Following the White Trail to Stonehenge Part VII

Spinning Threads

Spinning Threads

The 56 Aubrey holes at Stonehenge have always been a puzzle, but I found that they could be used as a calendar. Not only for keeping track of days and years, but also for keeping track of planets, stars and eclipses. 56 is a very interesting number, it can be 7 x 8 = 56, 4 x 14 = 56, 2 x 28 = 56. Gerald Hawkins found that eclipse cycles at Stonehenge run 10, 9, 9, 10, 9, 9, years or 19, 19, 18 years. 10 + 9 + 9 + 10 + 9 + 9 = 56. 19 + 19 + 18 = 56. The year, 6.5 x 56 = 364 + 1 = 365. The cycle of Venus which passes between the Sun and the Earth every 584 days 10 x 56 + 24 = 584. The astronomers at Stonehenge were also keeping track of cycles of 72 and 128 years. 72 + 56 = 128. 72 years has to do with cycles of the Zodiac, and every 128 years they were not adding a day for leap year. (1)

There is a much more interesting number connected to the Aubrey holes. 360° ÷ 56 = 6.4285714°. In the diagram below all the black dots, Suns and Moons are all positions of the full Moon. The ones in the central zone are full Winter Moons which become involved with eclipses of both the Sun and Moon at both the Winter and Summer Solstices. These are not the positions of the actual eclipses. The Winter Sun never comes near the Avenue and the Summer Moon closest to Summer Solstice will eclipse between the uprights of the Great Trilithon.

Hawkins 001

When the Winter Moon is traveling from its Minor to Major position over 18.61 years, it will be in the middle zone every 10, 9, 9 years. When it is  in its Minor or Major position it indicates eclipses close to the Equinoxes, but in the middle zone it indicates eclipses at the Winter and/ or Summer Solstice. By watching the position of the Winter Moon’s rising, the astronomers at Stonehenge would know whether there would be an eclipse close to either the Equinoxes or Solstices. As can be seen, the middle zone is not quite 6.5° wide, it’s more like 6.4285714° wide.

There are several theories about eclipse prediction at Stonehenge and the manner in which it could be done. They all work, but the people at Stonehenge had a much simpler way. If they saw that the Winter Moon indicated an eclipse of the Moon close to Summer Solstice, all they had to do was count the days on their calendar until the full Moon in May. This would tell them when the next full Moon would be in June. Gerald Hawkins was at Stonehenge in 1964, he knew there would be an eclipse of the Moon on June 25. He noticed that the time difference between the Moon’s rising and the Sun’s setting became shorter by almost an hour a day, until June 24 when the Moon rose 15 minutes before the Sun set. Six hours later there was an eclipse of the Moon at around 2 AM, June 25.

stonehengeb Moon eclipse

I checked out this eclipse in 1964 on Cybersky, and what I found was that the first flash of the Moon above the horizon occurred at 8:06 PM and by 2:31:43 AM the Moon had eclipsed and now the first sliver of light was appearing again. 6.4285714 hours = 6 hours, 25 minutes and 43 seconds. This is the amount of time between 8:06 PM and 2:31:43 AM. This time difference between the Moon rising, the Sun setting and the eclipse will always be the same, except that the time of the eclipse would be different on June 10 than it would be on June 22, because on June 10 the Moon will rise earlier and the Sun set earlier, and so the eclipse will also be earlier. There is also a limit to the time difference between Moonrise and Sunrise for an eclipse of the Sun. If the Moon rises too long before Sunrise, the Sun will not have time to catch up to the Moon for an eclipse. That is what actually happens for an eclipse of the Sun. The Sun is traveling faster than the Moon and it passes behind the Moon to become eclipsed.

There is one other thing which I discovered about this magic number 6.4285714. I was so curious about it that I looked it up on line just to see if something would come up about this. And it did. 45 days = 6.4285714 weeks. What was the meaning of this 45 days? New Years day of the Stonehenge calendar was June 21. At Sunset that evening a marker was placed between Aubrey holes 28-27, this was to mark the first day. The marker then travelled counter-clockwise, not being moved until Sunset of each day. Including June 21 as day 1, 45 days will take you to August 4, day 90 is September 18, day 135 is November 2, day 180 is December 17, day 225 is January 31, day 270 is March 17, day 315 is May 1, day 360 is June 15. 8 x 45 = 360 + 5 = 365. It is likely that they had permanent mark stones at these eight places on the Aubrey hole circle. Perhaps painted different colours, or painted with different symbols which would tell them which day it was when they came to one.45 day cycle

Our modern quarter and cross quarter days are June 21, August 1, September 21, October 31, December 21, February 2, March 21, and May 1. The quarter days are in June, September, December and March, these are the Solstices and Equinoxes. Trying to pinpoint the exact day of the Solstices just by observing Sunrise is very difficult because the Sun seems to stand still for several days before you will notice the movement in the other direction again. But at Stonehenge they had their calendar to tell them when the exact day was. Including June 21, it is 184 days until Sunset of the Winter Solstice. You can see where day 180 is, in three days the marker would be between 13-14 at H. The next morning will be the Sunrise of Winter Solstice which in 3000 and 2500 BCE would appear at 130.48° and 130.39° which fall between 12-13 marked by the blue dot. At Sundown your marker will be between 12-13, and you will have counted 184 days The folks at Stonehenge seem to have been keeping a calendar of 8 periods of 45 days each, plus 5 days.

One of the most interesting outcomes of this plotting of the 45 days is that when the lowest five numbers are connected, they create a pentagram which in this case  becomes a pentacle since it is inside a circle. The oldest representation of a pentagram comes from Mesopotamia 3000 BCE, but it seems the folks at Stonehenge already had one in 3154 BCE when their calendar started. There is a great deal of symbolism attached to both the pentagram and pentacle which exists among many cultures in the world. However, the most important thing about this one at Stonehenge is that it shows a direct link between astronomy and geometry. It was astronomy and the counting of those 45 day periods on 56 places which created the pentagram.

The magic number 6.4285714 does play a great part at Stonehenge. It’s the number of degrees between Aubrey holes. It’s the number of degrees of the Moon/Sun indicator eclipse zone on the Avenue. It is the hours, minutes and seconds between first flash of the Moon’s rising and the first sliver of light of the Moon as the eclipse started passing away again. And last, but not least, it represents 45 days which divided the Aubrey hole circle into the quarters and cross quarters of the year. The layout for the 56 Aubrey holes was also created using astronomy. (2) It would seem that right from the beginning Stonehenge was all about astronomy. So far I have not found any use of higher mathematics here, nor did they use any complicated geometry. The pentagram was only the outcome of the 45 day cycle.


Stonehenge Decoded by Gerald Hawkins in collaboration with John B. White


Sun Moon Lozenge Applet by J. Giessen

(1) Following the White Trail to Stonehenge Part II

(2) Following the White Trail to Stonehenge Part I

Diagrams and pictures

Spider Woman 1986 painting by Susan Seddon Boulet

Stonehenge Decoded by Gerald Hawkins in collaboration with John B. White

Moon eclipse at Stonehenge from

Groundplan of Stonehenge from the Ancient Monuments Branch, Ministry of Public Buildings and Works, England. Additions by J. Rankin

The Navigators

“This book contains the story of the discovery of the first hard evidence that advanced peoples preceded all the peoples now known to history. In one field, ancient sea charts, it appears that accurate information has been handed down from people to people. It appears that the charts must have originated with a people unknown, that they were passed on, perhaps by the Minoans (the Sea Kings of ancient Crete) and the Phoenicians, who were but a thousand years and more the greatest sailors of the ancient world.” (1)

So begins Charles Hapgood’s book Maps of the Ancient Sea Kings. He and his students at Keen State College undertook to analyse the Piri Re’is Map of 1513. Charles Hapgood, his students and several other experts in astronomy, mathematics, history and map making spent seven years analyzing not only the Piri Re’is Map but many other ancient maps also.

                                                               The Piri Re’is Map of 1513

John K. Wright, past director of the American Geographical Society had the following to say about this book:

“The geographer and geologist William Morris once discussed “The Value of Outrages Geological Hypotheses” * His point was that such hypotheses arouse interest, invite attack, and thus serve useful fermentative purposes in advancement of geology. Mr. Hapgood will agree, I am sure, that this book records a mighty proliferation of outrages cartographical and historical hypotheses, as luxuriant as an equatorial vine. His hypotheses will “outrage” the conservative instincts of the historically minded cartographers and cartographically minded historians. But while those in whom conservatism predominates will react to this book like bulls to red rags, those of radical, iconoclastic bent of mind will react like bees to honeysuckle, and the liberals in between will experience a feeling of stimulating bafflement.

A map dating from 1513, and by the Turkish Admiral, Piri Re’is, is the seed from which the vine has grown. Only the western half of the map has been preserved. It shows the Atlantic coasts from France to the Caribbean on the north to what Hapgood (following Captain A. H. Mallery) holds to be Antarctica on the south; and of course any proposition that any part of Antarctica could have been mapped before 1513 is startling. But yet more startling are the further propositions that have arisen from the intensive studies  that Mr. Hapgood and his students have made of this and other medieval and early modern maps. These studies which took seven years, have convinced him that the maps were derived from prototypes drawn in pre-Hellenic times (perhaps even as early as the last Ice Age). That these older maps were based upon a sophisticated understanding of spherical trigonometry of map projections, and – what seems even more incredible – upon a detailed and accurate knowledge of latitudes and longitudes of coastal features throughout a large part of the world.” (2)

Charles Hapgood, his students and many others connected to this project came to the conclusion that there must have been an older, more scientific culture in ancient times than what we are aware of. One which was well acquainted with astronomy, higher mathematics, surveying and navigation. This doesn’t mean that this culture may have been a high-tech one such as our own, only that there were well educated people who likely did live in a high culture. Hapgood explained such maps as the one by Oronteus Finaeus, dating 1531, as a compilation of many small maps which had been gathered together over time. Many of these old maps have details of the interiors of countries which could only have been gathered  by people surveying by land.

                                                                The Oronteus Finaeus Map 1531

Like all other theories this one is still hotly debated, but as Hapgood says in his book “you find what you look for”.  By this he meant that up until his time few people had ever considered that there had been a high civilization with astronomers, mathematicians, surveyors and navigators in ancient times, so ancient that we have no records of them. Of course, some of the records are still there in the ancient sea charts, and in the ancient megalithic constructions on land. But regardless of whether you believe that there was such a civilization or not, there are hard to explain things about some of the maps.  One of the standard maps used in medieval times was the portolan chart. So called because they took mariners from port to port. The Dulcert Portolano of 1339 is one such map.

                                                                          The Dulcert Portolano

These maps usually cover Europe and the lands around the Mediterranean. The longitudes and latitudes seem to be much more correct on the older versions rather than the later ones. The theory being that these maps were copied and recopied by several different people. There were a great many documents and maps destroyed at the library of Alexandria when the contents were burned several times. The old libraries of Carthage and other old cities are also believed to have been destroyed by one group or another during various wars. These libraries housed records about history, literature, mathematics, astronomy, surveying, architecture, medicine, maps and navigation to name but a few things. A great deal of the written word has been lost due to new ideas coming along, some religious, some not. Book burnings still happen, and people still scrap books from libraries if they don’t consider them fit………….according to their way of thinking.

What is puzzling about these maps is the longitude. The question being, “How did people in ancient times find longitude?” The chronometer was not invented until the eighteenth century. Before that, longitude was quite a puzzle for many hundreds of years. But long before that, it doesn’t seem to have been a puzzle at all. The people who built the Temple at Stonehenge c2500 BCE knew about it. There’s a line of light there which shows up just before noon. It gradually gets smaller and smaller, until it disappears. It is then apparent noon at Stonehenge, and the line of light sits N/S. A longitude line every day. There are many things on the landscape which show that these people understood longitude. Avebury and Silbury Hill are directly north of Stonehenge. Arbor Low and its egg-shaped recumbent white stone ‘circle’ is 2° north of Stonehenge. Callanish is 5° north and 5° west of Arbor Low. Holy Island is 4° north of Stonehenge. Glastonbury Tor is 1° west of Stonehenge. Oddly enough things do seem to have been placed on the landscape by degrees, both latitude and longitude. The ancients were measuring the globe in 360°.

This sort of geodesy is not confined to Great Britain and Ireland, but can be found in many places on the globe. One of the most interesting places is France and some of the surrounding countries. Right about the time Alfred Watkins was hunting old straight tracks in England, a French detective named Xavier Guichard began a personal investigation into the roots of place names in France. His research led him to conclude that locations with the root-name ‘Alaise’ had once belonged to a network of alignments which extended throughout France, and other areas in Europe, through longitude and latitude. He concluded that he had touched on the Eleusian mysteries of ancient Greece. Unfortunately he and Alfred Watkins didn’t know each other or about their individual searches. 

Alaise, France is at 47° 00′ N, 5° 58′ E, and Eleusis Greece is at 38° 00′ N, 18° 00′ E. The two sites are separated by 9° latitude and 12° longitude.

“Of particular relevance is the fact that Guichard’s research uncovered the fact that Aleusian sites were separated by units of degrees of longitude and latitude, a notion which suggests an understanding of higher geometry and several other sciences. Guichard’s research has traditionally been scorned by mainstream historians, but independent research confirms his data, and much of his original theory.” (3)

The independent research is being done by Alex Whitaker of All the data can be viewed on his site. He has checked mainly primary locations, plus one secondary one.

