Scary Stuff! Caelum Moor, Arlington, Texas

caelum moorphotos by Robert Asplet, blogged from Flickr

A wee bit o’ Scotland has come to the outskirts of Cowboys Stadium, and with it a foggy auld controversy over whether a Scottish sculpture park is also a pagan shrine that might hex the Dallas Cowboys.”  “ ‘I believe there’s a devil and that we tugged on his cape.’ ” (From this article, the second a quote from Michael Tummillo.)

Ah, Texas. Welcome to Caelum Moor. Five modern megalithic sculptures made of granite, three of them trilithons, that have been in storage since 1997 have recently been re-erected in a park near Arlington, to the great joy of many art lovers and to the alarm and even anger of some on-the-fringe Christians, led by nursing home chaplain Michael Tummillo, who assert that it is pagan, therefore evil and therefore likely to attract–yes–the devil!

caelum moor 2It is clear that Tummillo has more belief in the power of the sculptures than anyone else does and maybe he ought to be admired for that. Pagans, at least the ones I know, would be unlikely to expect that modern sculptures recently placed near two sports stadiums will draw in any kind of spirits, let alone a spirit who is, let’s face it, pretty much a Christian construct.

You know the drill–Tummillo and his gang somehow get from worrying about pagans and Wiccans worshiping at the sculpture park to talking about satanism, which is much closer to being a heretical sect of Christianity than it is to having anything to do with Wicca or paganism. And it all makes assumptions that don’t work, like that these sculptures are not art but religious objects, or that people won’t practice paganism or Wicca if the sculptures aren’t there.

Of course, the vast majority of Christians can enjoy these sculptures for their beauty and the resonance of ancient Britain they carry, without getting weird about it. They can instead chuckle at the bit about Scotland in that opening line above. Name a stone circle with lintels in Scotland–We didn’t think so!

caelum moor 3Controversy aside, the combination of landscape and sculpture in this park seems to transcend its site in the sports and business complex. You can see a walkthrough of Caelum Moor here. There is no circle, none of the other characteristics of Stonehenge, but it does have a grand feel, even over the internet. We give it 6½ druids. They’re not real druids, okay? We don’t want to scare anyone!

The artist’s name is Norman Hines. We applaud his beautiful work! And a note about Michael Tummillo: he has written a book about his experience fighting Caelum Moor the first time it was up (so we doubt he’s trying to drum up media coverage! ). And as for the Cowboys–their problems probably can’t be traced back to public sculpture. Just a hunch.

Our thanks to Karen Hetherington for telling us about this one. And again, we wish everyone a wonderful Halloween and Samhain!

[See the comments for a statement from M. Tummillo.]

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Witch Henge–Be Prepared for Serious Mojo!

Witches_1aphoto by Bob Bradlee of Stonehenge Collectables

This item has witches on it which makes it intrinsically sweet and worth 5 druids by itself, but once I turned it on, that’s when the magic happened! The evil gleeful witches began to revolve around the fire, which glowed like the eyes of a wolf howling at the moon. I don’t know how I lived until now, without this tasteful objet d’art!

After I plugged it in that first time, my life changed. Mail poured in, all full of checks for thousands of dollars. I’ve had to stop going to public places because of the throngs of ardent admirers I attract. When I step into the garden, bunnies and hedgehogs follow me and colourful birds light briefly on my shoulders or in the nearest branches and sing to me sweetly. Flowers open as I near them, and fill the air with a wonderful fragrance.

Indoors, dust has stopped settling on the furniture. The whole place cleans itself  now. My health has improved, I’ve lost weight, and I look ten years younger. I could go on, but of course there is this odd henge to discuss!

This is a resin model made by Lemax for their Spooky Town collection (called Witches’ Cove–do they mean coven or is it a reference to the Cove at Avebury?). There are the four uprights lintelled, one trilithon and some fallen stones. Then  there are six witches, or are they just Welsh women in traditional dress, who having swept up at Stonehenge are now burning the debris?

The witches (could one of these be Juniper?!) do revolve in a circle and the fire does light up. The owl, vulture, raven, black cat, skull and bones are there to add atmosphere. It’s surprising there’s no jack-o-lantern. Do you think someone said, “No–that would be over the top!” Heh. You can see more photos here.

Seriously–who comes up with this stuff (and why six witches instead of three?). We love the addition of the autumn leaves in the grass. How often do maple leaves blow onto the grass at Stonehenge, do you think? How much does EH pay per year to have someone come in with a leaf blower? No.

Score: We are waffling on whether this is so bad it’s good, or whether it’s just bad. Okay, I suppose we got a chuckle out of it. We’ll give it 5½ druids–or six witches! We considered just naming this post ROFLMAO. But then we thought of the wolf shirt.

Happy Halloween, Samhain, or whatever you celebrate! And seriously, if any of you witches out there do dress and party like this, send pictures!

