no moss blog


the rock was simply a focus …

"From the documents of later Neolithic and pastoral societies, we know that Being rather than a being was revered as the ultimate sacred power. It was impossible to define or describe, because Being is all-encompassing and our minds are only equipped to deal with particular beings, which can merely participate in it in a restricted manner. But certain objects became eloquent symbols of the power of Being, which sustained  and shown through them with particular clarity. A stone or a rock (frequent symbols of the sacred) express the stability and durability of Being; the moon, its power of endless renewal; the sky, its towering transcendence, ubiquity, and universality. None of these symbols was worship for and in itself. People did not bow down and worship a rock tout court; the rock was simply a focus that directed their attention to the mysterious essence of life. Being bound all things together; humans, animals, plants, insects, stars, and birds all shared the divine life that sustained the entire cosmos.”

– Karen Armstrong, "The Case for God," page 11


teilhard on rocks

I was struck by this observation while listening to a Krista Tippett podcast about Teilhard de Chardin, the Jesuit philosopher and paleontologist.

MS. TIPPETT: Right. I'm just going to read some of these lines that really struck me. "At the very beginning of my conscious life in my efforts to attain and grasp the solidity to which my innate demand for plentitude impelled me, I tried above all to capture the essence of matter by looking for it in its most closely defined and concentrated and heaviest forms. Then it was that my newly born attraction to the world of rocks began to produce the beginning of what was to be a permanent broadening of the foundations of my interior life." And he says, the truth is, that he’s never been able to feel at home even at the peak of his spiritual trajectory unless immersed in an ocean of matter.

“concentrated life force”

“Carlos picked up a piece of raw obsidian from the ground and gave it to me, saying, 'Stones contain concentrated life force. They communicate and offer their powers to those with faith. We are to pray here and relay our greatest faith. We are here to make a wish.’”

—Margaret De Whys, Black Smoke: A Woman’s Journey of Healing, Wild Love, and Transformation in the Amazon, page 74

stonehenge nuggets

There’s an interesting piece on the Stonehenge Hidden Landscape Project, a four-year collaboration between Birmingham University and the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute in Austria, in the Financial Times today. 

“Despite Stonehenge being the most iconic of all prehistoric monuments and occupying one of the richest archaeological landscapes in the world, much of this landscape in effect remains terra incognito,” Vince Gaffney, head of the Birmingham team, tells Clive Cookson and Tyler Shendruk. “This project has revealed that the area is teeming with previously unseen archaeology.”

Among other things, they’ve discovered 17 new monuments nearby, as well as The Cursus, a rectangular enclosure with two pits “exactly aligned so that at the summer solstice the sun would have risen over the eastern pit and set over the western pit, as seen from the Stonehenge ‘heel stone.’”

“The new discoveries have finally overthrown the old idea, already under assault from modern archaeology, that Stonehenge was an isolated monument with access restricted to a priestly caste, at the heart of an empty landscape with other activities taking place outside its boundaries,“ write Cookson and Shenduk.

The New York Times’ Edward Rothstein, meanwhile, reviewed the renovated grounds of the main site in yesterday’s paper. 

“One of the intriguing things about Stonehenge, as we are reminded again and again, is that it can’t really be pinned down; we will never know enough,” Rothstein writes. “Was it a burial site, a temple, an astronomical model, a healing center, a monument to the ancestral dead?”

Or was it simply a massive, prototypical collection of stonekoans?

fellow traveler

My friend Jill Padawer spotted this photo by Frank Winters of a “Rock Sculpture” on the coast of Cape Cod.

go greenly

Among the driftwood and the feathers and the wild stonekoans on the shore of the Hudson this glorious afternoon.

Wawanaquassick: “Where the Heaps of Stones Lie”

… there was a place the Natives called Wawanaquassick, “where the heaps of stones lie,” near the banks of the Nanapenahakan (“the stream that runs through our land”) Creek. Today the site is Churchtown, named after a church built there by the white settlers. But the spot was once a shrine, which the Natives honored by piling stones. The Mohegan approaching the site would pick up a suitable rock and carry it with them, and then place it on the pile. Sometimes such piles were  shrines to a great person who had died, sometimes they were simple shrines intended to inspire those who passed by. This was an ancient custom among the Algonquin people everyone made an offering.

—from Native New Yorkers, Evan T. Pritchard, page 290

stonekoan apprentice creating on the beach

photo1

Actually, I’d say Lili Simone Forbes Wollstein has it pretty much nailed at age 3, though she might have had some assistance from the tribal elders in assembling the stonekoan colony on the beach in Greece (below). Pretty good form on that squat, too, no?

photo1

Photos by Carrick Forbes

Word of the Day

This was the screen saver running on my Mac when I walked into the room a few mornings ago. I took it as a prod from the universe to get back to creating more stonekoans, which I have done in recent days.

photo


Expressing the Stability and Durability of Being

"From the documents of later Neolithic and pastoral societies, we know that Being rather than a being was revered as the ultimate sacred power. It was impossible to define or describe, because Being is all-encompassing and our minds are only equipped to deal with particular beings, which can merely participate in it in a restricted manner. But certain objects became eloquent symbols of the power of Being, which sustained and shown through them with particular clarity. A stone or a rock (frequent symbols of the sacred) express the stability and durability of Being; the moon, its power of endless renewal; the sky, its towering transcendence, ubiquity, and universality. None of these symbols was worship for and in itself. People did not bow down and worship a rock tout court; the rock was simply a focus that directed their attention to the mysterious essence of life. Being bound all things together; humans, animals, plants, insects, stars, birds all shared the divine life that sustained the entire cosmos.

– Karen Armstrong, The Case for God, page 11



 © T.H. Forbes Co., 2015