Some of the keywords are of recent coinage and others are of ambiguous meaning. In discussing the subject, it has become apparent that the use of words like "ley lines" can brand one as a nut in some archaeological circles, whereas in others, the speaker may merely be asked whether he or she is referring to "alignments" or to "some form of feng shui." With this terminology problem in mind, i am appending a list of meanings i have assigned to a few of the more ambiguous keywords.
A FEW WORDS ABOUT THE KEYWORDS
Also known as "latent geometry," this is the study of how organic and mineral growth develops along geometric lines. The classic case is that of the golden section, which governs the whorls of the nautilus shell and the sunflower seed head.
Includes freehand, regularly-wound, and logarithmic spirals, the latter typically derived from "whirling rectangle" geometry. Does not include labyrinths.
Natural sacred sites:
Mountains, springs, rivers, caves, and other natural landscape features considered sacred by indigenous people, whether or not these features have any human-built structure associated with them. Some sites are said to have been the abodes of divinities; others played a role in the enactment of sacred rites. Examples include Mount Moriah, Mount Shasta, the cave at Delphi, Swallowhead Spring (the source of the River Cunnt), the Ganges River, and -- if George T. Meaden is correct -- the neolithic cursus earthworks of Britain, which mark the paths of ancient tornados.
Houses of worship:
Any human-built structure, roofed or open, in which sacred rites are or were enacted. Includes temples, churches, synagogues, mosques, kivas, bora rings, megalithic circles, wayside shrines, and archaeological sites which contain altars.
Sites where dead human bodies are placed. Includes cairns, barrows, passage graves, cyst graves, cemeteries, ossuaries, catacombs, graveyards, and open-air sites where bodies are cremated, air-dried, or left for carrion birds.
Small structures built according to local styles or individual taste without reference to the formal "grammar" of trained architects. Can include homes, small business buildings, houses of worship, funerary-cemetery-burial sites, roadside attractions, and novelty architecture. Examples include thatched cottages in Cornwall, the Winchester Mystery House, replicas of Stonehenge in North America, the Watts Towers, wayside shrines in India, Rock City, the Coral Castle, and my farmhouse in Forestville, California.
Large prehistoric, ancient, medieval, and modern walk-through sites like Stonehenge, Machu Picchu, Ankor Wat, and the Georgia Guidestones are keyworded under "archaeoastronomical observatories." See also astro-calendrical devices.
Small stationary and portable devices such as sundials, obelisks, the window-date-marker in Notre Dame de Chartres cathedral, and the Chaco Canyon sun dagger are keyworded under "astro-calendrical devices." See also archaeoastronomical observatories.
Included are both small representations of labyrinths as found on petroglyphs, potsherds, and coins, and walk-through labyrinths (Troytowns or mazes) constructed of stone, earth, tilework, hedging, or other materials. Not to be confused with spirals.
Modification of the natural landscape to enhance its use for symbolic, allegorical, religious, astronomical observation, or didactic purposes.
The term was coined by Alfred Watkins in the 1920s to describe alignments of ancient structures, paths, and natural sacred sites in England. Watkins believed these "straight tracks" to have been used by ancient traders. Since his death in 1935, others have theorized that leys were built for ritual or funerary purposes. Some leys have been found to demonstrate definite astronomical alignments. Currently the word "alignments" is preferred by archaeoastronomers to desribe these lines, probably because since the 1960s, the term "ley lines" has come to be associated with belief in dowsing, geomantic lines of force, the Chinese occult system of feng shui, and other supernatural phenomena. As used here, the term "ley lines" covers both works by authors like Watkins, who merely catalogued observable alignments, and those by authors like Paul Devereux, who contend that such alignments manifest a metaphysical component.
A Chinese occult system of belief in geomantic lines of force that govern good and bad fortune. Attempts to modify these lines of force can result in symbolic landscaping on a vast scale. Geomancy is often equated with the belief in ley lines, but feng shui actually differs from the Western tradition in that it has nothing to do with archaeoastronomical alignments.
The study of measurement. Included under this heading are works by academic historians who have outlined the recorded development of known systems of linear mensuration (e.g. the cubit, the hat, the rod, the metre) as well as works by authors who theorize that prehistoric and ancient builders made use of hypothetical standard measurements, such as the pyramid inch and the megalithic yard.
Number symbolism, magic squares, astrology, occultism, UFOs, Atlantis:
These metaphysical and unconventional subjects are included as keywords for one or both of the following reasons; either the makers of the sacred structures or symbolic art described in books cited herein utilized them (e.g. the astrological zodiac at the church of San Miniato in Florence and Albrecht Durer's inclusion of a magic square in his engraving "Melancholia I"), or the authors cited in the bibliography make use of them (e.g. Claude Bragdon's explanation of number symbolism in architectural ornament and John Michell's publications on UFOs prior to his work on ancient British sacred sites). The term "occultism" is a catch-all designed to cover a wide range of non-geometric, non-archaeological, and non-architectural topics such as psychometry, cabalism, gematria, ceremonial magic, tarot reading, divination, dowsing, seances, prophecy, palmistry, automatic writing, psychic dreams, and the belief that after Jesus died his wife Mary Magdalene set up housekeeping at Rennes les Chateau, France.
Sacred site tourism:
Although only a few of the books in this bibliography deal expressly with the subject of sacred site tourism, many of those that cover regional archaeology and architecture can be used as guidebooks. The notation "sacred site tourism" does not mean that a book was marketed to tourists, only that it would be useful to them. Likewise, if a book is not marked "sacred site tourism," that does not mean it would not be a useful guidebook; it merely means that no one has yet appended that keyword to its description.
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