The Stonehenge Temple
Since I haven’t a clue what was meant by the double Bluestone circle, I’ll just skip to the completed Temple. That is, the Sarsen Circle, the Bluestone Circle, the Trilithon Horseshoe, and the Bluestone Horseshoe. I had been looking at this setup since reading Alfred Watkins’ book, “The Old Straight Track”. The Gwyn stone he writes about, names Stonehenge the Ash. So it is the Cosmic Ash. Among the Scandinavian mythology we find that Wodin hung upside down on the Ash tree to gain enlightenment of the Runes, and was pierced by his spear as he hung there. Rune stones were used as oracle stones, they predicted things. It is interesting to note that there is a hill close to Avebury named Woden Hill. Odin/Wodin/Woden are all the same god. So I hung Wodin upside down on the Ash tree.
There is absolutely no way that I can prove that this figure ever hung there, but it does ‘tie’ everything else together. However, here we find the star from the Sator Square. This star formation gave us the message TEREO OPERA AESET, which I translated as: “Attending carefully to the workings (of the spheres) is an asset (to understanding)”. An apt Motto for Stonehenge. One of the things we forget about Stonehenge is that it wasn’t just a calendar and an astronomical observatory, it also gives land directions, and there was a great deal of ‘stretching of the cord’ that went on in that whole area. Surveying is a direct result of astronomy, and was very much tied together in ancient times. Stonehenge may have been ‘head office’ for the Dodmen, who were the surveyors, but who may also have been geologists.
I’m sure they didn’t just go around the British Isles surveying to find out how big the place was just to pass the time. Educated people have always looked for the wealth of any area they inhabited. At first they were likely looking for different types of stone, the Cumbrian Axe Factory dates c4000 BCE. But they would also have been looking for metals and gem stones, and anything unusual. The UK and Ireland did become well-known for tin, copper, silver and gold. Amber and Jet were also popular items. The other very important commodity which was found was salt. Salt is something we take for granted in our modern world, but in Neolithic times it would have been worth a great deal. Salt wasn’t just to cook with, food could be preserved using salt, even meat, fowl and fish. It gave a longer storage life to food, making for a better variety in the winter. In hot climates it stopped food from going bad. Fresh hides, salted down, rolled up and kept in a cool place will keep for months, or until you had a chance to tan them. It made for less of a rush dealing with the hides while you were dealing with the butchering. Salt taxes existed for hundreds of years because it was a commodity everyone needed. There were massive deposits of salt at Droitwich, mined since ancient times. The natural brine there contains 2 1/2 pounds of salt per gallon. This is ten times stronger than sea water, only the Dead Sea is saltier. Salt may have been one of England’s earliest export items.
At first I was taken up by the triangles that this figure was made up of. There is one equilateral triangle, three isosceles triangles with angles 30°,120°,30°, and six right-angled triangles with angles 30°, 60°, 90°. I then noticed that his arms, legs and head, each showed one Bluestone within them. I guess that flash of lightning must have hit me then. I realized that what I was seeing was a body hanging upside down in the Cauldron of Immortality. The five trilithons are the cauldron and the Bluestones the magic fluid in the cauldron. The whole Temple is a cauldron. The Sarsen Circle is the top rim of the cauldron and the Bluestone circle the magic fluid in that cauldron. The Earth itself was considered a Cauldron of Immortality, and She is, since all life comes from Her and returns to Her in a never-ending cycle. This figure is also ‘a thing of beauty’, just like an apple, it looks like five seed pockets containing five seeds. The Ash tree in Avalon.
Although this is a Celtic interpretation, there may be another symbolic meaning which comes from Egyptian mythology. It concerns the birth of Ra. In one version, Ra was born from an egg, laid by Thoth as the Ibis, upon the Mound of Creation, which was Hathor as the Milky way. The Sarsen Circle would then be the Mound of Creation. The Trilithon Horseshoe, the egg. The Bluestones then represent the Primordial Waters, which was symbolic of the Egyptian goddess Neith. Star light, star bright then becomes Ra born from the egg.
