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

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Algora Publishing, 2004 - Nature - 215 pages
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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? Humans since the dawn of civilization have used stone to represent the holy, both by fashioning sacred symbols for themselves and by granting recognition to certain sites occurring naturally. Varner shares his love of nature lore, oral traditions, folklore and ancient religious structures that are still so abundant in the world, and offers insights on the history and the technology of these artifacts, while touching on the importance of preserving a sense of reverence in today's world. This study examines the universal appeal of sites from the Dome of the Rock and Stonehenge to sites sacred to the Inuit and the Cherokees, from the Middle East to the American Midwest and the English Midlands. 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." The properties of stone were recognized as unique early in humankind's rise to civilization. Even when cultures were transitioning their technologies from stone to metal, it was stone that was used for ritual and other important acts. Early 20th-century Egyptologist Wallis Budge wrote, "in a tomb of the VIth Dynasty at Sakkrah, when the Egyptians had a good knowledge of working in metals, we see in a painting on the wall the act of circumcision being performed on a youth by an operator who uses a flint knife." Little do the keepers of worry stones today realize that they are practicing one of the ancient traditions of transferring their problems to an inanimate object. 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.

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Chapter 1 The Folk Nature of Sacred Stones
Chapter 2 Magical Stones and Charms
Chapter 3 Standing Stones and Ancient Cultures
Chapter 4 Standing Stones In America
Chapter 5 Stone Circles and Aligned Stones
Chapter 6 Stories from the Stones
Chapter 7 Simulacra Natures Artwork
Chapter 9 Cairns
Mystic Symbolism
Chapter 11 The Gods of Stone
Afterword The Importance of Sacred Stones In Contemporary Society
A Megalith Timeline
Selected Bibliography

Portals to the Otherworld

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Page 8 - water. Here she had twins, and their father was the war-eagle, and her children have since peopled the earth. The pipe stone, which is the flesh of their ancestors, is smoked by them as the symbol of peace...
Page 8 - young woman, K-wap-tah-w (a virgin), caught hold of the foot of a very large bird that was flying over, and was carried to the top of a high cliff, not far off, that was above

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