My home town, Bath (England), was once the healing sanctuary of the Celtic goddess Sulis. When I began my bodywork practice in the water, I took the name Sulis as a reminder that it is not me but the goddess who endows hope and healing.
But there was a bit more to my goddess than I perhaps bargained for when I had the audacity to invoke her (and her hidden sisterhood). On Diving Deeper, you can read more about the soul implications of my choice, and the ways in which bringing consciousness to that have both challenged and strengthened me.
Please note: I do not in any way presume to have the powers or attributes of the goddess herself. She is an archetype from whom I draw much inspiration and courage in my life and work.
Here is a brief introduction to the goddess Sulis ...
SULIS: a female deity of the sun and spring-water, particularly hot springs.
Also known as Sul, Sulei, Sulla, Sol or Sulevis, the name has been translated as: Provider of Healing waters/She who is Viewed/The Bright One*.
Sulis was the local goddess of the hot springs that still feed the spa at Bath in England, which the Romans called Aquae Sulis, meaning the waters of Sulis, and her name remains on numerous inscriptions there. By association with healing springs and the healing waters at Bath it is fairly certain that Sulis was considered as a goddess of healing.
Sulis was syncretized by the Roman conquerors with the goddess Minerva as SulisMinerva. Minerva is the Roman equivalent of the Greek goddess Athena and embodies the protection of home and state against external invaders. She was also considered the goddess of city, handcrafts and agriculture and was the embodiment of wisdom, reason and purity (all probable attributes of Sulis).
The warrior aspect of Athena/Minerva may be represented by Sulis' powers to witness oaths, catch thieves and find lost objects (as evidenced by the curse tablets found at the baths). These tablets also indicate that Sulis was considered to have the power of retribution and many of the tablets call on SulisMinerva to punish the guilty party.
*Sulis' name has proved complex to interpret, with many possible overlapping meanings. The goddess' name may be related to the reconstructed proto-Celtic word *silīn [to look, to gaze]) and probably forms the basis of the name of the goddess Adsullata (She Who is Gazed Upon) and suggests that Sulis/Sulla's name may also mean something like 'She Who is Viewed', 'Upon whom we Gaze'. The name could also be composed of the components *su- (good, very) and lījant- (flood, sea) giving a meaning of 'The Good Flooder' with a mythological meaning something like 'Provider of Beneficial [healing] Waters'. Sulis' name may also be related to the proto-Celtic word *sƒwol-/*s3il- ('sun', from which the Old Irish súil [eye] and the Cymric haul are derived); suggesting an interpretation of 'The Bright One'. This sun association may be why Aqua Sulis was also associated with the radiate-haired Medusa-like image of a Celtic solar deity.
An interesting connection can be made between the healing center at Bath and Asclepius, god of spas.
Image: Beautifully renovated as part of the new Therme Bath Spa, this is the Cross Bath where the original spring at which people paid homage to Sulis is supposed to have emerged. It was a pleasure to give sessions here and in the Kings Bath in summer 2007.