Few titles are more evocative than this one. In fact, in my research for Abyss of Chaos, I interviewed a Rabbi who believed the Well of Souls was a crazy myth. He patiently explained that most conservative Jews don’t believe in this garbage, advised me against writing Abyss, and sent me on my way.
Strange, because the Well of Souls does exist.
Apparently it is a cave you are permitted to enter, depending on the political climate when you visit the Foundation Stone in Jerusalem. (In Arabic this is called Sakhrah, Eben Shetiyyah in Hebrew.) It isn’t a place you’d want to show any disrespect, though. In fact, it is one of the most sacred places you could ever visit.
Islamic tradition says Muhammad ascended to heaven from the Foundation Stone. Many Christians and Jews believe it was the spot where Abraham nearly sacrificed Isaac, and there is even a separate belief that the last judgment will happen there. In this tradition, it is a place for the souls of the dead to gather and pray — hence, the Well of Souls.
Legend says that you can hear not only the sound of the dead gathering, but also the sound of rushing water coming from the Rivers of Paradise, flowing beneath. Consistent with this legend are attributes of a similar spiritual concept: the Guf. But that’s a post for another day.
For this post, I thought I’d link it up to some video of the cave beneath the Foundation Stone on Temple Mount. This is the “real world” Well of Souls, and a possible hiding place for the Ark of the Covenant at one point in history. If so, tread lightly: the Holy of Holies was the space where the Ark was kept, and not a place for those of low spiritual quality.