Posts Tagged ‘stone-circle

15
Nov
09

Friends of Grampian Stones All Hallows newsletter 2000 vol.XII # 1

All Saints Newsletter Vol. XII number 1 November 1st 2000
(Includes scheduling of Auchmaliddie all-quartz stone circle by Rt.Hon. Alex Salmond, M.P. & obit for Rt. Hon. Donald Dewar, First Minister for Scotland)

stpirancross

Picts were converted to Christianity by early Brittonic saints

SAINTS AND ANCESTORS
WITH AUTUMN rolling into winter and little hope of a reprieve to help us through the impending dark, it is not difficult to see why early-mediaeval faith had its focus in the Celtic saints whose prayers, blessings and shield (lorica) could guide, protect and give light and whose relics – staff (Ir. bachuill, Lat. baculum), cloak and gospel book – held a power as potent as the saint himself to heal and give strength.

In an early Celtic society which believed more colourfully in the intercession by God and all saints with man, the faith shared by simple monks who travelled the realm to convert and preach to the people of Pictland was a tangible belief for people who already had respect for age and listened to wisdom. Ancestors were after all, only the wise ones in another place and the recitation of one’s genealogy kept that sacred connection alive.

Latin manuscripts which survive from early-Historic (or so-called ‘Dark Age’) times are redolent with terms which mean little in today’s usage, but which reveal the importance of ancestry to people then. Most of us understand the use of Lat. filius, son and nepos, grandson (sometimes used as a general term for ‘descendant’), but probably only modern genealogists would get excited about any generation further back than a third great.

It is therefore illuminating to see in the 9thC Pictish Chronicles frequent use of terms such as Lat. atavus for fifth-time ancestor, or, translated into a family history context: one’s great-great-great-great-great grandfather.

Alexander III coronation at Scone being regailed by the bard

Alexander III was greeted at his coronation with recitation of her genealogy


When John of Fordun wrote his Kronikill in 1363, he gave an elaborate account of (for him) a recent historical event: the coronation of Alexander III in July 1249. This was notable not only because the king was a seven-year old boy, but also because of a striking occurrence at Scone. After the boy was consecrated on the coronation stone and had received homage by earls and nobles, he was suddenly hailed by a ‘mountain-man’ who saluted him in his mother tongue:

‘Benach de Re Alban Alexander mac Alexander mac William mac Henri mac David mac Malcolm.. (‘blessing on king of Scots’) repeating his royal lineage back to its source.’

If we have forgotten this connection or feel no need for saints or our ancestral roots, is it not our own loss?

Elizabeth Allan & Donald Dewar
IT IS WITH sadness that we note a joint achievement by a member and our first First Minister, who both died this year, no doubt wishing their deeds to be unsung. However because of their interest, progress was made:Mrs Allan pointed out the awesome beauty of the abandoned quartz stone circle of Auchmaliddie in New Deer. [See newsletters Vol.X no.4 &Vol.XI number 1, Jan. 2000]. Following our request to the First Minister to have it scheduled, the Rt.Hon. Donald Dewar initiated the process which resulted in its becoming a priority for scheduling on Historic Scotland’s list. We mourn their passing but thank them both for making a difference.

RCAHMS to lose Royal Warrant
Following exclusive coverage in our spring newsletter and your many letters to Parliament in support of RCAHMS, within the Scottish Executive review of Public Bodies, FOGS may have been instrumental in saving the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland from becoming disbanded or ‘un-departmentalised’. However we, among hundreds of individuals and heritage groups who wrote to the Scottish Executive in support of RCAHMS, have been unable to preserve it intact. In a thank you letter received from the Royal Commission, FOGS’ support is acknowledged, along with others who appreciate RCAHMS’ unique archival status, but a national outcry [albeit an esoteric one] was unable to save the Commission from losing its royal patronage. It appears that the Scots Parliament, while maintaining the important role which RCAHMS plays in recording the archaeological and historic man-made environment, believes that ‘further consideration be given to exploring a modern alternative to executive non-departmental public body status’. Procedures are already in hand for removal of the Royal Warrant. The reason given to the Commission by Allan Wilson is that ‘Royal Commission status is, I believe, only appropriate for bodies set up to undertake specific tasks over a finite period.’ For some reason, Ministers also believe a change of name would be ‘helpful in order to achieve greater transparency for the public both in understanding the important work it carries out and to encourage wider access to valuable public facilities.’ One wonders whether the gross funding required to implement this ‘visibility’ review and name change could not have been better spent in a large grant to continue the Commission’s dedicated work. It is also worthy of note that the Scots minister writing to the Commission does not even get its title right, so perhaps a dumbing down was felt necessary for some in office. In the tone of the ministerial letter, is it only our impression that the review body could find no fault in 95 years of meticulous recording, but felt it had to change something, and so concocted the removal of Royal status? Whatever our regrets may be, it is important not to lose sight of the fact that the Scots Parliament chose not to merge it with any other public body, nor to dilute its work by some other arbitrary means. RCAHMS Chairman Kathleen Dalyell feels our written support categorically made a difference. She states: ‘your support was, quite clearly, material in achieving this result and for that I offer you Commissioners’ best thanks.’