Out of 48 primary places, the latitude for 32 were confirmed correct. The other 16 were not found. However, some place names have changed since Guichard’s day, spellings also. Llussa, Spain is now Lluca. Alex in France is now Aleix, and Leysele, Belgium is now Leisele. Although Mr. Whitaker has only 31 confirmed because he could not find Alzonne on Corsica, I found Ajaccio on Corsica which is at the correct latitude. I think perhaps Guichard made a mistake with the name. Alzonne is a department in France. This is why I have 32 as confirmed.

Out of 18 primary places, Mr. Whitaker found 14 correct for longitude. Some of the other locations were not found, and he is still researching this project. The Eleusian Mysteries are thought to have included higher mathematics, astronomy, and geo-metry, which is the measurement  of the earth or surveying. It also included Oracles who would have to understand astronomy since ancient oracles were generally astrologers. Guichard’s findings are thought to have been created in prehistoric times, long before there was a country named Greece.

A land map that Charles Hapgood looked at was one from China which had been carved in stone in 1137 CE, although it is believed to be a copy of a much older map. He found a copy of this map in Science and Civilization in China by Joseph Needham. By analyzing this map he found the following for latitude and longitude by quadrant of the map.

Northwest quadrant, 8 locations, average errors 0.4° Lat. 0.0° Long.

Northeast quadrant, 10 locations, average errors 0.0° Lat. 0.0° Long.

Southwest quadrant, 9 locations, average errors 1.3° Lat 1.2° Long.

Southeast quadrant, 7 locations, average errors 0.0° Lat. 1.2° Long.

The small amount of error is considered negligible because of the great area this map covers. Charles Hapgood: 

“Here we have evidence that when this ancient map of China was first drawn, mapmakers had a means of finding longitude as accurately as they found latitude, exactly as was the case with the portolan charts in the West. The accuracy of the map suggests the use of spherical trigonometry, and the form of the grid, so like that of the De Canerio Map, suggests that the original projection might have been based on spherical trigonometry.

As a further test of the grid I had drawn for this map, I listed separately all the northernmost and southernmost places identified on the map and averaged their errors in latitude. I also listed all the easternmost and westernmost places and averaged their errors in longitude. The average error of latitude north was less than one-half of one degree (or 30 miles!), and the average error on the south balanced out to zero ( with four localities 1° too far south and four 1.2° too far north). So far as the longitude was concerned, the errors both east and west balance out to zero. There was no indication, therefore, that the grid constructed on the map was seriously in error.

It seems to me that the evidence of this map points to the existence in very ancient times of a worldwide civilization, the mapmakers of which mapped virtually the entire globe with a uniform general level of technology, with similar methods, equal knowledge of mathematics, and probably the same sort of instruments. I regard the Chinese map a capstone of the structure I have erected in this book. For me it settles the question as to whether the ancient culture that penetrated Antarctica, and originated all the ancient western maps, was indeed worldwide.”

Oronteus Finaeus’ map shows Antarctica, partly bare of ice. It shows the coastal mountain ranges and open rivers flowing down to the sea. Geologists have taken core samples from the Ross Sea which suggests that Antarctica had a temperate climate before 6000 years ago. The core samples show that there were several periods of glaciation with times of temperate climate in between. This doesn’t necessarily mean that all of Antarctica was ice free, only that the icecap may have been smaller at such times. Geologists are still puzzled by the cause of Ice Ages, and the last one melted so fast that there really is no conclusion why this was. There are theories, one is Charles Hapgood’s Earth crust displacement theory. He theorised that the Earth’s crust slipped south about 2000 miles due to the enormous weight of the ice covering much of the northern hemisphere. While Europe and North America slipped south, the other side of the globe slipped north. There is another theory which states that the Earth was hit by two meteors, which put things on Earth at a different latitude, and also caused the rapid melting of ice, and a general sloshing about of all water on Earth. This sort of event would also have caused flooding, earthquakes and erupting volcanoes. Some major event does seem to have happened resulting in a great deal of havoc at the end of the last Ice Age with much flooding, earthquakes and volcanoes erupting. The whole story is likely hiding within World mythologies.

Antarctica is shown much too large on Oronteus Finaeus’ map. Charles Hapgood felt that this was due to the map having been put together using many smaller maps, and that Oronteus has shown Antarctica in a different scale from other locations. He didn’t adjust the scale to match the rest of the map. On Piri Re’is’ map, Hapgood’s students discovered 900 miles of coast missing in South America. The northern part was good and the southern part was good, but in between there was 900 miles of coast missing. One of the smaller maps had gone missing obviously. No Europeans, as far as we know, explored or mapped the east coast of South America by 1513, but obviously someone did at one time, or Piri Re’is wouldn’t have it on his map.

                                                           The Hadji Amhed World Map of 1559

On the Hadji Amhed World Map of 1559, we see all of North America and South America, looking very modern indeed. He even shows the Bering Land Bridge which existed during the last Ice Age. But no one in 1559 knew that there had been an Ice Age or that there had been a land bridge between Alaska and Russia. Nor had any modern explorers been to the west coast of North America to be able to map it. It even shows the Gulf of California and the narrow strip of land south of San Diego.  He also shows Antarctica, but also much too big. These old maps which do show Antarctica, all have it too big, and they all have it almost connected to South America. It would seem that all these people must have used the same source maps, but no one adjusted the scale, since no one in their time had even seen Antarctica. Captain Cook was convinced that it existed when he went looking for it. He failed on his first attempt, likely because he was looking too close to South America, and wasn’t far enough south.

No one is too sure as to when the original maps may have been made. Derek Cunningham suggests that it was started right after most of the ice had melted. He felt it was sometime between 12,000 BCE and 10,000 BCE. Charles Hapgood felt it had started after the last Ice Age also. If a catastrophe with world wide implications did happen at one time, it is possible that the stars you were used to seeing overhead may no longer have been the same. If there were astronomers, surveyors and navigators at that point in time, they would have to start their astronomical observations from scratch again. If, as the histories and science tell us, there was an enormous amount of flooding after the last Ice Age, things changed, land masses changed. All land masses had their coasts changed. Enormous lakes appeared where no lakes existed before. The Black Sea was once a fresh water lake until the land bridge at the Dardanelles gave way, then it became a salty sea. Coastal towns and villages which may have existed disappeared below the water. There are towns which existed thousands of years ago which archaeologists are just discovering. These places were built well after the Ice Age ended. Most of Doggerland disappeared in 6200 BCE, and Doggerbanks was gone by 5200 BCE. How many people were lost during these events, and where did the survivors go? So far I have not seen a map with either Doggerland or Doggerbanks on it, but perhaps someone removed them from the later maps.

Charles Hapgood:

“The reader will quite naturally wonder how, if once a great civilization existed over most of the earth, it could disappear leaving no trace except these maps? For an answer to this we must cite one of the best known principles of human psychology: We find what we look for. I do not mean by this that we never find anything by accident. But rather, we usually overlook, neglect, and pass by facts unless we have a motive to notice them. It was Darwin who said that to make new discoveries one had to have a theory ( not a fixed dogmatic theory, of course, but an experimental hypothesis). With the theory of evolution people began to look in new directions, and they found new facts, by the thousands, which supported and verified the theory. The same thing happened a half-century before with the geological theory of Sir Charles Lyell. It happened in the beginning with modern astronomy, when Copernicus proposed a new theory of the solar system. Hitherto people have not seriously believed that an advanced civilization could have preceded the civilizations not known to us. The evidences have been, therefore, neglected.

But if we take a glance at the history of archaeological research in the 19th Century we see that it consists mainly of the rediscovery of lost civilizations. Jaquetta Hawkes (4), in her fascinating anthology of the writings of some of the principal archaeologists of all periods, devotes a section to “Lost Civilizations.”

The story begins in Mesopotamia, about 1811, when Caudius Rich began a rediscovery of Babylon. It continued with Paul Emile Botta, Henry Layard, and Henry Rawlinson who brought Assyria back into history. Egypt came back into history after Champollion solved the problem of Egyptian hieroglyphics, and in the fourth quarter of the century, Schliemann brought Troy out of the mists of legend, and Sir Arthur Evans gave substance to the myths of Crete. More recently still an advanced culture, with strangely modern luxuries, that flourished on the banks of the Indus River 5000 years ago has joined the ranks of lost civilizations rediscovered.

But is this all? Is the process at an end? Are there no more lost civilizations waiting to be rediscovered? It would be contrary to history itself if this were the case. Unimaginative people made fun of all these discoveries in turn and hounded the discoverers. The same sort of person today accepts all that has been discovered in the past, but denies there is anything more to discover.

Let us start our review of the evidences with Egypt. Scholars are in disagreement about particular achievements of the Egyptians in science, but they are in good agreement about particular aspects of them.  Egyptian knowledge of astronomy and geometry as early as the Fourth Dynasty has been shown to be remarkable. The Egyptians had a double calendar which has been described as “the most scientific combination of calendars that has yet been used by man”. This calendar system may have been in use as early as 4241 B.C. One historian writes: “It may be, as some indeed suspect, that science we see at the dawn of  recorded history was not science at its dawn but represents the remnants of the science of some great and as yet untraced civilization”. (5)  

To date we have not found that civilization, but a great many things have been found since 1966 when Charles Hapgood wrote those words. Among them are Gobekli Tepe in Turkey, the houses at Durrington Walls in England, and most of what is being found in the Orkneys. Gobekli Tepe is one of the big puzzles because of all the carved stone which has been found there, and the fact that people do seem to have buried the place completely for some unknown reason. It is being dated c9000 BCE, and such stone carving doesn’t show up again until thousands of years later.This seems rather odd, and one would expect more of it to turn up sooner or later.

Durrington Walls is part of the Stonehenge Complex. It includes Windmill Hill, Avebury Ring, Silbury Hill, the Sanctuary, Woodhenge, the West Kennet Long Barrow, the Cursus, Durrington Walls, Bluestonehenge and Stonehenge. And whatever may be lying in hiding at the moment. Martin Doutré of Ancient Celtic New Zealand theorizes that this complex was an ancient navigational school. He feels that the Boyne Valley Complex in Ireland and the Ness Brodgar Complex in Orkney were also navigational schools. His mathematics on the subject are very convincing.

However, I find this view somewhat narrow. Since navigation has its roots in astronomy it is quite likely that astronomy, surveying  and map making were taught also. Oracles were very popular at the time, but ancient oracles were usually astrologers hence they had to learn astronomy first before proceeding on with their chosen profession. If you wanted to run a calendar circle in your area, you would first have to learn astronomy.

The houses at Durrington Walls are believed to have been only seasonal accommodations because no querns or carbonized grain was found within them. But like Skara Brae, all the cooking and baking may have been done at one central kitchen, which may not have been found as yet. I did find a very interesting Grooved Ware bowl from Durrington Walls c2500 BCE which may have been a latitude memory device.

                                                 Grooved  Ware bowl from Durrington Walls  

The parallel lines running around this bowl are lines of latitude. Starting at the top the lines are 65°N Iceland, 60°N Shetland, 55°N Holy Island and Bornholm Island which is also at 15°E, 50°N the tip of Cornwall. The space between these and the next group of three lines is 15°. The three lines are 35°N Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Crete and Cyprus, 30°N Giza, 25°N the Dakhleh Oasis where the stone circle at Nabta Playa is. The next space is 20°. The next group of lines are 5°N which runs along the south coast of north-western Africa, the Equator, 5°S Lake Victoria. The next space down is 20°. The next group of lines are 25°S, 30°S, 35°S and 40°S. 25°S and 30°S run through Australia, 35°S runs through the passage between Australia and Tasmania, 40°S runs through New Zealand. The next space is 15°. The last four lines are 55°S the tip of South America, 60°S South Orkney Island, 65°S runs through the long narrow tail of Antarctica, 70°S Antarctica.

If this was a memory device, it only took me a few minutes to remember. If it was in front of your nose every day, you’d remember. And obviously they were interested in more that just the Northern Hemisphere, they even included Antarctica.  There are likely many more interesting places along these latitudes, but think these are quite good. Have a look at some maps yourself, and see what other interesting things can be found at these latitudes. 


* William Morris Davis from Science, vol. 63, 1926, pp. 463-468

(1) Charles Hapgood, Maps of the Ancient Sea Kings

(2) John K. Wright, author and past president of the American Geographical Society

(3) Alex Whitaker,

(4) Jaquetta Hawkes, The World of the Past

(5) S. R. K. Glanville, Legacy of Egypt

Xavier Guichard, Eleusis Alesia: Enquête sur le origines de la civilisation européenne, 1936, detective, archaeologist and writer.

Martin Doutré, Ancient Celtic New Zealand

Alex Whitaker,


Rune Master by Susan Seddon Boulet

The Piri Re’is Map 1513 from

Oronteus Finaeus World Map from Forbidden History

Dulcert Portolano, Wikipedia

Hadji Amhed World map 1559, Wikipedia

Longitude and latitude maps of France by Xavier Guichard found at

Picture of the Grooved Ware bowl from The Megalith Builders by Dr. Euan MacKie, with permission from Dr. MacKie

The Amazing Book of Kells II

The Chi Rho or XPI page

Since it has been raining here for several days, I’ve had some spare time to assemble the pictures I wanted to use for this post. I’ve taken an interest in Celtic art for some time, I always found it intriguing. After some time, I realized that there were heads and faces in many of the designs. Not only the ones which are obvious but others as well, often made up of triskles or other  swirling designs. The theme of double heads is seen often. Sometimes it’s one head, but if you turn it over, it becomes a different head. Sometimes it’s two men. Sometimes a man and a woman. The two men are the Summer and Winter lords, the man and woman the goddess and her consort.

