Tag Archives: standing stone

Father Bear…

HM15 970Pentre Ifan

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Which translates, ‘Ivan’s Village’ but was also formerly known as, ‘Arthur’s Quoit’.

Another ‘quoit’, and only a few miles away from the last one.

This seems, if anything, a little unimaginative.

Or, alternatively, it could signal a connection between the two sites.

The more obvious visual parallels though are with our first site, Carreg Samson.

Seen from one angle Pentre Ifan now frames the distant peak of Carningli (Hill of Angels) and like St Samson’s stone the upper ridge of its Cap follows closely the contours of the terrain which has always dominated its horizon.

We have been moving deeper into the country on our three-fold quest and the sites have become increasingly populace.

We met no one at the first site but at the second, we were hurried on our way by a couple of visitors as though we were holding up play on a golf course.

Here, we pass an entourage on the way in and on our way out we are replaced by another one.

The conveyor belt effect…

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True to the form in which we have cast these sketches we are over heating by this point in the proceedings.

Still, we have just come from a long climb up a big hill on a very hot day and the surrounding recumbents prove more than a tad adequate as baking stones.

It is perhaps just as well.

By paying too much attention to the stones one can start to become  a trifle uncomfortable in quite a different sense.

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For one thing, it becomes abundantly apparent that the central stone is not a support stone at all.

Not a support stone?

Quite definitely not.

But if it is not a support stone then what is it doing there, what is it, and why does it have claws?

Stone claws, or perhaps talons, which are firmly rooted in, not to say sprouting from, the earth?

Well, that is true, but even so…

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Maybe, whatever it is, is pointing the way.

Pointing the way to what and where?

To Ivan’s Village.

Whatever that means?

Ivan is Ian… is Jan, and Janus, the god-form of portals, is two-faced and looks both ways. In and out, up and down, before and after, here and there.

Ivan’s Village is Janus’ place!

Well, it is one aspect of Janus’ face, or Jane’s, certainly.

All of which means, we are still no nearer to an answer…

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…Not necessarily…

The symbolic preoccupation of all these structures seems to be with Headlands, (end of the land and start of the sea) or Mountain peaks (end of the land and start of the sky). And by extension with islands which is land situated in the sea, and also with birds which are beings that fly in the sky.

In other words the builders of these structures are concerned with thresholds and what lies beyond those thresholds in the domains which they bound. The analogy always involves the natural environment which is then related to their, and hence to our, own experience.

So, it is not so much from here to eternity but rather from here to our apparently limited horizons and then on beyond them…

Which may very well be an eternity or if not, then at least, an endless round.

Simple.

Eloquent.

Profound.

And that is just the formal symbolism of the structures, without consideration of the precise geometries of their situation…

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Despite the conveyor belt effect we still get time enough to do what is needed.

And we conclude our ‘…Prayer’ with a little chanting.

Impromptu.

Because that’s the way…

we like it.

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You think that will have gone unnoticed?

Quite possibly not.

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Baby Bear…

 

HM15 947Carreg Coetan Arthur

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 Otherwise, ‘Arthur’s Quoit.’

Of which there are a goodly number dotted about our Blessed Isles.

Which makes me wonder…

It is hard not to regard this Arthur as a giant too.

And indeed the folk record cares little whether it be a giant, or a king, or a saint who is responsible for placing the stones, only that their provenance be marked, and their links not forgotten.

The link at our previous site was with an isle and maybe if one were to sail from the isle to the mainland it would be useful to keep the stones, or the mound in sight. And if they couldn’t be seen it might have been unwise to set out at all…

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The link at this one  is with the setting sun on the now obscured horizon.

Now, a quoit is a ring thrown over an upright in the game which, like a lot of games, employs distinctly coital symbolism.

It would be easy to re-construct the ring, perhaps, the earthen mound covering the chamber would only need to have been circular in shape.

But the ‘upright’ might be more difficult…

Unless it were a beam of light?

Such a notion is certainly counter intuitive but it may widen our notions of being up-standing.

We begin to wish we had paid more attention to the ray diagrams of our youth and those interminable physics lessons.

Fortunately, someone else has already done the maths, although quite how is still something of a mystery, to us at least.

According to the estimable Mr Robin Heath, the midsummer sun set of 2800 BC would cast its light through the ‘v’ at what he calls the back of the monument but which we may want to call the front.

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One  has to wonder about a culture concerned enough about its environs to construct such a burial chamber.

A crucible for the last rays of the summer sun.

May it be that the structure was a calendrical instrument long before it was a tomb and that the bones eventually placed in its midst were once those of people connected to its construction and or continued employment?

When appropriate we still sometimes bury the tools of someone’s life long trade, or rather service, with ‘them’.

