photos 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!
It 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!
Controversy 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.]
Reblogged this on OurPantheons and commented:
Not to mention it is a beautiful place to go and have a picnic. But don’t go while there is a ballgame going in the stadium across the street! On those days, the normally free parking lot costs $60 to park in. Yes! Sixty as in six zero. No kidding!
The fact that people use the place as a place of worship has nothing to do with the taxpayers money. They choose to go there for it’s serenity and beauty, nothing mystical about it. If I chose to host my rituals outside in the middle of the front yard of city hall should they tear it down?
It is good to have your perspective, Daniel.
Thank you sir, you have done your homework. I am infact a druid I have been practicing for many years now and you are correct satinism is a Christian concept and therefore has nothing to do with druid or our beliefs. I can apriciate tbe beauty of the art work but with it not being a true dolem but man made I doubt any rituals will take place there. I seem to remember this country being founded on religious. Tolerance a fact that a few of the christian faith ought remember. I was raised baptist and taught Sunday school and tolerance is something I taught on. As a druid priest I took an oath to do no harm and I will not judge anyone for their belief system. And as a veteran of our armed forces I take offense to anyones rights to be questioned especially from someone who knows very little and to call us evil because we worship difference is an Infringment on my right of free worship. I would be happy to educate him on what a druid or pagan trully believes I wi teach anyone willing to learn email me at firstname.lastname@example.org thank you for your well written article.
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I used to hang out with my high school friends at the original Caelum Moor back in the late 80’s and I loved it all for the beauty of it’s Art. I wrote several short stories, poems, and songs while sitting under (and sorry, but on top of… ) the Tolmen Barrow stones. We had picnics and parties there. I never saw any rituals going on, but I can understand why they would happen there. It was beautiful and open and free. I remember going back in the 90’s and it was a bit creepy, overgrown grass and such, but the beauty remained intact.
Elizabeth, your father’s masterpiece is a cherished part of my teenage years and I thank him for that! I also thank Arlington for waking up and recognizing it as a wonderful work of art and restoring it in all it’s glory.
Michael, I know your type of Christian. As a Pagan for 30 years I’ve met people who once the find out I am Wiccan or believe in the Goddess that they start claiming my deities are demons, that I worship Satan, and so forth. I know the lines, sir. Had a number of people of your branch of Christianity pull that on me many times. I even had one desecrate my altar and tried to burn my books as his idea of ” conversion”.
I became Pagan decades before it became fashionable and I had to stay in the “broom closet” for a long time. I couldn’t even wear my pentagram as openly as you wear your crucifix because the one time I did do so, one of your fellow Christians went whacko on me.
Your claim of not saying the stones were anything but artwork contradicts what you DID, which is the subject we’re discussing here.
I would have chalked you up as an ” isolated” case except that there are many cases like yours where certain segments of your faith have done far worse than you tried to do. I would suggest you read Kerr Cuhulain’s ” Witch Hunts” series in Witchvox to see the repeated examples of lies, distortions and omissions of facts to perpetuate a certain world view.
My basic response to folks like you is this: If I see you distort the facts, omit facts or outright lie about something I know about, how can yo expect me to believe you about your savior, sin and salvation?
Oh and as for “worshipping” works of art, you do know that the classic Greek and Roman statues and Egyptian ones too of deities in many museums were in their time objects to focus worship on?
Not to mention various other artifacts of other cultures housed in many museums are based on religious worship of some sort.
Yes some Pagans in the area have ADOPTED Caelum Moor as part of their religious rituals, but if you know about us Pagans, we tend to be eclectic as to what fancies us. The artist who made Caelum Moor had no intention of seeing his work as of a specific religion.
You might as well say Bugs Bunny is a communist.
Tummilo’s Lulu ebook is mercifully short and anyone can download it and read the badly written document. He is such a ” spiritual warrior” that he claims that Satan is responsible for the later crumbling of his group and is behind assorted diseases and sins of his fellow ” warriors”.
As a Pagan for more than 30 years I like to take a peek at Xian nut cases like Tummilo. Years ago they would have done book and album burnings of Elvis Presley and Iron Maiden. But such ” cleansings” are not as dramatic as they want to see themselves, so out pops this “warriors” image “fighting Satan”. It makes what they do sound much better than what they are, intolerant, ignorant bullies.
I looked at Tummilo’s little campaign and quite frankly he doesn’t have anything objective to back up his claims. He’s just looking for his 15 minutes of fame.
I am sure your book about saving the world (or the city of Arlington) from Caelum Moor, is stupid, since there really wasn’t anything to save the City from to begin with!
Look at my name closely, and yah, i am the oldest daughter of the artist Norm Hines..
We were all just there for the dedication of the wonderful pink Texas granite that is Caelum Moor, on Oct. 22.
Way to go Nancy and B. Olson! Keep celebrating life!
I was privileged to see Caelum Moor at its original site. Again, in October, 2009 I celebrated its dedication in Arlington.
It is a glorious sculpture. Its creator, Norm Hines, a great man, a wonderful sculptor……
Enjoy it! Celebrate life! Embrace the love!
I have to say, since my husband is an Eagles fan, that the Caelum Moor curse didn’t work as one might have hoped.