At the very end of a Celtic art book named Celtic Art by Ruth and Vincent Megaw, there is a picture of the Chi Rho or XPI page in the Book of Kells, and I wondered if Lugh/Cernunnos, or Summer lord -Winter lord had made it to the monasteries. I have a colour copy in a book named The Book of Kells, text by Sir Edward Sullivan. A reproduction of the 1920 version. However, I found a clearer picture on-line. This book has been connected to St. Columba, but it has never been proved. He is said to have worked in a scriptorium in a monastery in Ireland, and that there was a dispute about a manuscript Columba borrowed and copied. Apparently hostilities broke out and several people were killed, resulting in Columba’s exile to Iona.

However, the experts say this book dates about 800 CE, and St. Columba died in 597 CE. I don’t know who created this page, but he knew Ogham and all its meanings, and I think he may have left us a picture of a real Druid. St. Columba was from the Druid tradition, that’s why he is called a Crane Cleric. The crane being Cygnus, and connected to Manannan and his Crane Bag in which he kept his treasures. The treasures being the Ogham tract, including the vowels, consonants and diphthongs, plus the rolled up strip of the Whale’s back. The beginning of Columba’s name is Col. Coll is the Hazel, the Hazels of Wisdom.

The early Church in the UK and Ireland was the Culdee Church. It believed in God, Jesus, Mary, John the Baptist, and followed the Apostles. At the same time they still kept to their old Druid traditions. Most of the men and women connected to the early Culdee Church came from Druid backgrounds, and were already educated in their own traditions before entering a hermitage or monastery. These monasteries had both men and women, and both could become scholars. There was equal rights among them, they could even marry and have children. The earliest Christian writings in the Culdee Church were on Ogham sticks using Ogham, and later on velum and written in Greek. The Druids used Greek also, and Iona was once a Druid mystics’ retreat.

No one has ever disputed that this is the most marvelous page. Everyone is taken by the knot work, triskles, circles, etc. but no one has ever described the following, as far as I know, because no one knew that it was there. I have seen many of the formations before, but didn’t know their significance until now. According to the art book, this page is supposed to say XP, the first two letters of the Greek word Christos. But this artist actually has spelled the word Christos and quite a bit more. According to my Book of Kells, it says XPI, short for the Latin Christes. But this artist used Greek, he used it on another page also. The Druids spoke Greek long before Latin ever came to the British Isles, and I’d say this person came from the Druid tradition even if it was in 800 CE.

The basic layout for this page is  similar to the XPI page from the Lindisfarne Gospels. We have the big X looking very bird-like, which is meant to be Cygnus, The Swan. Two arms of the X become a turban on an astronomer/astrologer or Druid. I say astronomer and astrologer because he is wearing the propheta head-gear.(1)  On this page the legs of the bird are a straight staff joined to a staff with a curl in it, and a shape like a backward L. Both pages are very beautiful, but the one from Kells has a great deal more detail, and the hidden Ogham, which the one from Lindisfarne doesn’t have, although it does have small hidden pictures.

The first thing you notice on this page is the big X. It has the lozenge or diamond of the ‘hidden secret’ symbol in the centre of it. The angles of the smallest lozenge or diamond are 60°  and 120°. Two equilateral triangles back to back. I call this the Double Godhead, because of all the double faces in Celtic art which are usually, but not always, two men. These are the Summer lord and the Winter lord, the two halves of the year, the dark half and the light half. In fact, the artist has gone out of his way to embellish this lozenge with knot work and four men entangled in the knotwork. They represent the four major divisions of the year, the Equinoxes and the Solstices. The whole thing becomes a much bigger diamond shape. Some time ago I discovered that the number four is connected to this shape and the ‘hidden secret’. Here as well. The artist has hidden four letters in the X and has applied Ogham meanings to them. The letters are C, H Ss, and T. Ss because he has used it twice to spell Christos, but it has meaning in Ogham as well. The statement, which St. Columba is said to have made about Jesus being his Druid becomes even clearer on this page. The C is the first letter in Christos but is also the ‘turban’ on what I have been calling a Druid.

The C is the two right arms of the X. C is for Coll, the Hazel, the Hazels of Wisdom which is another way of saying Druid knowledge. Jesus is said to have studied with the priests in Egypt. When he was only young, he was debating with the rabbis at Temple. Well educated even by then, and he was a great orator.

The H is right in the middle of the big X, and is comprised of the diamond and part of the four legs of the X. Right up to where the dark squares with the flowers in them are on the two left legs, but not including them. The flowers are wild Asters in the dark squares, it represents the time after September 21, the start of the dark half of the year. On the long leg of the big X, the light grey square is April, and the rings are May, June, July, August and September. In this case the dark square with the Asters is October, the next ring down is November and the point is December. Church tradition has Jesus born in December. The centre diamond is January, the darker border around it is February, and the part with the gold knot work is March.

The H is for Huathe, the Hawthorn. Its month is April, and that is when Easter usually falls. It is also the month which starts the light half of the year after the Spring Equinox. The first festival in the light half of the year is May 1, when we get Maypoles traditionally decorated with Hawthorn flowers. Garlands were also made with these to decorate the houses. Joseph of Arimathea planted a Hawthorn staff at Glastonbury Tor, it grew and flowered. This letter is connected with a period of waiting, restraint and chastity. Jesus spent forty days in the wilderness before his last visit to Jerusalem.

The Ss is an S used twice. The top part starts on the left hand top part of the X, moves through the diamond and ends with the bottom part of the C. Ss is for Straif, the Blackthorn. The English word, strife, comes from this. It has to do with overcoming great odds with optimism, bringing balance out of chaos…………………much can be said about this in connection with Jesus. You can fill in all your own blanks, since this topic could go on for pages.

The T is the top of the S, the top of the C and the long leg heading for the bottom left hand side of the page. T is for Tinne, the Holly, which became the Holy Tree because people associated the Holly leaves with the Crown of Thorns. But that isn’t correct. It is the Holy Tree because the cross Christ was nailed to was T-shaped. The Roman’s used a T-shaped device for crucifixion, not the Christian cross we see now. This monk knew that.

Holly is said to be best in the fight, not only spiritual but because spear shafts were made from Holly, and the most important thing about throwing a spear is balance. So it also speaks of equilibrium, and the spear which pierced Christ’s side, but it also speaks of all the other spear imaging we see with Lugh, Wodin and many other Sun gods. Holly is also a symbol of fertility, and here the long point of the T is placing an egg on the Mound of Creation which, as in the book from Lindisfarne, has the head of an ibis. This is that wee story: Thoth as the Ibis laid an egg on the Mound of Creation, which was Hathor as the Milky Way. From the egg, Ra, the Sun god was born. Thoth as the Ibis is Cygnus, which sits on the Milky Way.

The O, I and R are at the bottom of the page. What is usually referred to as P is actually a glyph, making up P (for the casual observer), R and O. In very old manuscripts P was often written more like a B. But the monk has used a wake up device here to alert you to the hidden depths. Not only do the letters O, I, R belong to the word Christos, but it is also the name of an Ogham letter, Oir or the Spindle tree, whose symbol in the Ogham tract is a square with its corners turned to the cardinal points. I call this the Square of Enlightenment. The O is shaped like a stepped square and is holding together the two legs of the R, showing that these two belong together. The I is the shape which looks like a backward L. 

For O he has used Oir, the Spindle. It is connected to that sudden flash of insight and lightning. In fact, it was the clue to this glyph. He has made it stepped and yellow, suggestive of lightning. This is also the shape of the Andean Cross which is symbolic of the Southern Cross. This constellation was used by mariners, as was the Northern Cross which is Cygnus.  Spindle wood was made into spindles, bobbins and pegs. In this picture he has pegged the two legs of the R together with it. A joiner or carpenter, which is what Jesus was.  He is also connected to enlightenment. Although Jesus was not born on December 25, we celebrate his birth at this time of year because people continued to celebrate this time of the year. In England it was referred to as Yule, and it was to welcome the Holly Lord, who long ago was Cernunnos. We still refer to this time of year as The Coming of the Light. Today it has a multi-layered meaning which comes to us from the time when people first took note of this return of longer days. A tradition which has endured over many thousands of years.

The R is made up of two elements, but the monk has shown us that they belong together by joining them at the bottom with Oir. R is Ruis, the Elder, the end in the beginning and the beginning in the end, the Cauldron of Immortality. The two elements which make up the R are what looks like a P and an I. The P is Phagos, the Hook, old knowledge, old writing, and also a star watching – surveying instrument. The I is the measuring rod and is also a Rodman or Dodman. If both of these were astronomy and surveying devices, then it speaks of the Star of Bethlehem also.

The measuring rod is straight until it gets to the top where it becomes more circular in the space between the bottom of C and the top of P. There’s a face there made up of circles and triskles. He uses them in all his half hidden meanings. The head seems to be covered by a hood, and from the top of it there are two long antennas with balls on the ends. The right one sits over the I, and the left one becomes part of a torque sitting under the chin of another face made of  more circles and triskles and bird shapes. This face is Cernunnos. He has two horns on his head, and Cernunnos was often shown wearing a torque. I’ll come back to him, but first look at the I which looks like a backward L.

The I is Ioho, the Yew, which stands for rebirth, everlasting and reincarnation. According to my Ogham book, the Island of Iona first started off as Ioho or Ioha, but that there was an error in transcription made in the fifth century, and it became Iona instead. This island is connected to reincarnation. Jesus is the new Cauldron of Immortality, symbolized by the Holy Grail, and he is connected to rebirth and everlasting.  The early Church still believed in reincarnation, but I don’t think they do anymore. The, I, the monk has made is shaped like a carpenter’s square.

Below are examples of two types of bird shapes this monk used in his decorations.

The monk also has many things made up of circles, triskles and other bird shapes, one of those things is ibis heads. On Thoth, it has  the long curved bill. There is one under the top curve of the S. There’s a big ibis head close to the two angels, there’s wonderful knotwork inside of the head.. She has her beak curved around a circle, which I’ll call an egg, which has three small flying cranes inside it.

There is another ibis head close to the bottom of T, it’s sort of lying down. It also has its beak around an egg containing more small cranes. The two eggs they are holding have cranes at a different stage of development inside them. I say cranes because the bill is straight and long. These two heads are part of the Mound of Creation where there is another egg being deposited by the wingtip of Cygnus. This egg has yellow birds which are hardly developed and there is much more white in the egg. Here is that story about Ra again. Thoth as the Ibis (Cygnus) laid an egg on the Mound of Creation which was Hathor as the Milky Way. Ra, the Sun god, was born of that egg.

In the bottom left hand corner detail we see a baby (red serpents) emerging from the womb (white serpents). This would be Jesus who the Church says was born at the end of December. The point of the letter T is the end of December.

The fat cats and the little rats seem quite cozy together. They’re the abbots and the monks who fell in line with them. They are nibbling on the Pearl of Wisdom, the knowledge they were gaining in the monastery. No doubt, a wee Celtic joke on this artist’s part. The corner detail of this page also implies that two ibis hatched new cranes together. They are also inside some of the other circles, and in some cases there is what looks like a bird flying toward or away from you.

On the left, Cernunnos has two cranes close to the top of his head, they make a sort of crown. There are two more on his cheekbones. He has two flying birds making up his nose, and two more holding the plumes of his headdress. Some of these flying birds are light like the crane and some are dark like the raven.

There are also heads of cattle there, also made up of circles, triskles and flying birds. One is between the angels. There are two more there making up the corners of the decoration around a circle with more cranes or ibis inside it. Unfortunately the outside one was cut off below the eyes. The one on the left is hanging off the Druids earring, close to the top of the I. This could be Taurus, or a connection to Bull El/ El Elyon, who was the god Enlil of the Sumerians. Elion is a Welsh name for God, it is still in the dictionary, although I’m told that it is seldom used.  It was Enlil who taught people to farm, he put them to work in the Garden of Eden. At one time, the oldest cult figures found were small stone bulls from Mureybet, home of Jasmine, whose descendents made their way to the UK and Ireland, and were found at Skara Brae in the Orkneys. As far as I know, Mureybet still stands as the oldest farming community  anywhere. The two cattle above could also be symbolic of Thoth and Hathor, both are shown with cattle horns, and both often have the Moon above their heads. Bulls, male goats, rams and harts or roebuck are all connected to ancient Sun gods. There was a great deal of cattle veneration in ancient times, from the Indus Valley to Ireland. Cattle are still sacred in India, and Celts loved owning large herds of cattle, which they often stole off one another. The Wessex lords are also believed to have been cattle barons, and my guess is that the folks at Ness Brodgar were also. There were a great many cattle bones found there.

I think the artist may have cartoonish representations of Bran and Branwen. They are the Raven and the White/ female Raven. He is at the bottom of Phagos, the Hook – old knowledge, old writing. She is at the bottom of the measuring rod which could also be a surveying staff. They both look as if they are wearing a red hat with white knot work. I hesitate to say Fez, but they do look like that. She has blonde curly hair, has two trinity knots on her face, and a light coloured bird on her forehead. She also has a baby bird close to her curls on one side of her head. This would be Gwern, her son. The baby bird is two triskles joined at two corners. Lugh, Apollo and Wodin were also connected to ravens. I read that the small animal above Bran’s head is meant to be a badger with a fish. The fish is symbolic of Christianity, and Jesus was a ‘fisher of men’. But Bran, who is much older, is believed to be the Fisher King. Like the Fisher King, Bran was wounded in a lower limb, a wound which never healed, since it brought about his death.

