Menhirs, Dolmen, and Circles of Stone: The Folklore and Magic of Sacred Stone

Menhirs, Dolmen, and Circles of Stone: The Folklore and Magic of Sacred Stone

Menhirs, Dolmen, and Circles of Stone: The Folklore and Magic of Sacred Stone

Menhirs, Dolmen, and Circles of Stone: The Folklore and Magic of Sacred Stone

Synopsis

The recognition of stones as objects of power continues uninterrupted from the dawn of humankind into the 21st century. This volume looks at customs and traditions from around the world, from the curious to the profound, related to stones large and small, from prehistory to today. Why are some rocks simply tossed out of the way while others, regardless of their size, are held as sacred, mysterious and imbued with power? The very atmosphere which surrounds some of these stones is permeated with a sense of ancient wisdom and we cannot help but walk quietly, often peeking over our shoulders in the attempt to catch that other being peeking right back at us. The recognition of stones as objects of power continues uninterrupted from the dawn of humankind into the 21st century. This volume looks at customs and traditions from around the world, from the curious to the profound, related to stones large and small, from prehistory to today.

Excerpt

Philosopher-historian Mircea Eliade wrote, “a rock reveals itself to be sacred because its very existence is a hierophany: incompressible, invulnerable, it is that which man is not. It resists time; its reality is coupled with perenniality.” This is true, as far as Eliade goes. But why are some rocks simply tossed out of the way while others, regardless of their size, are held as sacred, mysterious and imbued with power? the very atmosphere which surrounds some of these stones is permeated with a sense of ancient wisdom and we cannot help but walk quietly, often peeking over our shoulders in the attempt to catch that other being peeking right back at us.

When I see large rock outcroppings, I am always tempted to stop and climb my way to the top — not only to observe the world from the lofty pinnacle but also to determine how these structures were perceived and used by an older people, in the ancient past.

The word “megalith” brings to mind images of Stonehenge and Avebury, two of the most awe-inspiring, ancient and sacred sites in the world. However, I have found over the years, large stones and standing stones in particular were universally viewed as connections to the heavens, to ancestors, to the gods themselves. Even today, we feel dwarfed not only in physical stature but also in our very existence as we stand next to these massive and timeless features of the natural and supernatural world.

1. Eliade, Mircea. Cosmos and History: the Myth of the Eternal Return. New York: Harper & Row Publishers, 1959, 4.

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