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Lingam stone?

To: alt.magick.tantra,alt.lucky.w,alt.fan.kali.astarte.inanna,alt.magick.tyagi
From: catherine yronwode 
Subject: Re: Lingam stone?
Date: Thu, 17 Jun 1999 20:03:30 -0800

Nirrti (Tzimon) wrote:
> 
> CPU Nutz wrote in message 
> <19990617202526.17093.00000873@ng-cs1.aol.com>...
> 
> >What is a lingam stone?  Where can I get one?
> >Thanks, I am just beginning my trek in this area.
> 
> If I understand what you're looking for, it's a naturally-produced
> phallus-shaped (more or less) stone.  If you live near a river or 
> ocean, you can find these pretty easily on the bank/beach.  It's said 
> that the best kind are pure white, but any correctly-shaped stone will 
> do.  It's nice if it's one solid color, but even this isn't a 
> necessity.
> 
> If I'm understanding you, of course.  If this isn't it, please explain
> further.

Those of us who deal with and collect Indian folkloric religious goods
will give a slightly differeent answer. 

A lingam stone is 

(a) One of a set number (47? i forget) "self created" natural stones in
the form of the Siva linga (phallus of Siva). Each one has a temple
dedicated to it in India and members of certain Saivite sects make it a
point to at least once in their lifetime make a pilgramage to each of
the temples. 

(b) A naturally rounded river rock, usually carved to its final form of
a Siva linga with hand-tools. The raw material itself comes from a
particular vein of sedimentary rock found only in India,  banded in wide
layers of medium-grey and thin layers of ocher-red. Lingam stones are
always formed so that the layering of colours runs horizontally around
the stone when it is set upright. The best (and most costly ones) are
mostly grey with a "cloud" of reddish-brown that does not run through
the stone (that is, it circles only 1/2 to 2/3 of the circumferance) and
is placed at about the 3/4 to the 7/8 mark from bottom to top. If the
stone were a human head, the effect should be like the horizontal
ash-streaks worn on the forehead by Saivite saddhus -- only
colour-reversed, with brownish stripes on a greyish background. If the
stone were a penis, the reddish marks might represent the marks of blood
left on it after having sex with a menstruating woman. Lingam means both
"penis" and "mark" -- so the colour-mark on the lingam stone is a pun on
"lingam."  These days, such stones are becoming hard to obtain,
especially in the larger sizes. They have never been cheap, but the
price rises geometrically as the size increases. A well-marked lingam
stone the size of a turkey egg -- the average size used on a home altar
such as mine -- is going to set you back at least 60 dollars. Tiny ones,
made from the scraps left while forming large ones, are very cheap,
though -- from 2 to 6 dollars. A lingam stone large enough that you'd
need two hands to hold it -- a small temple-sized one -- will cost
upwards of 400 to 500 dollars. Stones of the size used in larger Saivite
temples are rarely found in the USA collectors' market; expect to pay
800 to 2,000 dollars if you can locate one. The Virashaivite sect has
been especially given to using these stones as religious icons and --
despite their weight -- to wearing them in triple-pointed silver holders
on cords around their necks. The central point of the holder opens to
hold the stone and the two outer points hold sandalwood paste for
performing puja. These holders average 4 - 8 inches across and 6 - 12
inches from top to bottom, and are pointed both top and bottom. Wearing
them is not comfortable; it is a form of tapas or austerity. One can
occasionally find antique examples of elaborate 18th and 19th century
silver lingam holders in the USA -- they cost anywhere from 200 to 900
dollars, depending on size and workmanship. The cost of a stone would be
additional, and it might take some selction to find a stone to fit any
given holder, since the holders were made to fit the stones and not vice
versa. . 

Lest Tzimon flame me for supplying prices in the above information, i
hasten to add that at present my company does not sell lingam stones
from India. I do have a probable source for them, however, should anyone
wish to pursue this topic further by private e-mail.  

cat

catherine yronwode ------------------------  mailto:cat@luckymojo.com
Lucky Mojo Curio Co. http://www.luckymojo.com/luckymojocatalogue.html
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