Stonehenge

rynner2

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#1
From The Scotsman
IT’S a mystery that has puzzled historians for generations. But now perhaps the most extraordinary explanation of all has been put forward for the mysterious stone-circles of Stonehenge - that they bear an uncanny resemblance to the female sexual organs.

The theory, proposed by Professor Anthony Perks from the department of obstetrics and gynaecology at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, is that the layout of the most famous megalithic monument in Europe is based on the human vulva and the organs surrounding the opening of the birth canal.

Its real significance, argues Prof Perks in the latest edition of the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine, is that Stonehenge was built to symbolise birth at the end of the Ice Age, when infant mortality was much higher than it is now.

He even predicts that if archaeologists were to dig at the centre of the stone circle, they may discover the body of a child in the area that represents the birth canal.

Many theories have been put forward previously, from Stonehenge being a temple at which to worship heavenly bodies to a docking station for aliens from outer space.

But the latest interpretation is based on the layout of the giant stones. According to Prof Perks, the outer ring of stones represents the outer edge of a woman’s labia and the altar stone is meant to signify the clitoris.

The theory, he admits, is controversial, but he says the evidence supporting Stonehenge as a symbol of life is strong. "Stonehenge was a place of life and birth, not death, a place that looked towards the future."
 

NilesCalder

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#3
Emperor Zombie said:
And the sunlight pouring in.


Here's an idea. If they make the place like a womans vulva etc, then with the fact that the sun does pour in, and the fact that god is basically the sun, maybe it wasn't just any fertility thing, they wanted to make a deity that could walk the earth.


Sound plausable?
Did you see, urm, Britain BC (or whatever it was called)? A certain mound, I forget where, on the winter solstice the setting sun shines through the entrance passage. In essence the dying sun penetrates and fertilises the womb of the earth and sires the new year...
 

Jerry_B

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#5
That's at Maes Howe.

Such theories are interesting - but they always make me cringe. Any time anyone, be it an archaeologist, pagan, or whovever tries to explain 'ritual' sites, it starts to get a bit daft. I wish they'd just say, 'We don't know', or that aspects of any given site are 'Unexplained'. Because IMHO, it all ends up sounding rather daft. Unless something is found which tells us distinctly what is going on, I don't feel convinced by second-guessing what may have happened in any religious sense thousands of years ago. I don't see any point in dressing things up when the fact of the matter is that alot of the time sites ar interpreted solely through the imagination of those studying, rather than from constructive evidence.
 
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Anonymous

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#6
JS-:)

Weren't the stone arranged in this order about 100 years ago? By people more interested in aesthetic considerations than historical?
 

Breakfastologist

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#7
I believe the big old mound at Tara also has the midwinter sun shining down the corridor effect.

I've noticed that every time someone from a different field takes a look at Stonehenge they manage to recognise it as something that just happens to fit into their field of expertise (and hence that no-one else would have recognised previously) - perhaps it was created as some kind of koan in stone, a deliberate mystery so each person who considers it finds their own truth :)
 
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Anonymous

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#10
I've squinted at the plan view of Stonehenge and I still can't see it.

Perhaps Freud said it best when (UL?) he said "Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar." ;)
 
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Anonymous

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#11
Hewn and Unhewn

Hewn and Unhewn

Robert Graves: The White Goddess, Faber and Faber Limited, 24 Russell Square London WC1

"Song of Amergin is an ancient Celtic calendar-alphabet, found in several purposely garbled Irish and Welsh variants, which briefly summarizes the prime poetic myth. I have tentatively restored the text as follows:"

Song of Amergin

I am a stag: of seven tines,
I am a flood: across a plain,
I am a wind: on a deep lake,
I am a tear: the Sun lets fall,
I am a hawk: above the cliff,
I am a thorn: beneath the nail,
I am a wonder: among flowers,
I am a wizard: who but I
Sets the cool head aflame with smoke?