The Bluestones may have been polished, and when this stone is polished it can look very much like lapis lazuli. Only the very best clear blue lapis was used for jewellery, furniture inlay, etc., but lapis can also have white veining and small inclusions which makes it look much like polished Bluestone. From a distance, the polished Bluestones would have looked like water.
The following is by Donald MacKenzie: China and Japan
“The colours of stones were supposed to reveal the characters of the spirits that inhabited them. In Egypt, for instance, the blue turquoise was connected with the mother-goddess Hathor, who was, among other things, a deity of the sky and therefore the controller of the waters above the firmament as well as the Nile. She was the mother of Sun and Moon. She was appealed to for water by agriculturalists and for favourable winds with seafarers. The symbol used on such occasions was a blue stone. It was a “luck” stone that exercised an influence on the elements controlled by the goddess. In the Hebrides a blue stone used to be reverenced by the descendants of ancient sea-rovers. Martin in his Western Isles tells of such a stone, said always to be wet, which was preserved in a chapel dedicated to St. Columba on the Island of Fladda. “It is an extraordinary custom,” he has written, “when fishermen are detained in the isle by contrary winds, to wash the blue-stone all round, expecting thereby to procure a favourable wind, which, the credulous tenant living in the isle says, never fails, especially if a stranger wash the stone.”
Perhaps that is why they had Bluestonehenge down by the Avon. There are supposed to have been many fires burning there, likely beacon fires to guide sailors to that location. If Stonehenge became a pilgrimage place, which it is starting to look as if it was, then one of the closest places to sail to would be where Bluestonehenge was located. This was their sea connection, home port for Stonehenge, the Avenue leads you straight there. Perhaps there was a whole ‘staff’ there, and guards of course. A welcoming committee, perhaps with refreshments and blessings, etc. And perhaps those sailing away would have been given special blessings before their departure, after dousing the Bluestones with water for favourable winds.
I mustn’t forget about Wodin, who hung upside down on Yggdrasil. Ygg was another name for Wodin and, drasil, means a horse. But it is understood that Yggdrasil was the Cosmic Ash. Wodin hung upside down there to gain enlightenment of the Runes. Each trilithon looks like the Ogham symbol for Luis or Rowan, and Rowan sticks were used to cut Runes on. If this figure, created out of cords, hung on the trilithons, the shadows of the cords on the trilithons would look like Runes. Part of him even looks like a spear head.
One other mention comes from Diodorus Siculus, who wrote that the Sun god Apollo, went to the land of the Hyperboreans every nineteen years, this having to do with eclipse cycles, and danced and played upon the cithara all day. A cithara was an ancient Greek lyre which was horseshoe-shaped. As the Sun moved around so would the shadows of the cords of the Sun god, making it look as if he were dancing and playing a cithara, I suppose…………….. By the time Diodorus came up with this story, Stonehenge had already become part of mythology.
One of the problems with really ancient history in the UK and Ireland, is that we don’t know what sort of gods and goddesses were being followed at the time. All we have is the Celtic, Pictish, Saxon and Scandinavian mythologies, but we don’t know what came before that. Picts, however, were from the same DNA group as the Iberian Celts and the Windmill Hill people, not different people, just more of them. Freyja was a reflection of the Sumerian goddess Inanna, the original triple goddess, who later becomes Brigid in the UK and Ireland, and who still exists in St. Brigit. However, Brigid also had a connection to Hathor, another Mother goddess. Hathor was patron of mining, and connected to healing, particularly to do with women and children. Brigid was patron of smithcraft, and also connected to healing concerning women and children. Even St. Brigit was known for her devotion to women and children.The Hebrides are named for Bride or Brigid, the very place where people were still washing the “blue-stone”.
