The Mikvah is situated in the heart of Nature
Where living waters from three warm water
springs flow into Wildcat Gulch. The continual
flow of artesian water into the pool fulfills the
Jewish requirements of “mayeem hayem,”
an obligation that the Mikvah receives
“living water.” Surrounded by overhanging
gardens, the pool is visited hourly by
dragonflies, butterflies, and small fish,
thereby reinforcing the commitment that the
Mikvah is a living sanctuary. Rock terraces
have been carved into the hillsides, replete
with garden beds planted with medicinal
herbs whose intertwining roots secure the
valuable topsoil and stabilize the fragile slopes.
From the beginning of time, the Mikvah has
occupied a central position in Jewish lore,
history, and society. Rabbi David Zaslow tells us
that of the five quintessential foundation pieces
required to build Jewish community the Mikvah is first and foremost. It is well known that a synagogue – or a house of prayer and worship – is elemental. Of equal importance is a schuel, Yiddish for school or educational center. But even before a synagogue or schuel can be erected, members of an emerging Jewish community are commanded to construct a Mikvah in order to purify its members, including the builders of the temple and schuel.
Traditionally, Mikvah is visited on a monthly basis by women after their menses in order to sanctify their bodies and souls. But in modern times we must acknowledge that the bodies and souls of men require cleansing as much as – or more than – women. For this reason, WellSprings makes its Mikvah available to women and men, alike, for the purpose of ritualistic purification.
In a similar vein, people from many religious faiths have bathed in the WellSprings Mikvah. From the standpoint that Spirit offers life to humans of all faiths and, in a similar sense, that rain does not discriminate whose head gets wet, it can be argued that all who come to purify their hearts and souls are welcome to bathe in the artesian springs at WellSprings.
In 2010 the Mikvah was consecrated by seven rabbis and 80 community members in a ceremony where waters from the Himalayas, India, and Israel were introduced into the sacred pool. Since that time, waters from the WellSprings Mikvah have been collected by those passing through Ashland and delivered to sacred sites around the world. The revival of this historical soaking pool offers WellSprings visitors and the Ashland community a sacred site to rekindle an ancient tradition of immersion.
The Mikvah environmental restoration project is under the protection and oversight of the Health Research Institute. Situated at the gateway to the sacred pool, the Ashland Goddess Temple has assumed major roles, not only in daily maintenance and upkeep of the pool and gardens but also in the area of hospitality, in welcoming participants to the ceremonial site. Half of the WellSprings spa annual membership fee, amounting to $6,500 during 2010, went to support the Mikvah. Support from Havurah Shir Hadash and Temple Emek Shalom has been invaluable, as have contributions from a committed volunteer labor force and from financial donors, all ensuring the continued success of the Mikvah. Contributions are tax-exempt and can be made out to the Health Research Institute Mikvah Fund.