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The Milking Stone and the Celtic goddess Gruagach

(10 Posts)
Bags Tue 18-Sep-12 18:43:27

Warning: wacky thoughts moment follows.

This story is from St Kilda. "The Milking Stone was used as a sacrifical altar until the 19th century and retained its god, a benevolent deity known as Gruagach. She was thought to have been a woman of good family from the mainland who had become enchanted. The Milking Stone had an indentation into which the St Kildans poured libations of milk every Sunday to ensure that their cattle stayed fertile, produced good milk and were kept from harm."

Now.... what jumped into my mind on reading that was that the idea of an afterlife was really a brilliant touch by whichever religon invented it because it did away with any need for the gods to show their benevolence on this Earth. Brilliant! Never thought of it like that before. So clever! And such a cop out! wink

If we have any historians of religion amongst gransnetters, I'd love to hear if you know anything about when afterlife myths took hold, so that you would never know if your prayers were heard by the gods because all the good stuff was supposed to happen after you died. It may seem tongue in cheek, but the Romans, and Greeks, and Celts and Norsemen expected visible and 'tangible' signs on a daily basis, didn't they? Well, I know they just interpreted whatever happened to suit themselves, but still....

crimson Tue 18-Sep-12 19:45:46

I think it probably happened when we developped a consciousness and then an awareness of time and an end to our own time [awareness of mortality which, I assume other animals don't have]. We then invented afterlives to make our life here bearable. Unscrupulous people have used that belief for their own ends [the Vikings and the Japanese for example]. And, of course we are immortal because of our genes but we only realised that recently.

Ariadne Tue 18-Sep-12 21:18:14

All to do with an understanding of ourselves in our environment, and "the otherness of others", crimson? Was it Mead? (not Margaret) Like your reasoning!

petallus Tue 18-Sep-12 22:06:57

I've often wondered why those people who really believe there is a blissful afterlife waiting for them don't jump off cliffs or something in order to pass over asap.

Well, I suppose some do; but why so few?

vampirequeen Tue 18-Sep-12 22:52:35

They can't commit suicide because it's a mortal sin which means they wouldn't go to heaven.

Anagram Tue 18-Sep-12 23:07:43

Good point, vampirequeen!

annodomini Tue 18-Sep-12 23:20:28

Whereas Islamist suicide bombers are said to believe that this act will take them straight to heaven.

crimson Wed 19-Sep-12 09:53:14

And Vikings had to die with a sword in their hand I believe [the people who sent them to rape and pillage made that one up, I guess]. Apologies to any Vikings who may read this; I'm talking about a long time ago, and also the Kirk Douglas film..and a very good film it was too....

annodomini Wed 19-Sep-12 09:58:25

crimson, the Bernard Cornwell Alfred the Great novels have a lot about the Vikings/Danes and their traditions. I assume they are well researched. A bit bloody but readable.

crimson Wed 19-Sep-12 10:57:15

Thanks anno. [I seemed to be rather taken with Kirk Douglas in the film when I first saw it years ago blush].