However, there are many clues in these myths which correspond to things we find at Stonehenge and other such places. One of these is Manannan’s Crane Bag. Manannan had a pet white Crane, whom he loved dearly. When she died, he made a bag out of her skin, in which he kept his treasures. Manannan’s Crane was Cygnus, which was circumpolar at one time, but at Stonehenge the major stars of Cygnus; Deneb, Sadr and Altair, start to drop below the horizon part of the night around the autumn Equinox c5000 BCE. They begin to stay longer below the horizon as time goes by. c3500 BCE they disappear below the horizon and don’t reappear before Sunrise. At that point, Manannan’s Crane died.
The Crane Bag is the big white bank at Stonehenge, and likely at many of the other places surrounded by white banks, and all his treasures were contained within the confines of Stonehenge’s big white bank. At high tide the Crane Bag seemed full, but at low tide it seemed flat. On a night of the full Moon, you would be able to see the white bank at Stonehenge as well as the Temple, but at the dark of the Moon you would still see the white bank, but everything else would just look black. You may not have been able to see the Temple at all, so the Crane Bag was flat at low tide.
However, there are egg shaped ‘circles’, possibly symbolizing the egg which Thoth laid on the Mound of Creation. One of the strangest examples is Callanish which actually looks like a long-necked, long-legged bird, although I’m sure that wasn’t Mr. B. Somerville’s intention when he drew this. I added the red line, but the rest is from Mr. Somerville. Arbor Low is 5° east and 5° south of Callanish, and there is a recumbent white stone, egg-shaped ‘circle’ there. Those ancient astronomer/surveyors seem to have had an odd sense of humour.
There is overlapping symbolism about Cygnus in the UK and Ireland. Celtic mythology over top of Egyptian mythology, which continues on into the monasteries in the Book of Kells and in the Book of Lindisfarne. At Newgrange and Knowth there are dished stones with orb spiders carved on them. Apart from being symbolic of the Primordial Waters, Neith, is also the Spinner of Destinies and as such is sometimes represented as a spider. She is equated to Inanna/Ishtar, Venus again. Neith was married to Khnum, the Divine Potter, creator of gods and men. Khnum is another aspect of Min, Khem and Thoth. The people of Uist may have had an Osiris cult. They created mummies out of different people’s body parts, and do seem to have preserved them above ground for at least five hundred years before they were properly buried. In Egypt, an effigy of Osiris’ mummy was brought out once a year and paraded out into the desert and back. Creswell Crags is said to have an Ibis head and an egg carved on the rock close to the entrance of one of the caves. It’s been dated c10,500 BCE. There are others who deny that this is an Ibis.
However, it made me curious enough to check out what was happening at Stonehenge at the time. On November 12, 10,501 BCE (this date was corrected) Cygnus, which sits on the Milky Way, came flying above the horizon and then turned straight up into a vertical position, almost right above where the Avenue would be at Stonehenge. The Milky Way sat NE/SW and passed through zenith overhead, splitting the dome of the night sky in two. This amazing sight may have started all the ancient connections to Cygnus. Some of the ice was obviously already gone when someone made those carvings at Creswell Crags, and Cygnus may have been seen as the saviour of mankind after the ice started to melt. It became a symbol of resurrection connected to both Perseus and Jesus. At Callanish there seems to have been a rebirth cult connected to waterfowl. By the time Callanish was built, Cygnus was reappearing again above the horizon before Sunrise.
The Isle of Man in named for Manannan, the first of these, was said to be Little Manannan mac Alliot, a druid of the Tuatha De Danann. Oirbsen was his proper name, connected to Oir I wonder? The Enlightened One perhaps? Usually he is called Manannan Mac Llyr, Mac Llyr just meaning ‘son of the sea’. Manannan is an archetype of astronomer/sailor/merchant/king, and basically a well-educated man, who owned a magic horse which could travel as well by sea as by land. Here we are, back at the Trilithon Horseshoe again. This is where you could learn astronomy and surveying, and how to navigate at sea.
