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Rhiannon
5228 posts

Edited Nov 28, 2017, 22:48
Sacred directions
Nov 28, 2017, 22:44
I heard most of this on the way home the other night
http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b09gfcgy
- an episode of 'beyond belief'. I thought it very much fed into that perennial tma favourite topic of sacred places.
Naturally it was focusing on Christianity with a bit of other faiths / cultures thrown in. But also some stuff about the seasons and the spinning of the earth and paganism. And even a nod to 'but convince me this isn't all guff'. Which was quite nice really.

thought you might like it. Or at least find it interesting.
There was a bit of an eyebrow -raising moment where someone suggested that there's archaeological evidence for the direction people walked round circles. But I fear that really is guff because I can't imagine what that could be. Glad to be told should it be true.

A bit that sticks in my mind is the common idea of doing things sunwise, clockwise, east to west. But that (apparently) the followers of Shintoism in Japan go the other way because that way they greet the sun rather than following it. I could do with greeting a bit of sun right now.
nigelswift
7434 posts

Edited Nov 29, 2017, 07:39
Re: Sacred directions
Nov 29, 2017, 07:31
..
Evergreen Dazed
1881 posts

Re: Sacred directions
Nov 29, 2017, 10:24
Cheers, I will give this a listen when I get the chance.
Archaeological evdience for walking direction around circles is intruiging, I can't think what that could possibly be.

I'm very wary of those kind of statements, I must admit. It's not a circle, obviously, but I remember the Gaffney suggestion about the cursus 'procession' at SH :

“It now seems likely that other ceremonial monuments in the surrounding landscape were directly articulated with rituals at Stonehenge. It is possible that processions within the Cursus moved from the eastern pit at sunrise, continuing eastwards along the Cursus and, following the path of the sun overhead, and perhaps back to the west, reaching the western pit at sunset to mark the longest day of the year. Observers of the ceremony would have been positioned at the Heel Stone, of which the two pits are aligned.”

https://www.birmingham.ac.uk/news/latest/2011/11/25Nov-Discoveries-provide-evidence-of-a-celestial-procession-at-Stonehenge.aspx

Seems extremely unlikely to me for a number of reasons, not least for the snail-like speed it would entail.

Also when we visit a monument today we seem to have a compulsion to walk around it, regardless of what kind of site it is, be it a circle, hillfort, whatever, because, I think, we want to see it all. Or know that we've seen everything there is to see there. I wonder if walking 'around' something, in that sense, is a fairly modern idea? I don't know.

When I try to imagine the neolithic goings-on at a place like Avebury, I personally never think of people proceeding around the circle in that sense. But then again I do think of them walking the avenues.. But perhaps they are more obviously 'directional'? I think i'm in danger of getting lost in a sea of unanswerable questions and half-constrcuted thoughts! I will stop there.

Will def give the program a listen anyway.
nigelswift
7434 posts

Re: Sacred directions
Nov 29, 2017, 10:41
If you've got an Avenue you've probably got a procession, IMO.
Evergreen Dazed
1881 posts

Re: Sacred directions
Nov 29, 2017, 10:51
nigelswift wrote:
If you've got an Avenue you've probably got a procession, IMO.


Seems a reasonable assumption. Although at Avebury i'm very tempted by the idea of WKA as a river, of sorts.
nigelswift
7434 posts

Re: Sacred directions
Nov 29, 2017, 11:00
You mean a sort of "soul river"?
Doesn't the fact it has a kink at the Avebury end, affording a sudden dramatic "reveal" into the circle indicate it doubles up as a processional way?
Evergreen Dazed
1881 posts

Re: Sacred directions
Nov 29, 2017, 11:10
When it comes to this stuff, i'm just thinking in a 'staring out the window' type way, thats what I enjoy the most. Who knows. The only thing I can be certain about is that I like going to these places and experiencing them. Sometimes I wonder what i'm even doing there. Ho hum.
nigelswift
7434 posts

Re: Sacred directions
Nov 29, 2017, 11:18
When it comes to this stuff, i'm just thinking in a 'staring out the window' type way, thats what I enjoy the most......

Ah, that's MY school of analysis. If "I" find something aesthetically pleasing or impressive "THEY" probably intended it to be. Cushty. I've never subscribed to the view they had an unknowable mindset.
Evergreen Dazed
1881 posts

Re: Sacred directions
Nov 29, 2017, 12:14
Well, exactly, and why shouldn't you think like that?

Rhiannon, tell me if this is inappropriate for the thread and I will remove it immediately, but in essence are we not, and haven't we always been, fated beings despertaely trying to assert control over the world, and aren't these monuments, especially the grand places, an avebury or york minster maybe, an attempt to be certain of our direction through life, or to gain some sort of safe passage?

Whatever the detail of the ritual or the ceremony that takes place, whether at the barrow, the henge or the cathedral, the fundamental idea or goal seems to be related wouldn't you say?

Are these places in essence tricks of the mind? Places to go to feel easier and more certain about life? To remove fears of the outside, and 'uncontrollable' world and buy into something you can feel confident and sure about? A mixture of science in terms of astronomy and religion working it's magic? It's like the circularity in life is there for all to see and the 'directional' is there in terms of providing reassurance that 'we are in control'.

Is this why people say they find certain places 'soothing'? Is it the psychology working? Pagan sites, christian sites, apart from the fact we have writing about one and not so much about the other, aren't they essentially doing the same job? The difference of course with Neo/BA/IA sites is that nobody is telling you what you must believe, or what you must do and therein lies, for many, the attraction?
nigelswift
7434 posts

Re: Sacred directions
Nov 29, 2017, 12:34
1.) As an aside - IMO nothing is inappropriate for a thread. Meanderings are a rich source of amusement or education and don't prevent people bringing the thread back to where it was if required. What's not to like?

2.) "Is it the psychology working"? IMO it's the aesthetics.
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