The X symbol for the sacred place is in the knot work between the leg of T and the R.  The big X makes the whole page the sacred place, but the area in which the blue X is, looks like the Station Stone quadrangle at Stonehenge, including the Temple in the middle, and the Station Stones at the ends of the X.

To me, one of the most marvelous things one the page is the Druid. The C of Christos now becomes the headdress on the Druid. He has two big circles for eyes which have trinity knots in them, and the bridge of his nose is made up of ibis. Two big ones and two small ones. The tip of his nose is below the small ones, and his nostrils flare out into circles. Below the nose he has a moustache which also flares out in circles. His mouth is below the moustache, and is made up partly by two cranes whose beaks run down into his beard. His beard is mostly curly but the centre bottom part is divided and turned into knot work, which has been made into three diamonds inside one another with two parallel lines crossing two parallel lines woven into the diamonds, and they make up the symbol for the hidden secret. There are three diamonds inside one another and then the parallel lines inside the smallest one. This is exactly like the design on the Wessex lords ‘breast plate’, which has four diamonds inside one another. The outside one contains triangles, and the centre one the two sets of parallel lines. (2)

There are three ibis above one of the Druid’s eyes. The red band below his turban looks  like an M when he is facing you, but looks like an E when the page is right side up. The artist could be suggesting that this is Manannan since the M shows up when he is facing you, but this is also the MEW3 device as you turn the page around. This device is symbolic of the four divisions of the year and also the four cardinal directions.

The headdress of the Druid is made of the letter C, Coll, the Hazel, the Hazels of Wisdom, that’s why I think he is a Druid. I think what he has on his head is a sort of turban with long tails flying behind, but they give the same impression as the headgear on the Hittite hieroglyph for propheta. (1)  A prophet in ancient times was usually an astrologer, hence an astronomer. Perhaps it was only a long piece of cloth, which is what most turbans are made up of. In this case it is embellished with the big diamond. The ‘breast plate’ found in the Bush Barrow (2) measures 71/2″ by 6 1/2″ according to Prehistoric England, but I’ve also seen 7″ by 6″. If you tied a scarf around your head and connected it with the gold ‘breast plate’, you would pretty much look like this Druid. You’ll have to add a beard, moustache and large round earrings, and don’t forget the braided effect in the beard.


The monk is there as well, above the Druid’s head. The end of the S is over his head, looking somewhat like the cowl on a monk’s habit, particularly if you put your fingers over the area I have painted in. He has a moustache and a little curly beard which is divided in two at the bottom. There are baby birds close along the edge of his hood. Sheltering Druid children up in Iona? His eyes are very prominent and he has used Bardic values here. The left eye has two which is duality and polarity, as above so below, which puts us back with astronomy and the calendar, but also has all sorts of esoteric meanings connected to it. Duality because he was mixing two separate traditions. This person was as much a Druid as a Christian monk. His right eye is the Trinity. Past, present and future, or chaos, balance and creative energy. Or Creator, Sky Father, Earth Mother. Or Kether, Chokma and Binah. Or Father, Son and Holy Ghost. Or all of those depending on his education. The egg is his brain or mind, it includes the crane.

It’s difficult to see what is in the circles, but the large one and the small one seem to have the same design as the two on the Druid’s forehead. The ibis is there making up the back of his skull and has an Ogham, the three short yellow lines. It says Holly, best in the fight, but he has it on the ibis, so he thinks his Druid knowledge is best in the fight. Or possibly he is referring to astronomy and Cygnus. Since the ibis is the back of his skull, perhaps he is saying it is bred in his bones. The S in this case was Ss for Straif, overcoming great odds with optimism, making balance out of chaos. Certainly sounds like St. Columba, I’m not surprised that he got on so well with the people up in Iona. Iona was a Druid mystic’s retreat long before Christianity.

The artist has used and shown the last five letters of the Ogham tract or Forfeda, among others. The two parallel lines crossing two parallel lines with the lozenge or diamond in the middle, which I call the hidden secret. The Hook, the X or sacred place, Oir is the square with its corners turned to the cardinal points, and the Net which is in the light grey squares which are part of the big X and represented April. It is connected to the Sea, the Moon and maternal connections. The symbol for the Net is usually three squares by three squares, although I have seen two by two, three by three and four by four. This monk used four by four, and if you put these four light grey  squares together you get a square of eight units by eight units, a Square of Hermes. However, a four by four square can be created with the sixteen wind system as shown below. (3) (4) This was used to create mariners maps.  The number four was sacred to Hermes. An eight by eight square gives you 64 small squares. 64 ÷ 4 = 16, that Mystery School number.

Knot work comes from Cording Lore which probably goes back to a time when people first had cording of some kind. Probably some bored soul on a rainy day with nothing better to do but make fancy patterns with his or her cording. Most of the patterns have names and meanings.  On the XPI page the cording is gold inside the big diamond, it’s the measuring cord or Whale’s Back which is the line all the Ogham symbols sit on.  He also has the measuring rod or surveying rod, the Hook which was a surveying or star watching device, a carpenter’s square, and the dividers which sit on the Druid’s nose and are made up by the beaks of the ibis.

When you turn the Druid upside down, the woven part of the beard now becomes a little man with big eyes, and he seems to have something long coming from the top of his head. Lugh- Cernunnos again. His head and arms rest on the curve. His ‘arms’ are actually two animal heads, one is a bird but I’m not sure of the other. Could be something doggie. Can’t see the detail well enough, but the whole thing does look like the Trilithon Horseshoe at Stonehenge.

I can’t see some of the smaller detail either, so he may have more messaging in that. However, I can see that some of the interlacing is made up of snakes, usually in pairs, and there are snails there also. Some are on the Druid’s face…….. think abstract. One of the more interesting snake configurations is at the bottom left hand corner. Two light coloured snakes and two red snakes both make a lozenge or diamond formation. Symbolic of the white and red serpent lines? If this is Jesus being born, then he would be of the red serpent line, or the Rose Line as it is sometimes referred to. Oddly enough, so were the Druids. The red dragon of Wales is still symbolic of the red serpent line.  The history of these two family lines comes from very ancient times and are connected to Ea/Enki and El/Enlil.

It is very interesting though that the monk shows both the ibis and the crane. Which makes me think there must be some connection there. It is very possible that their original knowledge came from Egypt. Thoth was the Ibis, and he certainly had all the attributes associated with Stonehenge. Astronomy, surveying, mathematics, writing, healing and equilibrium or balance. And a really interesting Wing String! (5)

Some of the elements of these manuscript pages, such as the humans, were considered rather childish, and everyone is still scratching their heads about the figure of St. John with hands for feet. (6) It takes a different way of seeing, and since most folk are so busy looking at the triskles, spirals and interlacing………..they don’t ‘see’. They can’t see the forest for the trees, and considering what is on this page, that’s incredibly funny. This is the most sophisticated use of Ogham that I have found so far, and likely there is more messaging in the smaller detail, it’s just too small for my eyes. A few days with the real page would likely clear that up, although it is not likely I’ll ever get to see it. I wish!

Most art lovers drool over this page, and most of them probably couldn’t put into words why they feel this way. Oh sure, we can all wax lyrical about the triskles, spirals and interlacing, but there is so much more there that we recognize somewhere deep inside us, subconsciously. Something our DNA recognizes, but out modern way of thinking has buried it for a long time.

It’s interesting to note that the knot work in the Druid’s beard makes the same formation as the Wessex lord’s ‘breast plate’ which has been dated c1900-1600 BCE. It was in a grave for at least two thousand years before this page was made. If you were to extend the net on the ‘breast plate’ it would give you the same formation in the Druid’s beard. The Wessex lord’s large gold lozenge may actually be a real Stonehenge artefact. The logo, if you like. And I think that originally came from the surveying for the Aubrey Holes. (7) I think that Julius Caesar may have had it correct, the Druids started in the UK and Ireland. When I started down the White Trail, I was not looking for Celts and their Druids, but ran into them just the same. The Wessex lord, from the Bush Barrow, with his interesting mace head was likely the Archdruid of his time, after all, his mace head is the original Druid’s Egg. Did he wear his gold lozenge on top of his turbaned head? A forerunner of the gold hats?

In my article Cygnus, Thoth, XPI and the Brodgar Complex, I showed how this page and the XPI page from Lindisfarne Gospels connected to the Orkneys with its ancient astronomers, surveyors and navigators.  Both Iona and Holy Island or Lindisfarne are sites belonging to the Cygnus that Derek Cunningham found on the landscape of Scotland. These two pages are a record of that ancient surveying, and tell us that it was the Orkneys which became the Mound of Creation. The place where astronomers, surveyors and navigators existed in ancient times.  Navigators because on the page from the Book of Kells, we find both Cygnus and the Southern Cross, both these constellations were used for navigation. What is really amazing is that all the ancient constructions on the Orkneys were created about three to four thousand years before these pages were made. If Derek Cunningham is correct with his dates for Cygnus being placed on the landscape of Scotland, then that was eight to ten thousand years before these pages were made. It’s obvious that there were still people connected to the early Church who knew about this history. And what about the Summer lord and Winter lord? which is what made me look at this page in the first place. They are there also. Lugh and Cernunnos.


The Book of Kells, described by Sir Edward Sullivan, however he writes nothing about what I have described

The Celtic Tree Oracle by Liz and Colin Murray

The Encyclopedia of Celtic Wisdom by Caitlin and John Matthews

(1) Cygnus, Thoth, XPI and the Brodgar Complex, by Joan Rankin

(2) The Bush Barrow Treasures, by Joan Rankin

(3) Maps of the Ancient Sea Kings, by Charles Hapgood


(5) Following the White Trail to Stonehenge Part IV by Joan Rankin

(6) The Amazing Book of Kells by Joan Rankin

(7) Following the White Trail to Stonehenge Part I by Joan Rankin


XPI page from Wikipedia under The Book of Kells

Detail of the large diamond by Yetac

Forfeda by Joan Rankin

Mapping device from This was originally in Charles Hapgood’s book Maps of the Ancient Sea Kings.

Back in the Present

Today I found myself firmly planted in the present as I was standing in my garden on a golden August afternoon, contemplating all the work which needs to be done.

I live in a small house, in a small grove, surrounded by woodland and nature in general. The wildlife includes black bears, moose, deer, foxes, bobcats, lynx, coyote, raccoons, beaver, otters, muskrats, and the ever present squirrels, chipmunks, mice, voles, frogs, toads, salamanders and snakes. The air is full of birds small and large, including bald eagles, osprey, hawks, ravens, crows, herons and the wee comedians, the hummingbirds.

The small grove is filled with shrubs, flower beds, vegetable plots, gravel paths and bits of lawn. Around the edges can be found patches of wild strawberries, raspberries and blackberries.

Although it was still a beautiful summer day, the quality of the light has changed. The sun no longer rides as high in the sky, and the shadows are lengthening. Soon it will be fall, and the maple tree behind the house will flood the back porch each morning with its lovely orangey red colour.

The countryside, with its valleys and hills, will look glorious then. The fields, like pieces of green velvet, will be surrounded with red, orange, gold and russet trees, shrubs, and bracken. But soon enough the rains and high winds will blow the leaves in great drifts in every nook and cranny of the garden. This is a very busy time for me. A time of gathering. A time to pick the vegetables and berries, and process them for winter, which generally means much blanching of vegetables, jam, jelly and pickle making. Apples will be picked and sliced, and stored in the freezer to make pies and apples sauce during the winter. The gardens must all be cleaned up before the snow comes, and there is still a pile of fire wood to be put under cover, so I won’t freeze during the cold months ahead.

Perhaps it seems odd to be thinking about winter at the end of August, but when it comes, it can come with a vengeance. Then I’ll be staying cozy and warm by the wood stove, reading books and using my computer. Then I’ll be sticking close to home and digging into ancient history once again, but for the moment I must attend to my chores for a while, so I hope that you will understand that I will not be posting anything new for a bit, because it will be work, work, work from morning till night. By the end of the day I’m usually just too tired to concentrate on ancient history, or anything else for that matter.

The Amazing Book of Kells

The Book of Kells is considered the pinnacle of Insular illumination. Insular art, referring to the fact that the type of artwork found within the Book of Kells, the Lindisfarne Gospels, and other such manuscripts, was only found in the UK and Ireland. Perhaps it should be Insular Celtic art, that is at the root of the decorations. These include spirals, triskels, and the most complicated interlacing made up of vegetal, animal and human elements. The Book of Kells has the most ornate decoration which can be found in manuscripts dating c600-900 CE.  There is still a great deal of debate about its creators, and the place it was created at. It is called the Book of Kells because it resided at the Abbey of Kells in Ireland for many centuries. However, the tradition which names Iona as its place of origin may be correct, since the Chi Rho or XPI page does tie it to the one from Lindisfarne, and the Cygnus formation Derek Cunningham found on the landscape of Scotland. This star map includes Iona, Dunkeld and Holy Island, which is also known as Lindisfarne. St. Columba started his career at Kells, was sent to Iona to found a church there, and was also said to have built a church at Dunkeld. Iona was the mother house of Lindisfarne.

