New research suggests that the third stage of Stonehenge may have been constructed to celebrate the annual marriage of the Great Goddess and the Sky god. In “The Stonehenge Solution,” (1992), Professor G. T. Meaden, Oxford physicist and antiquarian, describes how the consummation of the celestial marriage was ritually acted out by the interplay of light and shade among the standing stones.
According to Meaden’s theory, the horseshoe arrangement of the inner-sanctum stones represented the womb of the Mother Goddess. In order to reach it, the rays of the sun at midsummer solstice had to pass the Heal Stone, that had been deliberately set to the east of the avenue, of the monument which represented the Goddess’ body. Immediately after an unobstructed sunrise, the Heel Stone eclipsed the sun, forming a shadow representing the phallus of the Sky god.
The long shadow entered the central archway of the main sarsen ring and eventually reached the Altar Stone, which in connection to Meaden’s theory, should more appropriately be called the Egg Stone or the Goddess Stone. Because of particles of mica embedded in it, this large stone glints in the morning sun at the moment of climax occurs when the phallic shadow extinguishes its light. The retreat of the shadow represents the withdrawal.
This entire spectacle has been witnessed by hundreds of visitors standing outside of the monument at the summer solstice.
Meaden’s theory is based on evidence that many primitive and ancient were goddess oriented. The concept was she that conceived from a god. Her perpetual conception symbolized the renewal of the earth, and promoted a sense of security that the universe, as the ancient peoples knew it, was safe.
Even with the monument in its present semi-ruined condition, Meaden says for a few days around the summer solstice visitors can still witness this fertility ritual which he maintains Stonehenge was originally built to commemorate. A.G.H.