Some science behind the scenes

Sacred geography - water sites

Water has symbolic significance as do islands, oceans and seas.  If you find a hill, mound or even a mountain - anything  cone shaped -  surrounded by water, for example an artificial moat with water, or a marsh or Ocean and sea, then it is a particularly important place as it has all the symbolism one would want in a sacred site.  This symbolism is found in sites like Glastonbury Tor.

 

 Practically all sacred sites which incorporate water are artificially made and include wells, basins fed from springs, moated mounds and ponds with or without islands.  Sacred wells as well as basin fed springs become sacred for various reasons, but the chief one in a land where water is plentiful is that the spring heals.

 Watkins also noticed how many water features he found on ley lines had no apparent practical use.

Alfred Watkins – The Old Straight Track
There are often ponds or lakelets or streams created by an obvious dam and with no signs of their being made for a mill pond

He puzzled over the amount of effort put in to building very large structures within moats, which appeared to have no apparent use.

Alfred Watkins – The Old Straight Track
Evolved from the trenches out of which the mounds were thrown up, they were – in their earlier form – circular rings of water.  At first, no doubt a mere trench filled with water, then in most of our local examples the trench becomes of considerable width and is fed by a leat connected to a stream, just as a mill is supplied.  In such as at Eardsland, the flat topped mound within the moat is of considerable height, from 15 to 30 feet. 

Later in the book, he notices that the flat topped mound may have been used [and there is evidence for it] for beacons.  It is significant that Watkins noted that if there was a causeway leading to the island or mound in the centre only one was found – leading him to the conclusion that this was a causeway to get you to the island.

Alfred Watkins – The Old Straight Track
In no case where a causeway has been found over the present trench of a moat has a corresponding one been found on the opposite side.  One communication to the centre seems to have been sufficient

One of the interesting aspects about Watkins book is that occasionally he takes a more spiritual view of the possible solution

Alfred Watkins – The Old Straight Track
[In the Pilgrim’s Progress] … Bunyan not only describes a stone causeway through a slough or pond, but also shows clearly that it was on a straight sighted track which aligned to a beacon light.  It is also curious …… that Bunyan describes the ‘steps’ as being made ‘by direction of the lawgiver’

Given that Pilgrim’s Progress is an allegory of the spiritual path no better hint could have been given that occasionally he too had his underlying suspicions that the UK is just one sacred landscape.

The reference to the steps is particularly interesting, as mountains, mounds and  pyramids are all symbolic of  ‘heaven’.  If they are stepped, this too is symbolic and representative of the ‘levels of heaven’ – the celestial and terrestrial hierarchies.   Here, however,  the steps go down into a pond – meaning the descent to levels below water – terrestrial as opposed to celestial.   The reference to the ‘lawgiver’ are self explanatory.

Watkins was able to find numerous examples of moated mounds just in his area alone.  Thus what Watkins was finding was a symbolic site again.  

The other type of site Watkins found on the ley lines was an island within an artificial pond.

Alfred Watkins – The Old Straight Track
An intermediate type of water sighting point became very evident in three years ley hunting, namely, the pool or small lake with an island.  One at Lyonshall in a field a third of  a mile distant from the castle is typical.  It is a fairly large artificial pool, the water held up by a slight embankment.  In its centre is a small island with several trees, one being a scots pine, the only one.  .. There are many such pieces of water with islands, and many of them have leys through the islands.  Some of them are queer overgrown marshy swamps, but with very decided islands in their midst, and others orderly lakelets in the grounds of a mansion, each with a neat island

All symbolic - an entirely sacred and symbolic landscape.

The number of sites Watkins found just in his area alone is quite staggering and does conjure up the image of an ancient people with extremely strong spiritual beliefs, sufficient in number and skills to ensure they built a vast number of sacred edifices with tools and equipment far inferior to those we have today.

Observations

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