In 3000 BCE, being able to navigate the seas would have been a very important talent, particularly if you lived on an island split away from the rest of the Continent. Some of the Windmill Hill people’s ancestors had been seafarers, and some of them were also, or they wouldn’t have made it to the Isles. Once a sailor, always a sailor, and no doubt these sailors would have kept on with their trade, going back and forth to the Continent. It would allow them to check out other lands, to see what they had for trade goods, and to trade their own goods. It also gave them the opportunity to see how things were done in other places, and pick up on any new innovations and inventions. While they were at it, they could tell everyone what a marvelous place they came from. A little advertising never hurts when you live on an island, especially when you had such an interesting, magical place as Stonehenge. You need a drawing card when you live on an island, and Stonehenge was it by 2500 BCE. Perhaps the new sailors, who had learned all their lessons at Stonehenge, left from Bluestonehenge after washing the Bluestones, and being blessed by whoever was in charge of such things.
My own name for this figure made out of cords is, Lugh. Lugh of the long arm or hand. Lugh was the god of light and enlightenment. On the above groundplan of Stonehenge with the figure of Lugh, he has a red line coming off one of his arms. On a sunny day, there is a line of light which appears on the ground at this position every day just before noon. It slowly diminishes, and when it is gone, it is apparent noon at Stonehenge. This line of light only appears between the Trilithon and the Sarsen Circle, it doesn’t penetrate into the centre at all. This line of light also sits exactly N/S. So everyday you would know when it was noon, and also have a refresher on the directions, and this is Lugh’s long arm or hand. There are other things which happen to him there which makes me call him Lugh, but will deal with him separately some other time.
I think this figure hung at an angle, His head was high up, and his legs low to the ground. He could have been put up and taken down very quickly if toggles were used to hang him up with, the toggles would have been at the back of the stones. The only place where you could see right into the Temple was between Sarsen uprights 1 and 30. All the other openings had Bluestones impeding your view into the centre of the Temple. You might have seen small bits, but not enough to get the full view of what was really going on in there. I doubt if the population would have been allowed to come very close. It would have been impressed upon them, that it was too dangerous, after all, this was the full power of the Sun god.
The pulleys are a little higher than they would have needed to be, but this makes it clearer to see. Once they attached the rope to the pulleys, they wouldn’t want to take it down all the time, so they would have been able to untie it from the toggle. There would have been two holes drilled in the toggle to connect the rope. To connect it, one end of the rope would be passed through a hole, then looped around the rope coming from the pulleys, down through the hole again, and then the end would go through the loop from back to front. Now the line would be secured to the toggle, and it could have been undone each time they were through with Lugh for the time being. The ‘arms’ could have been pushed up by using a long forked stick, they didn’t hang that high. The feet, also on toggles, would have been tied down using an upright or possibly a bluestone behind the trilithon.Once the figure was up far enough, the end of the rope could have been held down with a good-sized rock.
I’m not sure what he may have been made of. Something shiny that would have added to the effect, but pliable so it could be stored easily or hidden. Perhaps braided cord with metal beading. By the time the Temple was built, there were metals being mined and bronze was being made. Perhaps a whole host of things were used besides metals, such as amber, jet, and quartz, anything shiny that would flash in the sun. Even fish scales would have done the job, we still make sequins from them today.
The idea for the pulleys came from reading that the lintel of the Great Trilithon had mortise holes on the top of it as well as on the bottom. The question has always been, why? At least that was my question. One theory is that there may have been another small trilithon on top, but when I read that, it gave me the answer to how they managed to lift this figure’s head so high. It is twenty-two feet in the air, not that handy to get at, particularly if you didn’t want to be seen.
