Go to Land's End in Cornwall and you will find a stone-with-a-hole, the Men-an-tol, flanked by two menhirs, or herms. It has stood here in the moor among golden gorse and the churring of the nightjar (1) since before Phoenicians came to this edge of the earth for tin in the second millennium B.C. Indeed, it has stood here ever since the Neolithic and Iron Age Celts of Land's End prospered as an advanced civilization.

Like other holed stones of ancient Britain, the Men-an-tol was a nuptial ground and focus for fertility rites. A place, too, of healing, of birthing and dying: a window into eternity. (2)

And so sings the Song of Solomon.

But in this image through the hole of the Men-an-Tol, can you not also hear the Hymn to Hermes, see the precocious trickster, and messenger between the worlds newly emerged from the loins and cave of the nymph Maia, set to invent that other "voice of the turtle," the lyre? (3), (4)


1. The churring call of the European nightjar, Caprimulgus europaeus, now very rare in Britain, resounds across the Land's End moor in Spring. Its sound is remarkably like the voice of the turtle, Testudo kleinmanni, heard here. Return

2. The phrase "window into eternity" was used by the medieval alchemist Gerhard Dorn for a hole in space through which one may pass out of the world of space and time into that region which has no time or space. The ancient Chinese Pi -- a disk of jade with a hole in the centre -- echoes the Men-an-tol in form, and likewise symbolizes the sky with a hole through which Being passes into eternity. In The Secret of the Golden Flower: a Chinese Book of Life, translated and explained by Richard Wilhelm, it is said of this hole: "The seed blossom of the human body must be concentrated upward in the empty space. Immortality is contained in this sentence and also the overcoming of the world is contained in it."

Analogies have been drawn between these holed stone symbols of "windows into eternity" and the topology of space pictured in Einstein's special theory of relativity in which the topology of space pictured may be described most readily as a pair of nearly Euclidean spaces connected by a throat which physicists call a wormhole.

It has been argued, elegantly, that the wormhole of physics mirrors a structure in the psyche through which events pass from space-time to timelessness. [Mary R. Gammon. 'Window into eternity': archetype and relativity. Journal of Analytical Psychology 18:11-24 (1973)]. Such a structure within the psyche may plausibly account for synchronistic phenomena. Return

3. Indeed the picture itself is something of a trick and a lie, giving the illusion of being inside a cave of stone looking out, while in actuality the holed stone is less than four feet in diameter. Return

4. Interestingly, the tale of Hermes and the invention of the lyre antedates the Men-an-Tol, but contemporaneous Iron Age coins from the region depict the lyre as a "pellet in a circle." [See, for instance,
http://www.cadvision.com/hooker-perron/lyre.htm] Return