Posts Tagged ‘offerings’
Daily Magick posts are on hold for a little bit. Mundane life has gotten quite crazy and I will post what I am doing each day to remain in touch with spirit as I can.
As we approach Lammas, I have begun harvesting and gathering the fruits of my labor this year and it’s pretty life changing for me. Just in time our good friend Pat Olsen sent me an email early this morning with her Sabbat Poem. Usually we share these on our facebook pages only but I thought it would absolutely do wonderfully sharing it with everyone today as we all begin the approach to the first harvest of our year.
Gathering in the Grain
(c) Patricia OlsenThe days are mellow with amber;Straw Flower
The old God of Fire still potent in the sky;
The nights are still and sweet as musk,
With a green corn moon on high.
The grain ripens like silken threads of gold,
Fruit hangs heavy and expectant on the bough;
The season has turned — it’s Lammas Fair,
And time to speed the plough.
As bread we bake and corn dolls we weave,
To honor the spirit of John Barleycorn,
To once again regenerate,
Even though now he must be shorn.
For soon winter’s wraith will envelop the land,
As the wounded fisher-king grows weak and frail;
Our blessed Goddess nourish and sustain us all,
With the fruits of your life-giving grail;
To have bread on the board and wheat in the barn,
And shelter from storm and hail;
And in every cottage and tavern near and far,
Plenty of good brown ale.
So let us reap the bounty of harvest time,
At this season of growth and decay;
And know that what dies will be reborn again,
With the lengthening of the days.
A time of passing, a time of change;
A cycle of life, death and rebirth;
Like the little shorn sheaf of grain, we too must go
The way of all life on this earth.
But we do not grieve as the wheel turns;
Instead we celebrate and make cheer;
And honor the Lord and Lady,
As they bide with us throughout the year.
So come make merry, drink, dance and sing;
Lovers embrace as you did on the Eve of Beltane,
And kindle the fires of love, life and rebirth,
With the gathering in of the grain.
Monday’s are all about home, family, love, health, magick and dreams. These last two, the association is hard to ignore with the ruler of Monday being the Moon. The colors today are silver and white.
With this in mind today’s magick is going to be postponed to be called tonight’s magick
and one that I will be doing before I lay down to bed tonight.
The moon for today is in Taurus making it a fantastic time to work with inner peace, love,
creativity. These are the spells that take the longest to manifest but the results are
stable and long lasting.
My primary altar is on my desk, I use this altar every day. I do have a secondary altar
on my nightstand next to the bed that houses gemstones and a spot for a candle should I want one and an incense burner with either a small stone offering bowl or a stone goddess in the center.
Set your altar or bedside table (if safe) with the votive, incense burner and gemstone.
If you have an oil you use before sleep please anoint your votive with it. I will be
anointing mine with what some may believe to be an odd choice, nevertheless; I will be
using the Ostara Creamy Petals – Spellbound Potion on my candle. The scent relaxes and
opens my mind to the possibilities before me.
Sit before your altar, light your candle and focus on a challenge in your life right now.
Something you need to find resolution to, something that blocks your way, something that needs divine inspiration to help you find a creative solution through. Be very specific
in your thoughts. For me personally, I will be working on resolving challenges presented
before me in an effort to relocate with the ability to maintain my bills and life while
simultaneously improving it for the better.
I am looking for inspiration and creativity to help me find the direction, by using the
dream-state to lay the groundwork needed.
You may enter a meditative state while thinking about your challenge, this is perfectly
fine and normal as you will begin to receive visions of symbols by letting your conscious
mind go and allowing your inner-self take over to give you ideas and directions.
When you are ready, dab a little of the anointing oil on your temples and third eye then
lay down for sleep.
You may find your dreamstate to be more active. Before your feet hit the ground in the
morning, write down the symbols you are able to recall from your dreaming. These will
help you find your way through your challenge and bring your goals to fruition.
Poised between spring and summer, Beltane is the Celtic quarter-marker festival of budding fertility. As the sun waxes brighter in the northern hemisphere, it is a festival marked by flames and bonfires in earthly reflection of the heightening solar powers. The fires are and were also intended to purify the world for the upcoming bounty of spring fruits and autumnal harvests.
Standing as it does on the cusp of warmer weather and as the herald of the vivid growth and coloring of late spring and summer, Beltane was a festival of the in-between. In the ancient mythology of the Celtic Isles, particularly Ireland, it represented a changing of regimes and hunting grounds among the Tuatha de Dannan, the Fianna, and the more human aspects of the ancient population. Famously, the Sons of MÍl (the mythical Milesians) first landed on the southwest coast of Ireland on Beltane in an attempt to upset the balance of power and claim the islands for themselves. As they first stepped foot on the beaches and upon feeling the power emanating from the earth on the sacred isles, connecting them to the sacred day, the sun, and the cycle of life and death; their poet Armhairghin composed a song-chant in honor of the occasion. He sang:
“I am an estuary into the sea.
I am a wave of the ocean.
