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Observations placeholder

Symbols – Picts – Constellation - Chariot [Auriga]



Type of Spiritual Experience


A description of the experience

A 'Class II Pictish Symbol Stone', located
in Meigle Museum, Meigle

The symbolism for the chariot is described in the entry in the symbol section found by using the link.  There is a rational for the selection of this symbol.

Pictish stones were used as signposts. 

They described in pictures the sacred site to which the pilgrim was being directed, they gave the directions in which it was to be found and they gave the constellations that could be used for navigation by the stars.

  Every constellation has a symbol and each picture of the symbol then maps onto the constellation.  

The symbol here is actually a small goat.  In the case of this symbol the DIRECTION in which the symbol faces is key as there are three symbols in the Pictish system that are very alike - Cetus the whale faces left, Capricorn faces right and Auriga faces left.

It cannot be Delphinus, [the dolphin] as this constellation has no arms and this picture does have arms or legs.

All this may be entirely wrong, as the pictures chosen are entirely particular to the people and system, however, we have based our guess [and guess it is] on the picture used of the constellation showing Auriga carrying the goat and kids as depicted in Urania's Mirror, a set of constellation cards illustrated by Sidney Hall, London circa 1825.

The charioteer is carying a small goat and the goat is upright.  Carving stones as opposed to drawing is a time consuming job and there is the possibility that this was a shorthand version of the full symbol, or it may simply have been that the Picts symbol was the original one and as more stars were identified, the picture was expanded.  In this case it is not strictly speaking a chariot.

The source of the experience


Concepts, symbols and science items





Science Items

Activities and commonsteps