Initiation Well. Sintra. Portugal
Sintra is a medieval summer residence of Portuguese kings, city of palaces and impregnable fortresses, castles and exotic parks. Palace and park complex Quinta da Regaleira was built early last century. The park is a vast and mysterious system of tunnels which have a number of entries and exits: caves, chapel, lakes, fountains, waterfall. They are interpreted as symbols of the journey between light and darkness, death and resurrection.
Mysterious well is the most interesting place on the territory. Its depth is 27 meters and it is essentially an inverted tower. It is called an Initiation Well, since according to the legend the Masons held here initiation rites. The ceremony of initiation into the Masonic lodge traditionally ended on the bottom of the well, which depicts eight-pointed star. The well itself is a spiral staircase with outlandish railing, overgrown with moss, which stretches deep into the mountain, having 10 levels, supported by carved stone columns. These levels represent the 10 circles of hell; 10 circles of purgatory; and 10 laps of heaven, which are described by Dante. Each span has 15 steps. The entrance of the Well is guarded by the chthonic guards of the world of penumbra.
The upper entrance to the Well of initiation looks from the outside like a natural pile of boulders. This inconspicuous entrance leads into the bowels of the rock on the top of the underground tower, if you push the revolving door of solid stone. Exit from the well is possible through a mystical stone door leading to the underground tunnel. There are several underground tunnels of the well which lead to different parts of the park. “The Divine Terrace” is located opposite the entrance of well, which is protected by two towers “ziggurats” – religious buildings, resembling a truncated pyramid, the upper tier of which was a sanctuary.
The idea of the well is in the unity of opposites. Thus, the sky – is hell, and the bottom is heaven, and when a person descends to the bottom of the well, he allegedly passes through a specific ritual of knowledge of his soul. The whole system of the underground tunnels in the Quinta da Regaleira serves as a kind of transition from light to darkness.
The tower was used for such purpose – the novitiate descended into it on a rope and was left there for some time in order to be engaged in the soul-searching in the silence. Compass in a well, drawn over the cross of the Knights Templar, always shows to the east, which means that a person comes to the light.
Quinta da Regaleira is a UNESCO World Heritage Site; historically significant objects are located within its territory – palaces, a chapel, a magnificent park with lakes, caves, wells, fountains and interesting sculptures. These places are impregnated by historical events, mysticism, various rituals.
Here are various guided tours – access to the complex will cost 6 euros for adults and 4 euros for children.