Dec 13, 2017 I Brett Tingley

Stonehenge May Have Been a Fertility Shrine Which Cast Phallic Shadows

Despite being one of the most studied ancient monuments in the world, Stonehenge continues to be a mystery. Because its creators left behind no written history, its true purpose and method of construction remains unknown. Naturally, that means there is no end to the speculation over the stone monument, with theories ranging from the banal to the absurd. I’m not sure where to place this latest theory. Oxford University archaeologist Terrance Meaden claims to have unlocked the mystery of why Stonehenge was built, and it essentially amounts to a carefully choreographed piece of pornography. Or, a culturally symbolic fertility ceremony, but hey, what’s the difference? Other than that one requires careful calculations of the movements of the Earth and Sun, but who’s counting?

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Maybe it was an ancient form of sex ed?

After analyzing dozens of Neolithic monuments and stone circles, Meaden says that the central purpose of these circles was to cast specific shadows on a predetermined spot at a certain time of the year upon which ceremonies would be held. As the shadows grew, they would get longer and longer until they passed over an egg-shaped stone and finally over some sort of yonic, I'm guessing likely v-shaped, stone. The interplay of light and shadow during these ceremonies would create the effect of, well, read for yourself:

My basic discovery is that many stone circles were built at a time of a fertility religion, and that stones were positioned such that at sunrise on auspicious dates of the year phallic shadows would be cast from a male-symbolic stone to a waiting female-symbolic stone.

Hey, some people just need some visual stimulation, alright? You can’t blame them for using the available media at the time. Puppets just don’t cut it. Meaden has spent his career studying Neolithic and Bronze Age European civilizations and their monuments, including stonehenge, and says that the circular designs enable these elaborate shadow plays to happen at important dates throughout the year related to fertility worship.

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"Always remember, my son: seek ye not the Stones at sundown. It turns into a real sausage party up there."

Still, the theory isn’t without its critics. University College London archaeologist Mike Parker-Pearson told The Daily Mail that the idea is “just bonkers.” Is it though? Think of what future civilizations will make of our Statue of Liberty of Eiffel Tower. How can be sure of any of our knowledge about ancient cultures when all we have to go on is our own analysis of stuff we find in the dirt? Plus, isn’t everything ultimately a phallus or fertility symbol? Above all else, propagating the species seems to be the ultimate constant in the history of the human race. Why not raise a monument to the act of human creation? Since when did it become taboo to display the means through which each one of us was brought into existence? Humans are weird - particularly in groups.

Brett Tingley

Brett Tingley is a writer and musician living in the ancient Appalachian mountains.

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