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The Seax of Beagnoth, an Enchanted Blade

By Pollyanna Jones

In 1857, Henry J. Briggs, was milling about on the banks of the Thames at Battersea in London, when he found something lying in the mud. A labourer by trade, he pulled the metal item out of the sticky brown river sediment and wiped it clean. He realised that it was a . . . → Read More: The Seax of Beagnoth, an Enchanted Blade

Aquae Sulis

The Epitome of Roman Syncretization with the Celts

By Ryan Stone

The Roman bath system was one of the most intricate and complex of the ancient world. Composed of various rooms for mental and physical cleansing, the Roman baths were more than a source of hygiene; they were an important source of culture as well. . . . → Read More: Aquae Sulis

The Sacred Omphalos Stone

Navel of the World and Communicator of the Gods

By Dhwty

An omphalos is a powerful symbolic artifact made from stone. Considered the ‘navel of the world’, the central point from which terrestrial life originated, an omphalos was an object of Hellenic religious symbolism believed to allow direct communication with the gods. In Greek mythology, . . . → Read More: The Sacred Omphalos Stone

A Church with a Hole in its Heart

An excerpt from One Nation Under Gods: A New American History, by Peter Manseau

In the dry red soil of Chimayo, New Mexico, there is a hole in the ground that some call holy. They intend no pun, no play on words. The hole is a serious matter; the locals who tend to it would . . . → Read More: A Church with a Hole in its Heart

Athena Parthenos by Pheidias

By Mark Cartwright

The magnificent temple on the Acropolis of Athens, known as the Parthenon, was built between 447 and 432 BCE in the Golden Age of Pericles, and it was dedicated to the city’s patron deity Athena. The temple was constructed to house the new gold and ivory cult statue of the goddess by . . . → Read More: Athena Parthenos by Pheidias

The Mithraic Mysteries and the Underground Chamber of San Clemente

By Ḏḥwty

Prior to the adoption of Christianity as its official religion at the end of the 3rd century A.D., the Roman Empire’s religious policy was one of tolerance. Along with the official Roman religion, other religions were allowed to be practised. Moreover, some of the deities and religious practices of the people conquered by . . . → Read More: The Mithraic Mysteries and the Underground Chamber of San Clemente

Externsteine: Germany’s Sacred Stone Formation

By Carolyn Emerick

What is Externsteine?

Externsteine is an unusual sandstone rock formation near Ostwestfalen-Lippe in the northwest of Germany. It is unique among other monolithic sites in Europe because it is a natural formation that has been altered by human hands. Whereas Stonehenge was built by people, Externsteine was built by Nature and then . . . → Read More: Externsteine: Germany’s Sacred Stone Formation

Newgrange: A Neolithic Passage Tomb in Ireland

By Carolyn Emerick

What is a passage tomb?

There are many examples of different types of megalithic monuments from the Neolithic period. Chamber tombs are one type of Neolithic structure, and passage tombs are a sub-category of chamber tombs.

A chamber tomb simply means that the megaliths were arranged to form a chamber within. Dolmens . . . → Read More: Newgrange: A Neolithic Passage Tomb in Ireland

Shiva Lingam Stones

By Patti Wigington

The Shiva Lingam is a stone that is found in many aspects of Hindu belief and folklore. A symbol of the god Shiva, the stone itself is sometimes simply called the Lingam or Linga. It’s shaped a bit like an elongated egg, and has a good deal of phallic symbolism attached to . . . → Read More: Shiva Lingam Stones

Four Places to Worship Isis That Aren’t In Egypt

By Sarah Laskow

Decades ago, Egyptian president Gamal Abdel-Nasser gave Nubian temples to four countries who helped preserve monuments from that era. It’s rumored that at least one of them—the temple installed at a museum in Leiden, in the Netherlands—is regularly rented out for Isis worshipping parties:

According to my Dutch friend, Nico Overmars (Leiden-based . . . → Read More: Four Places to Worship Isis That Aren’t In Egypt