Walking towards the burial mounds of Knowth, in County Meath, Ireland, it’s easy to imagine they must have many stories to tell. The largest mound was likely created circa 3200 BC. This is part of the World Heritage Site of Brú na Bóinne. I featured another passage tomb nearby in The façade of Newgrange.
Each image tells a story on its own, but I created a Tale of Knowth to go along with the photos.
Tale of Knowth
“Go to the mounded land on the day fall begins.” Maimeó said to me weeks before her passing.
Once I found the 18 mounds, I didn’t know where to turn. I followed the curving trail around the largest mound. A cool gust from the north made the emerald grass covering the mound dance in the wind.
“Find the sunburst kerbstone. It will show you the way.” I remembered Maimeó’s words.
The sunburst kerbstone? I thought. Spirals, crescent, and other patterns covered the boulders encircling the mound. I wondered how I would find the right one.
I trudged around the perimeter of the mound, pulling my cloak close. Light snowfall drifted by me and settled in the characters carved into stone.
Why is it snowing on autumn’s eve? I thought to myself. I tried to keep warm by rubbing my arms and stamping my feet. Out of the corner of my eye, I spotted something.
“This must be it,” I said. I traced sunburst rays carved into an enormous boulder with my fingertip. The accumulating snowfall made the shapes stand out.
“How does this sunburst point me in the right direction?” I scratched my head.
Then I remembered something Daideó often said. “Look behind to find the way forward.”
I didn’t know what he meant then, but now I understood. On the back edge of the stone, I found a crude arrow pointing east. I quickened my pace and soon found a low doorway entering the mound.
Once inside, I found doorway after doorway. Where should I go next? I thought. Night was falling and the hallway of doors ahead of me darkened. I shuddered in the deepening gloom.
Suddenly, something strange happened. The light narrowed into a single beam shining through one door. I dashed towards the light.
A pale-colored column of stone reaching towards the ceiling reflected the beam of light. I remembered Daideó’s words again and reached behind the stone.
I felt a delicate chain and pulled it into the bright light. It held a golden triskele charm with three spirals connected to the center. If I wore it, I knew it would help me move forward in the spiritual world, the present world, and the celestial world.
After that day, I always wore my triskele and though I often stumble backwards, I find my way ahead.
More about Knowth
This fictional story contains elements of fact including:
- The kerbstones carved with images represent more than 1/3 of megalithic art in all of Western Europe.
- The kerbstones often had a type of megalithic art known as “hidden art” carved on the backs of the stones.
- The east-west alignment at the time of construction indicates Knowth was used to recognize the spring and autumnal equinoxes.
- Triskeles, or Triskelion, are an ancient symbol recognized in Ireland and other countries. This symbol can be seen at the entrance to Newgrange, another part of this Heritage Site.