Symbols - What does heaven look like
Stone circles and stone henges
There may be added symbolic meaning if it is in the shape of the Egg – for example the stones may mark out the signs of the Zodiac. In this case, however, there will only be twelve or multiples of twelve divisions in the final structure. It may be the Planets, in which case there will be seven stones. If the Zodiac is being represented the circle will often be aligned to match the physical constellations at a certain time.
Many stone circles are to be found in ‘henges’. A henge is a prehistoric architectural structure, it is:
- nearly circular or oval/egg-shaped [theEgg] , flat and usually large - over 20 metres (65 feet) in diameter.
- enclosed and delimited by a boundary earthwork [the earth, water, air and fire levels – the cones ] that usually comprises a ditch [water] with an external bank [earth]. This is not defensive but ceremonial. At one time they may have lit fires to symbolise the fire layer
- The earthwork permits access to the interior by one, two, or four entrances [the four winds, the cardinal directions].
Internal components may include:
- portal settings [portals] ,
- timber circles [sacred groves],
- stone circles [ditto] ,
- four-stone settings [cardinal directions] ,
- monoliths [portals, occasionally the tree of life] ,
- standing posts [portals or tree of life] ,
- post and stone alignments as well as causeways linking henges [spiritual pathways] ,
- barrows, long barrows and burial mounds [tunnels to the underworld – symbolic caves] ,
- and central mounds [hills/mountains].
In the henge, we thus have a huge number of symbolically important spiritual objects physically represented.
Avebury is the site of a large henge and several stone circles surrounding the village of Avebury in the English county of Wiltshire. It is one of the finest and largest Neolithic monuments in Europe, about 5,000 years old. Although older than the megalithic stages of Stonehenge 32 kilometres (20 mi) to the south, the two monuments are broadly contemporary overall.
The monuments comprise the henge itself; associated long barrows; stone circles, avenues, and a causeway enclosure.
Stonehenge has two circles of stones with earthen embankments round it. The site was multipurpose, it served as a form of astronomical guide, it symbolically represented sacred groves and there were also spiritual pathways leading to and from it. It was a place of healing and burial. Around the site there are also numerous single standing stones that could have functioned as symbolic [and actual] portals. The Heel stone on the Stonehenge site, for example, shown below is just one example.
The UK is not the only place where such henges are to be found. To give one additional example, Zorats Karer - also known as Karahunj (Armenian for singing stones), is a huge megalithic monument in southern Armenia.
The site is a combination of early-mid Bronze Age burial shafts and a large collection of standing stones (223 have been counted to date). The site is reminiscent of megaliths found in Britain, Iceland, Ireland and France's Brittany region but probably outdates the oldest of them by a thousand years.
A temple consisting of 40 stones built in honor of the Armenians’ main God, Ari, meaning the Sun, is situated in the central part of Carahunge. The stones are 0.5 to 3 meters in height and weigh up to 10 tones each. They were quarried from nearby river cliffs and carried to the site. The stones form an Egg shape around a Bronze Age tomb and four avenues off the central part [cardinal directions]. Even greater than Zorats Karer's construction is its situation, for it runs along the edge of a ridge and is visible from many different directions. Thus this site combines symbolic portals, symbolic pathways, a possible sacred grove surrounding an egg and a symbolic hill or mountain.