Externsteine, Germany

Externsteine area map

     On August 6th, 2017; I explored Externsteine, Germany.

Detailed map at Externsteine, Germany

     This shrine is carved high up in one of the many natural rock pillars that form the Externsteine, near Detmold in Germany.

Looking south at the Externsteine

     Reached by a precarious footbridge, it has a circular window orientated towards the midsummer sunrise, (pictured below).

Looking east from atop the West Pillar at the circular sunrise window.

     The shrine is roofless now, but it would once have been a place of darkness, broken by the sunbeam as it illuminated a niche on the facing wall. To this day, no one can say for certain who carved this sacred light-box, but all the evidence-suggests prehistoric origins among a people who regarded the midsummer solstice as a vital astronomical event.

Looking West from the East Pillar at the solar-niche in the wall from atop the West Pillar.

     The medieval rock relief which Cistercian monks carved on to the side of the Externsteine symbolizes the domination of Christianity over the former pagan religion, (pictured below). To reach Jesus and remove his body from the Cross, Nicodemus stands on the bent form of the pagan world-pillar, irminsul, the backbone of the universe. Below ground lies the World serpent, symbol of the earth energies accumulated at the site. Highly regarded as a special site by the Nazis.

Medieval Rock Relief carved on the side of Externsteine
Looking Southeast at the tombs found on the side of the Externsteine.
Looking North at the Externsteine
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