Watermelonhenge, or, Where the So-Called Monkey Gets His Smile

watermelonHenge 2

henge and photo by monkey, with permission

The season is over in the northern hemisphere, but here it is–watermelonhenge, or, as monkey (a white stuffed monkey who looks curiously like a dog) calls it, watermelon stonehenge. And as monkey says, “everybody loves a good henge.” Especially when it’s tasty! He offers a tutorial here. And we belatedly discovered he has his own website here.

Of course this is not the only watermelonhenge on teh intarwebs (here’s one),  but it is the nicest. Monkey seems to benefit by being a world traveler and possibly having influential friends. It’s hard to tell about someone who uses a vague etymological term for his name. He’s not our first monkey with a henge, by the way. Some of you may remember this sweet children’s henge with a mother and child monkey pair along with a dog, which is, frankly, what monkey still looks like to us!

But on to the henge–nicely done for a foodhenge. Only two trilithons in the middle and not many fallen uprights, but at least he got the outer circle and didn’t just make it a ring of trilithons. That’s so last century! Anyway, we make allowances for foodhenges, as you know. And that incredible smile on monkey’s face tells us he is very happy with how the whole thing turned out.

Score: 6½ druids. We can see how someone clever with a knife could make quite a nice little watermelonhenge for a party plate. We recommend tapering the uprights so they’re smaller at the top. Why not give it a try? Look how well this fellow did and he just has fingerless stumps for hands! Well done, monkey! Let us know if you do a bananahenge. We already have a dog bone henge.

[And if you want to serve a non-henge watermelon plate for Halloween, we suggest this.]

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Spinal Tap–The Other Stone’enges!

Stone_Henge_tapphoto by Peter Renn, from the BBC

It is not at all clear what the little Stonehenge replica, actually a mere trilithon, in the movie This Is Spinal Tap, is made of. Some say it was inflatable, some say it was made of foam. We dedicated our 100th post to that one, the only Stonehenge replica most people have ever seen. But there have been others.

Spinal Tap, although a mock band, also tours, and on some but not all of their tours they have had other Stone’enges, at least one of which, and possibly all of which, were inflatable. Inflatable but apparently not always inflated. People who attended their concert at the Wembley arena in July report that they had trouble, um, keeping it at attention . . .

Spinal Tap - StonehengeAt a Glastonbury concert in June they had a rather smaller one, but it appears to have been closer to 4 feet than 18 inches high.

The inflatable Stonehenge is in general a much rumoured but rarely seen item. It is said one was commissioned a few years ago for a high end party in Manhattan, but if there are pictures of it online, we have not found them. There may be others, too, rentable for paint ball skirmishes and the like, but those, too, we cannot find.

We think it is an unfilled niche! Why doesn’t every party place have inflatable Stonehenges to rent for garden parties and village events? We can imagine them at fairs, music festivals, all kinds of gatherings. And, of course, eventually someone would be seized by the urge to fill them with helium. A floating inflatable Stonehenge! It would be something the world has never seen. And we don’t just mean a trilithon, people! Think of it!

Score for the Spinal Tap touring trilithons: 5 druids. And it’s that high only because they’re funny and because, let’s face it, they put Stonehenge replicas on the map. We want to thank Emma Harrison, bigmollusk, of World Before Wireless, for pointing these out to us. Emma, we await that inflatable Stonehenge you promised us. Deadline is December 21!

Rock On, dudes!

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Okay, Don’t Make Us Come Over There! (Beach Stone Henge, Wales)

beach 5photo by Thelma June Jackson, with permission

It’s the Welsh. Well, it may not be the Welsh, but it is Wales. Remember this one? Well, the madness continues as the force emanating from Carn Menyn in the Preseli Hills forces people to reproduce Stonehenge everywhere all the time. In Wales, all children’s blocks are shaped like sarsens and every garden has at least one Stonehenge. Police patrol the roads to stop people building Stonehenge replicas on them at all hours. In restaurants everything is served in little trilithons. People even wear little Stonehenges on their heads!

Okay, well, we may be exaggerating just a wee bit. But, look, there’s no denying this is a second beach pebble henge. Two is more than one! We rest our case.

This is clearly a holiday henge. The builder did that ring of trilithons inside but then made a cairn of small stones in the middle and a partial ring of stones that he or she just laid flat around the outside, drawing a line, probably with a finger, to complete the circle. To us this says someone intended to build a Stonehenge replica and then when it started to get complex said, “Bugger this, I’m on holiday!” and did the rest in a hurry.

Still, it caught the eye of a passerby and here it is, an example of what you can do when you’re on a beach and the weather (or the water) is not nice enough for swimming. Beach stone henges are one of the most common types of Stonehenge replicas, but they can be a gateway henge, leading to a henge obsession that can disrupt your life and your relationships! Be forewarned.