I am a spear: that roars for blood,
I am a salmon: in a pool,
I am a lure: from paradise,
I am a hill: where poets walk,
I am a boar: ruthless and red,
I am a breaker: threatening doom,
I am a tide: that drags to death,
I am an infant: who but I
Peeps from the unhewn dolmen, arch?

I am the womb: of every holt,
I am the blaze: on every hill,
I am the queen: of every hive,
I am the shield: for every head,
I am the tomb: of every hope.
It's the bit about the infant "peeping from the unhewn dolmen arch" that's particularily significant here. One can also see the simple, two uprights and a lintel, design of megalithic arches as symbolic of the vagina. Its double significance as a doorway between this World and the next becomes doubly underlined.
.......................

From the same part of the world as Maeshowe (The Orkneys), there is also the ancient village of Scara Brae, that was preserved for over 5000yrs in a sand dune. All the interconnected dwellings have a central fireplace, stone dressers with cubbyholes, stone lined storage pits (or, water tanks) and probable sleeping recesses. They seem to have been extremely, even claustrophobically, cosy.

Some say the village was built in the form of a gigantic woman. If you check out the attached map below, look at the the slightly apart building at top left. It has a much more pronounced shape, narrow entrance/exit at one end and a head shaped recess at the other. Some speculation as to it having a religous function, as I recall. Scara Brae also echoes similiar sites on Malta.
 

Jerry_B

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#12
Ah, but the child reference may be talking about the old custom of passing them through dolmens to protect them from disease ;)

Remember that there were no gaps in the lintels of Stonehenge when it wasn't derelict, so the whole arches/vagina symbolism doesn't work. I think people aren't seeing Stonehenge as it was in it's prime, but as we see it now.
 
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Anonymous

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#13
JerryB said:
Ah, but the child reference may be talking about the old custom of passing them through dolmens to protect them from disease ;)

Remember that there were no gaps in the lintels of Stonehenge when it wasn't derelict, so the whole arches/vagina symbolism doesn't work. I think people aren't seeing Stonehenge as it was in it's prime, but as we see it now.
Must have been some gaps to let sunlight through at the solstices?

There was a traditon of burying infants beneath the floors of dwellings, possibly to act as guardian spirits. I certainly know of it from Iron Age roundhouse and broch dwellings on Orkney and it may well belong to a much earlier tradition.

The legends of helpful/spiteful house spirits and fairies, brownies, hobgoblins and the like seems to have a basis in these burials. Of still born infants, or of those who simply died young of illness, or sacrifices, I couldn't say. The house as mother and the hearth as the passage between this World and the next, seems to be echoed here.

I vaguely remember hearing of similiar traditions amongst the early Romans.
 

Jerry_B

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#14
The lintels are the horizontal bits on top of the uprights. In it's prime, at Stonhenge these would've been in a continuous circular line. So, in effect, you would see a stone hoop suspended on a series of uprights arranged in a circle.

Yep, the Romans also buried dead infants beneath the floors of their houses. Whether the hearth/earth/mother thing is based in any real religious aspect is anyone's guess. I still tend to see such explanations as rather flowery stuff from the minds of archaeologists.
 
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Anonymous

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#15
I'm raving, stop me...

JerryB said:
The lintels are the horizontal bits on top of the uprights. In it's prime, at Stonhenge these would've been in a continuous circular line. So, in effect, you would see a stone hoop suspended on a series of uprights arranged in a circle.
Of course. Must be getting tired. I thought you meant no gaps between the uprights. Still the megalithic arch seems much more straight forward in its symbolism as the entrance to a chambered tomb, or to a neolithic, or later, bronze age, even iron age dwelling.

All those swirly double spirals carved into stone at New Grange, or on Malta, the turf mazes around the place. The dance of the sun and the moon on their journeys of birth, life, death and rebirth. The ancient, serpentine processional routes to Stonehenge, Avebury and etc. all leading to and from the place of the womb/egg...

An attempt to record something permanent on a sacred, feminine, landscape. To be replayed by doing the dance of pilgrimage and courtship.