I am the sound of the sea.
I am a powerful ox.
I am a hawk on a cliff.
I am a dewdrop on the sun.
I am a plant of beauty.
I am a boar of valour.
I am a salmon in a pool.
I am a lake in a plain.
I am the strength of art…”
The sacred place on the sacred day of Beltane inspired an ancient invocation of one-ness between man and the universe: a positive invocation that inspires boundless definitions beyond the borders of human conception and perception. For, like its parallel fall festival of Samhain, it is a time when the boundaries between the worlds is dim. And like Samhain, it was a time when fierce protections were set in place to ensure that the roaming faeries and ancient gods of Dark Age and early Medieval Ireland did not interfere with mortal affairs or kidnap mortals into the Otherworlds beyond the mortal veil. Of particular concern were the Aos SÍ (the people of the Mounds), better known as the Tuatha Dé Danann or the Sidhe: the common name in Irish Gaeilge for the Mounds themselves. These faerie mounds which still dot the landscape of the Celtic isles are in reality Neolithic burial sites. But prior to the archaeological excavations conducted over the past several centuries (and really, still), these mounds were superstitious spots on the map. They were sites associated with the unknown depths of antiquity that had come before and when the early religions of the pagan past were translated into Christian terms as fairy tales and mythic saints, the ancient mounds retained their mysterious symbolism.
Legends held that the mounds variously housed the denizens of faerie or acted as party portals between the mortal realm and the Otherworlds ~ which in Celtic mythology are a complex and intriquing web of inter-dimensional theories modern physics are currently exploring. On certain special days, (Beltane among them) the locks between the layers of reality were undone, and the Aos SÍ were able to travel into the mortal realm via the Faerie Mounds and other portals within the landscape despite their contract with the Milesians that they must remain in the Otherworlds. Often their travels involved wild rides through the countryside or midnight dances near the mounds or in the surrounding forest. Hapless mortals lured into their revelry would often disappear, never to be seen again or returning suddenly years later, thinking only a few days had passed. Such was the case of the literarily infamous Tam Lin from last year’s Sacred Mists Beltane Blog who disappeared with the Sidhe and returned centuries later.
In order to avoid being caught up by the Aos SÍ, various rituals were enacted for protection and to simultaneously draw the good blessings of the faerie folk upon their households. The bonfires, ripe with fertile and purifying symbolism, also serve as faux-faerie fires. In this sense, the bonfires act as a sort of apotropaic magick whereby the humans mimic the revelry of the fey thereby keeping other bands of Tuatha Dé Danann from wandering their way by convincing them that there were already faeries in residence. Less flammable offerings of foods were also often left outside of the house or certain plants or flowers hung over the doorways and windows to keep the sidhe out, while still currying their good favor as they passed by on Beltane, Samhain and other days of the in-between. Milk, honey, cakes, and bouquets of fresh and dried herbs were, in particular, favorite offerings to the faerie folk.
Though Beltane is an ancient festival of hope and confidence, it is still widely celebrated in the modern world as one of the highlights of the Wiccan and Druidic calendar. And the belief in faeries and in other magickal denizens of the house and countryside remains strong the world over. So be sure to celebrate this festival of light, growth, and impending summer. It is a marker of good things to come!
Check out Sacred Mist’s Free Beltane Spells and Recipes : especially the Fried Honeycakes ~ just be sure you make enough for you and the Aos SÍ!
[Pictured at the top is Edward Hugh's Midsummer's Eve].
I don’t know about you, but the wall in front of my desk is a veritable collage of notes, images, and articles I’ve pulled out of magazines and printed offline. They’re up there as visual reminders to inspire me during the daily grind and to direct my research. The current center of that web is a picture I pulled out of National Geographic last year of an Aztec offering found buried deep beneath Mexico City’s Zócalo Plaza (pictured at right). Despite excavation, the positioning of the shells, animal bones, and pottery within their stone tomb remains virtually the same as when they were placed in the stone box centuries ago. And what’s more: the unique positioning of the box within the stratigraphy of offerings buried in the Plaza is indicative of a wider sacred emphasis on the use of space and placement within ancient ritual magick and mythology. I can’t recall exactly where I put the Aztec Offering picture on my wall at first, but over the intervening months it has slowly migrated, becoming the central focus of my paperwork montage. With this particular picture suddenly as my desk focal point it seems fitting to address the power of placement and the art of magickal spatial management.
In cultures throughout the ancient and modern world the arrangement of objects on altars, in rooms, and throughout their personal and public space has held power. Be it the arrangement of the candles on altars or the positioning of furniture in line with the tenets of feng shui, the idea of symbolic alignments is an active one with ancient (and potentially psychological) depths. In arranging objects in a way which is pleasing to the eye and therefore to the mind, there is the assumptive potential that they will also be pleasing to the divine or on a divine plane; thus balancing out or enhancing the divine and mortal energies flowing through the world. Or so follows some of the premises behind much of modern anthropological and psychological enquiry into the contemporary use of aesthetics. While the philosophies behind the ancient use of spatiality (sometimes called phenomenology when applied to sensory perceptions of the spatial use of ancient landscapes) are not as clearly known as those which remain into modern times like feng shui, what can be understood from ancient patterns of placement typically relates to the placement of objects and sometimes buildings in ritual contexts, mythic tales and divine cosmologies.
