A2Z April 2019 — O — Omphalos

An omphalos is a religious stone artifact, or baetylus. From point of view website:
Frequently such ‘Navels of the Earth’ also prove to have associations with meteorites – stones fallen from heaven. Many will have their own ‘navel stone’, or ‘sunstone’, or ‘foundation stone’, which will sometimes be accompanied by a tradition of a rod or pillar sunk into the earth or of an obelisk raised up. Each will additionally be depicted as a primordial centre of creation, from which all else grows: ‘The Holy One created the world like an embryo. As the embryo proceeds from the navel outwards, so God began to create the world from its navel onwards, and from there it was spread out in different directions.’

From Katexic clippings:
Many religious traditions feature omphalos stones (just one kind of many beatylus, or sacred stones.) These stones and sacred places were believed to be conduits for communication with the gods and some myths extend the story by supposing an umbilical connection meeting there between the godly realms and our own.

Göbekli Tepe
Göbekli Tepe (Turkish: [ɟœbecˈli teˈpe], Turkish for “Potbelly Hill”) is an archaeological site in the Southeastern Anatolia Region of Turkey, approximately 12 km (7 mi) northeast of the city of Şanlıurfa. The tell (an artificial mound formed from the accumulated refuse of generations of people living on the same site for hundreds or thousands of years.) has a height of 15 m (49 ft) and is about 300 m (980 ft) in diameter. It is approximately 760 m (2,490 ft) above sea level. The tell includes two phases of use, believed to be of a social or ritual nature by site discoverer and excavator Klaus Schmidt, dating back to the 10th–8th millennium BCE. During the first phase, belonging to the Pre-Pottery Neolithic A (PPNA), circles of massive T-shaped stone pillars were erected – the world’s oldest known megaliths.

gobekli tepe

Göbekli Tepe

Ancient Greece
In Ancient Greek, the word ὀμφᾰλός (omphalós) means “navel”. In Greek lore, Zeus sent two eagles across the world to meet at its center, the “navel” of the world. Among the Ancient Greeks, it was a widespread belief that Delphi was the center of the world. According to the myths regarding the founding of the Delphic Oracle, Zeus, in his attempt to locate the center of the earth, launched two eagles from the two ends of the world, and the eagles, starting simultaneously and flying at equal speed, crossed their paths above the area of Delphi, and so was the place where Zeus placed the stone. Omphalos is also the name of the stone given to Cronus. In the ancient world of the Mediterranean, it was a powerful religious symbol.

Most accounts locate the Delphi omphalos in the adyton (sacred part of the temple) near the Pythia (oracle). The stone sculpture itself (which may be a copy), has a carving of a knotted net covering its surface, and a hollow center, widening towards the base. The omphalos represents the stone which Rhea wrapped in swaddling clothes, pretending it was Zeus, in order to deceive Cronus. (Cronus was the father who swallowed his children so as to prevent them from usurping him as he had deposed his own father, Uranus).

Omphalos stones were believed to allow direct communication with the gods. It has been suggested that the stone was hollow to allow intoxicating vapours breathed by the Oracle to channel through it. Another wrote that the Python at Delphi was an earth spirit, who was conquered by Apollo and buried under the Omphalos. However, understanding of the use of the omphalos is uncertain due to destruction of the site by Theodosius I and Arcadius in the 4th century CE.


Omphalos at Delphi

Kaaba, also spelled Kaʿbah, small shrine located near the centre of the Great Mosque in Mecca and considered by Muslims everywhere to be the most sacred spot on Earth. Muslims orient themselves toward this shrine during the five daily prayers, bury their dead facing its meridian, and cherish the ambition of visiting it on pilgrimage, or hajj, in accord with the command set out in the Qurʾān.



The omphalos at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, Jerusalem, represents, in Christian mediaeval tradition, the navel of the world (the spiritual and cosmological centre of the world). Jewish tradition held that God revealed himself to His people through the Ark of the Covenant in the Temple in Jerusalem, which rested on the Foundation stone marking the centre of the world

omphalos in jerusalem

Omphalos at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, Jerusalem

Christians believe that the Garden of Eden was where it all began.

garden of eden Jan Bruegel

The Garden of Eden with the Fall of Man by Jan Brueghel the Elder

Hindus believe that Lord Shiva himself is where it all began.

Lord Shiva

Lord Shiva

Navajo Mountain (Naatsis’áán – Head of the Earth) and Rainbow Bridge
navajo people.org
According to Navajo oral traditions, Navajo Mountain and Rainbow Bridge are integral parts of the creation story cycle. Navajo Mountain, a large laccolithic dome, straddles the Utah-Arizona border of the Navajo Indian Reservation. The Navajo call this sacred mountain Naatsis’aan, “Head of the Earth Woman.” Navajo Mountain and Rainbow Bridge are integral parts of the creation story cycle. These two landforms are key fixtures in the story of Monster Slayer and are important ceremonial sites for the Protectionway and the Blessingway.

Navajo Mountain                                                                             Rainbow Bridge

Cusco “navel of the moon”
Cusco is a city in southeastern Peru, near the Urubamba Valley of the Andes mountain range. The site was the historic capital of the Inca Empire from the 13th until the 16th-century Spanish conquest. The indigenous name of this city is Qusqu. Although the name was used in Quechua, its origin is found in the Aymara language. The word is derived from the phrase qusqu wanka (‘Rock of the owl’), related to the city’s foundation myth of the Ayar Siblings. According to this legend, Ayar Awqa (Ayar Auca) acquired wings and flew to the site of the future city; there he was transformed into a rock to mark the possession of the land by his ayllu (“lineage”):

Then Ayar Oche stood up, displayed a pair of large wings, and said he should be the one to stay at Guanacaure as an idol in order to speak with their father the Sun. Then they went up on top of the hill. Now at the site where he was to remain as an idol, Ayar Oche raised up in flight toward the heavens so high that they could not see him. He returned and told Ayar Manco that from then on he was to be named Manco Capac. Ayar Oche came from where the Sun was and the Sun had ordered that Ayar Manco take that name and go to the town that they had seen. After this had been stated by the idol, Ayar Oche turned into a stone, just as he was, with his wings. Later Manco Capac went down with Ayar Auca to their settlement…he liked the place now occupied in this city Cuzco. Manco Capac and his companion, with the help of the four women, made a house. Having done this, Manco Capac and his companion, with the four women, planted some land with maize. It is said that they took the maize from the cave, which this lord Manco Capac named Pacaritambo, which means those of origin because…they came out of that cave.



