Some science behind the scenes
Sacred geography and its symbolism
The types of feature found to mark crossing points and sacred sites within sacred geographies are extremely consistent. Marker stones are used to mark the track of the Ley lines/spiritual paths, but at each point of intersection the types of original site are much the same. I emphasise the word original because it is clear that many of the original features have been built over. Castles and baileys were often built over mounds, churches and cathedrals have been built over mounds, barrows, wells and so on. Farmhouses are often built over wells or have used mark stones in their construction. The original probably sacred sites are:
- Fire sites - Beacons
- Water sites - wells, basins, moated mounds and moated ponds with or without islands
- Earth sites - Standing stones and stone circles, so called ‘camps’ and other embanked enclosures
- Air sites - usually have palaces and mountains or hills, man-made and artificial including cairns, large soil mounds, barrows [burial sites], hills and mountains
- Tree of Life sites – trees and tree symbols such as posts, rods, sign posts or small narrow standing stones
- Other sites – mark stones and barrows
Alfred Watkins himself noticed the themes of these types of site and their religious significance.
Alfred Watkins – The Old Straight Track
Trees joined up with stones, water [wells and ponds], mountain tops, mounds and fire as objects of ancient reverence and even worship. All these are found as sighting points on the ley
Watkins also noted other texts which pointed to the sacred nature of many of these sites. The myths and legends of the UK are in fact in many cases the only record we have that the sites were sacred.
Watkins cited the Mabinogion as a prime example. The Mabinogion is a collection of eleven prose stories from medieval Welsh manuscripts. They draw on pre-Christian Celtic mythology, international folktale motifs, early medieval historical traditions and even older Iron Age and prehistory legend. In one of the stories, Pwyll, Prince of Dyfed goes to Narbeth where there is a mound that was above his palace Gorsedd Arbeth. Whilst there he has ‘a vision’ which comes along the highway leading from the mound.
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