There has been no shortage of research on my quest pointing in the direction of the mysterious Stonehenge, in Wiltshire in the UK. It will certainly find a good place in any novel. Before coming to England, I knew from meditations that I needed to spend time on Salisbury Plain, without realising it was home to Stonehenge, Avebury, and a whole web of neolithic masterpieces. And there have been no shortage of programs about Stonehenge on TV while I have been here in the UK. So needless to say it has my attention.
The reason it fascinates me, is that with every fact they uncover, we learn more about what we don't know of the past, facts that can enlighten the choices we make as a modern day humanity, taking lessons from the ancients. Those lessons may at first seem distant, but as I am finding out for myself there is much to be gleaned, especially as I look more in to the link with Rosslyn Chapel, whose founders were believed to have heavily influenced the founding fathers of North America.
Trips to Stonehenge can be planned from any of the major cities in the south of England. There are tour buses of varying costs, and it is worth checking online to find the one that best suits your budget. You can go on a trip to Stonehenge by itself, or you can team it up with a trip to Glastonbury. Nicole and I chose to make a trip from London, visiting only Stonehenge, a round trip of 4 hours with an hour long stay at the Henge itself.
It would seem that vast numbers of tourists go there, only to be disappointed by what little seems to be there, and the chance of touching the stones, only coming at a much higher cost. Thankfully, this was not my experience. If not for the waiting tour bus, I would quite happily have stayed there a few more hours.
There are no shortage of stories of the building of this location, with theories ranging from scientifically validated, to psychic insight and speculation. All have their place, it would seem, in being able to piece together the history of this place, though of course many want actual proof. Hopefully I will provide pointers for your own journey. As I mentioned in a previous post, scientists are quick to dispel the psychic insights as nutty, and those coming at it from a psychic perspective sometimes don't even give the archaeological studies a glance. I enjoy digesting each of them to see where they concur and where they differ, where they are incomplete, and remain enthused by the possibilities of what might be discovered in the years to come.
The chief archaeologist working at the site, Michael Parker Pearson, has spent a good number of years studying this place, and him and his team of diggers have dug up some very interesting facts. Just the other day there was a BBC documentary which explored his belief that Stonehenge was actually built upon time after time, by different groups of people. He states that the site remained very important to many groups, from at least 3000 BC to around 1000 BC, possibly even later. On the ride home from Stonehenge, I fell asleep, and had a very vivid dream where I was being shown what appeared to be pizza boxes stacked upon one another, saying the word "Location" on the side of each of them. This to me was confirmed when I saw this show. The location was very important to the ancients, and the building of the site was very much done with the position of the rising and setting sun on the equinoxes of the year. If I find this documentary anywhere online I will be sure to add it to this blog when I do.
What was very interesting, and again timely in its airing, was the BBC documentary which covers the story of some temples and stone circles, recently discovered on Orkney, north of Scotland. What makes it even more interesting to my whole journey was that Sinclair, the builder of Rosslyn Chapel, was the Earl of Orkney. Could there have been a link with knowledge from Orkney's past, that guided Sinclair to Rosslyn? There are some tenuous links at this time, but very much worth pursuing and I am grateful to anyone who can give me more. The research is suggesting the builders of the Orkney temples could very well have influenced the building of Stonehenge, even trekked down from from Orkney to go and build it. And, from the research of Pearson, they actually came from all over the British Isles to build Stonehenge.
The late Phillip Coppens wrote an interesting article on his website that puts forward the proposal that the layout of Stonehenge and Avebury are related to Plato's musings about Atlantis, which many people still write off as myth. There could be more to it than history has presently determined, and I for one remain open to that possibility. Having been enraptured by the stones themselves, I am of the belief that there was something far more magical to this place which can only be seen when believed.
Of course, the aspect that is most fascinating to many, is how the henge was put together in the first place. Some of the stones were brought from locations up to 200 miles away, an astonishing feat at that time, based upon the technologies that were apparently available to Neolithic man at that time. Michael Parker Pearson has an explanation that he has pained over for a number of years, and presents quite confidently, in the documentary movie Stonehenge Decoded. It all involved pivots and fulcrums, and yet many who have an understanding of such mechanisms still find challenge with the amount of work that it would have taken to move those stones, as depicted in the Decoded documentary. The builders made very specific choices of stones, something I look forward to reading more about.
