Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Anima Mundi

Silbury has been in the news lately mainly for the reason of the work that is being conducted in repairing and filling the tunnels that have been dug out by various antiquarians and archaeologists. Being a short term news story, the journalists have had a great source of drama and sensation... plus because Silbury draws so much attention to its mysterious reason for being built, speculation runs riot..
So why title this piece anima mundi, maybe because one of the theories is that it would have been erected to house the souls of the dead. Now animus mundi comes from a saying of Plato...

The soul of the world, a pure ethereal spirit which was proclaimed by some ancient philosophers to be diffused throughout all nature.

This lovely conceit would sit on Silbury's shoulders well, though some would argue that Plato and souls came after she was built. But the idea of Silbury housing the souls of the dead through the medium of sarsen stones is intriguing, whether it is true or not remains in the minds of the people who built her. But to be the soul of the world, a captured essence reminds one of Pandora's Box waiting to leash its chaos. Silbury on the other hand blends in the natural world easily having water at her feet, and if you were to look at Tibetan myths, Silbury as a mountain would be the male god and the water that curves round its base would be female...

Tomorrow is All Saints Day, but the day after is All Souls Day, Hallowmass, it is the day when the spirit world is able to cross the thin veil between life and death. This pagan festival is celebrated through Samhain, a celtic festival, and will be interpreted all over the world in different forms. People will go to worship their ancestors, food will be taken to cemeteries, sweets will be shaped into skulls and bones, and people will acknowledge the dead.

Around Silbury activities will also take place, little ceremonies, candles and dressing up, todays pagans trying to capture the essence of the past, hopefully the souls of the dead that lurk inside this great mound will not join in the ceremonies for they will have known a more fearful past...

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