The Mystery And The Magic
What were our Neolithic ancestors thinking, 6000 years ago, when they stood stones on end all over Europe? It’s hard not to wonder.
I’ve almost become used to living among Roman ruins, which are so eloquent in their longlasting beauty. We know, because they wrote about it, what the Romans were thinking as they constructed their extensive roads and waterworks and splendid mosaic floors. But these menhirs are absolutely mute. We don’t know what they mean, and they won’t tell. We don’t know who carved them or why, how they moved countless thousands of tons of stone by hand, what they thought about the world they lived in, or what they ate for lunch. They’re gone forever, having disappeared into eternal silence, leaving only their stones behind.
Someone, back in prehistory, carved these symbols into a huge stone, which may or may not have been worshipped for 2000 years as a fertility symbol, depending on which archaeologist you believe. Or a symbol of power, or simply a marker for a gravesite that was in constant use for two millenia. We’ll never know, although we’ll probably always puzzle over it and construct hypotheses in an attempt to bring coherence to their legacy, because otherwise those long ago hands will have worked in vain.
Today sheep graze among les alignements, the lines of silent stones that stretch for kilometers around Carnac and Locmariaquer on Bretagne’s Gulf of Morbihan.
Today a modern megalith looms over the ancient ones,
although not too far away, in the forest of Broceliande, Merlin the magician, Merlin l’Enchanteur, is said to have been buried under these stones, although he is also said to have been imprisoned in a tree.
Bretagne, land of magic and mystery, where once the Celts did roam, followed some 1400 years thereafter by Benjamin Franklin.
A lot’s happened here.