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The Ancestors - Neolithic Orkney - Maes Howe

Identifier

021713

Type of Spiritual Experience

Background

Maeshowe (or Maes Howe; Norse: Orkhaugr) is a Neolithic chambered cairn and passage grave situated on Mainland, Orkney, Scotland. It gives its name to the Maeshowe type of chambered cairn, which is limited to Orkney. It is a significant example of Neolithic craftsmanship and is, in the words of the archaeologist Stuart Piggott, "a superlative monument that by its originality of execution is lifted out of its class into a unique position." The monuments around Maeshowe, including Skara Brae, were designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1999.

Cup and ring markers

The general opinion of archaeologists is simply that it is a burial cairn, but the aerial view tells us otherwise.  Compare the layout with its graphic representation using so called cup and ring marks.  It is a symbolic representation of the Egg and a levelled cone, in other words a mountain symbolically and a hollow one at that.  It is formed from five levels and layers - earth [outside ring], water, air, fire and then aether.  The aether ring then rises [as one expect symbolically] and provides a path of ascension in a spiral.  Possibly there might at one time have been a monument of some sort on top.  The hill appears to have fulfilled exactly the same role as the pyramids - a place for executing rebirth ceremonies with initiates, which makes this a major site for one of the Mystery religions. 

We have not checked but it may well be aligned with the other Mystery sites, as this was relatively normal. 

 

 

A description of the experience

Jacquetta Hawkes – A Land

Nearly four thousand years ago Caithness Flagstone was used to build the cruciform megalithic tomb of Maeshowe in the Orkneys, the finest monument of its kind in Britain.

Here the habit of the Flagstone of splitting into perfect rectangular blocks has given the masonry of the burial chamber a neatness and regularity unique for its time-and also perhaps rather uninteresting. The place might almost be a concrete pill-box or air-raid shelter. …...

Not far away from Maeshowe, an Early Bronze Age community took Caithness Flagstone to build their village of Skara Brae. They used it not only in small pieces for the dry-stone walls of the houses and in large sheets for the doors and doorways and for the paving and roof of the alleys, but also for household furniture. This, by some thousands of years the most antique furniture in Britain, includes dignifieddressers, well-proportioned pieces with two shelves and cupboard room below.

The source of the experience

The Ancestors

Concepts, symbols and science items

Activities and commonsteps

Activities

Commonsteps

References

Compare with Glastonbury Tor, a site with the same layout and functions