Encyclopedia of Psychology and Religion

2020 Edition
| Editors: David A. Leeming


  • Andrew J. P. FrancisEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-24348-7_739

Water is an essential element for life and of deep spiritual and religious significance. It is an integral part of the ritual practice and symbolic structure of religions throughout the world. Used since antiquity for physical, psychological, and spiritual regeneration, water is sustaining, cleansing, and rejuvenating. Consistently in creation myths, water is the first principle and prima materiafrom which all else derives or is given birth. As such, it also provides a common and useful metaphor for the origins, evolution, and processes of human mind and consciousness, at the level of individual and species. Humans have developed complex relationships with water as natural resource, commercial commodity, and religio-spiritual symbol, and there is often conflict between the needs and aims of groups and individuals differentially invested in these various relationships. Most centrally, with respect to its spiritual and psychological significance, water is not only a mirror to our own...

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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Division of Psychology, School of Health SciencesRMIT UniversityBundooraAustralia