Just my over active imagination.
 

Mattattattatt

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#16
Hoho...

Joking aside...

Are there any proven vaginal analogies in ancient monuments we can compare this to... I can kinda see how this could be seen as womanly, but I'm not convinced.

Maybe it's a map of an alien star system...

Hey, isn't everything?
 

rynner2

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#18
Re: I'm raving, stop me...

AndroMan said:
I thought you meant no gaps between the uprights. Still the megalithic arch seems much more straight forward in its symbolism as the entrance to a chambered tomb, or to a neolithic, or later, bronze age, even iron age dwelling.
The outer ring was a continuous circle on uprights, but within it stand the larger Trilithons, which (as the name implies) are free standing objects of two uprights and a lintel.


For another angle on female anatomy symbolism, see this thread, which deals with the vesica piscis and the knights of the garter.
 
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Anonymous

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#19
Re: Re: I'm raving, stop me...

Originally posted by rynner
The outer ring was a continuous circle on uprights, but within it stand the larger Trilithons, which (as the name implies) are free standing objects of two uprights and a lintel.



The five large trilithons represent a horse shoe or parabolic 'cup' shape. They're oriented with the base of the parabola to the southwest (see attached below). Obviously, they were in place before the encircling 'ring' was built around them.

The horseshoe is also symbolic of the moon and the vagina.
 

Jerry_B

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#20
Since when has a horshoe had such symbolism attached to it? Most folkore surrounding horshoes are based on taboos to do with luck and the fact that they can look like horns.
 

Jerry_B

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#21
Re: Re: I'm raving, stop me...

rynner said:
The outer ring was a continuous circle on uprights, but within it stand the larger Trilithons, which (as the name implies) are free standing objects of two uprights and a lintel.


For another angle on female anatomy symbolism, see this thread, which deals with the vesica piscis and the knights of the garter.
Ah, but the article that gave birth to this thread is talking about the whole site, not just the trilithons...
 
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Anonymous

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#22
JerryB said:
Since when has a horshoe had such symbolism attached to it? Most folkore surrounding horshoes are based on taboos to do with luck and the fact that they can look like horns.
The significance of the horseshoe, 'horns' pointing up and the 'horns' pointing downwards? They represent the waxing and the waning of the moon.

Journeys and enterprises are best begun on the new Moon, for good luck (and best use of the available moonlight).

Waxing: New Moon, the Maiden (Diana).
Waning: Old Moon, the Hag (Hecate).

All though to be fair, horseshoes, being made of iron, makes them a powerful prophylactic against magic. Perhaps some of those old horshoes became weakly magnetised, through constant pounding? Wouldn't their ability to draw small pieces of iron to them, seem similiar to the apparent effect of the moon on tides?
 
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Anonymous

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#23
Ah but

Stonehenge was built in several phases, originally being just a bank and ditch earthwork. The stones came later, and it took getting on for a thousand years to go from the original bank and ditch to the uprights and blue stones we have now.

The view of prehistoric Britons as being a Goddess worshipping, matriarchal culture owes more to the romantic poets of the Victorian and Edwardian ages than it does to actual archaeology. I was an archaeologist for two years and also worked as the warden for the Rollright Stones. People interpret these places in ways that suit them, usually romantically. Any theory that starts off with a religious premise misses the point that religion in and of itself is a comparatively recent phenomenon. Most "primitive" cultures simply do not seaprate the mystical and the practical. The Nasca lines, if truly built to bring in the rains, could be thought of more as an irrigation tool than a prayer wheel. Equally, the megalithic monuments could have served some fundamentally practical purpose that we can't see because we don't think like that any more.

All archaeological interpretation owes far more to the culture and mindset of the interpreter than it does to the evidence.

Sam
 
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Anonymous

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#26
Re: Ah but

I'm Still Raving You Know! And You Can't Stop Me!

