England and stone - - I've always thought of them as one. Perhaps
one reason for this long association is that the British Isles
themselves are stones rising out of the water. To be in England is to
feel the stones beneath one's feet.
England and stone - - the relationship has been a healthy one.
Whatever man has done with stone it's always been used in an
inquisitive state about man's spiritual state with the earth and the
earth's larger home, the universe, in a way free of superstitions.
Man did not feel impelled to alter stone into his own image, as the
Egyptians did, boxed in pyramids for his physical body, or as the Greeks did by cutting stone into
narcissistic images to grace temples. No, in England stone could be free standing in nature's
elements, and represent all of man's aspirations, by extending forms into space beyond man's own
dimensions and imagery.
Not St. Peter's with its round of stone Popes, or giant statues of Pharaohs long lost in the sans, but
always simple undressed stone. Even the CVorontation stone in Westminster Abbey was to confer
wisdom on kings but was never used by kings as an emblem of king's powers. The king was still
nothing compared to the stone. "The Stone is quite impersonal. I can get no history from it. It has no
power to absorb earth radiations, and is in a constant state of transmission of cosmic energy." 19
So said a psychometrist in the presence of stone.
Standing stones & circles of pre-history
Archaic crosses and carvings
Ancient buildings and other stone structures
Trackways and leys
All the concepts are found in England. The earthworks are huge mounds of
earth constructed to alter or enhance the currents of natural energies that
flowed through the body of the earth, according to one theory. The largest
mound in Europe is found in England. Called "Sibury", it is 130 feet high and
covers an area of 5 1/4 acres. Its purpose still remains a mystery but in a
recent investigation it was found to contain small groups of up to four stones.
The most impressive use of standing stones and the circles are Stonehenge
and Avebury. Both are thought to represent a solar and moon temple where
movements of the heavenly bodies were predicated. Many individual standing
stones exist, and some are found situation within the complex of earth works, some carried to a
sacred location and others left where nature had brought them. Almost all of them have been given
some unique shape by nature.
The crosses differ greatly from standing stones in that man has given them their shape. There have
been some kept to their original shapes, but covered with petroglyphs. The symbols chipped on the
surface are the oldest written records of man. The early ones show symbols and only later do they
show letters and words. Again, nothing is known of the meanings of the early symbols given the name
of "cup and ring" marks. The association usually given is to the stars due to
their nebula formation and the optical impression given thereby.
The ancient buildings of stones were either underground chambers lined with
stones called "weems" or round towers called "brochs." The underground
chambers were thought to be rooms where the earth's energies were focused
benefiting the occupants. Less is known about the round towers, but they may,
as with the weems, act as a magnifier of the earth's energy.
The Hill figures can be found on hill slopes. One of them, the Uffington white
horse, measures 360 feet wide, so that the best vantage point of sighting is from
the air. Cut into the soft stone chalk, some were re-cleaned over the years while
others have been allowed to become overgrown. What purpose they serve is still a mystery; perhaps
they were only land markings, while some believe that they are related to worship of the sun.
At one time, maxes were found all over Britain, but most of them have disappeared, having been plowed over. One such maze, constructed of
small stones, still exists. It is named Camperdizil Point, which can translate as "Sunwise Motion" and may denote a connection with sun worship.
One of the strangest uses of stones has been as markers for what are called Leys. If you take any survey map of Britain, circle sacred locations
such as standing stones, earth works, churches, anything which is very sacred, you will find, by running straight lines through the circles, that
they will align. These alignments are thought by some to be a notation of the earth's energy moving across the land.
Listed very briefly, these are some of the uses of stone found in ancient Britain. I could have gone into greater detail, but I feel it has already been
done, and done well, in books such as Mysterious Britain. What I wonder about is the overall fabric of stone. What purposes did all of this
symbolism serve? Some of the wilder guesses I haven't mentioned go into the leys being used to levitate the stone at stonehenge, or the Hill
Figures being used as land markers for flying objects from other worlds, in much the same way as a lighthouse is used to guide ships to safety.
I don't know the reasons, but I do marvel that they exist and wonder at their uses. I do feel, however, that they connote peacefulness, and a
respect for the earth and her materials.
Why are the uses of stone so numerous and seemingly unique to the British Isles? Perhaps such structures will be found in other countries. It
may be that they are only better preserved in England. England, unlike most other countries, has suffered little from invading forces.
If Egypt hadn't been centered on the crossroads of Asia and Africa, it too may have told more of its relationship to stone other than the ones that
have remained. And, if the Incas had not been destroyed by the Spanish, what would have been found there?
Such as it is, England is unique; it seems to embody so many mysteries. Mysteries built upon man's thoughtfulness rather than his fears.
19. Bord, Janet and Colin. Mysterious Britain. Doubleday & Company, Inc. New York: 1973. p. 31