|Upon a hill rising from the small Dorset village of Cerne Abbas, the 60-meter tall Cerne giant and the Maypole mound above his head have marked a fertility power place since ancient times. The deep trenches (cut into the chalk rock of the hillside) outlining the giant's form have been maintained by generation after generation of local inhabitants since at least the 2nd millennium BC. Reporting on pagan May Day festivities in his 'Anatomy of Abuses' (1583), Philip Stubbs wrote: |
"Hundreds of men, women, and children go off to the woods and groves
Maypole dancing still occurred at the site as recently as 1635 when Christian authorities finally suppressed the pagan festivals. During prudish Victorian times the trenches of the giant's penis were filled with dirt and hidden beneath grass. The giant, whose name may derive from the Celtic fertility god Cernunnos, has the legendary power to cure barrenness in women, and childless couples still copulate while lying on the grass in the giant's phallus. A sight line taken up the giant's penis on May Day points directly at the sun as it rises over the crest of the hill.