Druidical Temples

That the Druids of Britain celebrated the Mysteries in some form, and had secret symbols and signs known only to those who were initiated into the higher priestly orders, is admitted by all investigators. Nor is there any doubt that the Druidical Mysteries were derived from the Phoenician and Tyrian navigators, who visited that country for tin, and who established colonies there. The principle temple of the Druids was what is now called Stonehenge, much of which remains to this day. These ancient remains, it is conceded, were erected by those who worshipped the sun, either actually or symbolically, and the peculiar arrangement of the stones strongly confirms the views we have expressed as to the secret solar significance of the "northeast corner" and "the pillars of the porch." Mr. M. D. Conway, in his "South-Coast Saunterings in England" (and who visited the place), informs us that, some two hundred yards from the entrance of the temple at Stonehenge, there is set up a pillar sixteen feet high. This stone pillar he also says, is not only set exactly at that point toward the northeast where the sun rises at the summer solstice exactly over its top, but has also been set in a place where the ground has been scooped out, so as to bring its top, as seen from the altar, precisely against the horizon. Every year people go out on the 21st day of June to see the sun rise above this stone, and that it does so, with absolute exactness, admits now of now question.

At the druidical temple at Abury there is a stone pillar in the same astronomical position. These pillars are, it is true, of rough stone, but, had the builders of these Druidical temples possessed the same wonderful skill in architecture as the Tyri ans and Egyptians, from whom their religious ideas are derived, no doubt more elegant if not finely sculptured columns or obelisks would have been erected; nor is it at all strange that the temples built by the rude inhabitants of Britain should be inferior to those of Tyre and Thebes, although erected upon the same astronomical principles for the same symbolical solar worship, since it was far easier to adopt the religious rites and ceremonies of the Phoenicians than to rival their skill in art, or to obtain the services of their architects or artists. It may also be presumed that the Phoenicians themselves, who colonized there in the interests of trade, were more skilled in working the tin-mines, or in commercial pursuits, than in temple building and architecture.

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