Logan Rock or Castel Tredhyn, castle of Tredyn (SW 3972 2198)
With a daunting magic and brooding mystery hovering around it, Treryn Dinas is a fascinating place, though it’s also a place not to be messed with. Enter with respect or the Cosmic Trickster might knobble you with a dash of unsolicited reality.
You get the feeling odd things might have happened here. It’s a place of mystery, power, sorcery and truth. Not exactly tranquil, it is nonetheless impressive in its strong underlying feeling of power. In folklore it was the home of giants.
On the actual dinas there aren’t easy assembly places or comfortable places to hang out – precarious scrambling is involved – so at any time people will have been in small numbers only on the dinas. Something about this and its obstacular nature gives the dinas its character. It’s strong in feeling, and worth visiting to feel the brooding, enigmatic character of the place.
The headland has two parts, the rocky headland itself and a large encampment to its landward side called Treen Circle, built in the Iron Age, according to archaeological orthodoxy – and the banks on its landward side probably were Iron Age.
However, its first use would have been in the Neolithic 3000s BCE, if not earlier, even if little or nothing was built there then. Neolithic artefacts and relics have been found on the dinas – items and offerings hidden in the rocks.
How otherwise can we say it’s Neolithic? First, the dinas is so prominent and rich in character that it must have been important.
Second, Treen Circle lies exactly on a backbone alignment (108) through the Merry Maidens, St Michael’s Mount and Carn Brea – an alignment of three natural features (two Neolithic tor enclosures and one cliff sanctuary) with a Bronze Age stone circle dropped onto it. Treen Circle is where people would hang out and camp when visiting the dinas. Antiquarians once thought there was a stone circle in Treen Circle, but this is improbable.
It was the most inhabited of the cliff sanctuaries of Penwith except perhaps for St Michael’s Mount. Treen Circle encampment was large – it could have hosted some pretty big gatherings and, in the Iron Age, quite a few people in roundhouses. This would have been a summer residence – in winter it is exposed.
It was strategically placed, not far from Porthcurno, one of Penwith’s prime landing beaches. But still, it’s a bit far away for defence of the beach, if such were necessary, so a defensive purpose to the dinas is questionable, even though Treen Circle is separated from the surrounding landscape by a significant Iron Age rampart and ditch.
Just outside it, a strongly aligned menhir has recently been rediscovered and re-erected.
Unlike many cliff sanctuaries, Treryn Dinas had practical value, with good farmland and fishing grounds nearby, situated in a commanding position that is a twenty minute trot from Porthcurno.
One wonders whether rocking the logan rock at Treryn Dinas was done to make sound and rhythm for geomantic reasons, to pulse the earth, or even as an ancient kind of foghorn, sounding out a slow drumbeat to warn boats when sea mists were down.
The rather unique upstanding stone at its summit gives Treryn Dinas a special character – it might have been placed there.
Another backbone alignment runs from Treryn Dinas to Boscawen-ûn stone circle, Lanyon Quoit, Bosiliack Barrow (a rather special chambered cairn) and a menhir just yards from the Nine Maidens. So, three of Penwith’s stone circles are linked with Treryn Dinas – that’s significant. Even so, no alignment has been found with Tregeseal, the fourth stone circle of Penwith.
I’m doing a series about cliff sanctuaries in West Penwith, Cornwall, where I live. I forgot to post the first one here when I did it, so you’re getting a bonus blog this time, about two cliff sanctuaries. The first is about Cape Cornwall and the second about Bosigran Castle. Also, at the bottom is mention of my forthcoming visit to Glastonbury at Easter – if you happen to live in or around it.
Down’ere in West Penwith, Cornwall (right at the end) we have an important coastal feature called cliff castles – though I call them cliff sanctuaries, a far better descriptor. Archaeologically they are customarily dated back to the iron age (from 500 BCE on), though actually they go back to the neolithic 3000s BCE.
That is, when this area was mostly forested, the main places you could get out of it, ‘get some space’, were on the neolithic tors and hills and the cliff sanctuaries. So these formed the first major ancient sites in the area.
This is one cliff sanctuary, Kilgooth Ust (pr: ‘east’), the Gooseback of St Just, or Cape Cornwall, and it’s near St Just. It was severely affected by the tin trade 150ish years ago – hence the remnant chimney and the houses. But it is a classic, and it’s one of the major alignment centres of Penwith. Originally it had four barrows on its neck. Here’s an alignments map: https://www.google.co.uk/maps/d/viewer…
Around Cape Cornwall were some of the richest deposits of metals in ancient times, with arsenic-rich tin, gold and other rare metals used in metal smelting to create different qualities and finishes, from around 1800 BCE. On either side of Kilgooth Ust was a landing bay where metal ingots were exported.
The rocks offshore are called The Brisons. It’s the left-hand, southern one that is the energy-centre there. In neolithic and bronze age times they were probably not islands.
I’ll post a few more cliff sanctuaries as time goes on. See the map to see the other cliff sanctuaries in the area, forming a necklace around Penwith, the ancient Belerion, or ‘radiant land’. These were sanctified spaces, and you can feel it.
