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jaqueline

Stonehenge

When I was ten, my parents, brother and I while travelling down for a holiday in Bournemouth went to Stonehenge. In those days you were allowed to walk among them, to touch them. Young as I was I found myself touching them wondering what they could tell me and part of me seemed to try to listen to them. I have never been to them since but they always seemed to call me and I have longed to return to touch them again but alas that isn't allowed today.

It was only when I moved south after marrying Rob that I saw the Stones again and although I have never been into the grounds were they stand, I drive past them quite regulary and each time I do, they call me and I remember that time when I touched them and the feel of the stone and I wonder why.

For five years I have travelled past the Stones and seen them through the highs and lows of the seasons, crowds moving round them in the summer, cameras flashing. In the quietness of winter, snow on the ground, clear sky and a giant red setting sun slipping down behind the Stones in the hours before the winter solstice, with not a soul in sight.

On the morning of my operation in March as I had to be there for 7.30am and it being a good hour's drive away, Rob and I set of early, a lightening in the sky heralded the dawn as we made our way to the hospital. There had been a frost overnight and a mist hung over the fields, smudging the trees and hedgerows, above us the sky turning a clear blue, only the vapour trails of planes overhead turning from deep pink to gold gave a sign of the rising sun.

Dips and turns of the road hid the sun from us but as we neared Stonehenge, a rise in the road and a break in the trees revealed the sun, a red giant ball rising through the mist, sending long shadows across the open fields and I felt the sheer majesty and awesomeness of Stonehenge. At that moment it was as if I heard music and a song as if the whole of creation was joined together in praise and I felt peace.

In that morning of mists and the rising sun, of ethereal otherness, I understood why the Stones call me. They call me to the deep majesty of that which is timeless, of that which is eternal.
Jim

Re: Stonehenge

Hi, Jaqueline.
What a wonderful post!
I've never been to Stonehenge, but I have visited Calanais, on the isle of Lewis, in the very early dawn, when no-one but a few sheep, the occasional lark, a red deer stag and I were there to witness the sun rise. The archaeologist in me kept telling me that this was an early form of astronomical observatory, and such, of course, it is.
But the power and stark, grey beauty of the stones stirred feelings of worship within me. Signposts of the divine.

    I felt something similar when I was in Egypt for six weeks prior to going to uni to study Egyptology. The group I was with was a student body and accredited to the Egypt Exploration Society, so we were allowed privilaged access to some of the exhibits in the chaotically wonderful Cairo museum. Wearing surgical gloves, we held artefacts that were made three, four, five thousand years ago, sometimes with nothing more than copper chisels.

b     Later, I bought an ushabti figure - a small alabaster statuette - which was meant to serve the deceased person in the afterlife.  This belonged to a sed priest of the twenty-sixth dynasty; around the time David was settling  in in Jerusalem. I bought it legally - there are so many available on the black market from looted tombs. This one is crudely carved, but speaks of the love and faith of someone who was prepared to spend for eternity. To hold it, feel it, touch it, wondering who carved it; what did they really believe?
Was it an act of faith?
Or just another job lot?
Either way, it sits next to my computer as I type;  nearly three thousand years old, next to the modern communications marvel that we take for granted.
It puts things in perspective, doesn't it?
Psalm 8 hits the spot:
"What is man, that you are mindful of him,
and the son of man that you care for him?"
Powwow

I was 10 also when my dad took us to the UK, so my memory of stonehenge is a bit fuzzy. I do remember it was a rainy day and I was awed by the size of those boulders. I understand that today it is fenced off. Not in the late 70s. We were able to walk in among the stones.
bnabernard

Problem with stones and statues is that they need man to serve them for them to have any power, they as it were generate a power in the mind much like a placebo pill.
Abraham saw the statues of his father for what they were and burnt them because that was the only way they had power, when they were aflame and boiling the kettle.
When they fall over they do after all rely on man to stand them up, they rely on man to carve them, man creates his own placebo of power.

Jim lay your idol on it's side and see where it's power lies, innit.

As for the computor, built by man innit, it's the brain where the power lies and who built that, an unseen hand ?

Man can be a testimonie to the power of the unseen hand but man procedes to be a testimonie of his own hand.


Never mind Jaques and hi to Rob (hug)

bernard (hug)
Powwow

bna,
You are correct, a stone is nothing but a stone. But I do admit, I love my Canadian Rocky Mountains and have never called a place home where I can't view those stones every day.
Jim

b

bna;
There is no power in an ushabti figure; I bought it as a curiosity, I was, and still am, passionately interested in Egyptology, and see no problem in having this piece of stone here as I type,.

   It is certainly not an idol; ushabtis were never objects of veneration, adoration, or worship of any kind. They were a compromise in Egyptian theological thought; very predynastic and early dynastic kings of Dyn 'o', I and part of II took their servants weith them in death..whether this was voluntary or sacrificial, we do not know. By mid Dyn II, though, shawabtis/ushabtis had replaced them, as 'surrogate' servants in the afterlife. The custom continued for the next three millenia.
Many such figures are elaborately carved works of art - mine is rather crude, with a basic mummiform statuette and a simple inscription.

It is merely an artefact, a symbol of a culture's effort to understand the afterlife before the light of Christ came.
Nothing more, nothing less.
Ketty

There are Living Stones of course, but the stones at Stone Henge are just 'stones' . . . it's the history and the mystery attached to them that engages the imagination.

It's a lovely part of our country and you can imagine why seeing the sun rising or setting over the vista, stirs something inside.
jaqueline

Ketty wrote:
There are Living Stones of course, but the stones at Stone Henge are just 'stones' . . . it's the history and the mystery attached to them that engages the imagination.

It's a lovely part of our country and you can imagine why seeing the sun rising or setting over the vista, stirs something inside.