Ancient Sumerians
Ancient Sumerians believed that agriculture, animal husbandry, and weaving were brought to humans from the sacred mountain Ekur, ( a Sumerian term meaning “mountain house”. It is the assembly of the gods in the Garden of the gods, parallel in Greek mythology to Mount Olympus and was the most revered and sacred building of ancient Sumer.) which was inhabited by very ancient deities without individual names. Others believed that the temple of Ekur was the center of the world, similar to Delphi.

temple of ekur

Temple of Ekur

The Egg Stone at Glastonbury Abbey
from THE ‘EGG STONE’ AT GLASTONBURY ABBEY By FREDERICK BLIGH BOND (1914).On July 11th, 1913, I called upon a friend who was staying at the hotel for two or three weeks, and was much interested in the history and antiquities of the place.  He introduced the subject of the egg-stones used by the various primitive cults, and I was struck by his remark that such a cult-stone must necessarily have existed at any place bearing the name of “Avalon.” (The mystery of the Avalon remark is yet fully examined.) On July 16th we had the stone turned over, when it was at once evident that the whole of the under surface and most of the sides were covered with markings, many of them natural, perhaps the result of glacial action, whilst others were palpably artificial.  The markings were of the following order:— (a) small circular holes; (b) parallel grooves; (c) convergent grooves like star-points, and grooves with X-shaped intersection; (d) chisel-marks and artificially flattened areas; (e) other incised marks of peculiar shape. 

egg stone at glastonbury

Egg stone at Glastonbury

Paul Weston’s site has a lot of information about the Glastonbury Tor (rocky hill) where the egg stone is located. There’s all sorts of stuff going on there, including a labyrinth and a ley line.

Easter Island
from point of view site:
Easter Island was called ‘Eyes Looking at Heaven’, but it was also called Te-Pito-О-Те-Henua, ‘The Navel of the World’, a name that was supposedly bestowed on it by the god-king Hotu Matua himself. Easter Island has well-established traditions concerning meteorites, which are called ‘Ure Ti’oti’o Moana’. There are supposedly three of them ‘deeply buried in the island’s soil’. In addition a mysterious ‘round tooled stone’, about 75 centimetres in diameter, can be seen to this day sitting near the shore close to Ahu Te Pito Kura, 2 kilometres east of Anakena.

easter island omphalos

Easter Island Omphalos

The Vinca Stone
It is from the Vinca culture which dates between 3,000 to 5,000 BC. Many Vinca buildings were found to have had an ‘Omphalos’ area set aside in them. The Vinca culture dissipated from ‘Old Europe’ c. 3,500 BC, vestiges of the same culture can be seen around the Mediterranean basin and beyond


Vinca Stone

Omphalos Syndrome
Omphalos Syndrome refers to the belief that a place of geopolitical power and currency is the most important place in the world. An excerpt from a book I couldn’t get to without signing up for access says: “the omphalos syndrome, where a people believe themselves divinely appointed to the center of the universe, shows its symptoms in the history of cartography as often as in ancient city planning. The oldest extant world map, inscribed on sun-dried brick from sixth-century B.C. Mesopotamia, illustrates a circular cosmos with Babylon in the middle. Both the early Christians and the Mohammedans placed their own holy shrines in the center of similarly circular charts of the cosmos.”

Have you ever seen an Omphalos?  Please tell about it if you have!

14 Comments Add yours

  1. iScriblr says:

    Whoa, how interesting is this!👍👍

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      Very! 🙂 It’s amazing how many links around the world join in common practices.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. iScriblr says:

        IKR! this is exactly what I was wondering after reading your post! #itsARoundWorld👍👍

        Liked by 1 person

        1. msjadeli says:

          It took me awhile to pull these together, but there are many more out there!

          Liked by 1 person

          1. iScriblr says:

            Great effort! And thank you for making us more aware! 🙂

            Liked by 1 person

  2. When Jacob was running away from his brother Esau, he had a very disturbing dream, a vision of the Temple being destroyed. Jacob passed by the altar on which his father Isaac had been bound and put on as a sacrifice when he was a child. Jacob took twelve stones from the altar because he felt he was destined to become the father of the twelve tribes and joined them into one. Jacob took the joined stone made out of the twelve pieces, and set it up on end as a pillar, poured oil on the top of it, which flowed down from heaven for him. God sank this anointed stone into the abyss, to serve as the Eben Shetiyah connected to the center of the earth, so it would be strong enough to become the foundation stone for the Temple, where the Arc would be kept.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      Now that is interesting! There is so much to learn about origins and beliefs.


  3. Lael-Heart says:

    I’ve been to Cusco. It was the coolest place, built into a mountainside. It’s SO high up and it seems like any moisture in your body leaves it as soon as you land, ha. It felt like magic though, everywhere.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      So very awesome!


  4. JoAnna says:

    Fascinating stuff!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Irene says:

    So interesting, and comprehensive, thank you, MsJadeLi!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      Thanks Irene. I got the tip of the iceberg at least 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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