My feet may yet be wanderin’
But my heart has found a home
In the Center of Four Quarters
In a Ring of Standing Stone.
“The Center of Four Quarters”
So what is the benefit of raising a Stone Circle in the middle of southern central Pennsylvania? For twenty years, hundreds of people have come together to do the great work, Stone by Stone, of putting together a ring of multi-ton Stones. Each one standing on end, plunged feet into the earth, and pulled up straight by dozens of people on ropes, using pulleys and winches and pry bars and wooden frames to get the Stone just right.
Orren Prentice Whiddon, the visionary behind the Stone Circle, is a man with whom I have had many differences. Nonetheless, he has been a super-powered, hexane-charged idea generator, heavy lifter, and teacher to many on the Land of Four Quarters. He is the one who first saw the Stone Circle in his mind’s eye and in his heart, and it is he who has kept it going, along with other dedicated volunteers and members of the Farm. He has been the heart and soul of many projects, and without him the Stone Circle would be nothing more than an abandoned hilltop along an old foresting road.
The Circle is an ongoing work, a “Work of Years, Stone by Stone” as Four Quarters’ publications say.
The Circle is a site for ceremony, hallowed by over a thousand rituals held there—weddings, funerals, and baby blessings, for sure. But also rituals celebrating work and commitment, initiations, holiday celebrations, rituals calling on our openness to change, rituals acknowledging our union with one another and All That Is. The Stone Circle, even though the ring is not yet finished, is a cathedral, built to honor Earth and the children who venerate Her.
I can only imagine the ceremony that will truly Open the Circle once it comes around to where it began. I am certain there are others like me who see it in their minds’ eyes.
I can see the procession. I can hear the Quarter Calls. I see the ring of celebrants. I see the ritual team and I feel their hands in mine. I hear the choir singing The Center of Four Quarters. I see the face paint. I smell the incense—copal, I think. I feel the purifying florida water into which I dip my hands. The Stones, every single one, are lit with luminaria, and torches flank the altars.
I can only imagine it, but I assure you, I will not be there alone.
Four Quarters has shaped a huge part of who I am spiritually.
If you want to understand me and why I am the interfaith, multifaith being I am, it is good to understand Four Quarters and our history together. It is good to look at Stone Circles and consider why our ancestors built them and what they mean today.
And it is good to consider what is at the heart of ceremony, of ritual. Because ritual is at the center of my heart and it is the fertile soil in which my spiritual practice grows.
For others, it is stillness and clarity into which they root their practice. And I have done that too. You may do it now.
For others, it is physical exertion and repetition into which they root their practice. I begin these days, with yoga and swimming, to do that too. You may do it now.
The deep ground, though, of my practice, is in symbol and in creating places of beauty and meaning.
What might all this discussion of spiritual practice mean to you? Check the Discovery and Deepening page and see what work we might do together? I’d love to have you with me as we spread our roots, reach our roots more deeply into practice.