Such notions have  wide ranging ramifications for recent theories of psychological crystallisation, but that is another story…

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This being such a small portal there was little enough room for the reader so the Companions gathered around the periphery for another recital of the ‘…Prayer’.

The reading caused shivers which, given the designation we had somewhat irreverently foisted upon the structure, seemed curiously apt.

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Mother Bear…

HM15 884Carreg Samson

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With a total disregard for tradition we tackled our ‘just right bowl of porridge’ first .

It is strange to say, perhaps, but this particular conglomeration of, once covered but now exposed, structured stone did not, initially, feel particularly motherly.

For one thing there seemed to be a general reluctance for people to step inside.

Was this fear, awe, reverence… ?

Perhaps it was a commingling of all three emotions…

The structure does cast an illusion of wanton precariousness.

Those undressed slabs of rock together comprise an impressive sight and tonnage.

The bones of our ancestors were once interred here.

More recently it has served as a sheep shelter.

Whatever it was it was soon dispelled as we got ‘down and dirty’ in the chamber in order to read a contemporary ‘Druid Prayer’.

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There is a theory about male and female standing stones.

The broader, squatter, shorter stones being deemed female whilst the taller, thinner, longer stones are deemed male.

It struck me that if the Cap-Stone were upright it would probably be regarded as a male stone.

According to another theory the Cap-Stone would definitely be male, irrespective of whether or not it is standing, for it has seams of white-quartz running through it.

From this angle though the Cap-Stone, in its present state, looks like nothing so much as a bird skull.

Which thought may cause pause for further thought…

Was there a deeper level of symbolism at play than the familiar Womb-Tomb equation?

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There is talk in the official literature of a possible second chamber and certainly from this angle the Cap-Stone looks quite badly broken.

It would also explain the curiously lonely looking ‘stone figure’ to the right.

Whichever way one approaches the structure it is hard to shake the resemblance to a modern day coffin with pall bearers…

Except, perhaps, this one…

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The Cap-Stone possesses contours which closely resemble a distant Head-Land.

This is best seen in image one.

When the structure was covered in earth and grass this resemblance would, presumably, be even more accurate, especially if seen from a distance.

The portal ‘looks out’ across an ocean which has an island in it.

It is from this Isle, legend tells us, that St Samson flicked the stones to land and take up their present position.

So, St Samson must, at some stage in his story, have been a giant.

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Stanton Drew…

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Names matter.

For practical purposes they are like elephants and flowing water.

They follow the shortest, flatest path to wherever they are going, and en route the jagged edges first get smoothed and then get worn away.

In this particular case we are on the path to understanding…

‘Standing Stones of the Druids’

‘STANding sTONes of the DRUids’

STAN-TON-DRU

Stanton Drew…

There are a number of ‘Stantons’ in England with an attendant ancient site, and for a long time these places were associated with Druids although we now know that they were around a lot earlier than the period normally associated with those infamous ‘Old-Time-Sages’.

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This ‘fella’, could easily be a druid, although he could just as easily be a she, in which case one would be tempted to call her a witch.

It is the first stone that greets you at the site.

If you look closely at the first photograph you can see some of the other stones lurking in the background.

On our first visit to this site we were struck by how utterly ‘other’ the stones appeared in relation to their environment.

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In Hack-Pen Hedge…

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Animism
1. Doctrine that the soul is the vital principle of organic development.
2. Attribution of conscious life or spirits to nature or natural phenomena.
3. Belief in the existence of spirits separable from bodies.

“There’s a large stone in that hedge…”
“Correction, there’s a large head in that hedge.”
“A pity then that hedge derives from edge and not from head.”

It is a recurring question and one which crops up every time we visit ‘circles’ of stone.
Are the forms which we ‘see’ in them in us or in the stone?
Are they merely subjective projections or do they inhere in the stones themselves?

From experience we know that different people see different things.
From experience also we know that these forms change, constantly.
Among other things they are affected by;
1. Distance.
2. Angle of approach.
3. Atmospheric conditions.

Would that the flickering blaze of flame
In the moonlight
again illuminate these forms…

The beat of a drum
A flare from the sun
When will they in unity thrum?

They deal then with perception and perceptions.

If all one sees are silly things
Is one a silly person or merely being silly?

Is it likely that stones would be chosen for their similarity to animals or beings which have never shared their environment?

Do we know for certain which fauna shared their environment?

Context too is important.

If we have an idea of what these sites were for,
then we may be able to find a correlation in the images in the stones.

Or is that simply more projection
and hence an even greater error of interpretation?

The ‘new circles’ can be instructive.
Apart from the obvious fact that for the most part they are not situated correctly, and thus do not feel ‘right’ or indeed feel ‘wrong’ and do not function at all on an energetic level, the choice of stones also leaves a lot to be desired.
These stones are ‘dead’.
Individually they appear too regular and too square to hold any forms,
not that a square or regular stone could not hold such a form, mind.
Collectively they do not ‘speak’ to each other, or as a whole.

