Fountain of youth - legend and reality

             

 

Updated January 16, 2014

Fountain of Youth Legend

Fountain of Youth legend

Fountain of Youth

Legend & Reality


We would love to feel the

joy of being younger again.

Here are the legends and the 

reality of the Fountain of Youth

Soothing waters that restore youth and vigor in later years have been a recurring dream for thousands of years. The Egyptian "ankh" symbol represented eternal life, with accompanying balms and treatments reaching their most extreme in the careful preparation of mummies. The much-whispered Shangri-la among the Himalayan Mountains of Asia was said to be a repository for the hidden secrets of eternal youth, with several accounts telling tales of adventurers who visited similar places. The Fountain of Youth was then said to have been found in the New World and sought by Ponce de León, keeping this belief alive. 

Yet in these legends may be some seeds of reality, as modern researchers explore balms, treatments -- and yes, even special waters -- as  sources of renewed youthfulness. 

Fountain of Youth

& Ponce de Leon

Ponce de Leon fountain search

Ponce de Leon and Agueybana, by Augustin Anavitate

Juan Ponce de León (1474-1521) accompanied Christopher Columbus on his second voyage to the New World in 1493, and became the first governor of Puerto Rico 16 years later. There he was said to have heard from the local tribes about a remarkable place called Bimini where a natural spring bestowed youth and prosperity on those who drank from it. His search for these miraculous waters was said to have been one of the reasons he sailed north from Puerto Rico on March 4, 1513 on a voyage of exploration. He had in his pocket a grant from the King of Spain giving him the right to rule whatever lands he should find.

Sailing northward along islands in the Bahamas, he then turned west and crossed open water until he reached what seemed to be a large island that he named La Florida, the land of flowers. What he had found was the future United States of America. So perhaps it could be argued that he did indeed find the promised land of youth and prosperity. He is believed to have reached Florida in the vicinity of St. Augustine or somewhere further south. This is also the site of one of the claimants to possession of the actual Fountain of Youth. 

Ponce de León's Fountain of Youth National Archaeological Park can be found at 11 Magnolia Avenue, St. Augustine, FL 32084, and stands on 15 acres of parkland. It even has a fountain, where people dutifully drink the water. Whether that has done them any good is not known.

There is also another location. On his way back from Florida, Ponce de León passed a group of isles in the Bahamas which has also asserted a claim to have the famed Fountain of Youth. This cluster is fittingly named the Bimini islands, in keeping with the original tribal legend. The stated location is on South Bimini Island, where a freshwater well still stands with a plaque identifying it as the Fountain of Youth. However the shallow pools of water found on these islands, such as the well-known Healing Hole, are rich with minerals -- and people have said bathing in those waters makes them feel restored and rejuvenated. Is that what the original legends meant? Possibly.

Getting Younger

Getting younger

Growing Younger

Today we are all familiar with the many balms, lotions and treatments that promise to restore youth and vitality in one way or another. In a sense, then, this is becoming a new Fountain of Youth. Yet the original fountain was not just a place, it was a dream and a desire firmly held by early people.

In today's world, dreamweavers such as Deepak Chopra have been looking beyond the physical sea of products in search of another path to the Fountain of Youth. A new reality. While many people have contributed varying views of this path, Chopra does it so clearly that he gives us a good insight into this whole approach to achieving youthfulness and vitality.

In Ageless Body, Timeless Mind he opens this avenue in the following way.

"I would like you to join me on a journey of discovery. We will explore a place where the rules of everyday existence do not apply. These rules explicitly state that to grow old, become frail, and die is the ultimate destiny of all. And so it has been for century after century. However, I want you to suspend your assumptions about what we call reality so that we can become pioneers in a land where youthfull vigor, renewal, creativity, joy, fulfillment, and timelessness are the common experience of everyday life, where old age, senility, infirmity, and death do not exist and are not even entertained as a possibility.

Deepak Chopra - Ageless Body, Timeless Mind 

Deepak Chopra - Ageless Body, Timeless Mind

Deepak Chopra - Ageless Body, Timeless Mind 

"If there is such a place, what is preventing us from going there?  It is not some dark continental landmass or dangerous uncharted sea. It is our conditioning, our current collective worldview that we were taught by our parents, teachers, and society. This way of seeing things -- the old paradigm -- has aptly been called 'the hypnosis of social conditioning,' an induced fiction in which we have collectively agreed to participate."

He goes on to describe ten assumptions people make that cause them to accept growing old and losing youthful vigor. Then he counters with ten new assumptions we can adopt which give us a better chance to regain and retain that youthfulness. Whether you follow the guidance of Deepak Chopra or someone else, the first critical step is to know that you can learn to grow young -- just as you have learned to grow old -- by taking it one step at a time.

-- Boomerguy

Resources on Ponce de Leon, St. Augustine and Bimini Islands.

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Fountain of Youth

Legend

Ankh mirror of Tutankhamun

Ankh-shaped mirror box of

Egyptian King Tutankamun

(1324 B.C.)

Fountain of Youth

Reality

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