Orkney Islands Council to replace Stone of Odin
This article appeared in the weekend Scotsman a couple of weeks ago (I've had to abridge it to fit within 4096 characters)- looks like a replica of the stone may stand once again. Liked the quote from the minister at Stenness- 'he was the god of war and bloodshed'!- aye- we'll all burn in hell for it ;)
'Orkney resident Morag Robertson has been at the forefront of a local campaign to
restore the prehistoric Stone of Odin for ancient handfasting ceremonies.
"People come from all over the world to see and touch the Neolithic stones,"
says Robertson. "Give them a marriage ceremony to go with it and you’ve got
a 21st-century goldmine."
The ancient site was where Neolithic people celebrated growth and newly wed couples prepared for a fruitful union by joining hands through the hole and swearing an oath.
The tradition was brought to an end a century ago by a farmer who smashed the stone in a fit of pique when couples refused to stop walking over his land
But in Orkney, where 5,000 years of history still influences everyday life,
tradition is not wiped out that easily. Couples still go to the Standing Stones.
Recently there has been a growing interest from abroad in
travelling to Scotland for handfasting ceremonies. Orkney Islands Council
have recognised the tourism potential. They recently agreed to put money
aside to replace the Odin Stone.
Councillor John Brown, the chairman of the committee in charge of the
county’s heritage is also a geologist. "This is a World Heritage site so we can’t
put in a replica because we have no definite proof of what we’re trying to
duplicate. There’s only an old sketch. The nearest we can get is a slab from
the original sandstone bedrock that the other standing stones came from, but
we’ll have to put a notice there saying ‘substitute’."
"Lets get on with it," says Robertson, who is envisaging a new craze for the
Stenness minister Tom Clark is appalled at the idea of oaths being taken in
the name of Odin. "He was a god of war and bloodshed. The Kirk certainly
wouldn’t be involved in wedding packages connected with any of this."
Local historian Peter Leith disagrees. "The folk who put up the stone were
prehistoric," he says. "The name Odin only came with the Vikings later, so the
ceremonies go back far further, and anyway, the Kirk must have been part of
it a couple of centuries ago, because oral tradition says to break the troth you
had to go into the Stenness kirk together and come out through separate
Posted by Martin
13th February 2002ce