Ravenbait said:
The view of prehistoric Britons as being a Goddess worshipping, matriarchal culture owes more to the romantic poets of the Victorian and Edwardian ages than it does to actual archaeology. I was an archaeologist for two years and also worked as the warden for the Rollright Stones. People interpret these places in ways that suit them, usually romantically. Any theory that starts off with a religious premise misses the point that religion in and of itself is a comparatively recent phenomenon. Most "primitive" cultures simply do not seaprate the mystical and the practical. The Nasca lines, if truly built to bring in the rains, could be thought of more as an irrigation tool than a prayer wheel. Equally, the megalithic monuments could have served some fundamentally practical purpose that we can't see because we don't think like that any more.

All archaeological interpretation owes far more to the culture and mindset of the interpreter than it does to the evidence.

Sam
Couldn't disagree with you there. As you say the practical and mystical not differentiated, so it may well have been with Stonehenge, etc. When I mentioned the word 'religous' in connection with Scara Brae, I knew it was the wrong one, I was so knackered I'd even forgotten the old standby 'of ritual significance.' Comes of writing off the cuff, so much. ;)

As Freud would have pointed out, most symbols of a magical, or 'ritual significance,' will boil down pretty quickly to representations of the male, or female generative function. Stonehenge is interesting, in that we can make a good case for the Sun's involvement in its original purpose and it doesn't take much interpolation to reach a rebirth/regenerative/ fertility function of some sort for it. It would then be reasonable to suppose it to have a feminine aspect. Unless of course the Sun was seen as female.

I did some archaeology too, low level. 'Digging' seems to be, 10% hard graft, 10% facts and 80% 'interpretation.' And 10% facts is an optimistic estimate. Archaeology's job as science is to atomise things down to what we can know. A Fortean's would be to keep interpreting till the best fit's achieved.

I think the case for the 'megalithic arch as yoni' argument is a good one. I think the processional avenue as 'egg eating snake,' symbol also has merits and exists in other forms all over the world. North America, South America and as far away as Australia and may account for the Eve and Serpent tale from the Bible, too.

Like the 'Good Luck' horseshoe, these extraordinary ancient sites and symbols continue to excercise their power on our imaginations because of the multiple compound nature of their symbolic signification at a fundamental level.

Things to do. More later.
 

Jerry_B

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#27
Oh I dunno Androman, such stuff smacks of woolly rose-tinted thinking to me. The thing is, we can suppose as much as we like, but in the end we can't really ever know the whys and wherefores of alot of what's found and still exists. I agree that what's really going on at those sites is in the mind of the surveyor - it doesn't actually tell us anything about the site itself. And there's no way that I can think of that it ever will. Sometimes we just have to bite the bullet and admit that we just don't know, but in the meantime we can amuse ourselves with a wide spectrum of theories - most of which tell us more about the mind of the theorist than anything else..

As for the horseshoe thing, that also sounds odd. What actual references for the Diana/Hecate+horseshoe thing is there?
 
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Anonymous

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#30
Raving.

You want jam on a stick, you do, JerryB. :p

I'm going to have a think about this.

You might ask yourself why the same basic shapes, symbols and signs turn up all over over the World, imbued with similiar or flip/flopped meanings. Separated by time and distance, often with no directly ascertainable cultural, or even contact links.

Horseshoes tied to cars at weddings and as coloured shapes in the confetti. Is it just for to symbolise good luck? Or, is there also a fertility aspect that goes back to Epona, the celtic horse Goddess with her very own horn of plenty and beyond? And why is there such a taboo on eating horsemeat in Britain?

Horseshoes and chimney sweeps. Mummers and Morris Men. Stonehenge, Avebury, the snake eating an egg mound in Ohio and the Rainbow Serpent legends and Dreamtime paths of Aboriginal Australia. Cretan and Hopi labyrinth symbols, like mirror images of each other.

So many interpretations of ancient sites are constrained by the interpreter's experience, knowledge and culture? What is all of human experience and knowledge, but the communications of culture? Are signs and symbols capable of total free play, or are there hard wired in the brain limits that go beyond local cultures?
 
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