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At this obelisk of Kerloaz very ancient ceremonies, the remains of a species of obscene worship, are still practised by both sexes. The superstitions connected with these impure rites, and the remains of other monuments of Armorica, will probably be considered sufficient warrant for thinking that the objects of the worship at Kerloaz were latterly nearly similar to that of the vilest idols of the Hindus.
Fremenville describes certain sculptures in Brittany of evident antiquity, and says that of the period when they were executed he cannot form any estimate, while of the object for which they were intended he avows himself unable to form a conjecture. Any one who has witnessed the deified and personified obscenity so commonly obtruded on the traveller's view in Hindostan, will have little hesitation in pronouncing the descriptions of Fremenville applicable to one of the most common objects of Hindu worship.
"Objets de superstition dont le but et l'origine se perdent dans la nuit des temps, ces bosses reçoivent encore une sorte de culte bizarre de la part des paysans des environs. Les nouveaux mariés ce rendent dévotement au pied de se menhir," etc.-Finistere, PP. 178, 197.
"Sur la surface inégale d'un rocher, nous remarquames un singulier ou vrage incontestablement dû a la main des hommes; mais dans quel but, dans quelle intention, et fait dans quel temps? C'etait un circle de dix pieds de diametre, taille en saillie, dans lequel etait sculpté, pareillement en saillie dans le roc vif, un seconde circle concentrique, et du diametre d'un environ septs pieds; au centre de ces
circles s'elevait un mamelon.
une autre roche, nous vimes un semblable travail . . qu'il ne restait qu'un quart de la circonférence du circle qui y fut tracé jadis. Ce circle parait avoir été inscrit dans un quadrilatére sculpté en creux, et dont deux côtes seulement sont encore visible."
"Sur une grosse pierre située pres d'un hameau nommé La Mercerie, à une lieue de la forêt de Machecoul, department de la Loire Inferieure, cette pierre, saillante au dessus du sol soulment de trois pouces, etait taillée en rond et avait huit pieds de diamétre ; sa circonférence renfermait un autre circle taillé en saillie, et ayant aussi trois pouces d'elevation, mais seulement quatre pieds de diamètre. Une
Those who maintain that the Celtic religion was a comparatively pure form of paganism, and that Druids inculcated true morality, certainly do not find support in ancient history, and may be referred to the characteristics of the priestesses of the Isle-de-Groach-the island opposite to the entrance of the Loire, as described by Strabo-and of L'Isle-de-Sen, whose practices are mentioned in Pomponius Mela. The Druid
esses also in the island of Anglesea (or Mona), however brave and patriotic, showed by the part which they took against the Romans that they were both fierce and influential.' From the meagre accounts of early authorities we therefore gather that the priestesses of the Celts were fierce, cruel, and lascivious. If this is considered too severe a judgment to be deduced from these notices of the priestesses of the Celts, it must be recollected that they were also employed in the immolation of human victims, and that in the island already mentioned (now Isle-de-Groach) one of the priestesses became annually a sacrifice by her comrades during the fury of superstitious excitement. The nature of some of the objects of Celtic worship, and the impure rites with which the worship was conducted, may be further supported and inferred by existing circumstances and ceremonies in Armorica. In places where heathen fanes were succeeded by Christian churches we
rigole circulaire de quatre a cinque pouces de large régnait autour de ce seconde circle, et avait son deversoir du côté de l'ouest. Cette pierre ainsi taillée etait placée sur une petite butte de terre haute de quatre pieds. Un particulier la fit enlever pour en faire
la mardelle d'un puits; il eut beaucoup de peine à la tirer de terre, ou elle s'enfonçait de six pieds ; elle avait la forme d'un cône renversé."- Fremenville's Antiq. Bretagne, Morbihan, Pp. 12-14.
