Sunday, March 4, 2012

A Riddle in Stone

In Justine Glass's book Witchcraft the Sixth Sense is a curious photograph of a menhir from Brittany with many symbols carved in bas-relief on it.  The image is reproduced below.

Menhir image from Witchcraft the Sixth Sense
It is claimed that these images detail the three mysteries of Witchcraft. The first, shown on the right-hand side of the carving are the male mysteries.  The second, shown on the left-hand side are the female mysteries.  The third are the mysteries of the Priesthood, necromancy, the ancestors, and death-and-rebirth, shown in the center.

Robert Cochrane makes the following comments on these mysteries:
The Faith is made of three parts - of which I know two. The first part is the masculine mysteries - in which is enshrined the search for the Holy Graal - and is the basis of the Arthurian legends. This is the order of the Sun - the Clan of Tubal Cain. Under it come learning, teaching, skill, bravery, and truthfulness. In the distant past, the male clan was lead by a woman who was their priestess and chieftan. This is the origin of the legend of Robin Hood - and surprisingly enough began the Old Testament, and later, Christianity since both Jesus and Moses alike preached a version of the Masculine mysteries - Mithriasm was also a development of this - and the tradition was followed through into the middle Ages when the Plantaganet Kings were officers of the masculine aspect of the Faith (The name 'Plantaganet' means 'The Devil's Clan'). The effect of the masculine mysteries upon the world can hardly be under emphasized - since a very considerable portion of civilization owes its origin to them. To name but a few - Commerce, Lawmaking, Law- giving, Parliament, The early forms of universities and craftsmen's guilds - which lead to knowledge being contained and taught, surveying, all sciences such as metallurgy, astronomy and so on ad infinitum. The masculine mysteries were the direct creators of modern civilization as we know it now. It must also be remembered that originally the Mystery was conducted by a woman - and that she was the presiding genius behind many of the fundamental discoveries that created civilization. These mysteries are depicted as a javelin, a cockerel upon a pillar, a ladder, a flail, a twelve-rayed sun and a ladder of eight rungs and a sword or battle ax. Basically they have to do with control over three of four elements, especially that of Fire.

     The feminine Mysteries are the deeper - connected with the slow tides of creation and destruction, of the cycle of life and death. they are best expressed in the pentagram - Life/Birth, Love, Maternity, Wisdom, Death/Resurrection. They are connected with all things that grow - all creatures of flesh - fertility and sterility - the mystery of the woman who is Virgin/Mother/Hag in one person. They are in essence the cycle of life, and the universality of life - and they express themselves in deep intuition and feelings - in other world terms they control the unconscious, as the male controls the conscious. That is they are what the Jews describe as the second emanation of the Sephiroth - emotion, sensation, imagery, empathy and intuition. They are expressed in symbols as a broom, a flask, a cup, a glove, a distaff and a shift - all of which have a symbolic meaning in the Faith. The clan of Women is lead by a man, who acts as a priest, and teaches the feminine mysteries. Each one of these symbols has a value in wisdom, and I will teach you both what I know about them in forthcoming letters. Today, since there are so very few, the old system has broken down and the families teach their children both mysteries, so that the tradition will not be forgotten entirely. In the past the male and female clans were separated except for the nine Rites or 'Knots' of the Year - when they came together and worshipped Godhead. Also, a great deal of traditional rite has been lost - but it will be recovered again one day, since things and thoughts alike do not die, they only change.
The image below is a clearer photo of the menhir, and the symbols may be more easily discerned.

Menhir de St.Uzec II photo.  Click for larger image.
Starting at the lower left hand corner and working up and down, the carvings seem to be:  A broom, a distaff, an ear of grain, a goblet, a moon, a pitcher, a glove, a knife, a tablet or book, a shift, three stacked squares, three nails or keys, a girdle or braided cords, blacksmith tools, a winged fairy supporting the Goddess, a twelve-rayed sun, a cock on a pillar, a skull, a flail, crossed bones, a ladder, a spear, a walking staff, and a bell.  These are not necessarily the same symbols as Cochrane presents in his letter, nor to Justine Glass.  We will explore each of these tools in the future.

Special thanks to our reader Scylla for a source for a clear image of the menhir.


  1. You may find the following photos interesting:

    They show the carvings a bit more clearly.

  2. Scylla, These are wonderful! I will rework this post around the better photos as soon as I can.

  3. I find the Uzec menhir so attractive, a map of the tools of magic or symbols of some of the village or domestic folk magic of old? Who knows! Great article!

  4. is that a shift or an awen? there's a watermark over the image, so it's hard to tell.


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