Andy & Bev Fraser's Travel World

34 years of our "UnTour" Adventures
Andy & Bev
The 10 ton, 1,069 word cursing stone
More traditional cursing stone
Our journeys are as close as we can come to a good old fashioned no rushing, relaxed time with good companions. This is our 35th year of doing it our way. Hope you can join us. Andy & Bev
Cussing or cursing with a stone
A multi-user cursing stone
Ever feel like cussing? I do. Last few weeks I had been having big trouble with my email and have been jumping through hoops daily, living on the phone with my internet provider to fix the problem. Every technician had the sam mantra for me: "I can fix that". Ha!

This went on for three weeks and I admit I was cussing, though not out loud - well, not very loud. Finally on the very last attempt before I would have to change providers with the ugly resultant mess, a 'fibre optic' specialist, whatever on earth that may be, lived up to the "I can fix that" mantra. They did.

Sadly, all kinds of annoyances can set off my cussing mechanism. Like the political farce some of you are having to live with right now. Or even finding out that the price of X, Y, or Z has gone up yet again, or the diswasher opted for a different drying cycle. Usually, I can contain myself to a quiet mutter.

I could hazard a guess and say we all have those moments when we want to let fly with a few choice expletives.

Bring back the "cursing stone"...

When we're having those moments, perhaps we should go back to the good old "cursing stones" of ancient history when a curse was not only acceptable but could actually be a religious moment.

It appears that we mortals didn't have to cuss. We just went to our local Druid, Holy Man or in later times, our Priest and they would do the job for us with the stones

These stones came in many shapes and sizes. Two stones were generally involved, a base stone with a slight hollow and a smaller stone which could fix into that hollow. The wanna be curser person would turn the small stone to the left while making the curse and that was it. Almost like old corn grinding stones. In many cases the holy man would do it for them - most likely for a fee.

So much for that idea of ''love'' in the church...

The cursing stone came from the ancient Celts and was eventually taken over by the Church. In fact, the ultimate of curses was probably from the Archbishop of Glasgow in 1525 who came down with a 1,069 word curse on the Border Reivers, raiders from the big southern Scotland families who constantly raided their more northern neighbors. Part of his curse stated: "I curse the hairs of their head, I curse their face, their brain, their mount, their nose, their tongue, their teeth. May the thunder and lightning which rained down upon Sodom and Gomorrah, rain down upon them..."

Now that's a curse! This Bishop didn't even bother with the two stones to grind together. He had his curse engraved on a huge boulder which sits today in Carlisle, England. It really was a bit of an exception from the norm. There's no record as to whether it worked or not but it certainly laid down a message to those Reivers.

Most other cursing stones uncovered are of the small, more manageable type.

Then there was the Roman way...

Actually, curses - not cussing but genuine curses - are not restricted to grinding rocks and boulders. The Romans had a pretty good system. During their more than three century occupation of England, the Romans built their rather magnificent Roman Baths throught the land for their own cleanliness and also for the more common citizens - who, by the way, were all Celtic at this time.

The baths in Bath still exist. because of the Celtic belief in the sacred nature of water messages from ordinar people were tossed in the water with a prayer request to Sullids, the Celtic goddess of healing and water. They were usually calling for healing of a loved one or a curse on someone.

These curses were written on soft lead 'pages' then folded up and tossed into the baths. Hundreds of these 'notes' have been retreived and carefully opened. The most common of the curses called for punishment for those who stole clothing from the change room at the baths, a number called for healing. One rather nasty curse was from a soldier who called for dire punishment against his Sergeant for having an affair with his wife.

So there we have it. All this because I was having email problems. Mind you, it seems to be working just fine now. If only the political horror show would solve so easily. Or maybe we should start collecting stones and boulders.