Tacitus, Mon. Hist. Brit. p. 38.
find that the latter had received, and still retain, names derived from no very reputable members of a Celtic pantheon. This is the explanation given as to the origin of such names for Christian churches as Notre-Dame-de-la-Joie, Notre-Damede-Liesse, Notre-Dame-de-la-Haine, and Notre-Dame-de-laClarte. The latter title, although somewhat more respectable in appearance, was evidently of heathen derivation, and possibly even probably-appertaining to a deity of as questionable purity as Notre-Dame-de-la-Joie-viz. to Astarte or Mylitta,' in place of Venus or some other deity of similar attributes.2
In Notre-Dame-de-la-Haine is continued, in name at least, the deification of human passions the most malignant— even less excusable than those which appear to have derived their names from the licensed orgies of paganism. That a dangerous, even a criminal, licence followed some ancient customs founded on superstitious ceremonies in Britain is well known, as they endured to a period comparatively modern. That certain religious ceremonies in some parts of Brittany still terminate in such licence is the less to be wondered at when we learn that it was the pious and indefatigable priest and missionary Michael le Nobletz who, so late as the seventeenth century, converted to real Christianity the inhabitants of the islands of Moléne and Ouessant, and of the re
1 For the abominable rites of Mylitta see Herodotus, Clio, excix. For Astarte under various designations see Kenrick's Phenicia, pp. 300, 301.
This is referred to in treating of the fish- -one of the Caledonian hiero
glyphics on the sculptured stones of Scotland.
3 This church is near Treguier. —Souvestre's Derniers Bretons, p. 92. 'See Souvestre's Les Dernier Bretons, pp. 95, 96, etc.
CEREMONIES AT KERLOAZ.
mote parts of the promontory of Finistere.' Previous to his exertions it would appear that the peasants were Christians only in name, baptized heathens in fact. In addition to these notices of rites inherited from paganism may be remarked an extremely indecent statue on the tower of the church of St. Pierre at the extreme point of Penmarch in Finistere, and the history of the Venus of Quinipily, whose uncouth form has for so long a time received the homage of local immodesty.
The ceremonies still practised at the menhir of Kerloaz, and others elsewhere referred to, show how deeply rooted and enduring in Celtic countries was the paganism connected with stone-worship. The summit of the rising ground on which this monument is situated bears the same name-viz. Kerloas or Kerglas. "The field of mourning" is said to be the meaning of the word in the Armorican language; and in other parts of France various groups and single stones are found at places bearing names, both Celtic and French, of synonymous import. ‘Taoursanan,” “mournful or melancholy places,"2 is a Gaelic expression used in some parts of Scotland for what are generally known as Druid circles. There the name is supposed to be derived from these areas having been places of human sacrifice. Some writers have accepted this explanation, while others maintain that the name originated from these
The tomb of Michael de Nobletz is in the church of Lochrist, two miles from Point St. Mathieu. He died 5th May 1652.-Fremenville's Finisterc, p. 175.
In Gaelic, Taoursach or Tuierseach. In Welsh, Toirseach signifies mournful, sad, melancholy.-Lhuyd's and other Dictionaries.
circles having been places of sepulture. It is not likely that this point will ever be authoritatively decided, but if it should be, the probability is, that both parties will be found to be right.
The menhir of Kerloaz is of rose-coloured granite, and appears to have been, at the time it was erected, of an obelisk shape, unhewn and uncontaminated by the work of man's hands, which can now be distinguished on the east and west sides of the monument. On these are to be seen marks of a debasing form of paganism, the rites of which are not yet extinct. On each of these sides, about three feet from the ground, a boss about a foot in diameter projects in its highest part three or four inches above the surrounding surface of the stone, which has been cut away on purpose to give relief to these bosses. The height of this monument above ground is now 37 feet 9 inches.1 I was informed by an intelligent person in the neighbourhood, at St. Renan, that the menhir was formerly higher, and that 5 feet had been shivered off the top by lightning. My informant did not know when this occurred, and the appearance of the summit as seen from the ground does not favour the tradition, which, however, may be correct no object or position can well be more likely to attract the electric fluid than this monument, which stands amidst patches of furze, broom, heath, ferns, and dwarf oakcopse on the summit of an exposed ridge, and at no great distance from the north-west corner of Europe.
Weld's Vacation in Brittany. Fremenville says 11 metres 5 centi
metres. I had no instrument by which I could measure this column.