by Melissa Hart
On the beautiful south coast of Brittany, France, lies Carnac – home to one of the greatest and most mysterious megalithic sites in Europe. Between the pounding ocean and the mediaeval villages stand over 10,000 Neolithic menhirs, spread in lines across the landscape. It is a beautiful, eerie and moving sight. The stones and the place retain much of the awe-inspiring energies that influenced the peoples of the Neolithic to place them there. Many modern visitors have felt the power of this ancient, sacred landscape to move, change, and heal.
The menhirs of Carnac date from around 3,500 to 4,000 BC, meaning that the site was in active spiritual use for five or so centuries. While many of the megaliths have been removed for use in local building projects, or destroyed through superstition, there are still thousands remaining – and they are a formidable sight. The stones –some of them truly enormous – march in lines for miles across the land like a giant stone army. Indeed, local legend holds that the stones once were a Roman legion. This legion was marching with devastating purpose across France when the great wizard Merlin encountered them. He cast a spell of petrifaction, and their marching lines were turned to stone before they could do any more harm. There they remain, still in almost perfect formation. A more Christian version of the tale claims that the army was a pagan one, pursuing Pope Cornelius. Their petrifaction saved the life of the saint.
Some more modern explanations for the stones are no less wild. Antiquarians of the nineteenth century, for example, believed that the stones could be the fossilized remains of a giant snake. Their purpose remains elusive to archaeology, but the alignments of stones and the surrounding tumuli (in which the local landscape is rich) seem to suggest that Carnac was a sort of necropolis, with funerary associations. Various features of the sites indicate that this, like Stonehenge in England, was an area associated with the dark times of the year, with winter, and with death. The Kercado and Gavrinis passage mounds, for example, are aligned almost exactly with the midwinter sunrise, and many of the stone lines seem astronomically aligned to bear relation to midwinter sunrises, sunsets, or star formations. The presence of several vast tombs – the tumulus of Saint Michel being a notably impressive example – bring the funerary role of the place into clear focus.
Modern negativity, ancient profundity
This association with darkness, cold, and death may raise concerns for many modern travelers. These concerns should be disregarded. They are brought about by the toxic relationship of modern culture with death and other so-called ‘negative’ elements of existence. This constant need to be achieving, the drive to ever greater glories, the failure to acknowledge the presence of darker aspects, and the desperate need to have perfect control over one’s existence is a key cause of many modern psychological disorders. The peoples of the Neolithic understood that they could not control everything. Rather than shutting out the idea of harder times, and thus letting them grow to giant and threatening proportions in their subconscious, they incorporated them into their lives through acknowledgement, festivity, and the healing energies of sites like Carnac. Those who attempt to ignore the winter will freeze – the winter must be accepted and inhabited as a part of life no less vital than the warm joys of summer.
Healing through acceptance
Acknowledging death and winter acknowledges a lack of control over certain aspects of life – and helps people to accept that lack of control. It also opens the psyche to the great spiritual growth and lessons inherent in what modern terminology would inaccurately refer to as ‘darker times’. It is this positive spiritual growth aspect of the darkness which is embodied in the stones of Carnac. The passage mound of Kercado at Carnac is a grave aligned with the winter stars – yet at midwinter, the sunrise pours down its passage to light and warm the very depths of the tomb at the coldest, darkest point of the year. Many caught in the despair of depression may feel that their life has no hope, and that this state will be forever. A trip to Carnac will remind them that all things are transitory – including those things which may seem bad – and that, in the midst of despair, there can still be found beauty, warmth, and light. In accepting the troughs of existence, rather than fighting a futile, damaging and exhausting psychological battle over that which cannot and does not need to be controlled, peace can be achieved. Great personal wholeness can be brought about by experiencing the lessons of these stones. People who are tormented with uncontrollable personal darkness, perhaps manifesting as low self-esteem, depression, or eating disorders could hugely benefit from a visit to Carnac. For these people, a healing visit to the stones should be viewed as an opportunity to acknowledge that which is hurting them, and let it pass away from them in this place of peace. Perhaps an event from the past is affecting someone, deep down. Just as the megalith builders of Carnac marked, honored, and laid to rest their dead here, so they can mark, acknowledge, and lay to rest this burden. Those with eating disorders often have a desperate need for personal control, brought on by a life which may seem wildly chaotic. The stones of Carnac will heal this perception, bringing the distressed patients to a gentle understanding that they cannot and do not have to control everything, and that that is ok.
