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Hi, thanks. Was Kilgore Trout from God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater? He rings a bell, but I can't place him!
I agree with you, in the Scottish studies the volunteers felt the sensations without drugs and for me, there is no real reason to think they would have been necessary. The Peruvian fellow seems to think differently, but maybe drugs are more widely documented there as having been used in ancient times?
I'm interested in your womb-theory, because that is a motif that is familiar, whether in story or song, throughout Scottish prose. As I'm sure you're very well aware, the Scottish environment is such that nature itself is awe-inspiring, and hugely evocative. Heart-beats, chanting, the sense that the drumbeats are coming from within you, making the cairn beat as one; yes all of these things evoke the sense of nature, new life and re-birth.
It would be easy to think oneself 'in-between' worlds here, not of the cool, fresh outside present and not of the pre-birth or the ancestral dead.
In Nottinghamshire, he discovers clues to a world of magic and ritual etched into the rock of Creswell Crags by Ice Age hunters. In the south of England and on the Scottish borders, great tombs are evidence of ancestor worship among the first farmers of the Neolithic era, and an extraordinary discovery in Herefordshire reveals what really lies beneath their burial mounds.
In the flint mines of Grimes Graves in Norfolk, Neil discovers how Stone Age miners carried their religion deep underground. Finally, in the great stone circle and henge of Avebury and the extraordinary monuments of Orkney, he discovers how a new age of belief swept away the old religions and changed Britain forever.
It seems likely that those mounds that had more of a temple, or ceremonial aspect to them, were a means of sharing communion with the Goddess, and in the development of European Neolithic beliefs the Goddess, in various forms, is associated with the invention of music. Notably, Cybele, the Phrygian Mother Goddess, is said to have invented the skin drum and her worship was carried out in subterranean caves. It seems that where these people settled, due to the successful application of agriculture, if the landscape lacked hills, caves and mountains, they fabricated them themselves.
I didn't know about Neil Oliver's new series, but it looks superb. I'll catch up with it on i-player, thanks. I've got a weird crush on him, particularly when he strides about the Highlands talking about mist and ancestors!
Your knowledge of this subject is quite amazing, and I'm very thankful you've added to this thread.
With all the evidence from other cultures and eras I can't help but wonder if we're missing something important in our lives, something obvious then but forgotten now. What I mean is, my main supposition is that our ancestors were not ignorant savages as portrayed by (mainly) the Roman historians. I think their propaganda has coloured our history lessons and has done little but to rob us of years of learning and knowledge that our ancestors knew easily. Even today, the majority of archaeological digs focus on Roman remains -or so it seems to me, a non-archaeologist. We have to look to other lands to learn about ourselves, and make comparisons with other cultures.
Again, that really is interesting, because Mae's Howe is thought to have been built, and re-built over many centures: "Archaeologist James Farrer first excavated the cairn in 1861, prior to which the mound had a distinctly different shape than it has today. As can be seen in the illustration (right), Maeshowe was once conical, with a deep depression in the top. It had a diameter of around 30m (100 ft) and stood 11m (36 ft) high." Orkneyjar
"An excavation outside the chamber, in 1996, led to the discovery of a socket-hole on a platform to the rear of the mound. This added weight to the theory that the site had one housed a stone circle. The massive stone slabs used to line the entrance chamber may also have once been part of this stone ring.
At the same time, it was suggested that the chamber's encircling ditch was originally intended to be filled with water. This would have had the effect of further isolating the world of the living from that of the dead."
It would have provided a moat, but more likely an allusion to being within a womb? It's certainly possible, and an absorbing idea to entertain.