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!
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....
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