Stone Stacking Tradition
Patience, focus, and a deep stillness of the mind are key states to acheive stone stacks. Traditionally stone stacks found in nature were often cairns, formed to navigate the often maze like trails through nature. The other traditional use of stone stacking was as a burial monument, for defense or hunting purposes and ceremonial purposes relating to astronomy. Some civilizations have also placed spiritual symbols on the rocks themselves, considering them invididual spirits or mystical silent beings.
Stone Balancing as meditiation
Stone stacking has itself become a spiritual practive, with practitioners assigning prayer or gratitude to the devine to each stone stacked. Many see the practice as an artform such as the Shamen James Craig Page who challenges his own creativity with each adventure into nature. James says “Nature is my muse, the path to a great stack is natural, the stones present themselves to me as I create.”
Others such as Shane Hart were drawn through a love of the impossibility of gravity “I began working with balanced stones in 1995. The seeming impossibility of it is what drew me in, and I’m still amazed when I slowly pull my hands away from a stone and it remains there defying gravity”
There are many notable practitioners of stone stacking around the world and they tend to conduct their stacks following the four main styles each with their own unique interpretation
- Balanced stacking – rocks lain flat upon each other to great height
- Counterbalance – lower rocks depend on the weight of upper rocks to maintain balance
- Free style – mixture of the two above; may include arches and sandstone
- Pure balance – each rock in near-point balance
An important element of stone stacking is mindfulness for two reasons, one that you are in the moment and mindful of the stack you are constructing but also a wider mindfulness to the impact you may be having on the eco system you are stacking in. Stone Stacking should be in essence temporary, your stack or installation unless commissioned and planned in a certain area will most likely return to its natural state. This is why modern stone stacking is conducted frequently at beaches or in running water courses. This natural water returns your stack to its natural state, giving you or the next visitor a blank slate to begin again. Natural parks in the US and UK both have laws that forbid visitors from collecting plants or rocks as they can harm the natural eco system and this should always be considered when finding the correct place to stack.