Score: 6 druids. Looking at that beach, on second thought, please do make us come over there!

[Here's another pebblehenge.]

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Kansas State Fair Crinoid Stem Stonehenge Models

crinoid 4photos by Ace Jackalope, used with permission

Well, it was going to be watermelonhenge today, but after encountering some technical difficulties we decided to go with this brilliant entry from the 2009 Kansas State Fair: Stonehenge models made from fossil crinoid stems (crinoids are a kind of sea animal that resembles a lily, more or less, many of them anchored to the sea floor by stems). As our new friend Mister Jackalope posted, “Morgan Reves of Pottawatomie County, Kansas, treated the public to this special exhibit: two models of Stonehenge – past and present – made of fossil crinoid stems.

Why fossil crinoid stems? We don’t know, but they are common. Presumably Morgan had a bag of them sitting around and was struck one day, as people are, with the idea that she (or he?) could make little Stonehenges with them. What we love is that the two models on display show the monument as it was, or is thought to have been, at its fullest stage, and in its modern, partially toppled condition (seen above).

crinoid 2As you can see on the left, diagrams and explanations of Stonehenge, and possibly of fossil crinoid stems, accompanied the models. Was this a science fair project or some other kind of display? We can only speculate, but we’re glad it was there to add to the weird materials list for Stonehenge replicas!

As relatively common and obvious as fossils are, they were bound to be noticed and used by the megalith builders at least once. While there may be others, the most famous real megalithic site to feature a fossil is the long barrow at Stoney Littleton (yes, they really give places names like that over in Great Britain–Tolkien didn’t make that up!). You can see a photo of the fossil ammonite on a stone at the front of it here. There is no chance that the builders didn’t see it, but what they thought of we can never know.

Score for these crinoid stem henges: 6½ druids. Fine work, Morgan Reves! The diagrams pick up the features, like the bluestones and the ditch and bank, that the models don’t show.

We end with a quote from an email we received from Ace Jackalope himself: “There’s a blog just for Stonehenge replicas? Surely the Internet has now fulfilled its greatest possible potential!

Yes, it’s true. Just as in the Vonnegut book The Sirens of Titan humans were created in order to build a replacement part for a Tralfamadorian spacecraft that had broken down near Earth (and Stonehenge is a message in Tralfamadorian), so these internets were built  for this and this alone. Everything else is simply an outgrowth of this ultimate process. Enjoy!

Rillito Sun Circle: They Call it Stonehenge

rillito 2photo by Rachel Aschmann, with permission

Well, we’ve held out as long as we can to keep the Newark, Ohio post at the top, but today is the celebration at the earthworks there, so we will move on to another site. The cultures in North America before Columbus opened the place up for exploitation were in some cases as different from one another as the English from the Chinese, but since we’ve been thinking about indigenous Americans this week, we present the Rillito Sun Circle, a curious and wonderful Stonehenge/kiva hybrid located in Arizona.

All prehistoric cultures were aware of the movements of the son, moon, planets and stars. They were their clocks, their calendars, part of their entertainment and one of the ways the world/spirit/gods spoke to them. For a leader, building something that channeled those movements was basically a way to impress the pants off the people and make it seem as if you were connected to the divine. Even today people flock to these constructions to observe the movement of light at certain times of year, some as a part of their spiritual practice.

Two of the many places people go to see prehistoric structures that have this function are Chaco Canyon and Stonehenge. Chaco’s Casa Rinconada has a reputation, right or wrong, for being a sort of sundial, with light passing through a hole on one side to strike a niche on the other at summer solstice (certainly other parts of the Chaco complex did mark out celestial movements). The Rillito Sun Circle, above, cleverly combines the look and functions of Stonehenge and Casa Rinconada, adding a few tricks of its own. The fullest explanation of it that we could find is, alas, only available on a cached page, which you may see here.

Its name is the Rillito Sun Circle, but of course people call it Stonehenge, even though only one structure in the circle even resembles a trilithon. We like the benches set around the circle and the open space around it, which will have to be kept open in order for it to function as it should. Our score: 6 druids! It doesn’t look like Stonehenge, but marks out the sun and its movements elegantly, actively relating to its landscape and the area’s history.

Note: You don’t need to build a structure to do this, you know. Start observing the sun as it loves through your house. Note where it strikes, for example, on winter or summer solstice at noon, or on your birthday or anniversary for that matter. Find a way to mark that, subtly or with something obvious like a picture or a crystal on a string, and then remember to check it next year on that day. All who care to can make this kind of observance a part of their lives and their homes. That is, if the sun shines enough where they are. (Sorry, Scots and Seattle-ites! ;-) )

[Programming for Indigenous Peoples' Day ends here and we will return to our regular silliness with the next post.]

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