The Ancestors - Bryn Celli Ddu - The Cairn
Type of Spiritual Experience
BRYN CELLI DDU - Norman Fahy – The Cairn
Bryn Celli Ddu (The Mound in the Dark Grove) today stands in open pasture on the eastern side of Anglesey. The site lies within an area of gently undulating landscape composed of gravels and outcrops of grit stone and schist. The nearest surface water is Afon Braint - a stream 500 ft SE of the monument.
The site appears to have been in use over a long period and adapted by a sequence of cultures. The visible remains owe much to restoration earlier this century and represent the last phase in the site’s development.
Rowlands stated In 1723 that the site consisted of two Carnedds (cairns) within a few paces of one another, and that one cairn was ‘somewhat broke and pitted into on one side, where the stones had been carry'd away‘, The other cairn he claimed, was virtually destroyed for walling, and that within the space occupying the two cairns were 'two standing columns erected between them'.
The remains of Cairn ‘B’ were excavated by R,S.Newall and T. Lethbridge in 1930 finding only cremated human bone and flint fragments within a small cist.
Also, during the search for further sockets of the outer circle, a section of ditch was encountered - apparently running concentric to Cairn B.
¼ mile NW of Bryn Celli stands a menhir at SH 5035,7040.
The polygonal chamber constructed of schist slabs, and its connecting passage hold further mysteries, the most striking being the ‘Pillar Stone'. This single smoothed pillar of grit stone has the texture of petrified timber
Directly opposite the pillar is a roughly carved anti-clockwise spiral worked into slab No.4; also there is a narrow shelf to be found halfway up No.2.
The passage has a curious low stone bench along the northern wall opposite which stand two features described as 'Bætyls' in the official literature; these consist of two pointed stones each 2ft high and occupying slight recesses either side of stone 14. Further along the passage towards the entrance are two recesses on opposing sides.
The entrance has seen much activity involving fire, and various pits have been dug to receive cremated remains. Immediately beyond the entrance stood a structure composed of both stone and timber - one interpretation may be that of a mortuary where corpses lay until reduced to bone.
As Anglesey saw the focus of Druidic activity during the Roman conquest, it is highly likely that Bryn Celli witnessed acts of butchery against the Celts when in AD 61 Suetonius Paulinus advanced upon the island to eradicate the powerful sect. This may have ended centuries of ritual activity within the monument.
Cairns were used to provoke rebirth experiences. The remains may be those of the dead when the cairn was later used as a burial mound, or they may be the ones who didn't make it through the experience ................
A description of the experience
The source of the experienceThe Ancestors
Concepts, symbols and science items
Science ItemsSacred geography
Sacred geography - altars
Sacred geography - ancient trees
Sacred geography - artificial hills
Sacred geography - barrows
Sacred geography - beacons
Sacred geography - bridges
Sacred geography - crack or crevice
Sacred geography - cross
Sacred geography - crossroads
Sacred geography - cursus
Sacred geography - enclosures and camps
Sacred geography - henges
Sacred geography - hollow roads
Sacred geography - ley lines
Sacred geography - mark stones
Sacred geography - pole
Sacred geography - rivers and streams
Sacred geography - sacred grove
Sacred geography - underground secret passages
Sacred geography - water sites
Activities and commonsteps
OverloadsBeing buried alive
Overwhelming fear and terror
CommonstepsVisiting caves, mines, barrows and vaults