Looking at the photos from The Modern Antiquarian's (page on Knowth) :
These two stones, (photo), (photo), seem to be a classic male-female pair . The groove around the (would be) female's waist is food for thought . It calls to mind the Japanese practice of tying a girdle of rope around a (stone) or a (tree), (tree) of special significance . It also calls to mind the vertical clam-like symbols on several walls in (this photo), from Burkina Faso . It may have been that Knowth's 'female' menhir was considered 'dressed' when wearing a girdling rope, and 'undressed' without it .
(This photo) shows an artifact from "near the entrance of the W tomb" which looks like a 10" sandstone phallus . Other life sized phallic objects have been found within the broader milieu, but none that i am aware of which were beaded like a bagpipe drone, as this one is . It bears consideration that these beads, (grooves), might have been for girdling strings . If so, it seems reasonable that these would have held symbolic importance, perhaps attached to various ancestors . I imagine it might have been involved in ceremonies of reincarnation ~ intended to bring ancestors back way of the womb . Notable also are U-curves, facing upward, carved around its base . Two quite different interpretations for these might be : that they represented the horns of an (aurochs), the mighty wild bull ; or that these were their symbol for the womb .
If the womb symbolism was the case, (this stone), (a second photo of same), could show two linked wombs, (possibly sisters), with symbolic males or penises within them . It is imaginable that these represent sex, but the next stone makes it seem more likely these were (male) babies, being or soon to be born . Between these is a large spiral, possibly as a symbol of the spirit of the father .
On the left hand side of (this stone), (a second photo of same), one might be looking at a penis having left a female baby-on-the-way in a womb . Beneath it may be another, as yet empty ; a second of these could be at the stone's far right .
The four U-curves on (this stone) call to mind the aurochs rather clearly . They are in two pairs, upper and lower, reflected by a horizontal line . Reflection is a recurring theme within the broad milieu, and seems to have held symbolism of the realm of the dead . A deposit of (inverted cattle skulls) in the Orkney Islands may represent a related tradition .
At the center of (this stone), reflected by a natural seam, is a pair of carvings which might be more easily interpreted as wombs . Each seems to bear a female child, (a smaller, similar form), which a symbolic penis may have left in the lower one . Interpretively : if both wombs gave birth simultaneously, and the birth was a living girl, an ancestor, (from the upper, spirit womb), might have been thought to exist within the newborn .
On (this stone), beneath a long serpentine string of U-shapes running across the top, are a roughly equal number of independent shapes . Notably, one or more of these are not U's but circles . This is difficult to reconcile with the representation of horns, though it may have been symbolic of the cow aurochs ; if so, the number of bulls seems disproportionate . Pursuing the womb analogy, these could represent girls or women born of the stream of wombs which was the clan, (perhaps that year) ; the circles being those who did not later have children of their own .
The serpentine form of reversed U's appears on several other stones, (here), (here), and (here) . The second of these includes a spiral within one of the (speculative) wombs . It seems to connect what would be its girl-child with that from the next one over . Spirals (i think) also share space with the serpentine form in the third, which includes lozenges, (diamonds, some chained), and concentric rings .
Knowth ; A Phallic Object ; U & Serpentine Forms
Posted 7 February 2011 - 19:24
Posted 10 February 2011 - 07:12
Thanks, Kevin, i very much like the Venus Figure with the full-body tattoo at the bottom of that page . She looks like she may have come from (the culture of) the Brú na Bóinne .
Another thing which might be considered is the winding course of the River Boyne, (Bóinne) . It makes a prominent U-bend about the Brú, (Palace), ("Newgrange Ritual Landscape", as i called it) . This would match better the interpretation of the U-form as a womb than as horns, in my opinion . It also appears to work well with the serpentine form's representing a (sacred) stream ~ the Boyne ~ or that of (the tribe's / clan's / heredity's) wombs .
Posted 6 April 2011 - 07:53
Here's something i consider :
The basin at Knowth, (found in the North recess of the East passage and chamber, per greywether @ TMA, photos here and here), is not level ; and its uneven base makes it appear as though it is not intended to have been . Although this would work for a washbasin, (as it has some retaining lower rim), it is also reminiscent of a winnowing basket, please see photo here . Note the way the basin seems to be carved to resemble something utilitarian, having circumferential elements around its outside, and vertical ones below the high outside edge –– there is a similar accent in the binding on the high-held edge of the basket . The interior of the basin has some circumferential elements, and also some radial ones, as would the basket . The interior also has something resembling the nested-Us, (hill?/passage?/series-of-wombs?/horns?), motif considered earlier in this thread and in the Prehistoric India thread .
It may be that as or after the bones, (or particular bones), of the dead were broken up with the ritual flint mace, (photos here and here), there was a sense of winnowing the animate spirit of the deceased from the worldly bone . If so, this might reinforce interpretation of the nested-Us, (or nested-U-like), form represented within the basin as a passage –– possibly a birth passage –– leading to the spirit world . In this context, i am curious to learn the compass orientation of the basin as it was found .
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