“It was a beautiful, bright autumn day, with air like cider and a sky so blue you could drown in it.” — Diana Gabaldon, Outlander
Oh so true. I took this photo of the endless blue sky and Perthshire Mountains on my recent visit to Scotland…
…and this one too, of the Star Pyramid, pointing to Scotland’s heavens. Also known as the Martyrs Monument, it stands just beyond the southeast side of Stirling Castle near the Valley Cemetery.
Two large grey ashlar sandstone spheres are carved with lines of latitude and longitude and flank a set of steps leading up the hill to the monument. Each side of the structure is aligned 33 degrees off a perfect north south alignment. A large bronze eagle was part of the sculpture until it disappeared in the 1970’s.
Erected in 1863 as a memorial to all who suffered martyrdom for civil and religious liberty in Scotland, the monument was commissioned by nurseryman William Drummond who was obsessed with religion.
Each side of the Star Pyramid contains a white marble crown, thistle, rosette, and an open bible. Each of these items is one-third the distance from each other which some suggest are masonic connections particularly since masonic symbolism uses the pyramid to represent stability and endurance, and the rosette for love, joy, and silence. A different sunken relief text with reference to verses from the Psalms appears on each side: Union Banner, Rock of Ages, Covenant Rest, Thrown of Right.
As it neared completion, William Drummond supposedly sealed in the monument’s hollow confines a Bible and a Confession of Faith to recall the principles of the Scottish Reformation. Eternal blue skies often feel like Heavens’ embrace to me and no doubt to William Drummond too.