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Gary R Varner

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Publisher:  Algora Publishing ISBN-10:  0875863493 Type: 


Copyright:  August 8, 2004

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Algora Publishing
Algora Publishers

A book on the folklore and mystery of sacred stones. Wriiten by Gary R. Varner and published by Algora Publishers, New York. Available from all online retailers and your local bookshop!

Philosopher-historian Mircea Eliade wrote, "a rock reveals itself to be sacred because its very existence is a hierophany: incompressible, invulnerable, it is that which man is not. It resists time; its reality is coupled with perenniality." The properties of stone were recognized as unique early in humankind's rise to civilization. Even when cultures were transitioning their technologies from stone to metal, it was stone that was used for ritual and other important acts. Early 20th-century Egyptologist Wallis Budge wrote, "in a tomb of the VIth Dynasty at Sakkârah, when the Egyptians had a good knowledge of working in metals, we see in a painting on the wall the act of circumcision being performed on a youth by an operator who uses a flint knife."

They may appear to be simply pieces of smooth rock, but they wind up as "worry stones" in the suit pockets of Wall Street investors and university presidents. Contemporary worry stones are not so different from those smooth stones known as wašicun tunkan, the Oglala guardian spirit named after a deceased person or supernatural being that fills the stone with power, or the "thunder-stones" used during the Roman and Middle Ages. Thunder-stones were believed to protect the man on the street from lightning, and ships at sea from sinking, while bringing victory in court and in battle. Little do the keepers of worry stones today realize that they are practicing one of the ancient traditions of transferring their problems to an inanimate object. The recognition of stones as objects of power continues uninterrupted from the dawn of humankind into the 21st century.

Available now in paperback ($21.95, ISBN 0-87586-349-3),and e-book formats (ISBN 0-87586-351-5).

Professional Reviews

The Druid Network Review of Menhirs, Dolmen and Circles of Stone
Menhirs, Dolmen and Circles of Stone : The folklore and magic of sacred
Gary R Varner
(Algora USA, 2004)

One of the reasons I like this book is that its focus moves like water
over the subject of stone, slipping to examples and stories from all
over the world. On one page we are reading of a stone sacred to
Islamic culture in the Middle East, and on the next we are looking
again at Avebury, or letting our fingers run over the patterns carved
in a stone of a native American nation. As a result, the book gives,
perhaps more than anything else, a strong sense of the continuity and
connectedness of stone. After reading it, I was left with a strong and
conscious feeling of the way in which stones - those honoured as sacred
and yet all stone - both grounds and draws us together, across time and

Covering such distances, although the author has travelled widely,
there are moments when it is clear that his words express observation
and not personal experience. Yet, even so, there is value in his
collation of information, stories and ideas about stones, caves,
circles and amulets from around the world. He gives clear sources for
his information, allowing the reader to explore further, and hopefully
to inspire individuals to journey for themselves, discovering and
experiencing the sacred within rock and stone.

Gary Varner can be reached at

Emma Restall Orr
July 2005

The Druid Network

PanGaia's Review
Menhirs, Dolmen and Circles of Stone: The Folklore and Magic of Sacred Stone is an excellent guide to large-scale magical stones and stone magic. This book is a must for anyone interested in megalithic sites. Though probably best for intermediate to advanced practitioners, it’s accessible for beginners too. With examples from around the world, it’s suitable
for all branches of Paganism. Most highly recommended.--PanGaia #44, June-August 2006

New 5 Star Review on
An Excellent Catalogue of Folk Wisdom, November 16, 2012

By Anna Silvernail Sweat - This review is from: Menhirs, Dolmen, and Circles of Stone: The Folklore and Magic of Sacred Stone (Paperback)

I really enjoyed this book as an excellent catalgoue of folk wisdom on sacred stone, the use of it, and myths surrounding it. It also provides a dizzying list of sites, both modern and ancient, throughout the text of menhirs, dolmens, stone circles, outcroppings, and other sacred sites. If you have any interest in stone folklore and magick, you will enjoy this read.

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