Sep 7, 2011

Have You Seen a Hiking Cairn?

Photo byoo_x
Cairns are piles of stones and sometimes used to mark a trail, or in some cases just to mark the fact that someone passed by. In ancient times Celtic Christians took pilgrimages and sometimes marked them in this fashion.

Does this remind anyone else of the Old Testament fathers who built altars of stone?

Like Moses:
He got up early the next morning and built an altar at the foot of the mountain and set up twelve stone pillars representing the twelve tribes of Israel. (from Exodus 24)

Wherever something significant happened, they built an altar from stones. Maybe this is where the Irish Christian pilgrims got the idea. But then again, pre-Christian Celts built stone cairns as well.

It's something to think about the next time you are on a hiking trail and add a stone to a pile you see. What journey are you on and how will you mark your encounter with your Maker? You might not use a physical marker but everyone has turning points. What do you think?

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