On a more serious note, I hope the many people who enjoy art are not robbed of it because a few people object to someone possibly worshiping there, and I hope the taxpayer money already spent on installing the sculptures is not wasted by people pretending this is a tax issue with them when it’s really a witch hunt.
Just a correction…I actually GIVE AWAY everything I write. I find it strange reading that you seem to know so much about what motivates me. It’s the ol’ “blind men and the elephant” story. Your experiences or perception of ministers in the past should not taint your impression of all of us forever. That would NOT be wise. By the way, I have been feeding and clothing people for 25 years, even housing homeless people in my own place. Finally, I have NEVER stated that those stones are anything BUT artwork. This was a taxpayer issue in ’97 and may well be again. Arlington’s been warned. Thanks for your time.
One thing I’ve found in doing this blog is that everyone sees in Stonehenge and its replicas and imitations what they already have in themselves. It would be a shame for those who see art, wonder, beauty and mankind’s great and ancient legacy to be robbed of it because of other people’s inner demons. Maybe over time, just from thinking about it, some of the peace of the place will reach and help them.
Tummilo is selling his ebook version of his hyped up little ” spiritual warfare”. Thatis is TRUE motive for this, not any actual concern for supposedly ” demonic” goings on.
The site is an ARTWORK, not a specifically Pagan site. Tummilo knows this but in his fanatical religious zealotry he “interprets” it to suit his asinine “spiritual warfare” act. Instead of gathering food and clothing for the needy, he sees devils and demons in modern artwork.
Heck, he probably thnks the name, since he can’t pronounce it, is demonic language.
ah, silly me.
Good on Norman for building it then
Pete, the sculptor was Norman Hines.
well done for building it!
Thank you for clarifying. You’re right–it’s best to hear straight from the person himself.
However, if you start not funding public places because people might do something religious there, you’ll have to get extra police to make sure no one prays or has any kind of service or church related gathering in any of your parks. Isn’t it wonderful for people to worship out of doors? Maybe you could hold services there sometimes, too.
When it comes to this sort of thing, I remember what my grandfather used to say about food–it all goes down the same throat. If there’s only one god (and I realize that some say there are more and others say there are none), then probably all worship is accepted by him, her, or it, regardless of what name and ritual is used, just as we know to answer people whether they call us by our first name, our last name, a nickname, or name us as our child’s parent. When we humble ourselves before something greater, it makes us better people. That’s a wonderful use for a place funded by the public, in my opinion.
I’m not going to waste time defending the fact that I was misquoted in the Star-Telegram. Have you considered that? Yes, the media does that… ALL the time. So, bear in mind that your witty comments may be regarding things I NEVER even said. Logic says, don’t waste your time.
No, the only matter of importance regarding those rocks – which hold no spiritual significance by the way – no hexes, no curses, despite what many people are saying I’ve said… they’re just ROCKS! – is this: If you pay taxes in Arlington, no matter what Religion you’ve embraced and EVEN if you are unaffiliated, if the Wiccans and neo-pagan types admit to holding rituals and ceremonies at Caelum Moor – as they did back in the day before they were removed – ask yourself when the City plans on paying for any OTHER religious groups lights, mowing, fountains, etc. Already, the Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone #5 has authorized $910,417 for installation, lights, irrigation, trail construction and signage at Richard Greene Park (doesn’t it strike anybody else as weird that the park was named after the man who had the things torn down 11 years ago? Think, people think).
Please stop commenting on the goofy things I “supposedly” said in that Star-Telegram article. Jumping on the bandwagon is SO predictably dull.
And stop entertaining thoughts and comments having to do with rocks being cursed. How juvenile! They’re just ROCKS. God made them, in fact, and He made the sculptor, too.
If YOU pay taxes in Arlington, YOUR money may be used on upkeep for a place the Wiccans already admitted to using for their rituals in ’97. Then-Mayor Greene and his council AGREED in ’97…why do you think they dismantled the things?? THINK! It was a Church ‘n State issue THEN and there’s a good chance it WILL be AGAIN.
This is no longer my problem. I sounded the alarm and MANY good people from my old stomping grounds have already thanked me for opening their eyes. I still have MANY friends and relatives there.
To the Arlington Jews, Muslims, Hindus, etc… this could wind up being YOUR problem as well. Don’t be deceived into thinking this is a Christian vs Wiccan issue. It’s not. Burke said, “All it takes for evil to prosper is for good people to do nothing.” Get ready. You might want to do something!
If you don’t live in Arlington, get a life. The issue is no concern of yours.
Personally, I have no problem with neo-pagans and Wiccans. I’ve always said the nicest woman I ever met was a coworker who was a self-professing with. Besides, Jesus died for ALL people. Yes, God loves Wiccans! This is nothing personal, K? I appreciate anybody who’s seeking their God. Seek and you will find.
Watch that park, y’all! Especially tonight (Halloween). Anyone got a camera? City Counsil might appreciate that.
Something wicked this way comes…it’s called Complacency.
Every blessing to anyone who reads this,
By the way, Texas has now caught up with Washington in the bid to be the Stonehenge State. But fear not, Washington. Stainless steel will soon save the day!