This article is dedicated to the discussion and exploration of the symbolism of the Lia Fail, the Stone of Destiny. One of the four Hallows of the Tuatha De Danann it has its origins in the mysterious city of Falias, one of the four cities of the Tuatha in their original homeland of Tir na nOg.
Scholars have attempted to locate the stone geographically and historically. I am not sure that this is a wise thing to do as this object has a supernatural origin and attempts to locate it are in my view futile. However it is considered by some that the Coronation Stone at the hill of Tara, the place where Irish High Kings were crowned is its current location. Others say that the Stone of Scone is the actual Lia Fail. The return of the Stone of Scone to Scotland in 2008 should be regarded as a publicity stunt for it is widely held that this stone is a fake and if genuine it certainly is not the property of the Scottish people but the Irish for it has its origins in Ireland. My belief is that the one located now in Tara is the real historical artifact but we must be careful in not labelling it as the Lia Fail as this is a supernatural object which in reality cannot and should not be located in time and space. In this sense it may be compared to the Gral. Knights spent their entire lives and fortunes in hunting down this relic but to no avail. This was the case even during the Third Reich when Otto Rahn as a member of the SS Ahnenerbe was charged with finding this object by Heinrich Himmler.
The Lia Fail is one aspect of the Gral. The Cauldron of the Dagda is another aspect. They became in effect two versions of the same thing due to confusion down the centuries. It is significant that Wolfram von Eschenbach in his 13th century work Parzival portrays the Gral as a stone.
"A warlike company lives there, I will tell you how they are nourished. They live from a Stone whose essence is most pure, If you have never heard of it I shall name it for you here. It is called `Lapsit exillis`. By virtue of this Stone the Phoenix is burned to ashes, in which he is reborn."[Parzival, Wolfram von Eschenbach, translated by A.T. Hatto]
The best interpretation of Lapsit exillis is `stone of exile`. This refers to a stone that Lucifer carried with Him on his exile from heaven when He rebelled against the evil demiurge Jehovah. We know that the stone contains an inscription:
"As to those who are appointed to the Gral, hear how they are made known. Under the top edge of the Stone an Inscription announces the name and lineage of the one summoned to make the glad journey."[Parzival]
According to George A. Keryx in his outstanding Holy Grail. Ancient Pagan Apocrypha the Gral consists of 12 stone tablets inscribed with rune like characters.
Otto Rahn in Lucifer`s Court describes the Gral as a "stone of light"[pages 23 and 58] The Gral is believed by Rahn to have come into possession of the Goths after they stole it from the Romans.
"The Ostrogoths reigned for a relatively short time. Were they the `rich royal family` mentioned in Der Wartburgkrieg? The name of the royal Gothic dynasty was Amaler, and their ancestors were said to be `deities` known as Ansis or Asen, the lords of the Gothic treasure, which included the Gral."
In Crusade Against the Grail Rahn states:
"The Grail in turn fell to the earthly world when Lucifer was expelled from God`s throne."[Page 112].
It should be noted by anyone reading the English translations of Rahn`s two books that he appears to move from a traditional xtian view of regarding Lucifer as an evil entity in his first book Crusade Against the Grail to regarding Him as an essentially good and Aryan deity in Lucifer`s Court. The only rational reason for this in my view is that between the publication of these two works Rahn may have undergone a spiritual awakening and initiation. This change in perspective was not commented on by his biographer Nigel Graddon in Otto Rahn and the Quest for the Grail. An interesting example of this change is to be noted on page 25 of Lucifer`s Court:
"I prefer to believe that Satan`s, not Lucifer`s, armies stood before the walls of Montsegur to steal the Grail, which had fallen from the Light Bringer, from Lucifer`s crown, and was kept by the pure ones."[My emphasis]So by the time of the publication of his second work in 1937 Rahn had come to the rightful conclusion that Jehovah is in fact Satan and that Satan was a different entity from Lucifer.
In Woden`s Folk we regard the last three Anglo-Saxon runes as being grail runes. These are Calc, Stan and Gar. This interpretation appears to be shared by Edred Thorsson:
"It seems that the `magical formula` calc-stan-gar actually represents an esoteric understanding of the Grail mythos which was well-developed in the Germanic world. Although Wolfram refers to southern sources from Moorish Spain, no hard evidence for this understanding has actually come from there. So we are left with Wolfram`s lengthy discourses in Parzival as well as other discussions in medieval German works,eg the Wartburgkrieg of Heinrich von Ofterdingen, in which the Grail is also identified with a stone that fell from Lucifer`s crown, and the Old English runic tradition, as sources for the chalice-stone-spear complex."[Alu An Advanced Guide to Operative Runology, 2012]
Thorsson speculates that the "ultimate origin" of this "symbolic complex" is to be found in the settlement of North Iranian Alans in northern England and Southern Scotland during the Roman occupation of Britain.
If this is so then he argues that the Calc rune symbolises priestcraft, Stan the earth and Gar war.
He also refers to Second Battle of Mag Tured in which we are introduced to the four Hallows.
The 32nd rune, Stan is derived from Proto-Germanic *stainaz meaning of course `stone`. We are reminded not only of the link with the Lia Fail but also of the connection with the megalithic culture when stones were used as altars by the Germanic and Celtic peoples.
Troy Southgate in his essay The Symbolic & Practical Significance of the Centre: A Wodenist Perspective, published in Gwendolyn Toynton`s Northern Traditions refers also to Cweorth as being a Gral rune. I have identified additional runes that may have a Gral connection which I will discuss in future related studies.
In Arthurian lore of course we get the theme of the extraction of Excalibur from a stone. It is from stone of course, a mineral that we derive iron and thus steel. Thus we have a link here with the Sword of Nuada, one of the other four hallows. If we reflect upon the Gar rune we have of course a bind rune of Ing in its Common Germanic form and Gyfu, the gift of Ing. The centre of Gar also resembles a stone through which two spears are passed.
The Stone of Tara and also the Stone of Scone were both associated with the coronation of Irish and Scottish kings. It has been speculated by Leon E. Stover in both Stonehenge: The Indo-European Heritage/Stonehenge and the Origins of Western Culture, 1978/1979 and Stonehenge City: A Reconstruction, 2003 that Stonehenge was used as a place of coronation and ceremony by Indo-European High Kings of Britain. This idea may actually have been borrowed from Patrick Crampton who published Stonehenge of the Kings in 1967.
"I see it as the fit setting for a king to perform his practical and magical ceremonial functions." [Crampton]
Stone of course represents permamence and it is interesting that even with the introduction of bronze the Indo-European kings of Stonehenge still carried the original stone battle axe as a mace of royal office.