There are traditions which credit St. Columba with some of the artwork, but the experts think it dates c800 CE, later than St. Columba, who died in 597 CE. Their opinion is based on palaeographic and stylistic grounds. Since I’m not an expert, I won’t argue with that, but the Book of Kells includes much older, Celtic pagan symbolism, and at least one person creating the artwork understood Ogham.  I discovered the pagan symbolism after studying many examples of Celtic art, which very often include double heads. Sometimes it is presented as one head, but if you turn it upside down, it looks like a different head. Sometimes it is two heads or two men, symbolic of the Summer lord and the Winter lord.  There are also examples of a man’s head becoming a woman’s head when turned upside down. This is usually the goddess and her consort. I wondered if this had continued on in the monasteries, and found it did in the Book of Kells, at least on some pages.

Since I’ve only just written about the propheta head-gear, I thought I’d write about the portrait of St. John first. This page has always been a bit of a mystery, since St. John seems to have hands for feet. The monk did know how to draw feet, there’s a pair of them below the frame of the picture. Incredibly, some of the artwork in this book was considered rather childish at one time. I have not read any of the latest books devoted to the Book of Kells, so I don’t know if someone else may have recognized some of the things which I have found there. However, in “The Book of Kells”,  as described by Sir Edward Sullivan, which also includes a historical analysis of Celtic illuminated manuscripts by Johan Adolf Bruun, there is no mention of the things I have discovered. Only the obvious is mentioned, but the things I find just as obvious are not mentioned. Perhaps the critics of the early 1900s didn’t recognize the old Celtic pagan and astronomical messaging.

Once I had recognized the propheta head-gear, I realized that it is a person kneeling in front of St. John, that’s why he has his hands on the floor. St. John wrote Revelations and became a prophet by doing so.  The way it has been designed, makes it look as if it is part of St. John, but may hold more meaning. If this propheta head-gear was part of the druid tradition, then it is showing the old propheta kneeling and bowing his head to the younger one. Christianity taking over from the old ways. This monk created some of the most outstanding pages in the book, that I have seen. Even if it was c800 CE, this monk was still hanging on to the old ways, and like a true Celtic artist, he left messaging in his work. The sort of messaging which many people have totally missed, because much of the symbolism is very old. The Hittite hieroglyph for ‘propheta’ dates between at least 1700-1200 BCE. Even if it was 1200 BCE, it would still be a 2000 year old symbol this monk was using.

The clue to this page is on the book St. John is holding. There we have a lozenge or diamond divided in four. The lozenge or diamond, and the number four both symbolize the ‘hidden secret’. No lozenge or triangular shape in or on ancient artefacts in the UK and Ireland should be disregarded. They all belong to the knowledge of the astronomer, surveyor, navigators. It’s a signature they left behind. The first thing I noticed on this page was the haloed head, then the beard and down the arm, which is positioned in the wrong place. No doubt on purpose. This is the one holding the book, which told me there was a hidden secret on this page. The secret being the kneeling prophet.

I think two different people worked on this page. The original monk created the layout, the central figure, the four corner decorations, and the decorations around the frame.  He has the two faces on the outside of the four corners. These look more animal than human, but they are still the Summer lord and Winter lord. The four equal armed crosses and the rectangles on the border were filled in by someone else.  Someone not quite as talented as the original artist.

The corner detail is quite wonderful, its been bordered in yellow with a step formation suggestive of lightning. Inside of this is the Square of Enlightenment, the square with its corners turned to the cardinal points, which contains two white dogs entwined with eight horned serpents. Likely the dogs’ ears were red. Many Sun gods were accompanied by white hounds with red ears. The dogs in this picture are the two halves of the year. The eight serpents represent the eight divisions of the year. Their bodies form twelve triangles, the twelve months of the year.

There are a great many stories about the white hounds with red ears, which made me wonder what that was all about. Looking at it astronomically, I discovered that these likely started out being Sundogs or parhelia. Parhelia comes from the Greek word, parelion, meaning ‘beside the Sun’. These are an atmospheric phenomenon that creates bright spots of light, often seen on a halo as shown below. They are often coloured, with red closest to the halo, and white and then blue further out. They appear to the left and right of the Sun, 22° distant and at the same level as the Sun.

Sundogs can appear anywhere on Earth at any time, but are best seen at dawn or Sun down, and since atmospheric ice crystals create this interesting effect, they are seen more often at cold times of the year. There are also Moon dogs which people seldom see, since it’s at night. Like eclipses, they were feared in ancient, and not so ancient times. They were generally viewed as bad omens. Hence the stories of Hell hounds, which were white with red ears. Since it appears like three Suns, I have to wonder if this is why Lugh/Lugus was sometimes shown with three faces or heads. The Sun in the centre is referred to as the ‘pillar’. Oddly enough it has a triangular head, similar to the Lugh’s head I hung at Stonehenge.


The Book of Kells, described by Sir Edward Sullivan, with commentary by Johan Adolf Bruun

The Book of Kells, Wikipedia

The Book of Kells,, Medieval History

The Weather Doctor, Sundogs

Wikipedia, Sundog.

Picture of Sundogs at Fargo, North Dakota, taken on 18 February, 2009 by Gopherboy6956, found at Wikipedia.

Portrait of St. John from the Book of Kells found at, Medieval History

Contemplating the Ancient Mind


There is a great deal written about what ancient people thought about life, death, religion, and how they viewed the world around them.  These are all personal views, which quite often have little basis in fact. One archaeologist thinks that Stonehenge was a Temple of Death, while another thinks it was a Neolithic Lourdes. One basis his belief on the fact that there are many people buried within and around Stonehenge, but then again, his specialty is in ancient death practices. The other, basis his belief on the fact that many people seem to have died of some trauma. Many head wounds were found, and such people as the Amesbury Archer with his missing knee cap and his abscessed jaw. He believes that people were brought there to be healed. He may not be far off. The 19 Bluestones in the Horseshoe gave Eadha or White Poplar in the Ogham tract. It is connected to healing and rebirth, and when the wind blows, the leaves rustle, giving that small still voice of God. Important medicines were made from it.

They may both be right, or not. There are hundreds of theories about Stonehenge, ranging from, it was an alien’s landing pad, to, it was a place for human sacrifice. The truth is, no one really knows what it was for, although the people there do seem to have taken an uncommon amount of notice of the objects in the sky, and the calendar. Obviously this was very important to them, and they left their monuments, stone markers, tumuli, tumps, mounds, long barrows, and other such constructions all over the landscape in the UK and Ireland. Each one of these things seems to have been placed at that very spot on purpose, creating interesting geodesy. As an example, Callanish is 5° north and 5° west of Arbor Low, which is  2° north of Stonehenge. The Callanish stone circle and its outliers look like a big winged, long legged bird. Arbor Low’s recumbent stone ‘circle’ is white quartz and egg shaped. Stonehenge is 1° east of Glastonbury Tor. Creswell Crags, and its interesting bird carvings, is 9° west of Heligoland. These are only a very tiny bit of what exists on the landscape, there are hundreds of other examples. Sure looks as if someone was mapping the place methodically.

In later times, many of these sites were built over with churches, chapels, shrines, castles, and Templar buildings. They erased, or tried to erase, the ancient constructions, but kept the geodesy alive, and the Knights Templar were likely the only ones who knew and understood the geodesy. This didn’t just happen in the UK and Ireland, it was also created all over Europe, and all the way back to the Middle East. Actually, this can be found all over the world, and all these places appear to connect together, belonging to one world mapping system. There was a group of people who wanted a world map. The only people I can think of, who would need such a thing are, navigators, traders, merchants, and explorers, looking for minerals and anything else of worth. No doubt sent out by rulers of established societies. It has often been said that farmers did not need a calendar to plant or harvest by, which is quite true, the weather conditions and the ripeness of the crop tells me that. But if you were a navigator in ancient times, it would be very important to know which month it was. Just because it may be sunny and warm on land in March, the oceans are not that accommodating in March.

However, I thought I would have a look at some things which appeared somewhat simpler, to see could I catch a glimpse of that ancient mind. The first is a necklace from the West Kennet Long Barrow, possibly 2500 BCE, and the other is the original core or mound of Silbury Hill.

This necklace is incredibly primitive looking, what with the stones and the bone. The objects are: a piece of bone, a tooth, a piece of tusk, a shell, and three pieces of shale. One piece of shale is very dark, and looks as if it has been polished. The shale wheel, at the front, has been made so that the line between two layers of shale falls in the centre of the wheel. It may also have some decoration on the side. It can be seen that the craftsperson put a lot of work into making nice round shapes. I couldn’t imagine why someone would put such a thing together, and yet it must have had an important meaning, since it was buried with someone in the West Kennet Long Barrow. The piece of bone kept tugging at my brain, until I realized that all these things have the same function. Stone is the bones of the Earth, creating its contours. All animals have bones which gives them their structure and shape. Snails have no internal skeleton, their shell is their exterior one. A tooth and a tusk are extensions of bone. Even after everything else has decayed, the skeleton with its teeth and tusks remain, and would have been seen as belonging with all these ‘bones’. All bones of different varieties.

So, primitive looking, but well thought out, and many hours spent creating the different pieces. The four light pieces may have represented the four Albans, which are the two Solstices and the two Equinoxes. The dark pieces, plus the person wearing it, would then represent the four Fire Festivals, February 2, May 1, August 1, and October 31. The deceased would then represent that dead period between October 31 and December 21. October 31  was the time of the year when the veil between this world and the Otherworld was believed to be the thinnest, and that one could communicate with one’s dead ancestors at that time. The tooth is December 21, the Coming of the Light, and Cernunnos, when much pork seems to have been consumed at Durrington Walls. The polished shale is February 2, the Feast of Brigid, the bone is the Spring Equinox, the central wheel is May 1, which festival was celebrated by bonding of male and female. The tusk is June 21, the shale wheel, August 1, and the shell is the Fall Equinox, and so back to October 31. A fitting necklace for someone going to their grave. Quite possibly made just for this purpose, not something worn in life, only in death.

Silbury Hill also has such a puzzle at its original core, which was a simple mound. One statement I read said that nothing of significance was ever found at the core of Silbury Hill, only sarsen, flint, clay, topsoil, moss, turf, fresh water shells, ox bones, antler tines, Oak, Hazel and Mistletoe. Those last three made me perk up, seems there may have been something very significant there. These various items can be put into groups. Sarsen and flint, clay and topsoil, gravel and shells, moss and turf, ox bones and antler tines, Oak, Hazel and Mistletoe. Since Mistletoe is a parasite which lives on other trees, this can be seen as six groups of two, even though there are thirteen separate types of objects. They represent 12 Solar months and 13 Lunar months, which take almost the same length of time. Mistletoe was gathered with golden sickles at the full Moon closest to the Winter Solstice.

Stone is the bones of the Earth, covered by clay and topsoil, which is covered by moss and turf. Oak and Hazel grow above the moss and turf. Mistletoe grows on Oak. Gravel belongs with water. Wherever you find gravel, water once flowed there. The shells also belonged to the water element. The two land animals, cattle and deer, represented the Summer Lord and Winter Lord, but also two prime sources of meat, hides and all the other parts which were used for various things. The stones found were sarsen and flint. Sarsen was used to build all the megalithic constructions in the area. Flint was used to make all common tools which were essential for day-to-day living. Clay was used to make pottery, and food such as a bird or fish were often wrapped in plantain or some other leaves, and then covered in clay. It could be placed close to the fire or in a ground pit for slow cooking. A slab of clay was placed in boats, and used as a hearth for cooking on. It was also used to make clay tablets to write on. Topsoil is what you grow your crops in. Moss had many uses for personal hygiene, for insulation in shoes and boots, caulking in houses and boats, and had medicinal uses. Turf is where you find edible plants, roots, herbs, mushrooms, berries, medicinal plants, items to create dye, and grasses to weave into mats, bags and other containers. Turf was used to roof some buildings, even turf huts were created. Cattle and deer, live on the turf, not only to wander around on and sleep on, but to eat also.

The Oak, Hazel and Mistletoe are a dead give away as far as Druids are concerned. These three are among the most sacred in the Ogham tract, where each is given a chieftain designation. Oak represents solid foundation, solid protection, the Doorway to Enlightenment/the Mysteries. It represents the Druids themselves, they were the Doorway to Enlightenment/ the Mysteries, they were the teachers. The Hazel brings to mind the Hazels of Wisdom, which is just shorthand for all the knowledge the Druids had. Mistletoe was called All Heal and is used in cancer drugs today. At that time it was considered a fertility symbol, and was seen as a spiritual connection to the land. On the bottom of a Mistletoe berry, can be found four semicircles around a central dot. These represent the four cities of the gods, Filias, Finias, Gorias, and Murias. These represent the four cardinal directions, and the four ancient elements. Earth in the North, Air in the East, Water in the West, and Fire in the South. The central dot is the etheric centre which joins together the three planes of existence, past, present and future. This is the basic symbol for the Celtic equal armed cross, which can also be shown as the upright pentagram. The point at the top symbolizes the supremacy of the spiritual and divine over the world of matter, shown by the other four points. The most sacred Mistletoe grows on Oak, which doesn’t happen very often. Because Oak is so long lived, it is a powerful fertility symbol. Mistletoe on Oak would have been considered the most potent.

