POSTCARD#80: North-East Scotland: There are just so many stone circles here, it’s as if there was something mystical about this strange shoulder of land projecting into the North Sea (link). Massive volumes of stone weighing tons, how did they move them? It happened 4000 years ago, no technology, all kinds of theories. A simple answer may be that these huge chunks of granite were already scattered around in the landscape, the result of a major geological event that occurred millennia before. And the stone circles were built there, in locations where there were stones and the right kind of alignment with the moon and stars. Creating the structures would have been a major community effort, ropes and rollers and manpower. A huge task, like building the tallest building in the world, but motivated by belief and accomplished through this compelling Truth, whatever it was that’s lost to us now. In the primitive mind, the mystery was developed into some kind of myth, volcanic beginnings and culminating in these strange structures – gateway to the universe. Even so, 4000 years later there’s something I can feel here, an energy, the mystery of it… how did these stones come to be here in one place, just lying around half buried in the earth.
Generations of these ancient folk looking at the moon and the heavens; experiential knowledge, wisdom not separated from the presence of the phenomenon. Everything carries meaning, words cannot describe it well enough, and it becomes a magical thing. I can picture them all standing up here, the ancient people, watching the sun and the moon and the stars. The location carries the feeling of being in the Northern Hemisphere, the top of the world – just knowing intuitively this is the North. Or maybe it’s to do with altitude… something like being at the top of a mountain looking at the view, and what you see out there has the sense of vastness. Basic common sense tells me there’s a huge drop beyond the horizon – that way is ‘down’. Then the ‘above’ – the heavens up there, over my head and all around.
The flat stone (the recumbent) was the measuring device, or the altar, the portal, and the flanking stones on either side form a kind of frame through which they were able to view the positions of the moon. Mystical stargazing, an experiential wisdom; they were able to contemplate their location in space standing just here. Every 18.6 years the lunar standstill, where the moon appears to be motionless, caused by the coincidence of planetary orbits. You can still see marks carved on the stones where the major standstill moon rises or sets. The mystery is still here. Nobody knows. The ancients’ understanding of why it should be like this is as relevant as any scientific explanation today.
“… knowledge which is completely one with the thing it knows, complete understanding, complete absorption into that knowledge.” [Unsourced quote – I copied this from a fellow blogger’s post without making a note of the source. Please let me know if you are reading this…]