I then started to look in to what people are calling the ancient alien question. Were there ancient technologies that could have been used to lift the stones in to place? There are those who have explored potential methods, based upon acoustic and antigravity experiments taking place now. And what they suggest is that maybe these amazing technologies we have been discovering this century, are ones that are actually being rediscovered. This of course is the part where many skeptics will want to launch criticism, and it won't be anything that I have not read elsewhere. But archaeologists have not come to a common consent, and it makes the technology theories quite exciting for many. The ancient Vedas of India speak of technologies of old that seemed very similar to technologies of today. No such texts have been found in Scotland or Orkney but that does not mean that it was not possible. The Vedas also say that we go through cycles of time, unlike western reasoning which sees us moving only forward in time, and so to them it is perfectly understandable that we come upon knowledge that was once widespread. To it's credit, modern quantum physics is beginning to discover so much more about the non-linearity of time. It is all quite fascinating!
Maybe at this time I am sitting on the fence a little, because I am new to this investigation. But I believe that I am making connections between different sites that I have visited, that I have not read about in other books at this time, and will continue to listen to my intuition. I am not saying the connections have not been made elsewhere and so I look forward to ongoing research and findings, and will share more resources as this quest continues.
"Look through the window" I said to Nicole "We should see Venice in a few seconds, after we get past the cloud cover."
I was wrong. Before I saw anything of Venice, I felt the sudden impact of the wheels of our jet on the concrete of the runway. Out of the window, it was a strain to see more than ten yards either way. venice was blanketed in fog.
"What did you expect, this is not a beauty contest" came the voice of the German pilot. Not surprisingly a round of applause reverberated around the cabin as relieved passengers deboarded after a turbulent descent and bumpy landing.
Venice had not been one of the expected destinations on this trip to Europe. The strongest pulls have been towards the South of France, Cathar country, and an area which appeared to bare witness to some of my ancestral roots. It was Nicole's idea, and I am glad that she suggested it, for unexpected links to my Rosslyn leads would follow us here. Thankfully I am blessed to have family living in the city, who were exceptionally kind. Not only that, but they are connected to the world of publishing, something I am very much appreciative of at this time.
I can write much about this trip to Venice, the locations that stood out, the experiences of eating and wandering through the famous churches, the costumes adorned by keen Carnivale attendees, or the fog that enveloped the city for most of our stay. But I am going to only briefly mention some of the highlights that travellers would want to know about this place, as I have another purpose behind this blog. I definitely recommend picking up a guidebook to Venice. It was very helpful in making sure that we avoided the lavish looking, but hopelessly flawed, food outlets that promised high, but delivered pre-packaged goods. For the authentic experience, it is definitely worth consulting the book, or a local with a knowledge of fine eating. Thankfully our host helped write the guidebook so we were set!
The architecture is exquisite to say the least, and abound in medieval as well as modern art ( graffiti primarily ), and all else that comes with houses that have an ocean for a doorstep. Seeing the Palazzo San Marco, the Doge's Palace, the Basilica San Marco, the Rialto, the Arsenale, and other sites I had only ever seen on postcards, truly inspired me. I would be lying if I said that I did not get lost at various points throughout the trip, because what is marked as a main road on many maps, is actually more of a back alley leading to another famous back alley. But there is no better place to get lost.
Street vendors are everywhere, with lots of gimmicks to sell. The venetian masks that are in high fashion are blasted across the stands on the waterfront, wherever you go. We were enlightened on the whole matter of mask making, by one who made the real deal. He was able to help us identify the cheaply made plastic ones, and showed us what to look for in an authentic one. Due to luggage space we wouldn't have been taking one back with us, but they are definitely quite remarkable to see being made.
For a photographic highlight of the traditional sites of interest, may I recommend you check out the photo album dedicated to Venice, over on my facebook page.
For me and my personal grail quest though, a highlight was when I asked my host to translate a plaque that I knew existed somewhere within the city. All I knew was that it was a plaque dedicated to the Zeno brothers, Nicolo and Antonio, two gentlemen from 14th century Venice, who may or may not have made a trip with Henry Sinclair, of Rosslyn Chapel fame, to the Americas, a century before Columbus.
