What's more pagan than a standing stone?

I say, let's raise them all over the place. Front yards, back yards, large, small, public, private, no matter. We need our standing stones. A landscape needs its standing stones. Shrines. Axes mundi. Herms. Facts on the ground.

Garland them, wreathe them, anoint them, rub them with ocher. Lay offerings at their feet. Wrap them (yes, I've seen it done) in strings of lights. Dance around them. Pray to them. Standing stones.

I once went to a festival at which the organizers had gone to a great deal of trouble to build at the entrance to the ritual circle a nine-foot trilithon gateway in canvas stretched over battens. It was indeed impressive, and I honor the love, thought, and work that went into the making of it.

 

Ain't nothing like the real thing, though. Is what we're doing something we do only in imagination? Why are we standing on a wooded ridge in Wisconsin, pretending that we're on Salisbury Plain? Are we better pagans by being where we are, or by pretending that we're somewhere else?

Foamhenge taught me something important. Impressive as it was, it seems to me that one real standing stone—even if it were only a few feet high—would have been better. And if there had been two: well, a pair of standing stones forms a natural gateway that anyone can understand. We pass between them almost instinctively. And surely everyone knows that you reach out and lightly touch one of them whenever you go in and out. (Which one? To ask the question is to know the answer.) How could you not?

What is the proper Liturgy for the Raising of a Standing Stone? We can say for certain that the ancestors had such rituals; maybe the time has come to be writing new ones.

Years back I was driving around Britain with folks from our sister coven. When we crossed into Scotland, we found that the border was marked, not with a sign—Welcome to Scotland—but by (you guessed it) a standing stone.

Now that's Pagan. With a capital P.