The Altar stone, which has all the mica flecks in it, lay NE/SW. I have not put it on the groundplan since it would look rather rude, although that may have been part of the symbolism. The month of June is associated with Holly, which is a symbol of fatherhood and paternity, and is that battle waging spear. Both Lugh and Wodin are connected to fertility and both had magic spears. Holly is also associated to balance and equilibrium, which must be at the root of the building project. There are many theories about the building of the Temple, although, I’m not sure if anyone has figured it out, but balance and equilibrium probably had a lot to do with it. On the other hand, he may have started out being Min the Moon god, whose festival day was June 21, and who was a symbol of fertility and fatherhood. What may have occurred here was a religion which evolved over time, changing from the Moon god to the god of Light.
A good deal of stagecraft went on here. The population may have been allowed in the complex, but not that close, certainly not in the Temple. Priests and priestesses only, after all, this was where they welcomed the Sun/Moon god. The sparkles and shadows of the altar stone would also show the operators that this was the longest or shortest day. On the longest day, our pointy headed fellow would have been all lit up, and the Altar stone would sparkle beautifully. On the shortest day his cords would have been all lit up at Sunset when the Sun would shine right through him. Only part of the Altar stone would sparkle, because one of the Bluestones in the Horseshoe would cast a shadow down the centre.
Going back to Celtic thought. It was believed that the Sun was at his most powerful at the Summer Solstice, and that the doors to the Otherworld opened emitting three beams of light. Only the three trilithons where his head and arms appear would look as if they were emitting beams of light. His feet would have been attached to the bottom of the other two trilithons, unseen by the audience outside of the Temple.
The period between the end of October and December 21, was considered a dead time by Celts. Which is understandable since all crops would be in, the meat butchered, and there would be no more berries or other fruit to pick. There is one other reason why this would have been considered a dead time. No Sunrise would penetrate into the centre of the Temple between the end of October and December 20, but on the twenty-first, Sunrise would appear between the trilithons again, casting a beam of light into the centre.
One December 21, Celts celebrated Yule. It was the night that they welcomed Cernunnos, who returned on that night. Cern un nos translates to Horn One Night, and he was only celebrated on one night. He was the consort of the Mother (Earth) and watched over all her children (all life on Earth) while she slept during the winter. Since he started off as being another aspect of the Sun god, this makes perfect sense. Seeing the Sun shining right through him on that evening would certainly have had its effect. Was this figure the original Horned One? That pointy head and all. Although he would have represented the Sun god, a star come down to Earth. One of the things found at Stonehenge, was five antler tines carefully placed in one of the Y or Z holes (the author doesn’t say which). I have seen Cernunnos with harts antlers, one place is on the Gundestrup cauldron. A hart is a male deer over five years of age, and a five-year old would have five tines on its antlers. These antler tines placed carefully in one of the holes were quite likely connected to Cernunnos.
I don’t think he hung there all the time, only at special times, like the longest and shortest day, perhaps the equinoxes also, but I think he may have been used on a day of a Solar eclipse. Let’s say that there was a Solar eclipse on June 21. Everyone, including the priest/priestess, would be looking at the spot where the Sun had disappeared. The priest/priestess goes on and on, perhaps brandishing their green stone axe, and the people would hold their breath, perhaps kneeling with bowed heads to the ground. Will it come back, they wonder? While they were all doing their praying, others within the Sarsen circle would be getting ready to hoist Lugh. The Sun would reappear fully, and when the priest/priestess and the people turn back to look at the Temple, there would be the pointy headed fellow, just to prove that everything was alright, he was still with them.
That night the operators would have taken him down again. Where did they store him? Perhaps under the Altar stone. I realize that this is a very large block of stone, but if it was on a pivot in the centre, and not quite lying on the ground, it could have been moved quite easily. Just a bit, so that the priests could grab their hidden man. Perhaps they used their fat cigarette shaped pieces of flint as miniature rollers.