He translated the plaque which read:
"To Nicolo and Antonio Zen, wise and courageous navigators to the seas in the fourteenth century"
My host kindly translated it for me and then followed up with a question.
"What makes you ask about this?"
"The Zeno brothers are apparently tied in to the history of Rosslyn Chapel in Scotland" I replied "Nicole and I were there a few weeks ago and I thought while I am here I would check in to them a little bit. There are few books about the two and so I wondered what Venice might know about them ."
"The reason I ask is because a friend of mine just wrote a book about these brothers last year."
Well that was a helpful, synchronistic and much welcomed piece of information. Now, how would I find such a book in English, in a city where they speak mainly Italian ( well Venetian actually, something which I learned is quite different to the language of the rest of Italy ). The next day would answer my question. We walked in to a rather fun looking bookstore just beyond Pallazzo San Marco, with a Gondola full of books situated in the centre of the aisle, and an interesting gentleman talking away quite happily to himself. I was about to resign to the fact that the book would not be here, and was walking out, when out of the corner of my eye I noticed it lying by some other Italian titles, "The Venetian Navigators" by Andrea Di Robilant, in English. And, as luck would have it, they had mispriced it and so I was able to buy it at half the price, which they realised prior to the sale, but continued anyway. This book wanted me and I wanted it.
As I flew out of Venice on the Saturday morning, I was engrossed in the reading of this book, about avid young explorers, setting sail from Venice to discoveries in far off lands, similar to what I myself was in the process of doing. The author followed in the footsteps of the Zenos, looking for the landmarks featured in the narrative, that would collaborate with locations on a twenty first century map. His travels took him to Iceland, Greenland, Finland, and other realms within Scandinavia. Some fascinating places, but at the same time bleak, and I could only feel grateful that Di Robilant had taken this quest on for himself. He did not travel the full length of the journey indicated by some of the additional narratives, for they were not on the map, but they did make mention of the Mayans. Very interesting! Rosslyn is quite possibly a temple to Venus, and the Mayans placed great value on Venus. In Rosslyn Chapel, built a hundred years after the journey, by Sinclairs grandson, William, there are a number of carvings of Maize and Aloe. These are plants that would not have been known to Scandinavians at this time, and it is what a number of researchers consider to be evidence that Sinclair made it to the Americas ahead of Columbus. The plot thickens!
He seemed pretty certain that, though the work was discovered and translated by a slightly inept ancestor more than 100 years later, that it contained a lot of places that would not have been mentioned by previous European explorers. As an Italian himself, he had not known anything of the two explorers, prior to an American stopping him in the street and asking him about the Zeno plaque. It seems Venice has misplaced these two adventurers somewhere in the history books. With other award winning history books behind him, Di Robilant's interpretation of the original maps and work of the ancestor ( who he calls Niccolo the Younger ) is well worth a read if you are intrigued by the whole Rosslyn Connection.
What I loved was, in fully trusting my girlfriends pull to go to Venice, I was able to uncover greater awareness of the connection between Venice and the voyage of the Sinclairs. It at least broadened the range of questions I asked myself, and it gave me more possible insights to check in with via my internal truth monitor and research by others. I may have been able to find this out without going to Venice, but I would not have been able to make it to some of the other amazing places that have captivated my attention since I first watched "Indiana Jones And The last Crusade" when I was but a wee lad. In fact here is a video of me sharing my own little magical moment upon finding the locale in which one of the famous shots was filmed. And coincidentally it ties in with another Grail Quest adventure related to Leonardo ( I need not say his last name for I am sure you will know who I mean ).
"I tried to find Him on the Christian cross, but He
was not there; I went to the Temple of the
Hindus and to the old pagodas, but I could not
find a trace of Him anywhere.
I searched on the mountains and in the valleys
but neither in the heights nor in the depths was I
able to find Him. I went to the Ka'bah in Mecca,
but He was not there either.
I questioned the scholars and philosophers but
He was beyond their understanding.
I then looked into my heart and it was there
where He dwelled that I saw Him; He was
nowhere else to be found."