Until someone did a proper theodolite job in late Victorian times, this was regarded as the Land’s End. But actually, what’s now called Land’s End is a matter of yards further west. But this, in a way, is the energetic Land’s End.
Bos chy carn, ‘home house [under the] crag’, often translated as ‘Ygraine’s home’ (Map ref: SW 4169 3688)
This is one of my favourite cliff sanctuaries, mainly because of its friendly atmosphere. There’s a story that it was the home of a queen – Ygraine, after King Arthur’s mythic mother, but it has other possible meanings too. It has a hospitable, sociable feeling. So, this queen, whoever she was, might well have been a great lady, leaving a strong imprint.
Today, it attracts lots of rock climbers – avid Bristolians in VW vans. You can be sitting there listening to the waves, looking wistfully over the sea toward Ireland, when a clinking starts up and, sooner or later, a helmeted climber appears over the parapet, trailing ropes and looking pleased. On one occasion a school of minke whales cruised past and the climbers were spellbound, frozen to the spot, hanging in weird positions on their ropes. I was moved too, preoccupied as I had been with my prehistoric ponderings and customary flask of anthropocene tea.
Bosigran has a pleasantly healing and relieving feeling. Good for spending time when the weather is pleasant, it’s a great place for picnics, in both Neolithic and modern times. It could easily accommodate around 200 people for a summer weekend shindig, though there is no evidence and little likelihood of permanent occupation (too exposed in winter). Summer nights spent around a campfire would have been wonderful. It lies below Carn Galva, the magic mountain of Penwith, and perhaps the tribe that had Bosigran Castle lived around Carn Galva, coming down to the cliff sanctuary for special occasions. Summer sunsets there can be special.
A rocky Iron Age rampart sections it off from the surrounding land, though defence is only one possible reason it is there. More likely it was simply an energy-threshold, since when you cross it you get the feeling you’re entering special space. There are several distinct areas on top of Bosigran, each with rock platforms that could serve as outdoor ‘rooms’ – so it’s a place where a number of things could happen at the same time. At one of these areas is a throne-like rock where one can imagine a chief, wise-woman or druid sitting, with their flock arrayed around them.
The top of Bosigran is littered with earthfast rocks and, apart from the boundary rampart, there are few signs of rock-moving or the placing of stone, except in two instances. There is a logan or rocking stone on the top, near the ‘throne’. These are flattish granite boulders balanced in such a way that they could be rocked. It’s possible they were natural, or placed there or adjusted slightly to make them rock. What the purpose of logan stones was, we do not know, but the ancients clearly thought them special. These were the bass drums of the Neolithic era. Perhaps people drummed along to the deep rocking sound, building up a stirring, thumping beat.
Further along the left side of the headland and down a bit, there is a sunken, west-facing area with an array of rocks which suggest a ‘council circle’, as if it were a place for undisturbed discussions.
Nearby is a line of three rocks with their lined-up edges aligned toward Pendeen Watch, a neighbouring cliff sanctuary. These are (I think) deliberately oriented stones intended to highlight the relationship between the two cliff sanctuaries.
Bosigran is a good example of a cliff sanctuary potentially serving as a coastal beacon site – the prehistoric equivalent of a lighthouse. A few of the cliff sanctuaries will have been connected with trade, but this is unlikely at Bosigran. This was a place for gatherings and events. It’s a pleasant half-mile walk down from the road, and it’s worth going down into the zawn (inlet) on the western side too, to watch the seabirds, waves and climbers. There are some interesting tin-mining remains in the valley, with signs of tin-streaming methods having been used in centuries past.
I shall be in Glastonbury over Easter and doing two gigs while there.
One is at the Legend Conference in the Assembly Rooms on Sunday 9th April at 10am on Sunday morning, and here’s the blurb…
Consciousness work and the way it can affect our reality
My talk will be focusing on consciousness work and the way it can affect our reality. I’ll be going back to our roots, in the neolithic and beyond, to the early inner imaginal work that gave root to the core stuff of our culture, to our beliefs and ways of perceiving things. Using my home area, West Penwith in Cornwall, as an example, I’ll show how ancient sites were built for consciousness work in order to penetrate and engineer the heart of reality – amongst other things affecting the climate, the ecosystem and human society. Which happen to be issues that are a wee bit important today.
Forty years ago, the Assembly Rooms hosted some very early experiments in ‘working the circle’ – something that is now accepted and common – and Glastonbury is a place with deep historic and esoteric roots too. So the heart of my talk is about consciousness work in the imaginal sphere, how this might be used in jogging the prevailing reality-field of our world, and how it all started several millennia ago.
I shall also be doing ‘An Evening with Palden Jenkins’ on Friday evening, 7th April, hosted by the Inner Light Community, and that will be announced on their site and on my Facebook page soon.
On Saturday I’ll be around if anyone wishes to meet up. However, I’ll need you not to wear me out, and to have your phone switched off! I’m a bit of an old crock and I’m electrosensitive (my cancer is caused by EM radiation). Still here though!
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