So what was Silbury Hill? No burials or treasure have been found to date. It started out as a tump, which looks much like a round barrow, although they can vary in size. Most tumps were way markers, and Silbury Hill is on the St. Michael’s Ley. There seems to have been some time between the building of this mound, and it being enlarged to become the great hill that it is today. It started out as a sacred connection to the land, sacred not only because of its contents, but also because it belonged to the geodesic system which existed there. After it had been greatly enlarged, it was probably a beacon hill. Even during the day it was glaring white, at night there would have been a fire there, and it still would have shone by the light of the Moon and stars.  Ancient-wisdom has the following to say:

“Silbury Hill is just one in a line of natural and artificial mounds along the St. Michael’s ley, which itself has a strong association with astronomy. Perhaps it is a coincidence then that Silbury Hill and Stonehenge combine with Glastonbury, the ‘Sacred Heart of England’, to form a vast right-angled triangle across the landscape. At the same time as the hypotenuse of this triangle reaches from Avebury/Silbury to Glastonbury, the opposite side is also part of a large geometric alignment, being one of the edges of the great Decagon first observed by J. Michell, while the adjacent side continues north to Arbor Low, and south to Mont St. Michel in France.

The line of the Sun would be Sunrise around May 8th, the Feast of St. Michael.

The map below shows what would happen if the water in the Kennet River was five metres higher, which it may have been at the time. Even Glastonbury Tor was surrounded by marsh and water in ancient times.

Silbury Hill now makes perfect sense. If you were sailing up the river, you wouldn’t be able to see Avebury because Overton Hill and Woden Hill would obstruct your view. Silbury Hill shows you the correct channel to sail up to Avebury Ring, which may have had a canal around it. The ditch there would certainly be wide enough and deep enough to accommodate small and medium sized boats. So, Silbury Hill became a large beacon hill on the old road systems, whether you were traveling by land or by water. Considering how many things it is connected to, it would certainly have been a sacred connection to the land. A major geodesic marker. Going NE on the St. Michael’s ley would eventually take you to Yarmouth, Heligoland and other places in Scandinavia. Going SW on the St. Michael’s ley, it connected to the St. Michael-Apollo line at St. Michael’s Mount, which could take you NW to Skellig Michael in Ireland, or SE to Mont St. Michel in France, and all the way to Mount Carmel in the Holy Land. Quite a network. Strange that we still refer to such a thing as a ‘network’. That’s exactly what those ancient astronomer, surveyor, navigators created, a network, marked by mounds, standing stones, circles, long and round barrows, ponds, springs, and sometimes trees as guide posts.

There are interesting things which happen at Silbury Hill. I watched a video online which showed Sunrise on the Fall Equinox at Silbury Hill. The Sun looked as if it were rolling up the hillside, and when it reached the top, it went sailing off into the sky. Someone knew the angle of this Sunrise and built the hill to match. Around May day, if you stand on Woden Hill, looking right at the top of Silbury Hill, you will see the Sun set right into the horizon and Silbury Hill at the same time.  Someone knew how high to make the hill to obtain this effect. So…….what is up on Woden Hill?  I’ve never heard of any archaeological investigating going on there, but Woden Hill is the best command post in the area. From there, you could see Windmill Hill, Avebury Ring, the Sanctuary, Silbury Hill, the West Kennet long Barrow, and all the way to Stonehenge, as well as the river system. Some theories have it, that Silbury Hill had a spiral path going around it from top to bottom. This would make it look like a snail from the air. Snail in Welsh is, malwoden, which could mean Woden’s Mill, and like a snail it is hugging the river bank on the map.  How ironic that it should be so close to Woden Hill, or is it? Or is this just another example of those ancient surveyors and their sense of humour?

Hmmm………….seems those two things weren’t that simple after all, and Silbury Hill led me right back to those ancient map makers.


The Celtic Tree Oracle by Liz and Colin Murray


Visioning by Susan Seddon Boulet

Necklace from the Wiltshire Heritage Museum

Silbury Hill, right-angled triangle and map from

The Mold Gold Cape

The beautiful Mold Gold Cape is certainly worth having another look at. This wonderful article was found in 1833 by workmen quarrying for stone when they came upon a stone cist. They had been digging in a burial mound named Bryn yr Ellylon, the Ghost or Goblins’ Hill near Mold, Wales. The person in the cist was wearing the cape. Unfortunately the skeletal remains were fragmentary and the cape crushed and broken into several pieces. Many pieces were removed by various people, and it took many years to gather as much as possible.

At first it was thought to have been a corselet or breast plate which passed beneath the arms, but by 1904 the British Museum was presenting it as a chest ornament for a pony. By 1950, it was finally suggested that it could be a cape. Another fifty two years went by before all the pieces had been put together, which proved that it was a cape. A cape which would only have fitted a slight person, thought to have been a woman. No weapons, axe, mace, ‘wrist guards’ or other male accoutrements were found with this person.

                                                                             The Amazing Detail

The cape was made out of a single ingot of gold, which was then decorated with rows and rows of different shapes. It looks rather like strands of beads between folds of cloth. The motifs have both Continental and indigenous roots. Some similar designs have been found in France, which are believed to have drawn on designs from central Europe. The lenticular bosses have been found on bronze spacer plates for a necklace  in Migdale, Scotland, and on a bronze armlet from Melfort, Scotland. This motif, surrounded by fine dots outlining the shape, seems to have been used in Scotland for some time, and appears to be part of the indigenous repertoire. This cape is unlike anything found from that time period, or any other period. The craftsman was an exceptional goldsmith, with an impressive artistic flair. It must have made a huge impression on all those who saw this object. At that time, 1900-1600 BCE, it is estimated that there may have only been fifty bronze daggers in all of the UK and Ireland. So most folks were still using stone tools, while this person was walking about with a gold cape.

I think of these shapes as houses (large domes); seeds (small domes); lenticular shapes (beans); pyramid shapes ( temples?); rectangular shapes (metal ingots). However, the most standard shape of ingots in ancient times is shown in fig. A. A hieroglyph from Urartu, an Iron Age kingdom around Lake Van and Lake Urmia, looks more like fig. B. So perhaps these shapes are meant to be ingots of metal.

It is believed that this very wealthy person may have had connections to the Great Orme copper mine, which was the biggest copper mine in Europe at that time. Who and what was this person? Queen? Priestess? The Oracle? “Oracles are best in the defence”, says the side of the Queen Stone which points in the direction of  North Wales. The Neolithic house below, named Cul a Bhail, was found on Jura, an island off the west coast  of Scotland. It is very much like a tholos, although they were more dome shaped. But different materials sometimes make for a slightly different shape. The tholoi on Cyprus had stone foundations and mud brick domes, and in Mesopotamia they were made from mud brick. The mud brick was plastered over with adobe, while this house was made of stone, wood and thatch but the basic idea is the same.

                                                                            Cul a Bhail, Jura

There were bronze straps, other flat pieces of gold work, and 200 to 300 amber beads found with the cape. The bronze straps are thought to have given the cape extra support. The other gold pieces are a puzzle, no one seems to know what they may have been. It is thought that the cape was lined with leather, and decorated with the amber beads at the neckline and at the bottom. This could have been done all in one step. The amber beads would have covered the holes in the gold around the edges. This article has no designs the same as those found on the treasures from Bush Barrow, Golden Barrow, or Clandon Barrow. Although it has been dated 1900-1600 BCE just like Bush Barrow and the others, it isn’t known whether the same person made this cape.

I did find a similar design element on a Vinca bowl, which is quite a bit older than the cape. Possibly older by 2000 years. However, this is quite interesting due to the fact that Ogham has many of the same symbols which are found among Vinca or Old European script.                                                                            Vinca bowl

 Vinca or Old European script with Ogham symbols underlined with red.  The people of the Vinca culture are the oldest metallurgists to date. Their culture seems to have come to an end around 3200 BCE, more or less pushed out by other Indo-Europeans migrating in, at which time many of these people migrated to other places. Vinca territory included Serbia, and parts of Romania, Bulgaria, Bosnia, Montenegro, Macedonia and Greece. The Varna culture, also in that area and closer to the Black Sea, was not far from Vinca territory, and they were making gold ornaments in 5000 BCE. There were so many ornaments that archaeologists came to the conclusion that these were very common, everyday decorations, since they were found all over the settlements, and not just in graves. This whole area eventually became Thrace. The Thracians were well known for their beautiful metal work. The following map shows the dispersal pattern of the Vinca in green. Their artefacts have been found as far away as France. And perhaps Wales?

There are several reasons for this theory. The biggest copper mine in Europe was at the Great Orme in Wales at the time when the cape was made. Ogham uses many Vinca symbols. The Vinca spoke a Proto-Indo-European language, wherein W and Y were used both as vowels and consonants. This is also why the Welsh language seems full of consonants, but W is pronounced oo or eu in Welsh, and Y is usually pronounced as I. This makes a word such as Llwyd seem so impossible to say. Ll also has its own pronunciation which is impossible to describe on paper. The last piece of this theory has to do with Y haplogroup E1b1b1, it is one of the unusual varieties in the British Isles, and is said to have spread from the Balkans, which is where the Vinca culture was. In the North Wales town of Abergele, 33% of the men tested, carried this DNA.

The three blue squares are at Mold, Abergele and the Great Orme. Abergele is closer to the copper mine than Mold is. Did some of the Vinca make it to Wales, take up mining copper, and become wealthy enough to have the gold cape made?

The picture above shows a painted Vinca vase, the date is not given, but would be before 3200 BCE, and possibly a thousand years older. It has a design made like an M, but it is actually two separate pieces which make up this M. It’s more like a 7 and a backward 7. This sign can be found several times in the script, used several different ways. In this case there is a face above the V. It looks like the Akhet again. The Sun between two mountain peaks. Looks very much like the Akhet on the Folkton Drums. The Balkans are named Old Europe, it had settlements of 2500 people and more, a thousand years before such things show up in Mesopotamia, unless the dates for that area are incorrect. This was a well organized society with orderly villages, farming, fishing, gathering and hunting. There seems to have been enough surplus food so that people had extra time for pottery, weaving, mining and metallurgy. Their religion was based on the Mother Goddess, the Earth and her attendant the Bull/Sun God. That isn’t all that different from Celtic religion with its Triple Goddess, the Earth, and Cernunnos, her stag/man/Sun consort. The bull has been an important symbol since very ancient times. Some of the oldest ‘cult’ figures were small stone bulls made at Mureybet. It figures heavily in Celtic art. The Vinca culture was already a well developed society by 5000 BCE, and may be at the root of all later higher civilizations, such as Sumer, Egypt and Crete. Then again, we haven’t seen everything which will be excavated at Gobekli Tepe as yet. Their stone carving was very advanced for 9000 BCE.

Archaeology is full of puzzles and amazing finds, which are changing our view of the people in ancient times. Thanks to modern technology, anyone can scan the earth for geoglyphs, odd formations, see the different colours in fields, indicating buildings, tumuli, roads, etc. Or they can look at the ocean floor, and spot ancient flooded settlements, old coastlines, ancient lakes and rivers, and sometimes find things which look like roads. It’s a fascinating world, I just wish we knew more about it.

References and Pictures

Gold Mold Cape; The British Museum, Wrexham Museum, Wikipedia

Old Europe by Philip Coppens

Vinca Culture; Projekat Rastko: and Professor Nenad Tasic about Vinca and world archaeology, from

Vinca footed bowl and article, Internet Library of Serbian Culture: Archaeology.

Vinca vase from Oracle ThinkQuest

Vinca Culture, Wikipedia

Vinca symbols, Wikipedia

Old Europe (archaeology) Wikipedia

Map of Neolithic expansion, Wikipedia

Genetic History of the British Isles, Wikipedia

Proto-Indo-European-Language, Wikipedia

House on Jura,

Map of North Wales,

A Disease?


History, even ancient history, brings us stories about disease. Since recorded history we have been able to look back at many outbreaks of various virulent diseases. The records of such things in really ancient history are much scarcer. In fact, the field is narrowed considerably by the time we reach c2000 BCE. Most of these stories come from religious texts, where we can read about all sorts of afflictions which hit various people at different times. These events are generally put down to, God’s wrath.

Some of them have been looked at carefully by experts. One army seems to have been decimated through their contact with mice. The experts think that the place they were camped at was over run by mice, and that the soldiers picked up a deadly disease because of it. But this incidence was interpreted in the religious text as God’s wrath. Obviously no one knew just exactly what happened, other than the enemy’s army was practically wiped out. Must have been God’s wrath, said the recorders of this event. We can forgive their ignorance since the answer was quite technical and needed a microscope among other things. But it could always be argued that the mice were God’s wrath.

There’s a story in the Irish mythologies which also tells of one group of people who died “all in the space of one day”. No doubt a bit of an exaggeration, but the point being that the people became ill and died soon after. All of them, which is likely also an exaggeration, but obviously took a large percentage of the population. After all, if they all died, who would be left to tell the tale? This story comes to us through Fintan, the Ancient White One. He recounts the history of the different groups of people who went to Ireland in ancient times. One whole group of people became ill and died. God’s wrath didn’t come into it at all, not even the monks added that. In fact, no reason for their illness is given at all. There was no moralizing about their life style, nor anything negative connected to the story of these people. This is also about the only time that you read about such a thing happening in the Irish mythologies. Obviously a large event which made a lasting impression.

The question is, would rulers of city states in ancient times have allowed their scribes to record such events, or did they just stick to recording religious rites, trade, battles, treaties, marriages, deaths, etc.? It wouldn’t be good for trade if you let on there was a problem. No ruler was going to admit publicly, that he was out of favour with God or the gods. The population would make up its own mind about that. For instance, did the Egyptians record the various things which befell them during the time of Moses? It would seem not, since the experts still don’t know whether Moses really existed , never mind which Pharaoh was ruler at that supposed time. So far there has been nothing found in Egyptian records about these events.

