I love Stan. It’s solid and closed and reminds me of large rocks and boulders and standing stones. Stan feels like family. I'm related in part to a long, ancestral line of imps who often made their homes in the windswept, rocky landscape of Northern Scotland.
Stan carries me back thousands of years to chambered rock cairns, to Stone Age tombs, to places such as Isbister, Tomb of the Eagles in the Orkneys. In these barren, isolated hills in the north of Scotland human bones and artifacts have been found, secreted away in tombs, piled together with the bones of white-tailed sea eagles, the eagle with the sunlit eye. Stan causes me to wonder what part these giant birds of prey played in the lives of my people? Were they sacred totems or powerful protectors who were interred with the ancestors to guard them in the afterlife? Were they connected somehow to the excarnation process, the tearing away of the flesh from the laid-out bodies?
The bones and rocks remember. If we learn up against them, lay our bodies on them, they will open to us and speak.
I had an amazing experience in Ireland in the spring of 2014 at Kernanstown Cromlech also known as the Brownshill Dolmen, County Carlow. This burial chamber that dates back almost 6000 years has a capstone still in place that's estimated to weigh 100 metric tons. It's believed to be the heaviest capstone in Europe. The chamber has never been excavated so it still holds all its secrets. I was asked by these enormous stones, pitted with age, covered in lichen and dripping with damp, to lay my body onto them so I could listen and hear.
Earlier in the day my friend Ken Edwards and I had spoken about the size of the megaliths we’d already seen on the island and wondered how ancient people had managed to move them over long distances and put them into place.
What the stones told me that day was this, ‘you trouble over much and miss the obvious. We are the living offspring of Ymir, who was killed and dismembered by his grandsons. We moved ourselves here to this place as did all the large stones in all the other places. We were sacred to your people. They communed with us and used our energy and power to support their lives. We have chosen to stay here in these forms, as keepers of the memories of all that has happened on this land and to its people. Some of us have grown weary and have fallen away. Some of us have been split apart and damaged and desecrated. We are family to the mountain giant Mimir. He has stood so long guarding his Sacred Well of Memory he has grown as living stone into the mountain just as we have grown into the landscape. We will open to you when you are ready.'
What could you learn from Stan by being willing to lay yourself, your body, up against it and listen? Is it a barrier or a guardian? Is it a megalith unmovable or a portal? What relationship do you have with the Jotnar, the elemental beings from the beginning of time?
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title Photo by Amaury Gutierrez on Unsplash