Rock Eagle Mound in Georgia

February 28, 2024

There is an effigy mound in rural Georgia, near a lake, that has been called Rock Eagle. It is acknowledged that we don’t know for sure what kind of bird it was meant to be. Personally, I think the shape of its head and large round body are more indicative of a turkey. In addition, the wings are smaller, not like the long broad wings of an eagle.

Why, then, would it be called an eagle mound? I think it’s because white folks are used to think in hierarchical terms. To them, the eagle, as a prime predator, is more significant and interesting than a turkey. Those separated from their own indigenous wisdom don’t recognize the value of every single animal and plant in the great web of life.

Commonly called Rock Eagle Mound,
this two-thousand-year-old structure is located near Eatonton, Georgia.

I had driven four hours yesterday morning in order to visit this particular mound. It is located on a very large preserve owned by 4H. I drove up to the gates of the property and was pleasantly redirected down the road to the appropriate entrance, which first took me on a longish drive around a large lake. When at last I arrived at the open gate leading to this mound, I noticed nervousness within my body. It was not anxiety, and I don’t know that it was necessarily excitement, but I felt flutters of nervous energy in my belly and I was breathing a little shallowly. What was going on? Why did I feel this way? The answer I came up with was this: I was coming back to a place I had known before.

Several years ago, on the first of what I call pilgrimages, I met a woman near the top of sacred Mt. Shasta, in California. Quickly realizing we were spiritual sisters, we struck up a soulful conversation. Later she would tell me that she believed I would be called to visit the places where I had lived in previous lifetimes. And as I journeyed from place to place to place, I definitely found this phenomenon to be true. Reflecting further, I have noticed that sometimes when I arrive at a place–for instance, an ancient sacred place like the Bighorn Medicine Wheel in Wyoming, or Canyon de Chelly in Arizona; or a place of great beauty and majesty, like Mission Mountains in Montana or the Sangre de Cristo Mountains in Crestone, Colorado–I will feel a great sense of peace. This has even happened twice in places where horrific massacres have happened. I think my soul recognized the land.

Here it was happening again. Perhaps I had carried some of the rocks and helped to create this mound that I was now seeing, seemingly for the first time.

Before I got out of the car, I took some sage and smudged myself. (I had already prayed several times that I be guided, as well as open and receptive to any knowledge or wisdom the spirits or guides wanted to impart.) Then I did what I normally do at sites such as this. I began with the mundane. I read any signs I could find and took a few photos. After this I began to walk around the mound, rattling a rattle, and trying to lapse into a receptive state. I walked around the mound four times. Some insights started to filter through into my consciousness. Afterwards, I climbed the tower that had been built near the tail so I could take some photos from above. In a few minutes, a large group of schoolchildren and their chaperones had come to climb the tower. I stood on a landing of the stairs where I had started to descend and stopped to watch every single child on their way up. What beautiful souls! When they had all passed me, I climbed down the remainder of the stairs and went to sit among the leaves in the wooded area just to the east of the mound. I offered some prayers for the spirits of the people who created “Rock Eagle” and for this sacred land upon which rested this ancient, sacred mound.

The sign out front had told me that this was a ceremonial mound. What came to me as I was circling the mound was that people gathered here to do ceremonial dances, similar to what native people continue to do throughout this continent today. The Pueblo people in New Mexico, for instance, have dances several times a year–among them: antelope, deer, bison, turtle, and eagle dances. The Lakota dance sacred buffalo and eagle dances. The Ute celebrate the waking bear each spring with a ceremonial dance. Do any tribes dance turkey dances? Some research indicates that turkeys were indeed honored by native tribes. (All animals are, of course.) Originally, apparently, turkeys were more revered for their feathers than as food. I learned that in 2012, near a 1,000-year-old Native American village in Colorado, a mass grave of turkeys was discovered. Fifty bodies had been carefully arranged within a circle of stones, indicating a ceremonial burial. Read more HERE.

Archaeologists make educated guesses about the purpose of ancient earth mounds and effigy mounds. When they are wise, they consult with and value the input of local tribal elders. I, personally, think it’s also very important to meditate and pray at these sacred places. And maybe even drum and dance and sing. As the theologian Matthew Fox teaches, the best education includes both left-brain and right-brain learning. We can learn from others via lectures and books and videos, but we also have wisdom within if we can settle our minds down enough to let it surface.


Banner image: Rock Eagle Mound, Wikimedia Commons

About the Author

Cynthia Greb

Cynthia Greb is a writer, Nature lover, Dreamer, interfaith minister, and occasional artist. She has a great love for this beautiful planet and a deep connection to the ancient people who once lived so respectfully upon this Earth.
You can find her on Facebook, on YouTube, and occasionally on Instagram.

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