Whatever else the people responsible for ‘Our Stones Circles’ were or were not, they were certainly artists of an exceptionally high degree of accomplishment, as well as consummate surveyors and engineers.
And that is not to mention, supreme organisers and masters of matter in motion.
These skills were probably not compartmentalised or regarded as separate.

One possible function of this artistry and science could have been in order to facilitate ancestral contact.

I just wish I’d moved the grasses away from the other side of the stone and taken a peek…

And then gone into the adjacent field and done likewise.

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Pieman…

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When Pieman was very young,

and living at the beginnings of time,

he often slept with the Cave Bear Clan during stormy weather.

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Over the course of many such nights,

Big Brown Bear who was also very old,

taught Pieman the nature of his belly-roar.

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To this day,

Pieman makes use of his roar in dreams,

but only to pacify strangers and to quiet the rowdy,

and those of us who have difficulty understanding the Ancient Tales.

The Hooded Stone…

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“It has to be the Stone on Gardom’s Edge…”

“What does?” says Wen.

“My Robin Hood Stone… I mean it didn’t look much like the stone on Gardom’s Edge but that could have been the angle.”

I study the sketch in our guide book.

“A lot of these stones look different from each and every angle you know.” …

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…“Let’s go find the Hud Stone,” say I.

“Is the Hud Stone the same as the Robin Hood Stone?”

“Well of course it is!”

“The same stone that we are not totally sure exists at all?”

“Well it most surely does exist if it is what Mr Harris is calling the Gardom Stone.”

“All these names are apt to become a tad confusing don’t you think?”

“Not at all, it’s just one more way of marking time.”…

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…A short walk later and we are approaching what are undoubtedly the outer precincts of a prehistoric enclosure.

Just then I catch sight of the Gardom Stone from some distance.

There is always a thrill when seeing a site or stone for the first time, but in this case the thrill is tempered somewhat by the simultaneous realisation that, even from this distance, it is obvious that the Gardom Stone is not the Hud Stone.

“It’s there,” I say, “but it is not the Hud Stone.”

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“It’s been called, ‘The Devil Stone’ before now.”

“I can see that too, but let’s face it, we’ve had more than enough truck with that particular personage these last few months.” …

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…“Is it significant,” interrupts Wen.

“Is what significant?”

“The fact that a lot of these stones look different from every angle… I mean it starts to look like another involution.”

“It’s spatially significant for your ubiquitous theory but how so otherwise?”

“Well, take your traditional temple of the elements.”

“Which few people ever do…”

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…“Of what does it consist?” says Wen, ignoring me.

“It consists of a uniform central point and the distinct cardinals.”

“Eloquently put, O Something Feral, eloquently put,” she smiles.

“Oh I see, the distinct cardinals have been collapsed into a central point…”

“Collapsed and reversed, which is something of an involution is it not?”

“It is indeed, Little Grub, and if that is what they were doing…”

“It is genius.”

“Genius, yes, but to what end?”

Scions of Albion

The Lost Stone of Chat…

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“There is a stone which would be worth visiting. It is in Baslow which is on our way to the Symposium so we could stop off there, grab some lunch, check out the stone and then head off to our meeting.”

“Sounds like a plan.”

“If I can remember where it is.”

“I thought you knew where it was; why else tell me about it otherwise.”

“I do, sort of, only we will be coming at it the other way, the last time I visited I came down off the moor but we won’t have time to do it that way.”

“How long ago was this?” says Wen becoming somewhat suspicious.

“About ten years. It’s a huge stone. You can’t miss it and I know the general direction of its whereabouts.”

“How big is the stone?”

“It’s massive. It’s the largest free standing monolith I’ve ever come across and we found it quite by accident.”

“Bigger that the stones at Avebury?”

“Not bigger, but taller than the stones at Avebury.”

“By accident you say?”

“Look, there’s nothing mysterious about it, I’d taken Al and Sal to see the Park-Gate stone circle and then we walked back over the moor, which is another necropolis by the way, to Baslow and lunch. There was some sort of monument giving a rather splendid view of the area and just after that we came down off the moor and found the stone.”

“A necropolis you say? It is not marked on the map,” says Wen with some conviction.

“Well, not all of them are.”

“The big ones though, they usually are, surely?”

“I didn’t imagine it. We even took a photograph. Al and I were laughing because of the, shall we say, somewhat rude reputation of such stones, so we got Sal to stand next to it and Al took a photograph on his phone.”

“Okay, if it’s as big as you say we should be able to find it again quite easily.”…

The Aetheling Thing