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Scotland's Neolithic Chambers - A Musical Journey to the Otherworld

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posted on Jan, 9 2014 @ 04:21 AM
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beansidhe
Hi, thanks. Was Kilgore Trout from God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater? He rings a bell, but I can't place him!


He was in that one, but he was a recurring character in a number of Vonnegut's books.


beansidhe
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?


It varies according to time and place, and depends much upon the cultural roots, the availability and nature of local psychotropics. In some cultures only the 'shaman' ingests stimulants or psychoactives, in others only the men etc, some none at all (that we know of). However, in almost all cultures there is some basis of music and dance related to ritual, festival and spiritual experience, so personally, I think that has been the primary route to 'other worldly' experiences and drug use is supplemental, or a later, added, enhancement to those group/individual experiences.

If you look at the practices of the Aborigines of Australia, they talk about something called 'Maban Reality' and similarly, the Finno-Ugaric Shamans, use shield like drums which illustrate the various 'other' worlds and realities that their drumming facilitates access to. A couple of examples...





beansidhe
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.


The British Isles are somewhat unique in relation to the rest of Europe in that there was no indigenous co-development of nomadic pastoralism alongside arable agriculture. This meant that the Earth Goddess worship developed without those conflicts that led to alliances and cosmological unions with those people whose primary deity was the Sky God. This means that right up until the early Medieval period, Goddess worship held dominance amongst the farming communities (though not necessarily amongst the land owners and clerical class post Norman occupation), which is why you can still find Sheela-Na-Gig depicted on some rural churches from that period, particularly on those churches that were located on or near previously sacred springs or wells dedicated to Hel. Occupiers and invaders have known since time immemorial that the beliefs of those who work the land should, where possible, be left untouched as they serve an important social and productive function.

In terms of the womb symbology, rounded mounds, hills etc, are usually representations of the Goddess whether they are a natural formation or man-made and are generally viewed as the swollen belly of the Earth Mother...unless they come in twos, then they are usually seen as the twin 'paps', most particularly if the source of drinking water comes from that location also. Burial mounds can thus be interpreted as a return to the womb of the Earth Mother. In community mounds, only the bones were usually buried, archaeological evidence has shown from the earliest stages of Stonehenge's use for example, that bones were carried from long distances to be interred in these mounds, often bones are missing, or skulls, indicating that there were multiple rituals involving the dead on a domestic or immediate social level prior to final interrment. 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 don't know whether you have been watching Neil Oliver's new series on BBC Two, The Sacred Wonders of Britain...it is very good, and I don't think you can beat Oliver for his enthusiasm for the landscape of Britain. The first episode though in particular you should take a look at because it goes into some detail about the furthest reaches of the Isles that I found quite fascinating...


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.


www.bbc.co.uk...




posted on Jan, 9 2014 @ 05:22 AM
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reply to post by KilgoreTrout
 


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.



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.


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.



posted on Jan, 9 2014 @ 04:48 PM
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beansidhe
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!


Not weird at all...nothing quite so attractive in a man as enthusiasm without inhibition.


beansidhe
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.


The difficulty is that before the Romans, wood was the primary building material, it doesn't last so well and though extensive excavations have taken place on pre-Roman Britain, they do not result in tourist friendly, tangible sites that we can fully experience, all we have are rather dry academic studies for our imaginations to build upon. BUT, we have the landscape itself, and as you clearly know, it is beautiful and you can, in places, totally understand the attraction that this land, in particular, has to the first settlers after the glaciers had retreated. I was raised in Yorkshire, and I am can tell that you feel about the Highlands as I feel about the Dales. The first settlers, saw this wonderfully, glacially sculpted landscape with it's verdant hills, and abundant waters, and added their own imprint upon it with the construction of numerous sacred spaces the revered natural resources that were so benevolent towards them and their chosen way of life. Although those settlers share commonalities with other locations in time and space, there, as here, the expression of those commonalities is shaped and formed by the environment that they settled within. In Britain we have far less malevolent aspects of the Mother Goddess, she consistently gave, and was seldom seen to take lives, the Sky God, particularly the Thunder aspect was less benevolent, and was the cause of severe flooding. Elsewhere in the world you find the reverse, or combinations of the two. So while we have a limited amount of understanding of our own Mesolithic and Neolithic history directly, we know that those people were great natural observers, and by understanding our own landscapes and weather systems, as well as the flora and fauna, it is all too easy for us to step into their shoes and see our world as they did. I only wish that I could fully imagine the primordial forests and the sacred groves within them. Where I live, York, was once surrounded by the Forest of Galtres which was populated with bears, beavers and wild boar. Wolves even. *Sigh* Farmers settled here in the Vale and then gradually ate away at the Forest to build their homes, heat their hearths and provide new lands for their off-spring.


beansidhe
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.


Mae is another, localised, name of the Earth Goddess, even tribes/groups living in close proximity often had their own name for the Goddess. I don't know the site, but I think that you might be right. Oliver, in the second episode I think, examines the importance of boundaries between the living and the dead in his visit to Maiden Castle. Such earth works often were designed in such a way to keep things in, rather than out...which is hugely fascinating in itself.



posted on Jan, 10 2014 @ 07:24 AM
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reply to post by KilgoreTrout
 


I've never had the pleasure to go to the Yorkshire Dales, but they are absolutely up there in my list of places to visit. Some regions have a character and essence all of their own, I agree. Whether they hold the emotions of times past, or whether they evoke the emotion from us, I don't know, but it's an undeniable phenomenon.

I'm going to catch up on that series over the next few days; I'm excited to hear what he says.
Again, thanks for all your input here, it is superb.



posted on Jan, 10 2014 @ 03:31 PM
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reply to post by beansidhe
 


I've never been to the Highlands...but would very much like to. One of these days, once my son has grown some more, I intend to set off walking...perhaps never stop, until I stop for good of course. I definately intend to go in that direction first and foremost, I've barely been across the border. Shamefull, I know!

Another good programme, from a few years back, is Julian Cope's The Modern Antiquarian. The preceding book that he wrote on the subject is also very good. A slightly different take on it, but thoroughly researched and explored none the less.

www.youtube.com...

Very best to you.



posted on Jan, 11 2014 @ 05:29 AM
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reply to post by KilgoreTrout
 


Oh my God, I used to fancy Julian Cope, too! What are you doing to me here!! This is archeo-porn to me!

Seriously though, I just watched the first episode of Neil Oliver's programme and it was superb. I love his premise that the people picked the animals out of the rocks, and brought them into this world as opposed to the thought that these were just crude drawings on the rocks.
That makes much more sense. It's a great series, I'm so glad you told me about it.

Guess I'll see you in the Highlands, one day then! Sounds good.

Best wishes to you too

B x



posted on Apr, 2 2014 @ 03:30 PM
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reply to post by SLAYER69
 


I have thought the same and in doing some research I think maybe its possible some could even see sound?? Google Synesthetic. Sorry no link im new to this site not sure how to yet lol but in a nutshell Its about people who can perceive sound because they have low or poor vision so the brain "leeks" the senses together in a way. Also like how people can taste a word or hear light. Even to this day we represent sound with squigly lines...Still trying to find somewhere that discribes how they "see" the sound. But might look like spirals? I am definitely going to look into this more and also how animals perceive sound too maybe this is a lost ability we had? but lossed because we can see better now? Will post as I discover



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