HISTORIC SCOTLAND is conducting a survey on the state of carved stones in Scotland, hoping to find solutions to prevent further decay. Volunteers may telephone 01313 668 8668 for free methodology handbook or Email cbrown.hs.scb@gtnet.gov.uk

©2000-2009MCY

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15
Nov
09

Friends of Grampian Stones Spring Equinox 1999 newsletter ‘X’-2

Spring Newsletter 1999 – Vernal Equinox Volume X number 2 (vol.X no 1 was Samhain 98 q.v.)

Picts, Kings, Saints, Chronicles

Pictish carved stone in Inverurie 'Castleyards' old kirkyard

Crescent and V-rod, sun-disk and serpent carved Pictish stone

A pictish one-day conference arranged in honour of Dr Marjorie O. Anderson on the occasion of her 90th birthday was held in the Quad lower college hall at the University of St Andrews on February 13th 1999. A collaboration by the School of History, Early Medieval Research Group, Scottish Studies Institute and Committee for Dark-Age Studies, its focus and its speakers ensured its success. It was fully booked. While Dr Anderson was unable to hear presentations because of illness, she would have marvelled at the excitement and energy generated in both lecture hall and lunchroom by speakers and delegates all pressing to share new developments in this emergent discipline. Drs Simon Taylor and Dauvit Broun unveiled new discoveries in placename survival and the St Andrews foundation legend (versions A and B); Profs. Richard Sharpe and Máire Herbert gave both insular and Irish slants on the political structure of Dál Riata; Isabel Henderson unveiled her theory on specific sculpture schools of the Picts; while both Prof. David Dumville and Dr David Howlett, of Universities of Cambridge and Oxford respectively, kept delegates on tenterhooks with their expositions on the Chronicle of Kings of Alba and on the sacred numerology of its 12thC verse equivalent, the anonymous De Situ Albanie.  Prof. Archie Duncan pulled the audience into the present millennium with his fine elucidation of the Melrose and Holyrood Pictish Chronicles, followed by an immaculate summation and tribute to Mrs Anderson by Prof.Geoffrey Barrow of the University of Edinburgh. He concluded, along with the authors of ‘1066 and All That’ that [the conference, sources and] chronicles were ‘a damn good thing.’  He (along with us) awaits somewhat impatiently the publication of ‘all these riches’.  Members who would like to be advised either of further conferences or publications produced by Dr Barbara Crawford’s Committee for Dark-Age Studies or of details of membership in Dr Simon Taylor’s Scottish Placename Society can write to St Andrews Scottish Studies Institute, University of St Andrews, Fife KY16 9AL. Details of Scottish Placename Society’s webpage are given here.                                             ©1999MCY

FOGS Membership feedback. . .

WHITECROSS Equinox

ABERDEEN member Dr Theodore Allan remarks on  the Hill of Whitecross one mile south of Chapel of Garioch at NJ 717 225, visible from the recumbent circle of Balquhain but not from Easter Aquhorthies. His interest is apt at this time of year, as it is a marker hill for sunset on the Feast Day of  Bride (Candlemas, and incidentally at its opposite season, Martinmas). However its derivation as the Hill of the White Cross or Crossing may stem from its sacred point of the moon’s crossing or setting – as seen from Balquhain – at the end of summer, the pagan White season, and the point where the full moon sets once in 19 years at its minor standstill. This should be a hill to watch in the summer of 2014 at the next standstill! The physical crossing of the hill must also have had significance to Bronze Age and Pictish descendants, as anyone who has walked the Netherton of Balquhain road can testify.  Leaving behind in the east the Bronze Age burial cairn on Dilly Hill, NJ 751 224, and walking due west, not only does the outline of the Hill of Whitecross draw the eye but for a mile and a half the traveller’s visiion is filled with the sacred shape of the Mother mountain Bennachie. At Burnside of Balquhain, NJ 730 225, where the road turns sharply north, the walker can clearly see how the old road used to rise directly west to Whitecross, itself topped by a cairn. An added delight for placename enthusiasts is the name of this miniscule valley created by the burn which springs on Whitecross’ lower slopes, flows past Burnside and Mains of Balquhain, turning to join the Urie at Drimmies (which Pictophiles will know has its own symbol stone:  it is the Strathnaterick, valley of the serpent of ancient wisdom. This lonely stretch of road, now mostly used by farm traffic, is an inspiration to walk on a spring evening. Thanks to Dr Allan for his observations.

