Dear Hiker In Woods- Stop Making Rock Piles Next To Older Rock Pile Sites
The other month I noticed in the woods, in Holliston MA., on the trails off of Adams St. that somebody has made a new rock pile cairn right next to a wooden trail post not too far in the woods from Adams St.
Now, hikers have been known to do this, such as on mountain trails. However the problem here is that there are older, pre-colonial cairns of Native origin off to the sides of this trail- one of the nicer cairn fields in those woods. Also, this person took stones from the pre-existing cairns to make their modern pile. Since I am known to be in this area I wanted to go on record and say that I do not condone this- never would I knowingly sacrilege a pre-existing site. These sites are to be left alone AS IS. Every rock and every stone structure that was placed by Native people has a deep, multi-layered spiritual meaning. This person took all the stones off of a small cairn nearby and obviously used those rocks for their modern trail marker cairn. I also noticed some rocks missing from some larger ground piles/ stone mound shapes. I also noticed a stone-slab shaped rock randomly heaped into the pile.... now the original context of this stone, wherever it came from nearby, has been lost to us.
If I ever ran into this person in the woods I would at least educate them why they should not do this. Again, I wanted to go on record and say that I do not condone this. Perhaps this person is not aware of the significance of older Native rock cairns and does not realize what they are doing.
However, I will say, without getting into much detail, that there is such a thing as the right time and right place to make a stone pile/ effigies, etc. But one must be very tuned in to know what they are doing, and extra-sensitive where to build. The trail marker pile off of Adams St. that somebody made is modern slop, it is not a stone structure of any kind. Yes, many Native cairns are structural in design. We are looking at the ruins/ remains of structured rock piles/ enclosures/ walls, alignments, etc. here. So again, as to not go into too much detail- if one has the urge to build stone structures- do not build modern slop and do not build with stone taken from older sites, and do not build within an older site the way this person off of Adams St. has done- all the stone structures and cairns there already have a homogenous and special meaning and placement for being there, you are simply vandalizing the site. If you make anything, at least do so in a fresh place where you are not disturbing anything... see what you can do with blocks and stones left over from a quarrying site, for instance (clean-up on the side of a ledge/hill that has already been de-faced) if it happens to strike you as a power place. If you use any sacred stones, such as a standing stone for instance, only do so as a reverent act of preservation; for instance perhaps such a stone may have been moved from another nearby place in danger from development. Etc. That would be my advice to somebody.
In other words, this person needs to quit playing around. If you really want to make rock piles such as the trail marker pile in the woods off Adams St. Holliston, do not EVER disturb an older site the way you did (no clue if you are reading this, or who you even are at the moment.) Go do it on the side of the trail of a popularly hiked mountain. However, I will say that I have noticed some very beautiful fresh rock piles along several lakes and bodies of water recently. The person or people making these piles, for whatever reasons, are doing it right- their piles are intrinsically beautiful and enhancing to the natural surroundings and they are not disturbing anything older in doing so. Again, there is right place/ right time and the wrong place/ wrong time. I know in the end I cannot say anything for or against something, each person must decide, but I can nab you by the ear and explain some reasons why it is not good to make modern piles in certain places for instance, such as disturbing older sites knowingly or unknowingly (even if the impact is "miniscule.").
Also, in my experience, as I have understood things, every stone must be looked at, handled, and placed in a sacred way as to express a certain meaning, shape, or flow within the greater unit. This way, you are interacting with the stones, and therefore are interacting with the Earth herself- doing so should also stimulate your neurons and sense of time, perception of space, etc. This is one reason for pre-colonial serpent walls for instance- the builders were literally expressing their interaction with the electro-magnetic phenomenon, or current waves which could be explained as "the rainbow serpent" in some cultures or "the great horned serpent" to be more exact. That's all I will say for now because I have already digressed.
Have a good one and thank you for reading this.