I read today that the Lia Fal on the hill of Tara in Ireland had been defaced, attacked with a hammer, causing damage to all four sides of the stone. Reading the article caused an immediate and visceral reaction, a blend of grief and anger that simply will not go away. It saddens me that the stone is permanently changed, damaged, although I appreciate that it could have been much worse. It makes me furious that this damage was intentional, an act of focused will by a person, who repeatedly bashed at the stone. I want justice for the spirit of that place, but more than that I want vengence. I felt the same way a year and a half ago when someone cut down the sacred Thorn tree in Glastonbury. They never caught the people responsible for felling the thorn tree and I suspect they will never find out who hammered chunks out of the Lia Fal. It's appalling to me that anyone could do these things, and more than that I don't understand why.Why do people feel the need to destroy things that are significant to other people? What purpose does it serve to destroy an irreplacable 3500 year old standing stone? Of course my head knows it could have been for anything from a political statement to drunken mischief, but my heart revolves over and over on the permanence of it. I don't agree with or advocate anyone destroying anyone else's sacred history - whether its ancient monuments to Buddha or historic churches - no matter what reason the perpetrators come up with.
Places have spirits, and sacred places have a special spirit to them, a feeling that is unique. Historic places that have seen people coming and worshipping or paying them honor for hundreds of years, or even millenia, have an energy that is an extension of this spirit, in my experience. I think that is why people are drawn to travel to sacred places, to touch the stone and wood that our ancestors have touched back through the ages. There is a feeling of connection that comes from experiencing a sacred site that grounds us, that makes our faith tangible. It is tragic to see that connection attacked, that sacred place desecrated, whether or not it is myth or fact that makes it sacred.
As an Irish (and Norse) pagan there are a few sacred places that I want to go to before I die, to feel that energy, to know the spirit of that place, and to connect to the pagan gods in their old holy places. One day I will travel to Ireland, and I will walk up the hill at Tara and touch the Stone of Destiny, as legend says the old high kings did, as the stories say the gods themselves did in bringing the stone to Ireland from Falias. This is something I have dreamed of doing for many years but have never yet done. I felt increased urgency when the M-3 was being built with its henge-destroying disregard for history, and I feel even more urgency now, as it appears no sacred site is safe.
picture is held in the common domian, and is courtesy of wikipedia