A site more valuable than ever
Carnac is a truly special site, whose healing energies are more pertinent than ever in this age of feverish self-control and unacknowledged, toxic depressions. With more people than ever struggling with anxiety disorders, neuroses, or just generalized misery and lack of fulfilment, the power of this landscape which embodies hope in the depths of winter can work wonders. The stones of Carnac remind us that we must peacefully accept rather than fight a damaging war against that we cannot control, and that all things, including winter, misery, and grief, will give way to happier times in the end.read more
Newgrange is the most famous prehistoric monument in Ireland, but its precise purpose is not certain. Some say it was a burial site, while others believe it was a ceremonial site used for initiation rites. In his book “Tommy Makem’s Secret Ireland,” the late Irish folksinger wrote:
According to some ancient manuscripts, the builders of Newgrange and their descendants used to communicate with the spirits of the dead in religious rites. They would enter the tumulus and fast for three days and three nights, lying or squatting on the stone troughs in complete darkness. After the fast, communication would be achieved and the initiates would emerge into the light.
What is known is that Newgrange was originally built about 3100 BC. In 1669 it was accidentally discovered, and between 1962 and 1975 it was extensively restored.
There is a window box above the entrance aligned perfectly to the sunrise on the Winter Solstice. On December 21st, the golden rays of the rising sun move inwards and shine on the back wall, remaining for about 17 minutes. Some say this penetration of Mother Earth by Father Sun is a fertility symbol, reminding us of the return of the light and the renewal of life that comes with it.
A tour of sacred sites in Ireland that includes a visit to Newgrange has recently been announced by Body Mind Spirit Journeys. The group tour, May 20 through June 2, 2013 features meditations and rituals in stone circles. In addition to Newgrange, the group will go to Loughcrew, the Hill of Tara and the Dromberg stone circle. For more information, please follow this link.read more
Was Jesus married to Mary Magdalene? Last month news media were buzzing about a report that a Harvard Divinity School historian was in posession of an ancient papyrus fragment that refers to Jesus’ wife and Mary. Of course, this is the theory that “The da Vinci Code” was based on, and Dan Brown got a lot of his information from the earlier “Holy Blood Holy Grail” by Michael Baigent, Richard Leigh, and Henry Lincoln.
Both books speak about a mystery that remains unsolved. What did Father Bérenger Saunière find in Rennes-le-Château that brought him sudden wealth? And what clues are yet to be decoded in the bizarre renovations he ordered done in the village church dedicated to Saint Mary Magdalene? Many believe he found proof that Jesus and Magdalene were married, and their bloodline became the Merovingian dynasty. The source of his wealth, it is said, came from him blackmailing the Vatican.
Two people who are very interested in these mysteries are Philip Coppens and Kathleen McGowan. Coppens, known for his appearances on the Ancient Aliens television program, is the author of a bestselling book about Rennes-le-Chateau. McGowan has written several books about Mary Magdalene. Together, they will lead a “Sacred France” tour that explores Rennes-le-Chateau, Carcassonne, Mas Cabardes, Lastours, Montségur and other locations associated with the Cathars, Black Madonnas and Mary Magdalene. The tour dates are May 14 – 21, 2013, and you can see full itinerary and pricing details at http://bodymindspiritjourneys.com/cathars-13.html.
For more details about the recently revealed fragment of papyrus, go to http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/19/us/historian-says-piece-of-papyrus-refers-to-jesus-wife.html?_r=2&
Update: Philip Coppens passed away suddenly at the end of December, 2012. His widow, Kathleen McGowan, plans to continue with the tours, as was his wish.read more
It is hard to imagine anywhere on earth that is richer in ancient sacred sites than Cornwall. Stonehenge, Avebury and Glastonbury may be more famous, but anyone who restricted their visit to the U.K. to the most well known sites would be missing out on some profoundly rewarding experiences, just as it would be a serious mistake to visit Machu Picchu without also going to Sacsayhuaman and the many other sacred places near Cusco.
