Spirit- Of-the-Creator Stone & Stone Shapes
Up in the Grand View/ Great Rock Place, Magomiskook (a series of hills and high ledges that span miles, in and around modern day Milford MA.) I noticed a large shaped-out stone (one of many), the type of stone that Mavor and Dix featured in their book Manitou on pages 61 and 73, which they described as "Spirit-of-the-Creator stones" and "god stones." These are shaped out stones of various sizes (small to large) that are basically in the shape of a "bottle neck". There are many thousands of these stones, if not millions through-out the Northeast country and no two are identical but the basic shapes are the same. This is just one example of a type of a shaped-out stone. There are many other types of shaped out stones as well, seen in cairns, rock piles, monolithic standing stones, etc.
Here is one type of Spirit-of-the-Creator Stone that was noticed in the Magomiskwak hills. Notice how it has been shaped out from stone tools (split from stone anvil or hammer-stone, etc.) These stones are also known as Algonquian image stones, sort of a head-and-shoulders bottle-neck shape, which was the shape of a very spiritual expression:
Nearby was this second shaped-out rock, larger and more broad, which looked like a collapsed Standing Stone with a nice tip at the top. As a matter of fact it looks very much like a broader (i.e. wider) version of another standing stone I noticed in this area that was featured a little while ago in a previous post:
Another thought about stone shapes: there were many, many kinds of stone shapes that were worked-out and used. It is hard to wrap one's mind around the many millions of shaped-out stones that are found throughout the landscape. Take just one kind of stone structure for example- cairns, or rock piles. Every stone in a cairn or stone mound was specially placed there and more likely than not, every stone was either shaped out (split, rounded, etc.) or used because of a natural anomaly associated with the stone- and all of these stone shapes had meanings behind them, even the way they were placed and arranged onto the cairn. The different shaped stones of a cairn could relate to perceived universal/ localized energies as experienced by the ancestors of native people (a practice which would be associated with "animism"). For instance, when looking at a cairn it is obvious the stones are special, but the "why" of it is sometimes elusive. For more on this topic you may want to pick up a copy of Vine Deloria Jr.'s book "The World We Used to Live In."
Stones can tell a story if we learn how to interpret them- a stone cairn in the shape of a turtle could tell us something about the person who created the structure, or it could convey a message about the area, or even a mythology. A cairn with a fish motif could serve as an offering altar from before or after a fishing excursion, or even just a manifested thought/ action to ensure a good catch by making a fish effigy (this is the same kind of thinking I used when I hiked up Mt. Nobscot the day before I ran the Boston Marathon in 2009, so I could see the Boston Skyline and project myself to the finish line- and the run the next day was a success, I ran all 26.2 miles). Likewise, a cairn with a head-and torso of a man looking up towards the sky could be a petro-form/stone hieroglyph indicating a good spot for solar observation - There is a bigger picture at work here, we simply need to tune in with an open heart, and listen.
Stay tuned for the next post. We will be looking at an old turtle cairn, which in this case is a petro-form on top of a boulder. Before this, however, we will hear from an elder.