They may be just stones to you Ketty but they were built for a purpose, in themselves they are not meant to be worshipped, they are there to point to something else, something mysterious, that which is outside ourselves.

I would go as far as stating their purpose is misunderstood by the New Age lot (and perhaps even the present day Druids) with all their noise etc at the summer solistice. It is about being awed by the hidden majesty of that which is unknown and in that awesomeness to worship that which is Divine not in noise but silence.

If we think about it, our great cathedrals are built for the same purpose and with the same intentions and we accept them for what they are and what they point to, why then can't we do the same with Stonehenge?

ps sorry for taking time to get back in touch but we are having broadband problems in the area and getting cut off for hours at a time - so frustrating - but Virgin assures us they are onto the problem
gone

There are Living Stones of course

What are 'living' stones?
jaqueline

Jim, sometimes in life we come into possessions that connect us to another time, another place and they can point us to something else, something that is always in us but that which we are not always aware of in our hectic modern 21st century lives. They make us slow down and stop for a while and your little ushabti is one of them.

Having it doesn't mean you worship it, no matter how often you look at it or touch it, it connects you to another people lost in the mists of  time and yet their sense of awe of the Divine (no matter how they expressed it) reaches out to you today and in a sense takes you back into the Divine. Surely that is all that matters?
jaqueline

Bernard

Quote:
Never mind Jaques and hi to Rob (hug)

I had no idea you liked Rob that much  

Quote:
Problem with stones and statues is that they need man to serve them for them to have any power, they as it were generate a power in the mind much like a placebo pill.


But people do the same with our cathedrals and don't see anything wrong with that because they are 'Christian' and not Pagan.
Jim

Exactly, Jaqueline.
I often hold that statuette and wonder just who carved it?
Was it an act of faith?
I don't know.
The inscription is the basic formula "I am ushabti; I will serve."
That the family of the man found it important enough to bury it in the tomb with thier loved one speaks of their care, their thoughtfulness and their hopes for an eternity they could hardly grasp.
I say their hopes; but in the convoluted religious thought streams of that period, hope was all it was. There were fears for an underworld terror, or even worse, total oblivion with no body for the soul to return to for spiritual 'food' offered by the paintings or surviving relatives. One of the roles for the ushabti was as a substitute body, if the mummy were destroyed.
Therefore the object was a very treasured part of that priest's equipment.
Ketty

jaqueline wrote:
Ketty wrote:
There are Living Stones of course, but the stones at Stone Henge are just 'stones' . . . it's the history and the mystery attached to them that engages the imagination.

It's a lovely part of our country and you can imagine why seeing the sun rising or setting over the vista, stirs something inside.


They may be just stones to you Ketty but they were built for a purpose, in themselves they are not meant to be worshipped, they are there to point to something else, something mysterious, that which is outside ourselves.


That's what I said Jac.  

But they are, empirically, physically, measurably just stones - it's all the added extra stuff that man attaches to them which encourages people see them as something more.  Similar to how some people treat a 'holy book' with such reverence it must always be covered in cloth, never put on the floor or never used to level out a wobbly table.
Ketty

Willow wrote:
There are Living Stones of course

What are 'living' stones?


Holy spirit filled born again in Spirit and in Truth disciples of Christ Jesus.  
gone

Ketty wrote:
Willow wrote:
There are Living Stones of course

What are 'living' stones?


Holy spirit filled born again in Spirit and in Truth disciples of Christ Jesus.  


I am afraid that makes no sense to me at all, it it some sort of cliche!
Jim

Ketty;
Your post reminded me of an old woman whom I used to visit.
She and her family were fervent Orangemen; always going on the 'walks', and the males at least having several 'degrees' in the quasi-masonic organisation. Beneath the mirror in the hall, on a small table, sat an open KJV Bible on a whithe tablecloth. I thought this was some mark of faith, or devotion. After a few years, we got round to seriously considering the Christian life. By this time, I had a portable 'Ezee reader' which allowed me to scan print with a mouse and see it on the attached mini monitor. So I got up, went tio the hall, and removed the Bible.
Silence.
"What the f*** do you think you're doing?"
"Well," I said, "I thought we'd go through a few verses to see if I can explain what I'm on about."
"No-one's touched that Bible in thirty years! put it back: it was a presentation to my husband from the Lodge!"
"Oh, I'm so sorry," I said. "Do you have another Bible we could use?"
"What the hell do you think I want a Bible for?"


You couldn't make it up!
Jim

Willow;
Hope this helps.

    "As you come to Him, the living stone, rejected by humans, but chosen by God, and precious to Him, you also - like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.  For, in scripture, it says;
    ' See, I lay a stone in Zion,
a chosen and precious cornerstone,
and the one who trusts in Him will never
be put to shame.'

Now, to you who believe, this stone is precious. But to those who do not believe

'The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone.'
and
'A stone that causes people to stumble, and a rock that makes them fall,'
They stumble because they will not obey the message, which is what they were destined for.
(1 Peter 2: 7-8 NIV )
Sebastian Toe

Willow wrote:
There are Living Stones of course

What are 'living' stones?

Mick, Keith, Bill, Charlie and Ronnie?
gone

Jim wrote:
Willow;
Hope this helps.

    "As you come to Him, the living stone, rejected by humans, but chosen by God, and precious to Him, you also - like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.  For, in scripture, it says;
    ' See, I lay a stone in Zion,
a chosen and precious cornerstone,
and the one who trusts in Him will never
be put to shame.'

Now, to you who believe, this stone is precious. But to those who do not believe

'The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone.'
and
'A stone that causes people to stumble, and a rock that makes them fall,'
They stumble because they will not obey the message, which is what they were destined for.
(1 Peter 2: 7-8 NIV )


Not really I am afraid.

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