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Newgrange: A Passage-Tomb to the Other Side

Newgrange Ireland

The Mound at Newgrange

Today, still on our virtual travel to spiritual places, and those of you with Irish DNA—in this life or any other—will find your ancestral spirituality at Newgrange Ireland.

Built over 5,000 years ago, Newgrange. in the Boyne Valley, is 500 years older than Stonehenge and the Egyptian pyramids. The Stone Age peoples who constructed this giant mound, with its internal passageway that marks the winter solstice, understood not only the movements of the heavens, but also embedded the concept of the eternal spirit in this ancient monument, made of more than 200,000 tons of stone and earth in alternating layers. The mound covers an acre of land.

Newgrange Ireland

At sunrise on the shortest day of the year, the rays of light come through the roof-box above the entrance to Newgrange to illuminate the long 62-foot passageway and light up the central chamber.

Those of us who have had Near Death Experiences (NDEs) often describe going down a long tunnel toward a bright light. There is a belief that Newgrange (and the nearby sites of Knowth and Dowth) was built as a way for the gods to travel between the heavens and this world.

Light coming into the passageway on winter solstice

Large “basin stone” inside chamber of Newgrange

There are ceremonial stone bowls in the chamber, and it is possible that the bones of the dead were placed in the bowls. When the light of the solstice sun streamed in, the souls of the dead would be able to travel to the other world. This is why Newgrange is known as a passage-tomb, although it was clearly more than just a tomb, encompassing astrological, religious, and ceremonial aspects of an ancient temple.

More and more is being discovered about this ancient sacred site, especially through the modern-day use of drones by amateur archeologists. In the summer of 2018, a heatwave dried up the Boyne Valley and drones revealed hidden monuments in the complex, including enormous ritual spaces and large circular enclosures, which are known, of course, as Dronehenge.

Illustration of probable circular enclosure called Dronehenge

In the legends of Ireland, Newgrange (known as Brug na Boinne) is the abode of the Tuatha Dé Danann (the Tribe of Danu, the Great Mother Goddess), a race with supernatural and magical powers. It is said that they arrived in Ireland by flying there, either as mist or fog or they arrived on flying ships; some say they came from Atlantis.

The gods went into the mounds to gain entrance to the heavenly worlds of the Land of Youth, the Land of the Ever Living Ones, and The Plain of Happiness. Dagda, the sun deity and the original god of Brug na Boinne, was tricked by his son Aonghus, who became the new owner of the mound. Aonghus was born of a virgin, and his symbol was the cross—the Newgrange chamber is designed in the shape of a cross—and the winter solstice that is celebrated there is the prehistoric predecessor of Christmas.

But by far the most persistent spiritual symbol at Newgrange is the triple spiral, known as the Triskelion, a Greek word meaning “three legs.” It’s one continuous line that is believed to represent the continuous movement of time, at least until you reach enlightenment.

The triskelion

It’s an ancient Celtic symbol that can be seen on the huge five-ton stone at the entrance to Newgrange—considered one of the most famous stones in all of megalithic art.

Entrance to Newgrange

There are many possible meanings for this ancient symbol, said to be the oldest symbol of spirituality, such as life-death-rebirth, spirit-mind-body, or the Triple Goddess of maiden-mother-crone/wise woman. Every culture or religion has their own version: the Hindu “big three” gods of Brahma (creation), Vishnu (preservation) and Shiva (destruction); the Christian father-son-holy spirit; or the Irish belief that everything happens in threes, so the “third times a charm.”

There are so many examples around the world of the spiritual understanding that each culture expresses in its own way, dating back far into prehistory. In visiting these ancient sacred sites, you can feel and touch the eternal truth that still guides our lives today.

Newgrange is one of countless spiritually powerful locations around the Earth. Of course, visiting all of them in physical form could be near impossible. Luckily, you can visit and soak up their energy and wisdom through other realms, even from the comfort of your own home. And that is exactly what we teach in our bestselling Astral Wisdom course, which you can check out here.

Deborah King