Most ancient societies seem to have been heavily influenced by their belief in God or the gods. Any city-state or country to suffer a great loss of life through disease would have been believed to have been cursed by God or the gods. It’s not likely that the rulers of such places would record such a thing. Anyone among the educated and craftsmen would have abandoned the place if they could. No one would want to live in a place that was cursed. No one would want to live in a place where people were dying wholesale of a disease. The peasants and poor would have been left behind and likely died. This is what has always happened throughout history. It was always the educated, affluent and talented that were  the most mobile, the poor generally stayed in place.

It isn’t likely that the people leaving would tell their sorry tale when they got to wherever they were going. If they settled in a new community, it isn’t likely that they would tell people that they had come from a place that was cursed. Nor would they have mentioned disease and people dying of that disease. They would have been shunned by the people in their new chosen community. If this new group of people had found out what had happened, and anything bad happened in their territory, the new comers would have been blamed. It wouldn’t matter if the disease was different or if it was the sheep that were ill and dying, the newcomers would still have been blamed. It isn’t that long ago that there were actual witch hunts. Sometimes over nothing more than a bad crop or a sick cow.

After reading a great deal of history, it became  obvious that something quite out of the ordinary happened c3200 BCE. Something which seems to have changed a great many things. It has been estimated that Mesopotamia lost about sixty thousand of its citizens. Uruk was the only city to gain in population, but all the other big cities like Ur and Eridu, as well as the countryside, seem to have lost people. Some have attributed this sudden decline in population to the dispersal after the Tower of Babel incident. No famine, weather or war details seem to account for this. Suddenly, all sorts of new constructions in many different places took place. Civilizations, fully functional, with every sort of craft, astronomers, priests, kings, scribes, smiths, architects, farmers, etc. pops up in places which saw nothing but hunter- gatherers and homestead farmers before that. All of them under unexplained circumstances, leaving us wondering, why then? What caused this sudden explosion of seeming knowledge of building, etc.? Why does there seem to have been mass movements of people? Apart from the Tower of Babel, disease could be the answer.

The Feudal System came to a crashing halt after the plague took hold of Europe. If there is little recorded history of those times in five thousand years, will archaeologists be left scratching their heads then also? What will they make of the remains in the plague pits were people were buried by the hundreds? Will they think disease or massacre? Such mass graves exist also. Or will they come across a few records mentioning this disease, and then think the masses of dead were victims of human sacrifice? Knowing what we know makes this sound illogical, but if you had nothing to go by but a few scraps of paper here and  there, if any survived, and then you found one of those plague pits…………………? One of the current ideas is that Stonehenge was a Temple of death, will archaeologists think that of Westminster Abbey or St. Paul’s Cathedral? After all, there are a great many people buried within them.

We can only see through a glass darkly in the field of ancient history. Our knowledge of them is miniscule compared to the vibrant life such city states must have embodied.   All that is left are fragments of cities, bones, weapons, pottery and some spectacular treasures, by which these places have been dated. Experts debate about the meaning of carvings, wall paintings, sculpture,  ancient religions, etc. There are more opinions out there than there are artefacts. Opinions also change, some of what was believed in the 1800s is now considered archaic.

The Mold Gold Cape is one of the most outstanding sheet gold artefacts which has been found. It is unique, in a class of its own, and nothing like it has been found anywhere else in the world. It was hammered out of one ingot of gold. Found broken and in fragments at Bryn yr Ellylon near Mold, Flintshire, Wales in 1830, it was first thought to have been a corselet or breast-plate which passed under the arms. In 1904 the British Museum was presenting it as a chest ornament for a pony. It wasn’t until 1950 that its form suggested that it was a cape, and it wasn’t until 2002 that all the missing pieces were put together, proving that it was a cape. It is dated 1900-1600 BCE, and it is not known whether this was buried with a man or a woman. However, since it is only 18 inches wide, it is thought to have been a woman. Some 200 to 300 hundred amber beads were also found, presumably part of the decoration of the cape. Only one bead remains in the British Museum.

Although we can admire the amazing artistry which went into creating this cape, it tells us next to nothing about the society this person lived in, except that there was a certain amount of wealth, and that it was likely connected to the Great Orme copper mine. It tells us nothing about the person who wore this cape, only that she must have been important. How then can we try to interpret these people’s motives for doing certain things? Like seemingly abandoning one area of the globe, after which ‘civilization’ comes fully formed in other parts, when there is no concrete evidence to show us why this occurred.

Ancestor by Susan Seddon Boulet

The Mold Gold Cape, The British Museum

The Golden Barrow Treasures

The Golden Barrow or Upton Lovell G2e was near the River Wylye, slightly South West of Stonehenge. Since its excavation in 1803, it has been destroyed. This barrow contained as  many costly and interesting treasures as the Bush Barrow. There was more than one cremation found in this barrow, but the treasures only seem to have been with one person. It isn’t known whether this was a man or a woman, since necklaces may have been worn by anyone. On the other hand, the Wessex lord in the Bush Barrow had no necklaces with him, nor did the Amesbury Archer, nor his family member, who may have been his son. He also had gold ‘hair tresses’. Perhaps this particular person was a woman.

William Cunnington had the following to say about this barrow.

“TUMULUS XX (AW 98) Copy of a letter to H. P. Wyndham Esq July 28th 1803

Sir I have this day opened a barrow in Upton Lovell it is situated in the meads a few yards north of the river Wylye. As the discoveries in this barrow are more important in their nature than any other ever yet made I hasten to inform you the particulars. This Barrow of a pyramidal form or rather like the common houses, pointing East to West, is in the base 52 by 32 feet, the slope 22 feet, the length on top 22 feet. The North side of the barrow is extremely ? the south side is much mutilated. On making a section lengthways of the barrow, at about two feet deep we found in a very shallow cist human burnt bones piled in a little heap, and at a foots distance a considerable quantity of ashes, which also contained small fragments of human bones, upon which and at two feet distant from the bones were found the following articles of pure gold, which are neatly wrought and highly polished, viz about ten gold beads* made in the form of a drum ? two ends to ……off and perforated in the sides…see Plate XI fig 5…….. a thin plate of the same metal…….nearly 9 inches by 6 inches long, this is very neatly ornamented as you will see by plate XI fig ?………by a beautiful Bulla of conical form, see figure 3 in the same plate- and inside this is a solid cone of wood, the gold which completely covered it is very thin, at the base are two holes for a thread or wire by which it was suspended see fig 4. near the above were found of four gold articles viz.. two of which that appeared once to have covered the ends of staffs (some of my friends say they are small boxes. see plate XI fig 1 and 2. Among the gold ornaments lay several flat pieces of amber, about the eighth of an inch in thickness, and about an inch wide, -they were all perforated lengthways but were sadly broken in getting out. ( see plate two fig 2 when joined they were the exact form of those found in Deverell Barrow only bigger). What is very extraordinary there were also nearly one thousand  amber beads of different sizes see Plat X fig 2. – Close to the pile of ashes we found a very small urn see Plate X fig 1. Also a lance head of brass and a pin of the same metal-see the same plate. The urn is of very extraordinary form, appearing as though it had been studded all over with small black grapes. In this barrow, contrary to the usual custom of interment on the Downs, which is generally on, or in the native soil we found the cist nearly on top of the barrow and this deviation was probably occasioned by the wetness of the soil, the barrow being near the river. We find in other respects a similar method of internment to what we find in many other barrows, the small urn, lance head of brass, brass pin etc are common. From the profusion of valuable ornaments, for valuable they must have been at the period of their internment, we might naturally conclude this barrow to have been the sepulchre of a great chief of the Belgic + Britons. +Mr. Coxe objects to the word Belgic, suppose we say British chief near the time of Caesars invasion.” (1)

Shale and amber beads, and the shale core of the gold covered  button

William Cunnington was a wee bit off with his dates, since it is now thought that the cremation dates 1900-1600 BCE, but like Bush Barrow, it could be older.  The gold artefacts from both barrows do look as if the same person made them. At the Wiltshire Heritage Museum, the bronze lance head is listed as a knife dagger, and the bronze pin is listed as an awl. The above amber and shale beads are believed to have been a necklace.

The gold beads, which were drum shaped, approximately 1/2 an inch long, had ends which could be screwed off, they were small containers, and could be opened even while being worn, perhaps as part of a bracelet, with the gold button used as a fastener. The button would have been on the outside of the arm. This fancy button is gold  foil over shale, named a Bulla by William Cunnington, and has holes drilled in a shallow V shape in the bottom. The measurements given for the gold cover are 47 mm in diameter and 43 mm in height.

Gold beads from the Golden Barrow

Gold Button showing top and undersideHow the bracelet may have looked and the method of tying it together.

Once the ends of the cord went through the button, it wouldn’t have to be removed again. It would be untied and loosened when removing it from your arm, but the end of the cord would stay through both holes. These ends may have been decorated with long hair from a cow’s tail, feathers or perhaps some of the amber beads which were found. Bracelets of this general form were commonly seen on the carvings of rulers from Sumer, Babylon, and Assyria. The ones from the area of the Fertile Crescent, usually had a flower on them. The button has the same triangle or zigzag decoration as was found on the large gold lozenge from the Bush Barrow. But the button has an extra surprise. On the bottom the design is the same as the central part of the Clandon Barrow lozenge, which was another device connected to mathematical coding as shown by Martin Doutré. This lozenge must also have been made by the same person.

The Clandon Barrow lozenge construction as drawn by Anthony Johnson

These mathematical codes were quite complicated, and were connected to astronomy, surveying, navigation, calendar keeping, weights, measures and volumes. The various articles which were inscribed with these codes, would have been used as memory devices. A question from a fellow blogger, made me investigate the Rillaton and Ringlemere cups a little closer. These were found at two different places and not with the Golden Barrow treasure.

The Rillaton cup (left) is 9 cm high, and the Ringlemere cup (right) is 11 cm high. One of my measuring cups looks to be about the same size as the Rillaton cup, only a little taller. 9 cm up the side of my cup gives me one pint. These cups may not have been for drinking beverages, instead they may have been measuring cups for some other purpose. The Ringlemere cup may have a pint capacity at the top of the corrugations, and perhaps another measurement when full. It may have held three cups when full. The corrugations likely indicated different measures, both dry and liquid.

A pint is an interesting measure since it can be found in both dry and liquid Imperial measure. Liquid measure: 4 gills = 1 pint; 2 pints = 1 quart; 4 quarts = 1 gallon; 1 gallon = 231 cubic inches. Dry measure: 2 pints = 1 quart; 8 quarts = 1 peck; 4 pecks = 1 bushel; 10 pecks or 2 1/2 bushels = 1 barrel; 1 bushel = 2150.42 cubic inches. Thinking of the other mathematical codes found in the other gold objects, makes me wonder what measurements could be found in each groove of the corrugations. I don’t suppose the British Museum would allow me to conduct an investigation, unfortunately.

The handles on these cups are held to the body by lozenge-shaped rivets. The way they are attached makes them look like small Squares of Enlightenment. These lozenges, zigzags, and triangles are all little signatures of a highly evolved system of weights and measures. All these systems stem from astronomy, and do seem to have been around for thousands of years before we see the proof of such things in the UK and Ireland. However, these people may have used wood, stone, pottery or some other material for their original measuring devices. A piece of simple cord could have had knots tied in it at the appropriate places. It would be small, light and easy to carry around, but such things in the UK and Ireland would have decayed long ago. It’s obvious that whoever made these gold artefacts, had some sort of measuring device, and knew all the mathematical coding. The people using them would also have understood the coding, which means that we are looking at some very well educated people. The mathematics involved are really quite astounding.

Because these artefacts do all seem to be connected to measures of all sorts, based originally on the circumference of the Earth, it is quite possible that the cups, the Clandon Barrow treasure, the Bush Barrow Treasure, and the Golden Barrow treasure were all made by the same craftsman. I don’t imagine there were that many goldsmiths running about in those days who would have all this knowledge. In ancient times smiths were considered holy because they used the four ancient elements of Earth, Air, Fire and Water to make their artistic creations. In Egypt they were a priesthood, they were the magicians who could turn a solid substance into a liquid, and then reshape the hardened metal into whatever shape they wanted. The biggest percentage of the population would still have been using stone tools, so these ‘ornaments’ must have been mind-boggling for anyone who saw them. The Amesbury Archer being the foremost candidate as craftsman, since he had the gold ‘hair tresses’, the metal working kit, and the ‘wrist guards’ which were actually measuring devices. Perhaps the hair tresses were a sign of their profession.

Getting back to these interesting gold beads, they had me wondering what was kept in the containers. What were they for? What use did they have? They were strung together through two holes in the sides rather than two holes through the ends, which would have made it possible to separate one from its companions to be able to undo one of the lids, but why? I had several thoughts about this. Perhaps special powders were kept in them for creating green smoke, red smoke or sparkles when applied to a fire. Done on the sly of course, the peasants wouldn’t have known that there were special powders hiding in the bracelet. Such things were generally done after dark, so the only light may have been the fire.

But then I thought perhaps this person was keeping track of different women’s pregnancies. One container per person, and after each month went by, you would add a grain seed or perhaps a small piece of gravel. Questions would have been asked to determine which phase of the Moon, and how long ago this person thought they became pregnant. However, it is also possible that they were keeping track of different weights belonging to various systems. Wheat seeds were once at the root of weight measures. This is why we still have, grains, as a weight measure. Among the Hebrew desert weight (light) measures  can be found 131.25 grains. Having some wheat seed on hand, I did a little experiment. Each one of these gold containers could hold 12 wheat seeds, making a total of 132 if all the containers held 12 each. This bracelet now becomes a great deal more than just jewellery. The button likely had measures in its size and decorations. Drawing a triangle with base 47 cm and height 43 cm, pretty much gives you an equilateral triangle. The central mathematical codes of the Clandon Barrow lozenge are also on the bottom of the button. Considering what else has been discovered, coloured smoke seems rather lame. But who knows? These people were into dual purpose things.


