Thursday, July 9, 2009

Healing Stones

Because I haven't given you enough to think on, I'll continue to talk about stones and their role in humankind to try and find out at what point stones become recording devices. I found this article and wanted to copy it in here because it's really quite interesting. It should get your brain thinking.

This comes from

Healing Stones

Over the centuries, much folklore has attached itself to megalithic sites in Britain. There is considerable evidence indicating that a stone cult existed in the prehistoric past which Christianity was only partially successful in suppressing. The very necessity of the numerous edicts issued by the church Councils in 5th, 6th, and 8th centuries C.E. against all pagan cults connected with springs and wells, trees, and stones (which no doubt included megalithic standing stones) is indicative of their persistence. According to Leslie Grinsell in his book "Folklore of Prehistoric Britain" (1976), in the late 9th century C.E., the Council of Nantes in France condemned the veneration of stones. Various decrees not only prohibited the worship of stones but also declared guilty of sacrilege anyone who neglected to destroy them.

It is clear, however, that standing stones continued to be venerated throughout the medieval period and even later. In 1410, according to the Hereford Cathedral Registers, the Bishop of Hereford issued a proclamation forbidding the worship of the stone and well at Turnastone in Herefordshire. It would appear that one of the most popular reasons for venerating standing stones was the belief in their ability to cure illnesses and other ailments. Anglo-Saxon laws were sometimes directed specifically against people who sought cures at stones. In his account of Stonehenge, written in the 12th century, Geoffrey of Monmouth notes that "in these stones is a mystery, and a healing virtue against many ailments." At Stonehenge, the stones were washed and the water poured into baths in which the sick then bathed. Healing properties continued to be attributed to the stones at Stonehenge in the 17th and 18th centuries.

It has been suggested that the association of these stones with healing may have come about through the confusion of "heal" and "heel", with both words possibly a corruption of the name Helios, the Greek name for "sun" and the sun god. That numerous megalithic sites, standing stones, and stone circles have astronomical associations has been convincingly demonstrated by Alexander Thom and, in the case of Stonehenge in particular, by Norman Lockyer, Gerald Hawkins, and Fred Hoyle. The so-called "Heel Stone" at Stonehenge should properly be called the Helios Stone, or sun-stone, over which the sun rose at the summer solstice.

Healing properties were especially associated with stones with holes in them. The most famous example is Men-an-Tol (see photo at left), also known as the Crick Stone, near Madron in Cornwall. According to an 18th-century source, sufferers from pains in the back and limbs were cured after crawling through the hole. Also, children suffering from rickets (a disease of infancy and childhood characterized by defective bone growth caused by a lack of vitamin D in the body) or a 'crick in the neck' would be cured after being passed three or nine times through the hole, usually against the sun (widdershins). For the cure to work, it was important that boys were passed from a woman to a man, and girls from a man to a woman.

A similar practice was performed at the Tolvan Stone, also in Cornwall. Here the ceremony involved passing the child nine times through the hole alternately from one side to the other. In the 19th-century engraving illustrated here can be seen a woman about to pass a baby through the hole to a person on the other side. It was essential to the cure that the child should emerge on the ninth passing through the hole on the side of the stone where there was a little grassy mound on which the child should be set to sleep with a sixpence under his or her head.
The Tolvan Stone, Constantine, Cornwall (engraving, 1870)

Folklore has attributed similar healing properties to the Long Stone in the Parish of Minchinhampton in Gloucestershire. Known locally as the "holey stone", this slab of limestone stands nearly 8 feet high with a thickness of about 18 inches. Believed to be the last surviving fragment of a long barrow chamber, the stone has two holes in it through the larger of which mothers would pass their children to cure them of whooping cough or rickets. Folklore also tells that the Long Stone runs around the field it is in when it hears the town clock in nearby Minchinhampton strike midnight.


  1. I want to thank you for getting me to think beyond simple hauntings to what might be the reasons for them. There is so much more to it than I could ever imagine. I'm also interested in seeing what kind of abilities I may have and need to get in touch with.

  2. Julie;
    I'm glad I'm opening your mind. I've long rolled my eyes at the way the turn-of-the-century styled ghost seekers treated ghostly inhabitations with Ouija boards and seances and all these rules "they get stuck here because of unfinished business" and all that rot. I've lived smack dab in the middle of it and when you grow up in it, you have a different perspective. You can sense if something has intelligence or is just imprinted on the environment. I think both can exist, but I think that intelligent hauntings are extremely hard and extremely rare. I have a simple question for anyone who's interested in how rocks play into haunted environments. Next time you're out in nature on a hike, stop and take a seat on the ground. Stop and take a seat on a tree stump or fallen tree. Stop and take a seat on a rock outcropping. Note how you feel on each. :-)

  3. thanks for the suggestion about the vanilla extract. i have had 2 other people tell me about making this recently so it must be time to do it. i will buy bourbon today and get the beans tomorrow and make a batch. do you use the whole bottle of bourbon? do you open the beans and scrape them? do you think it is better than store bought? thanks again!

  4. Jaz;
    Most folks make it with regular whiskey but bourbon has a sweeter deeper taste and makes the vanilla extract awesome. I slice open the beans, take the tip of the knife and scrape out the tiny beans and put that in the bottle with the bean pods too. Shake it a ton. I put the date on the label so I can see how old it is. Every now and then when I open the fridge, I take it out of the door and shake it. In a few weeks it's totally ready to use, but 4-6 months and it's the most tasty thing in the world. I do a lot of baking and I use double the asked for amount in recipes and everyone asks what I use to make them taste so good. Since hubby has high cholesterol, I use egg whites and canola harvest spread for the cookies and cakes and they come out fantastic with no cholesterol. The vanilla really really beats the store bought and it's sooo much cheaper. For that amount of vanilla extract in the store it'd probably be about $100 or more. I use a 750 mL bottle and I buy the cheap-o one, because it makes no difference when you make the vanilla extract. You can keep using it all year if you want. I usually run out in like 4-6 months. :-) p.s. You can make other extracts this way too like peppermint using the liquor and peppermint oil.

  5. I love all this stone info.! Thank you. :D

  6. I second Julie's comment and others!! This has been so interesting getting beyond the actual events to the hows and the whys-we may never know-as with all subjects including UFOlogy -but I hope people who are interested in these things never give up. Sometimes I think its almost more interesting when you wind up with more questions than answers-but sheesh-sometimes a 100 percent positive answer or result would be nice! thanks so much for this article -almost everything in it was new information to me so I learned a lot just by reading it-best to you as always!!

  7. Devin;
    Glad to keep the brain stimulated. I tell you, the more I learn, the more paths I travel down in search of more. It seems to tie together and I feel like at some point, I'll have an aha moment. I'm thinking my next post might deal with why some kinds of deaths create hauntings more than others...