1. Those who run a race to get from one site or monument to the next, striking them off their checklist one by one. I call them 'Postcard People.' They seem most interested in collecting postcards or photographs as souveniers, or medals, as a way to say, "Been there, done that!"
2. Those who visit a site, monument or place and enjoy digging a little deeper, to connect to its history, purpose and meaning. I call these people 'Profound Travelers.'
Neither traveler is right or wrong. Yet, it's important to know the type of traveler you are to know whether or not the book, Spirit Stones, will be an enjoyable read for you.
Spirit Stones is a history lesson of the relics of the Neolithic Era and Bronze Age civilizations. Now, if you are a Postcard People, you may already be closing this blog post as well as the idea of purchasing the book. But, if you are a Profound Traveler, you will concur with the author's statement, "If we want to appreciate the world's megalithic monuments, we have to start with an attempt to understand and connect with the prehistoric mentality that created them."
I am a Profound Traveler. Simply photographing a megalith would not be enough. I would want to know more. Why was it built? What was its purpose? What did it mean to the people who put it there? I imagine myself back in that time. What did it feel like? Dianne Ebertt Beeaff tells us, "The megalithic builders of our ancestry were...intelligent and inquisitive...Their lives were short, insecure and filled with suffering. But they laughed and cried just as we do, and they must have found their world as full of wonder, cruelty, beauty and violence as we do ours."
I have not been fortunate enough to visit all the megaliths Beeaff writes about. Nor did I have much knowledge of them or those who built them prior to reading Spirit Stones. Like the burial tombs of Dowth, Knowth and Newgrange, massive Neolithic chambered tombs in Ireland dating back to 3200 BC. "The great tomb was the focus of a community...they were the cathedrals or parish churches of their day..." Beeaff goes on to tell more about the burial practices, giving great insight into our ancestries' lifestyles and belief systems.
One of the sayings in my house is: If we would remember our history lessons, we wouldn't repeat the same mistakes over and over again. Generally, we are refering to politics. According to Beeaff, we can also learn valuable lessons from megalighic monuments. "Their builders paired stones of different shapes, lengths and colors. They placed a squat gray granite boulder beside a lofty red sandstone monolith. They used the square and the circle to define sacred space, and they directed the light of the sun or the moon... They have a fascinating relevance to our everyday living."
Ask any good interior decorator and he/she will tell you a good design will give you balance in a room, evoke a desired feeling, and bring a sense of warmth and peace. A designer will encourage the use of hard materials mixed with softer ones, square items offset by round ones, and the use of multiple colors. The proper use of these design tactics create the perfect fusion of form and function. Beeaff draws a similar conclusion from her study of megaliths. She has examined the materials, design, colors and motif of megaliths to draw modern day lessons to apply understanding, appreciation, peace and harmony in our lives.
Spirit Stones is not a book to scan and leave on a bookshelf to collect dust. It is meant to be a part of your journey in travel. I will carry it on future travels to England, Ireland and Scotland to help me "unravel the megalithic mysteries of Western Europe's prehistoric monuments."
To learn more and receive your copy: Spirit Stones
Dianne Ebertt Beeaff has worked extensively as a freelance writer and artist. She is an avid traveler and historian, drawn to the architecture of Europe's megalithic monuments, stone circles and burial chambers, as well as their spiritual allure and contemporary significance. A history major at the University of Arizona, she graduated with high honors and has skillfully applied her expertise with historical research and analysis to her personal and professional writing.