The Essence of Life
by Paris Mannion
The sound of rippling,
cascading water has a magnetic attraction. "I hear water. Where is
it?" I wonder when entering a garden nursery with fountains tucked here and
there. Water produces an endless range of sounds as it flows over and around
obstructions, making the fountain a "poem in stone."
Fountains have a rich
Western heritage. Water gushing forth and flowing back is an image of the soul
as the source of inner life, spiritual energy, and individuality. Water is also
identified with intuitive wisdom, natural life, and spiritual cleansing.
Renaissance poets identified the "speaking water" that murmurs and
bubbles over stone and the "reflecting water" that lies in the calm
pool below. Maybe you've noticed times when your "soul speaks" and
times when it reflects.
From the Far East comes
the image of the watercourse way as an invitation to blend and not struggle, to
flow with life and endure continual change. When are you in the flow? What
obstructs your course? Yoga practitioners and meditators use fountains to
facilitate relaxation. By bringing nature sounds indoors and focusing on the
natural melody, outside cares are more easily dissolved.
In addition, fountains
circulate positive energy or ch'i, especially when placed according to Feng Shui
principles. This ancient Chinese art is a carefully thought out philosophy that
guides us in balancing the natural forces of wind and water for a harmonious,
peaceful and lucky environment
A fountain is nice to
come home to. Turning on the fountain can be the signal for a calm transition
between the busy world of work and a quiet, more restful home environment or
special sanctuary you establish. How about turning on the fountain rather than
TV when coming home?
Fountains also release
negative ions, said to promote better moods, concentration, and sleep. The
so-called "happy ions" predominate near moving water -- seashores,
waterfalls, and, to a lesser degree, indoor fountains. Fountains clean the air
by pulling in lint, dust, and pollutants. The water evaporation from the
fountain helps nearby plants grow lush and release more oxygen. By humidifying
dry air in winter months, fountains also give our nostrils a break.
Home altars are showing
up across America, almost as popular as indoor fountains. One option for an
altar centerpiece is a tabletop fountain, a way to feel out the idea of altar
building without embarrassment. If not an altar, then a happy fountain
"dish of memories" will give instant cheer and inspiration with your
favorite stones or statues.
Spirits lift when the
heart, mind, and hands are engaged in personal fountain creation. The result is
enthusiasm and delight in the pleasing sight of your personal fountain. A
fountain class student introduced the craft to the woman she nurses, an
The patient, Nancy
reports, is more content, engaged, and focused when playing with her rock and
shell fountain. She stays with it for 15 to 20 minutes (longer than with other
projects), remembers it, experiences a joy of completion, and returns to marvel
at her fountain over and over.
Fountains symbolize the
life force, unending reserves, and access to hidden springs. How would you
represent these ideas in your personal fountain, and where would you start?
Let's look at the basic how-to's of fountain building:
1. Select a small
submersible pump from an aquarium, hardware, or garden supply store. Or from
fountain suppliers on the web. Look for a water flow regulator, suction cup feet
to hold pump securely, quiet motor, simple maintenance, output of 80-85 gallons
per hour. Cost: about $25
2. From the same source,
fit plastic tubing on the pump spout and get about 8" of the tubing to
elevate the water . The most common tubing size is 1/2" inner diameter,
5/8" outer diameter. Cut the tubing length to fit your bowl and design.
3. Find a waterproof bowl
at least 2" deep. Look for ceramic, glass, seamless metal, plastic resin,
or water sealed wood. Check Target, Wal-Mart, K-Mart, second hand stores, garage
sales, flea markets. Check your cupboard for a pasta, casserole or serving dish,
punch bowl, or fruit bowl if you're in a hurry to make a fountain.
4. Look outside for
stones or visit a garden center for flat, round, or smooth stones. Use big ones
for filling the bottom (generally won't be seen) and smaller ones for accenting
the visible top.
5. Scrub off grit and /or
rinse in a water-bleach bath to clean off dirt.
6. Read the pump
directions. Attach the pump's suction cup feet, locate the propeller (behind the
front cover) for easy cleaning in about 3 months. Set the water flow bar
in the middle to test the effect. Cut 1-2" of plastic tubing and fit over
the pump spout.
7. Put pump in bowl, add
tap water to more than cover the intake valve (2" minimum); plug pump into
8. Unplug pump and adjust
water flow if needed. Add larger rocks to fill bottom of bowl and hide the pump.
Disguise the cord going over the edge of the bowl by placing a tall rock or
plant cutting in front of the cord.
9. Stack smaller rocks on
top near the pump spout. Express your self by adding accents such as candles,
plant cuttings, flowers, shells, crystals or figurines to your fountain.
10. Plug in, adjust the
water volume and stones as needed, and enjoy!
Paris Mannion, author of
Create Your Indoor Fountain!, studied at the Carl G. Jung Institute in Zurich,
Switzerland, exploring symbols of alchemy, particularly the fountain of 'living
water' and the garden or sacred space. Later researching Feng Shui, the
ancient Chinese art of placement, she learned that moving water increases
harmony, prosperity and the flow of energy or ch'i. More sensitivity to our
environment leads to greater self-awareness overall. "Fountain crafting is
a reminder of our connection with nature as well as a connection to an inner
self," says Paris, a certified personal coach.