Were the people, who built this part of Stonehenge, Celts as we understand them? Genetics would suggest that they were, and what happened at Stonehenge does seem to have become part of their mythology. There do seem to have been Druids around when Silbury Hill was built. Among the items found at the core were Oak, Hazel and Mistletoe. Using the Ogham symbolism, Oak is solid foundation, solid protection and the doorway to enlightenment/the mysteries. This is indicative of the Druids themselves, they were the doorway to enlightenment/ the mysteries, they were the teachers.The Hazel is connected to the Hazels of Wisdom, this is all the knowledge that the Druids taught.The Mistletoe was particularly sacred and was named All Heal. It was seen as a spiritual connection to the fertility of the land. A mistletoe berry has four semicircular formations around a central fifth circle. These represent the four cities of the gods, which are the four directions, and the etheric centre which connects the three planes of existence. It was considered very sacred if found on Oak trees, which isn’t that often, and it was gathered with golden sickles at the full Moon closest to the Winter Solstice. The Oak tree was seen as a powerful life force, since it lived so long, and Mistletoe from Oak would be considered that much more potent as a fertility symbol.
Bran, who belongs to Welsh mythology, owned the Cauldron of Immortality, given to him by two giants. Bran’s Cauldron of Immortality was time, and the calendar which keeps a record of this time. Stonehenge was the Cauldron or calendar, and it was all set up according to the movements of the Sun and Moon, the two giants. We always think of immortality at a personal level, we’ll live forever. However, our ancestors’ descendents are their immortality, just as our descendents will become our immortality. Genetic immortality. The song “Rise Again” by The Rankin Family, says it very well, “We rise again in the faces of our children…….”
There are some characters, such as Manannan/Manawydan, Bran and Branwen, who seem to only have connections to the UK and Ireland, but Lugh was well-known throughout all Celtic lands. The Romans equated him with Mercury, and on the Continent he became known as Gaulish Mercury. However, Celts likely still called him Lugus. After Christianity became the state religion, most places dedicated to Lugus, Lugh, Belinus, Wodin, Odin, Woden, Wotan and Gaulish Mercury were replaced by shrines dedicated to St. Michael. They are all connected to light, enlightenment and justice. Lugh and St. Michael also have connections to lightning as does Mount Carmel.
Elijah challenged the priests of Baal, to see whose god was the most powerful. Their god had to set the sacrifice on the altar on Mount Carmel ablaze, but the Baal priests failed. Elijah pours water all over the altar and the sacrifice, and a bolt of lightning shot out of the sky, crisping the sacrifice and drying all the water on the altar, this being taken as a sign that his God was supreme. Almost as an afterthought it is mentions that it rained heavily after that, ending the drought which had been occurring at the time.
Mercury was Hermes among the Greeks, and they equated him to Thoth. With St. Michael we are back to the lines of incidence, the St. Michael-Apollo line and the St. Michael’s Ley. Apollo was another god of light. So it would seem that these two lines of incidence were based on light, enlightenment and justice, and travelled a great distance. They pass through many holy sites all the way from Mount Carmel to Skellig Michel and possibly Heligoland, which means Holy Land and was also connected to gods of light, enlightenment and justice. Thoth was also connected to justice, he was present when the deceased’s heart was weighed against Maat’s feather.
But just as the White Trail trails all over the map, this story has also trailed away from Stonehenge. So getting back there, the geometric figure that I name Lugh, and which I originally found through the Queen/Quin/Gwyn Stone, did originally have a very important function. Twenty years sit between the time I first hung Wodin on the Ash Tree and my discovery of him in this other role, but that will have to be for next time.
Alfred Watkins, “The Old Straight Track”
Fernand Neil, “The Mysteries of Stonehenge”
Gerald S. Hawkins and J. B White, “Stonehenge Decoded”
The Ogdoad, Wikipedia
Photograph of Stonehenge, the Science Photo Library
Groundplan of the Sarsen Circle, “Stonehenge Decoded”
Diagram of Callanish by B. Somerville, “Stonehenge Decoded” but originally in “The Journal of the British Astronomy Association, 1912”
Lugh and Lifting Lugh, J Rankin