From prehistoric times stones have played an important role, and on a worldwide basis, in religion and magic. Stones symbolize power and duration, and have served many purposes as instruments. However, they were usually venerated as symbols of, or as dwelling places of, divinity rather than as objects of worship in themselves. Stones were set up as funeral monuments to give peace and protection to the soul or spirit of the dead. In the case of violent death, the monument was often erected on the spot where the victim was killed. This monument, the dwelling place of the dead, could either help the living or prevent the spirit of the dead from harming him.
In many cultures, certain stones, according to their form, were venerated as symbols of the male generative power and of female fecundity. Meteorites, as "stones fallen from heaven," were especially important in this respect, as manifestations of divinity, bringers of rain, and efficacious sources of fertility for the women who touched them.
Naturally stones were most appropriate for altars, and either as altars or as sacred objects were usually associated with sacred trees and springs in holy places. The notion that a certain stone deserved special veneration as the omphalos, or navel of the universe, is common not only among the early Greeks but among other peoples as well.
Bibliography: j. goetz, Religionswissenschaftlichens Wörterbuch, ed. f. kÖnig (Freiburg 1956) 835–836. k. galling, Die Religion in Geschichte und Gegenwart, 7 v. (3d ed. Tübingen 1957–65) 6:348–350. e. s. hartland et al., j. hastings, ed., Encyclopedia of Religion & Ethics, 13 v. (Edinburgh 1908–27) 11:864–877. m. eliade, Patterns in Comparative Religion, tr. r. sheed (New York 1958) 216–238, an excellent treatment with copious bibliog.
[m. r. p. mcguire]
"Stones, Sacred." New Catholic Encyclopedia. . Encyclopedia.com. (August 17, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/religion/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/stones-sacred
"Stones, Sacred." New Catholic Encyclopedia. . Retrieved August 17, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/religion/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/stones-sacred
Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).
Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.
Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:
Modern Language Association
The Chicago Manual of Style
American Psychological Association
- Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
- In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.