Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Seed of Knowledge, Stone of Plenty

This book is of special interest to stone-heads of the northeast because the authors include some of our sites in their research along with sites in other parts of the world like Carnac, Giza, Tikal and Avebury. While the authors are not archaeologists, their inclusion of places like Gungywamp, Putnam County New York stone chambers and the Balanced Rock at North Salem, New York indicate the increased recognition these sites are getting.

The premise of the book is that many megalithic sites were built as electromagnetic magnifiers in order to focus energy on seeds to make them grow better. One author had worked in a lab researching the enhancement of seed viability and yield by exposing them to controlled streams of electrons and somehow it occurred to him that this could be related to the function of megalithic sites. I would like to know what brought that to mind. Maybe they'll tell us in their next book.

The authors go from site to site measuring electromagnetic energy and looking for geological magnetic anomalies. As they address each site, they give interesting and mostly relevant background for it. Often, they describe their experience at the site, allowing us to live vicariously through these people who are fortunate enough to visit so many interesting places.

I have no background in geological electromagnetic flow, and I don't know how meaningful their measurements actually are, but unsurprisingly they find electromagnetic anomalies at the places they cite. They also make a case for their theory about the seeds by tracing the history of the societies that built the constructions they visit. Tangentially, they also make a case for a scientific basis for dowsing.

It's as megalomaniacal as it is megalithic to assert that so many world stonework sites are linked by a theory that only you have thought of. However it takes a little megalomania to break new ground, and in this case the research done may be leading us in a direction in which we need to go. These people aren't the first to haul a magnetometer to a sacred site, but they are the first to publish results of such a broad survey in a popular book. I hope this will only be the beginning of a surge of interest in electromagnetism and the landscape.

As these writers point out in Chapter Three, the effects they measure can cause changes not only in seeds but also in states of consciousness. While I believe their theory about seed enhancement is important and warrants further research and corroboration by the archaeological community, I have thought for some time that a discussion of the mind-altering qualities of the landscape is long overdue. I hope this book reaches enough people to push the dialogue among those studying sacred sites in that direction.

Interviews with some indigenous people and shamans indicate that some people can detect things on the landscape that most Western people don't notice. While I don't believe that a concept as broad and varied as 'spirits' has some single explanation that can be boiled down and detected by science, I do believe there are aspects of shamanism and spirit communication that will eventually be understood by the general populace in terms of scientific concepts, and the study of the earth's magnetism in relation to human cognition will be part of that advance.

We are past the point where it's reasonable, if it ever was, to understand shamanic and other indigenous cultures as purely superstitious. Just as it has come out that many of their uses for plants stand up to scientific scrutiny and can contribute to our medicine, so eventually we will find that other aspects of their cultures once seen as foolishness or mumbo jumbo are just kinds of technology that are invisible to us because of the blinders created by our limited understandings of the world.

Our education, reading and writing, shopping and television and other technological devices have rendered us insensible to some things we are, in our native state, able to perceive. Some things we think of as mystical are actually as real as other things you need background for, like understanding what you're seeing when you look through a microscope or knowing what you're looking at when you open the hood of a car. The research in this book is the kind of thing that will bring us closer to learning more of what we are capable of as human beings.

The authors discuss Bear Butte in North Dakota, pre-Inca ruins in Peru, Olmec/Mayan ruins in Central America, Stonehenge, and the pyramids at Giza, all sites that are often included in books about Atlantis, but they make no assertions about a common master culture, which is refreshing. I enjoyed following their travels as well as their thinking as they explore these places.

Some things I found less than helpful are--a map from Salvatore Trento's In Search of Lost America was printed with no key, leaving the reader without a clue about the meaning of the markings there. Photographs showing white spots and arcs, while they may look like light balls and electromagnetic effects to them, just look like dustmotes to the average reader. Many people will be uneasy with their interpretation of the electrical sensitivity map of Stonehenge, too, where they interpret dark areas as meaning there's more natural current in the ground. They explain why, but I think it's a jump that some people will find hard to make. And the claims for the sites in Egypt come off as so wild that they require more and not less measurements made in the field.

If you read this book with the mental preconception that one or two shaky propositions render the whole thing out-to-lunch, then it won't have much to offer you. I found, however, that reading it to gain a new perspective on sites and to find a new basis for speculation and research can be fruitful. I am now convinced that sooner or later, readings of electromagnetism will be as significant and common in descriptions of sites as astronomical alignments.

This book represents a step in the broadening of our knowledge of sacred and ancient sites. It also may indicate a path to take toward claiming more of what we are as human beings.