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Barnesville Yonic Ogam

by George R. Murray

[Note: This article appeared in the Volume 1, Number 2, 1984 issue of the Midwestern Epigraphic Journal.]

Since translating the ogam on a yonic oval graven near Barnesville, Belmont County, Ohio (MESJ-1), I've found two references supporting this view of the epigraph.

Walker (#1) calls that pointed ovoid-form the almond, sign-of-the-yoni, and vesica piscis (vessel of the fish; which was said to become impregnated from the spirit of the waters, rather than from the sperm of the male).

The goddess Nana is said to have conceived the god Attis, using the almond to impregnate herself. Nana traces at least to Sumer before 2000 BC; and was Mari Anna in Canaan, Perennial Anna in Italy, and Balder's mother Nana up north.

Attis' cult was widespread in Phrygia before 200 BC. It saw Attis, a Herculean, born on winter solstice and hailed as a bringer of light. In manhood, he was castrated and crucified on a pine tree, and his blood was shed to redeem earth. Worshippers ate his body as bread (#2).

Macalister (#3) records a variation of the ogamed yonic oval - - almost circular, and with explicit centerlines. He does not idenfity the lines as ogam. He calls the 18 grouped illustrations "the chief elements in the British province (Ireland) of rock-scribbing."

Barnesville Yoni (left) and Macalister's Variation (right)

  1. Woman's Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets, Barbara G. Walker; Harper Row, 1983, San Francisco.
  2. A variant myth, recorded by John Allegro (Scared Mushrooms and the Cross), has Attis' blood generating the blood-topped Amanita muscaria, the dried wafer-like skin of which was taken as communion with the god.
  3. Archeology of Ireland, R. A. Macalister; 1949, London.