BLUE MOON

TWO OF our regulars communicate on the phenomenon of this year’s blue moons, first in January and now in March; Griselda Macgregor in Inverurie and Trevor Alcott in Crimond are both interested in lunar activity, although from slightly different angles: Ms Macgregor requests the reason for the use of the term ‘Blue Moon’, i.e. for two full moons in the month, while Mr. Alcott likes to extrapolate grander figures of moons in the Metonic cycle.  We might cover both in a limited way.  First, we find  no-one in any context outside Scotland, and perhaps even outside the  bounds of Aberdeenshire, using the term ‘blue moon’ to mean two full moons in the month [in 1999, January 2: 0250; 31:1607, accompanied by a visible penumbal lunar eclipse at 1619; March 2: 0659; 31: 2249 – all times GMT]. The fact that February this year had no full moon at all is purely a figment of modern man’s calculations, as our forefathers when they spoke of the moon, meant the month, and vice versa.  The arbitrary nature of the ‘phenomenon’ can  be seen, particulary in the second March date, to occur only from Europe west, and not for instance, in Australia, where the second full moon falls within April. While not answering the question, we open the door to any contributions from members who have NE knowledge of folkloric or traditional useage.

LUNAR STANDSTILLS

We have touched on standstill moons before, as the time once every  18.61 years that the moon is seen at its most erratic in the night sky, behaving as if with a ‘wobble’. We receive several calls a year requesting more detail for stone-watchers with astronomical leanings – the latest from a member in Edinburgh who prefers anonymity.

Trevor Alcott puts it simply:

‘Correction for our latitude (57ºN approx) is, according to Reed’s Nautical Almanac, seven minutes. The rule is, when declination is north, subtract from moonrise time and add to moonset time. Reverse applies if declination is south. Our biggest problem is one with which mariners do not have to cope, i.e. the height and distance of the horizon relative to the observer, but I promise, you don’t want to know!  The easiest way is to observe a few full moons, note the times, and correct from the nautical times for that particular observation point.’ 

Sensible man.  So, for those early birds preparing for their next maximum and minimum moonset and moonrise, when the moon’s motion relative to other months  is distinctly wobbly,  may we suggest marking your diary now: 

Next major standstill at the full moon nearest to winter solstice occurs in 2005, when the full moon will rise in midwinter at the most northerly point it ever rises.

Next minor standstill, or full moon nearest to summer solstice, happens in 2014.

If we are spared, we may try for a gathering for wobble watchers at a stone circle to compare notes.
©MCY 1999-2009

10
Aug
09

Crystalline transmission from Jasper

When it rains, my skin gleams.

Jasper's volcanic red light

Jasper's volcanic red light

I am Jasper.   I live on the inside.  It’s what all you humans are searching for – this journey within to the heart of one’s being.  We crystalline entities have always known how to transmit this ability, to shine from the inside out.  Perhaps that is what we are here for: to show you.  It is difficult, I know, to look at me, rock that I am, albeit deep red scorched and gleaming from ancient volcanic fires, and think of me as a being.  But I am, like you, a child of the Earth.  The Earth breathes through me just as she does through you and we are all embedded in her skin – some of us more fixed and immovable than others.  

There was a time when I was envious of the human ability to move about, to walk, to anchor, to touch, to think, to feel, to interact with the Earth’s species.  Even longer ago, I remember a time when I was more fluid (but then I suppose that was when I was a liquid, not a solid, so you probably dismiss my thought as irrelevant).  In those days we were all important in helping create the Earth as you see her now.  Before the dinosaurs, even before plants and bacteria, before oxygen: now you see what I’m getting at.  

It is nice to remember all this because nowadays there aren’t a lot of beings I can share this with.  And humanity!  just so busy and self-consumed and planning the next thing – impossible to catch his eye and say, hey! slow down a minute, I’ve got something I want to tell you.   

So I pretty much sit here, shining in the rain, – a single jasper on a circumference of other very attractive but oh-so-plain stones – perched on the edge of a stone circle overlooking an ancient river basin; a circle created by your ancestors for reasons you and the rest of your kind can no longer remember.  What a calamity that must be: to have all your history spread in the countryside before you but with no inkling of which part fits where.  You know, they left you all the keys, so you could unlock the mysteries.  You’ve just forgotten that you mislaid them.  In your race to compete with each other to be the most intelligent, the most left-brained, the most accoladed, the most applauded of humans, you forgot your connection to the Earth, who gave birth to us all.  It is true: you were created to become the Earth’s antennae, to be her intellect, to use your circuitry to connect her to the spheres, but if you can’t remember that your feet, like mine, are supposed to be earth conductors to make that happen, then I am more likely to be a better conductor than you – to play the music of the spheres with more orchestration and verve than you, in your short-sightedness, will be capable of performing.

Forgive me – just feeling a little blue today, for all my fiery glow.  Give me another aeon; by then I’ll probably be feeling better.  

In the meantime, please try to remember where you misplaced your connection. It’s important for all of us.  We can’t do it without you. Seriously. Check and get back to me.  

We’ll speak again soon.   Love, Jasper.

Jasper guards the entrance to Easter Aquhorthies

Jasper guards the entrance to Easter Aquhorthies




Cleopas

archives from Friends of Grampian Stones webpage

stones, historical

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