. We are all those maidens and those knights, children of a violated earth, bearers of “the dual inheritance of the destructive aspects of our culture and the living soul that continues beneath it.” But instead of searching for a lost paradise we must find a way to restore the wells. We must restore their divine guardians. We do this by restoring the sense of the sacred to the natural world which has been desecrated. This is a new myth which we have to write together: The Restoration of the Maidens of the Wells.