Cornwall has a variety of different kinds of sites, including quoits (the Cornish word for dolmen) fogous (underground chambers), holy wells, and stone circles. But one unique formation stands in a class by itself. Men-an-Tol is an arrangement of three stones. Two uprights on either end, and in the center is a round stone with a hole in the middle. When you view them from one particular angle, they seem to form a 3-D “101.” The name, in Cornish, means “the hole stone,” and there are numerous myths and legends associated with it. Here are a few…
It is guarded by a piskie (the Cornish version of a fairy or piksie) who has the power to cure illnesses. When a mother discovered that her baby had turned into a Changeling, she passed it through the stone and it turned back into her real child. If a woman climbs through the hole in the stone seven times during the full moon she will become pregnant. Passing a child, naked, nine times through the stone will cure rickets.
Many visitors to the various power places in Cornwall say the energy is tangible. Ross Nichols, writing in The Book of Druidry, said that the reason why stone circles were built was to store the energy generated by dancing inside them. Starhawk has written that ancient sacred sites were created in order to store power created during rituals in order to step through the veil between the worlds.
Men-an-Tol, Lanyon Quoit, the Carn Euny Fogou and the Boscawen-un stone circle are just a few of the powerful places the Body Mind Spirit Journeys tour of Southwest England will visit in July, 2013. And yes, the small group will also go to Glastonbury, Avebury and Stonehenge.read more
I was looking through some old travel photos recently and came across pictures I took in Fiji more than a dozen years ago. One really brought back memories. I took it in the Hindu temple, Naag Mandir, near the village of Nagigi on the island of Vanua Levu.
Entrance to the temple is restricted to those who have not eaten meat or consumed alcohol and are not wearing leather. I left my shoes outside before going in. The priest led me to a huge stone around which the temple seemed to have been built. It was in the shape of a cobra’s head and draped with garlands of flowers. There were many offerings on a shelf in front — fruit, flowers, incense, ghee and a box of milk.
I was told that the stone was very small 120 years ago, but it grew so that it now almost touches the ceiling. When it was feared that a new, larger roof would have to be built to accommodate the growing stone, the priests decided to pray for it to stop growing, and so far it has.
The priest also told me there were other supernatural occurrences associated with the stone. Once there were plans to build a new road, and the initial proposal required the temple and the stone to be moved. However, all the members of the crew that was supposed to move the stone got sick, It was not until plans to move it were cancelled that they recovered from their mysterious illness.
The feeling I got from the temple and its legendary growing stone was the presence of an enormous and powerful spirit.
There are several other sacred sites and powerful places in Fiji. If there were enough interest in forming a group tour, Body Mind Spirit Journeys could doubtless put one together. Are you interested?read more
Aramu Muru’s Portal (or Doorway) near Lake Titicaca in Peru is without a doubt one of the strangest and most powerfully eerie places I have ever visited. According to legend, this sacred site is associated with the founder of the Inca empire, Aramu Muru, who became known later as Manco Kapac. He escaped from the sinking continent of Mu, bringing with him a wondrous solar disk.
The area is near the city of Puno, near Peru’s border with Bolivia, and it abounds with rock formations that look like a puma, caterpillar, butterfly and other creatures from legends. Just before we arrived at the Portal, we passed the Valley of Spirits. We were told this place is associated with shamans, and the locals are afraid to venture into its depths.
Of the portal itself, it is said a band of musicians once managed to find their way through it and went into another dimension, never to be seen again. It is associated with the “Monastery of the Seven Rays” written about by George Hunt Williamson.
There are some who say the shaped rocks were fashioned by nature eroding the stones. Others believe the area was an ancient Mystery School more than 10,000 years ago, much like Marcahuasi north of Lima, where there are stone sculptures resembling dinosaurs, faces of people of many different races, and animals that are not native to Peru.
My tour group was fortunate to be led by Jorge Luis Delgado, who re-discovered the portal after being guided by a series of visions. And it is Jorge who will be leading a new tour of the Portal and other sacred sites and power places in Peru on the 12th of December. Yes, that date is 12-12-12!
Body Mind Spirit Journeys yesterday announced details of the 12-12-12 Peru tour. The main body of the tour features the Lake Titicaca area and the Portal Conference that culminates on December 12, 2012. There is also a post-Conference extension that goes to Machu Picchu, Cuzco, Pisac, and Ollyantaytambo — some of the most powerful sacred sites on the planet.
Simply to visit these places of power is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, but to be led by an expert in ancient wisdom such as Jorge Luis can make such a journey a truly life-changing event.
Here is a link to the Peru Portal 12-12-12 itinerary.