I have recently been contributing to a site that concerns itself with the continuing enigma that is Stonehenge, when I had what may be best described as somewhat of an insight. Whether this turns out to be anything other than fanciful is up for discussion, but the hypothesis that has formed in my imagination is now presented. Whilst I am not claiming any sort of divine intervention here, I am interested if anyone could afford me reasons as to why such a thing may not be valid as a potential perspective with which to view this monument.
The Eye of Stonehenge.
The following is an initial attempt to build upon a moment of either a) imagination b) inspiration or c) delusion. Recent studying and conjecture into the subject of the possible motivations behind both the construction and use of Stonehenge, led me to consider the layout of the site.
The layout shows various circles which either are or have been at some time, present on the site at some time in history. Circular constructions in prehistory are evidenced in numerous locations. What makes Stonehenge somewhat different is the scale of construction along with the method of construction and the individualistic design which has not been evidenced elsewhere.
The style of construction, demonstrating the joining of stone in a manner more usually seen in wooden structures, suggests that stability in the structure was of paramount importance to the builders. It would be reasonable to assume, therefore, that the scale of construction was representative of the ambitions of the builders / designer (s).
What would therefore, be a possible motivation behind the construction of such a thing? Well, large scale constructions in prehistory usually have the common denominator of a spiritual aspect. This could be in the form of either deity(ies) or ancestor reverence, but the construction of such a structure may signify a major shift in the nature of interactions experienced by the population responsible for that same construction.
The physical area in which Stonehenge is situated is famous for the number of surviving structures and landscapes from prehistory. What is problematic is the time scale that these structures may have actually have been in use. Because of this, I am going to concentrate on Stonehenge and the avenue which appears to serve it.
Referring back to that layout, the detail appears to be very fine (speaking as a non-archaeologist) with exact representations of each stone (present and not at this time) and their relationships to the site as a whole. However, it occurred to me, that much like someone studying the fine pixels on a large screen TV, it is possible to pay too much attention to detail, thus running the risk of missing the bigger or whole picture.
So I decided, either sub-consciously or from just plain laziness, to consider the general layout without the fine detail. For a while now, there was something about the general layout that was suggestive of some form of physicality but, for whatever reason, I couldn’t place. Then it struck me. Using the avenue in context with Stonehenge, as opposed to being in isolation from Stonehenge, there was a passing resemblance to an eye.
Concentric circles were suggestive of the iris and pupil of an eye and the avenue may be representative of the optical nerve. So, I will endeavour to present some, as yet, completely unfounded speculation as to what I consider to be advantageous co-incidents or possible symbolic circumstantial evidence in support of this.
First, the outer mounds. These could speculatively be considered to be representative of the eyeball, in that it forms the structure that encases the eye. Whether this was true for the original reason for their construction, I somehow doubt, as there are other mounds evidenced elsewhere. However, I would consider it entirely possible to assume that there may have been some local speculation as to any or all activity experienced in their locality. Areas in later history were well documented as to their “other world” connections and bearing in mind the likely common supernatural contexts the local populations may have had, it would appear to me that the area must have had some reputation (warranted or not) as to it’s power.
Therefore, the circular nature of these barrows may have spoken to them of the power of circles.
We then may wish to consider what other observable phenomenons would have taken the form of a circle. One obvious answer would have been the moon. We know now that the surface of the moon is cratered through the impacts of meteorites throughout its history. However, to the eyes of the earlier generations, and using the idea of symbolic representation, is it possible that these may have been viewed as the empty eye sockets in the land of the dead? No doubt, various skulls would have been present in the landscape and the prominence of the eye sockets and their raised position would not have escaped them. The sense of sight would have played a major part in the activities of living (much like today’s visually driven media, the visually striking makes more of an impression than most of the other senses).
If it is possible that these populations may have viewed the moon as a possible home for either or both deities or ancestors, then one may assume that there would have been concerns for the recent ancestors (the recently deceased) and their trip to the other world (as evidenced, for example, by Egyptian beliefs), that is to say, it may have been thought to be advantageous to that population if their ancestors could commune correctly into the afterlife so as, for example, to be in a honoured position amongst the earlier ancestors / deities.
How would one achieve this aim. Well, to put it bluntly, show them the way. And to do this, create an eye with which to view the objective. The biology of the eye, both human and animal, would have been common knowledge, one would assume, due to the practical nature of food production and human conflict. So, symbolic representation in the form of a structure to provide a better means of delivery of the recent ancestors, may have been viewed as both advantageous and desirable.
We speculatively have the main structure, the eyeball, encapsulated by the mounds, next we need an iris. Well, following our speculative journey, I would venture to suggest that the uprights and lintels, due to both their circular construction and their flat nature, viewed from above, could be viewed as a grey iris. The colouring may actually be suggestive of a lunar connection, mimicking the surface colouration of the moon.
Finally, we need to consider the pupil. We know the pupil is black, therefore, we may consider a dark centre to be representative of such a thing. Our grey iris may well encapsulate a dark pupil. Further more, study of the pupil reveals that it is peaked at it’s centre, that is to say, viewed in situ, the pupil protrudes furthest from the skull. So, the trilithons, with their raised perspectives, may give both height and focus to our prospective eye.
Speculatively, we have our eye structure, now to its input, the avenue. I would assume it did not go unnoticed that removal of an eye sometimes results in the optic nerve also coming away with the eye. I cannot conceive that they would not have realized, symbolically if not practically, that this appendage must carry some information from the eye. If their world view had it that images originated in the head, then they may have conceivably assumed that this nerve sent images into the eye (this is a difficult concept for us in our modern context, because we know the reality, but we are talking of the symbolic nature of earlier generations and it is evidenced that decapitation was used as a means of preventing entry into the afterlife for enemies, so the head, thought to be the seat of the individual, may have been considered to create reality as opposed to just processing it).
Finally, if their world view had it that the nerve supplied information, then one would assume that they would have thought light (possibly in the form of fire from the sun) and fluid (evidenced by the fluid leaking from the optical nerve when removing any eye) were the key prerequisites for information being transmitted. So using modern symbolic thoughts, one could imagine the procession of flames held by people and possibly the transportation of water from the Avon down the avenue, providing all the conditions for the eye to operate correctly. This may have represented the early part of any ritualistic depositing of the recently deceased, focussing and setting the eye so that those same deceased could be aligned with the eye, upon their entering of their place of departure.
The evidence of the central pillars, representing a horse-shoe shape has taken my interest with regards to this hypothesis that Stonehenge may represent the structure of an eye. One possible example of a similar shape that relates directly to the eye is this, specifically the most recent example of the missing child Madeline McCann. If one was to look at the eye, I would suggest that the dark patch may have been interpreted as a path through the eye into the head. Using the analogy that they may have considered the head to project reality, in other words, the head is the seat of reality and not the recipient of reality, and also taking into consideration the documented recently prescribed behavioural problems associated with this condition, then is it possible that the trilathons shape would be a physical recreation of this condition, recreated to allow access into the eyes (and therefore, the perceived reality) of the Gods? Of course this gives us a second interpretation into the nature of this interaction, possibly resulting in a more focussed or perceived intense ritual with which to interact with divinity. The route of the participating individuals would be one that travels down the avenue (the optic nerve) with the important dignitaries or designated priests entering the physical eye through this evidenced physical path into the reality of the realm of the Gods.