The next piece is a gold plaque 144 mm by 68 mm, according to the Wiltshire Heritage Museum. It once had a wood back as did the two large gold lozenges. I’ve been stringing lines on it out of curiosity. The large lozenge has angles of 80° and 100°, these are the same as the large gold lozenge from the Bush Barrow. This area may have been connected to Solar/Lunar measurements. The tiny lozenges in the net at each end of the plaque have angles of 60° and 120°, which is what the small gold lozenge from the Bush Barrow had. This net is reminiscent of the lozenges I strung across England, which had to do with surveying. As a final bonus it has cording around the edge, the measuring cord. If the museum’s measurements are correct, then the circumference of the plaque would be 424 mm or 42.4 cm. 10 cm = 4 inches. So the circumference would be 16.96 inches. Dividing 16.96 by the magic number of hidden secrets, 4, I get 4.24 inches, which is a reflection and progression of 424 mm and 42.4 cm. This is the magic of metrology, all numbers in all systems are interconnected, having stemmed from one source, the Great Pyramid, which many consider to be much older than Khufu, who is supposed to have had it built.

Although I am not a mathematician, I’d say this gold plaque is likely full of mathematical coding, just like the gold lozenges. Seems these gold artefacts were more than mere jewellery, they were memory devices covering a wide range of measurements of all types. Being made of gold, they wouldn’t rot, their hidden knowledge has been there all the time, but few people have recognized their significance, thinking of them just as ornaments instead. Considering their function, they may be much older than Bush Barrow or Golden Barrow. They could well have been heirlooms when they were finally buried, possibly dating back to before 2300 BCE.  These articles may have been the ‘gold standard’, literally, of measurements in England at that time. They may have been used by the elite to keep an eye on the merchants’ measures, to make sure they were not short-changing the common folk. The Bell Beakers may have become so popular because they may have held a certain capacity or capacities, and became a common man’s measuring device all over Europe.

Two conical bosses and two flat pommels were found also. These were first interpreted by Sir Richard Colt-Hoare as small boxes, but William Cunnington found them several inches apart, suggesting they were the ends of two wooden sceptres. Unfortunately it doesn’t tell us how long these sceptres may have been. They may have been measuring rods, rather than just sceptres. This would be in keeping with the other measuring devices.

This last piece is quite fascinating. It is thought to have been an incense burner. Although several incense burners have been found in various barrows, this one is unique. There are 108 small knobs, which seem to have been applied to the pottery one by one. There were holes drilled into the pottery between these nodules. It’s rather made like a net.

All in all, these treasures are quite amazing, particularly all the mathematical coding found in these pieces. They must have been incredibly costly at that stage in history. Such gold instruments would be extremely costly now, even the lunula shaped amber necklace would cost a fortune today. Who were the people who owned these items? Have we stumbled upon the people named the Tuatha Danann? Were they the people of the goddess Anu, D’Anu, or should that be the god Anu, or his wife Antu? The Abantu of South Africa are Ab Antu, the children of Antu. D’Anu in Sumerian would mean, of Anu. This puts us back with Anu’s White Temple and Inanna’s Temple in Uruk. The artefacts from England that we have been looking at had the same design elements as the cone mosaics at Inanna’s Temple.  It’s all those names, Danann, Manannan, Inanna. The earliest form of Bran the Blessed’s name was Uran, which became Vran, and then Bran. Uran from Ur or Uruk? I am not through investigating these gold artefacts, and am making further enquiries regarding these. I will post my findings at a later date……….I hope.

References and pictures

For anyone interested in the mathematics which has been found at Stonehenge and on the Bush Barrow and Clandon Barrow lozenges, see Martin Doutré’s work at Ancient Celtic New Zealand, and D. P. Gregg’s, The Stonehenge Codes, which is in PDF form, so you can download it and read it at your leisure, it will take a while. For other measurements of various landmarks, megaliths, and ancient constructions in many countries, see This is an excellent site with clear concise facts and plenty of detail and great pictures.

(1) William Cunnington, Manuscript Letters, Vol., p.35-6

Wiltshire Heritage Museum, articles and pictures of the Golden Barrow treasures, listed as Upton Lovell G2e.

British Museum, the Rillaton and Ringlemere cups

Drawing of the Clandon Barrow lozenge construction method, Anthony Johnson, at Wikipedia entitled Clandon Barrow.

Drawings of the amber and shale necklace, and the gold bracelet, J. Rankin

A Rant About Human Sacrifice

                                                      I Heard the Owl Call My Name

I have always tried to approach things logically, and even though many legends and mythologies seem rather farfetched, there exists within them many things which can give us clues to the past. We must first understand the thought processes behind them. Above all, we have to push aside all the drivel which has built up over centuries about these things. In England, we have layer upon layer of different cultures, all of whom reigned supreme at one time or another. All of whom considered the people they conquered to be inferior to them.

One thing I particularly dislike is the talk about human sacrifice, it seems very popular these days.  There are theories about the people in the Aubrey holes at Stonehenge being human sacrifices. The Stonehenge archer is another candidate, and even the Queen Stone is being connected to human sacrifice. The Queen Stone was a way marker, and has some blackening on top because they had torches in some of the grooves, making it a beacon at night. I do realize that such things went on, but everyone with a bashed in head wasn’t necessarily a human sacrifice. Inside Woodhenge, a three year old child is buried surrounded by a flint caern. It’s believed that he was a human sacrifice, he had a bashed in head. In fact, this is the proof that such things went on in England at that time. I disagree. Children in all early societies, particularly in fairly isolated places, were precious. And now someone will say, yes, but that’s what made his sacrifice so special. Drivel!

To get from birth to adulthood was rife with dangers. A cut on your foot, unattended, could kill you. Not to mention flu, pneumonia, chicken pox, scarlet fever, measles, bad teeth, broken bones, diabetes, etc. To see the list, look in a medical dictionary, then remember that there were no modern antibiotics, no cure for many diseases such as diabetes. People died of things which today we have modern medications for. Or look at the Amesbury Archer, who had an abscess which eroded a hole in his jaw, and his missing kneecap caused infection in his bones. The abscess alone could have killed him. Women died in childbirth, they still do. To have your child grow to adulthood would have been a big deal, it still is. The mortality rate among children was extremely high, you were lucky to get them passed the age of two. They would have continued your line, and become a fully functioning adult part of the community. It kept your culture going, and it helped you in your old age. If you were lucky enough to live that long.

When the Windmill Hill people went to England, they weren’t the first people there. Hunters and gathers already lived there. The Windmill Hill people could grow grains and beans. They controlled flocks of cattle, sheep and raised pigs. They made pottery and could weave. They also had some well educated people among them who were astronomer/surveyors, who could set up calendars, and possibly practiced medicine at a higher level than the natives. Don’t forget about Nuada’s silver arm. This could well be the first mention of a prosthesis. After all, metal working had been going on in some places since c5000 BCE.

All these things would have been considered ‘magical’ by the Nomadic hunters and gatherers who already lived there. These newcomers would have been viewed with suspicion. There is an echo of this in a story about Manannan. He and his wife, along with another couple go to England after some strange happenings in Wales. But the people in England were hostile toward them, and were jealous of their skills, so they went back to Wales. Ideas change slowly, sometimes it takes centuries, even thousands of years. Look around our world, see all the different levels of development? People with high technical skills are still viewed with suspicion in some parts of the world today. Even within their own communities.

So there was a different development going on among different people. We don’t know how many others came by sea. There could have been disagreements among tribes. We have no records of this. The child at Woodhenge may just have fallen on some rocks, they had plenty around, or he could have been killed by a group of invaders whether local or not. He was also likely to have been of the higher class. He was buried there because of his preciousness, not as a sacrifice.

There was an elderly man buried in the West Kennet Long Barrow with an arrow through his throat. No one has ever suggested that this man was a  sacrifice. Another one who was probably killed by some hostile element. If he was elderly and buried in the West Kennet Long Barrow, he was probably highly thought of. Not that many people lived to be elderly, their store of knowledge would have been a great asset to their community.

Then there’s the Druids. We hear about them first from the Romans, and then the Christian fathers. And that’s about all we know about them. Except from some of the Welsh and Irish traditions. Thankfully the Romans never made it to Ireland, where the Druids carried on for many more centuries. According to the Irish traditions, and the accounts by the Romans, they were very learned men and women, and are said to have gained some of their knowledge from the Dodmen.  They are supposed to have been the priests and priestesses among the Celts. The Celts were not one people, but separate tribes who practiced the same belief system, and spoke a common language. Even though this language is now split into P Celt and Q Celt, the languages are very similar and must have a common root, many words are the same and others very close. All their DNA is similar. We can look back at the clan systems which still existed in Ireland, Scotland and Wales within recorded history. These clans didn’t always get along, in fact, there were clashes among them for thousands of years, until eventually they banded together to fight the English.

Most of these people have been divided into three classes. The warrior elite, the priestly class and the peasants. Not so different from the later Normans. This priestly class is though to have had most of the control of the people within any given tribe. Not so different from the Normans either, where the priesthood ruled, even over kings.  The Druids kept the calendar, so that their feast days were observed at the proper time. Some of them were astronomer/surveyors, they were called on over land disputes, it was them who knew the proper measurements and boundaries. No doubt they frightened the population with the eclipse factor, and they likely practiced sleight of hand tricks to awe the audience. Things like the use of powders to create oddly coloured smoke or sparkles. They kept the histories and genealogies, were said to be skilled healers, orators, knowledgeable in law, etc.

According to Roman accounts, they burned people in wicker cages as sacrifices. I don’t doubt they did this to their enemies, but all Celts held that life was sacred. It came from the Creator. It’s doubtful if they ever sacrificed anyone, enemy or not. They were warriors and farmers, but weren’t all tribal societies of that time the same? Did the Roman Catholic Church sacrifice the people they burned during the Inquisition? No, they did it out of greed mostly, under cover of religious virtue. They put them to death, just as many societies put to death their enemies. Human imagination has come up with unspeakable ways to kill its foes. At least dying in a fire in a wicker cage would be an extremely quick death, since their oxygen would have been cut off almost immediately. Unlike the Catholic priests, the Celts didn’t torture their prisoners first, that would have been considered dishonourable, and not at all correct. They were fierce in battle and took some of their enemies heads, but the warriors were ruled by very strict laws of conduct.

The Romans didn’t like the Druids because they were stopping their people from falling in line with the Romans. That’s why they maligned them so much. The Romans were great liars, they lied about the Etruscans, archaeologists discovered that. When the Romans massacred the people on Anglesey, they were trying to eradicate this educated class who were trying to stop their expansion in the British Isles, and besides, they wanted all the grain which was grown on Anglesey. Anglesey was referred to as Mam Cymru, Mother of Wales, because it supplied a great deal of grain to the rest of Wales.

Without most of their Druids, the Celtic tribes pretty much fell in line with the Romans. Only in Ireland and the far reaches of Scotland, were the Druids able to carry on with their traditions and the education of the young, for the time being at least.

Later, after the Romans left, the early Culdi Church was half Druid, half Christian, until such priests as St. Patrick came along. St. Patrick got rid of all the snakes in Ireland. Those ‘snakes’ were the astronomer/surveyors who by then were the Druids. The later Church fathers took up maligning whatever remnants of druidry might have been left. One only has to look at the names and folklore connected to the ancient places, to see how people were discouraged to go near these ancient complexes.  The priests were only too happy to link the Druids to sorcery, witchcraft, the Devil and human sacrifice, and ever since many people have believed it. To the victors go the spoils. In the past, it was the victors who wrote the histories. Demonization of other Peoples isn’t anything new.

Their sorcery was their knowledge which seemed like sorcery to the priests, but outstripped their knowledge by miles. The witchcraft was likely their healing skills, and poor Cernunnos became the Horned One, the Devil. By the time the Winter Lord became the Devil, the priests were so ignorant, that they didn’t even know that in Celtic religion there is no Hell and no Devil. They just don’t exist. There was only this world and the Otherworld, which I often see called the Underworld, but this is a mistake due to translation, and the fact that the Underworld did exist in other traditions. Arawn was the Lord of the Otherworld, the Annwn, from which all life comes into being, and is the plane to which we return when we die, unless we’ve finally become enlightened enough to go on to Gwynedd. Bran is also said to be connected to the Underworld, but this is a mistake also. Instead he was a bridge (Alder) between this world and the Otherworld. His head continued to talk for eighty years, while he was dead in actuality.

The Fomorii, who were ancient sea kings, are also said to have come from the Underworld where they lived in a city below the sea. The Fomorii came from a city south of the Mediterranean, and south of the Equator. South of the Equator is the underside of the Earth, the Underworld. That’s not to say that the Underworld in other traditions is the same, it was generally the Land of the Dead, but Hades seems more like Hell. Since Celts had no concept of Hell, any mention of the Underworld connected to the Fomorii is not Hell, or the Land of the Dead. The dead went to the Otherworld.

Be logical, be enlightened, and leave all the old stories about sorcery, witchcraft, Devil worship and human sacrifice where they belong……………………in the trash.



   Shield of the Four Directions

Paintings by Susan Seddon Boulet