Today, I’m being joined by the lovely Ailsa Abraham, and she’s even brought cake! This is a good thing, especially given her topic of conversation… Not a lot of people know I’m slightly afraid of standing stones (thanks to a programme on CBBC when I was child, which hardly anyone remembers, but never mind about that now). However, I’m also fascinated by them, and the people who brought them together, so I shall read on with intrigue…
Thanks for inviting me over, Jennifer. I brought you some Bûche de Noêl made by our local baker Pierre.
I’d like to talk about standing stones and megaliths. One in Cornwall where I grew up, features in Alchemy. It’s Men An Tol is near Marazion, inland of St. Michael’s Mount. Like many of the megaliths which aren’t simply erect stones like Stonehenge, this consists of a circular stone with a large hole in it and two verticals on either side. Nobody remembers what their original use was but within living memory our great grandmothers used to pass sickly babies through the hole in the stone to heal them.
Personally I tend to think that they were seen as doorways to the “other-world”, so in my tale I used it to allow my lead characters to contact the Fae.
My other favourite stones are at Carnac in Brittany. This is mile after mile of corridors formed by standing stones or “menhirs” as we call them over here. They would make a perfect route for a ritual procession which could lead to a feast, or a sacrifice. Again, we have no idea although theories abound. I can’t imagine why Stone Age people would go to such an effort to make these if they didn’t have huge spiritual significance. Rather similar to Stonehenge, wonderful work, what’s it for?
I’ve experienced the energy given off by the Carnac stones for myself. I’m sure they are built around a centre of lay-lines crossing or some other source of spiritual oomph. When I have been feeling very low, a quick trip to lay my hands on the stones has bucked me up no end.
This is something I have been doing all my life. Near Sennen Cove, not far from Land’s End is a ring of stones known as “The Merry Maidens”. The tale is that these girls were told not to go out dancing on May morning (pagan festival of Beltain) but they did and were turned to stone. I think this might have been a strict warning to good Christian Cornish gals to resist celebrating pagan days. However, I am not a good Christian Cornish gal, and have often filled up on energy there.
I suppose that I’m not a hippy, tree-hugger but I could be called a pagan stone-cuddler.