The Aztec Offering from Mexico City is an example of these latter instances. Once, hundreds of years ago, Zócalo Plaza was where the Temple Mayor stood as a visible reminder of the sacred mountain Coatepec (a sort of darker Aztec Olympus) where one of the greatest mythological soap opera’s occurred. For it was on Coatepec that Huitzilopochtli the sun god killed his sister the moon goddess Coyolxauhqui and threw her body off of the mountain. Portions of the dark Aztec sacrificial rituals of the 14th to 16th centuries AD were intended to be representations of this event, which for various reasons was central to their mythos. And in lieu of being able to access the sacred mountain of Coatepec, men built pyramids in Mesoamerica to stand in their stead. In front of the Temple Mayor was a series of ritual statements symbolic of other aspects of Aztec mythology: like the pink stone monolith of andesite (now broken) representative of the earth goddess Tlaltecuhtli squatting to give birth before the pyramid. And beneath them, representing the various levels of the Aztec Underworld were a series of symbolic ritual offerings: a level of sacrificial knives representing the razor sharp teeth of the earth monster opening his maw to accept incoming souls to the afterlife. Beneath which was a leaf-wrapped cache of incense, beads, and jaguar bones: potential gifts paid for entrance or a magickal bundle to ensure correct passageway to the best part of the Underworld. And below that was the stone box that started this train of thought. A box filled with seashells, snails, crustaceans, and corals hailing from the three nearest seas (the Atlantic, Gulf of Mexico, and Pacific); along with a series of sacrificial knives each inscribed with the attributes of deities associated with the setting sun. And in its center, was placed the remains of a wolf or dog, bejeweled with a jade collar, gold anklet bells, and turquoise ear plugs: a testament to man’s best friend, who would lead the way and protect his master’s soul even unto death and its Underworld.
Funerary contexts are often where the spatial patterning of artefacts is most clearly detected by archaeologists. The Egyptian pyramids, like their Mesoamerican counterparts, are complex tapestries representative of the ancient mythologies: inside and out. From their placement within the landscape, to the elaborate burials they contained, placement was of the utmost importance. For instance, the pyramids at Giza (pictured at the start of the articles) were built in alignment with the ancient sky, just as many standing stones were throughout the ancient northern European world. And everything about an Egyptian burial or entombment was ordained by ritual: from the placement of grave goods in certain areas of the tombs to the placement of scarabs and papyrus spells around and within the body and its wrappings. The shape of the Egyptian pyramid itself was dictated by local mythology and was often ascribed as a symbolic representation of the sacred mound which rose out of the primordial waters of the world and formed the foundation of all life.
And while these ancient uses of space and arrangement might seem really distant from the modern world of sky scrapers, motorways, and electrical appliances: consider how often you do ‘arrange’ things without even noticing. You arrange flowers. You set the table for dinner (forks on the left, knife and spoons on the right!). You display your furniture, family pictures, and artwork. You organize your desk and in my case, the mess of inspirational papers you have tacked above it. And whether you’re following a set of traditional rules or just setting things up to be as pretty or as practical as possible: there is a method to that madness and a symbolism behind your movements. Be it an offering to the gods, the spacing of your living room set, or the arrangement of the herbs in your gardens, there is an unconscious art involved. There is a visual language ripe with meaning, some of which only you can decipher. And perhaps, the more you are conscious of the art of space and the art of offerings, the closer to something greater you might just be.
For Further Reading check out the National Geographic article that inspired this train of thought:
UnBurying the Aztec by Robert Draper from the November 2010 issue.
And to investigate the most prevalent trend in aesthetic spatiality in the modern world, check out the Sacred Mist’s collection of Feng Shui texts!
This past week a group of Israeli archaeologists uncovered a particularly stunning and intriguing group of ancient ritual vessels dating to approximately 3,500 years ago. The objects were found at a site whose name and location have not officially been released in order to avoid looters, which is reportedly just south of Haifa on Jordan’s coast. Based on the vague structural patterns discerned so far, namely a step or potentially a series of steps leading into a natural hollow in the landscape, it either represents a small rustic temple or the merely the ceremonial resting place of the ritual vessels associated with a presumably nearby undiscovered temple: only further excavation will reveal which. The cache of remarkable and intact objects features, among a variety of other things: a cultic incense burner, a particularly beautiful cultic cup featuring the face of a woman (pictured), storage vessels for sacred oils, and a series of flatware, presumably for feasts. All of these vessels were deliberately, and carefully, buried; which has left them particularly intact, a rarity among pottery from this tumultuous time period (trust me on that one, I once excavated a piece of Iron Age cultic incense burner of a similar make from a nearby site and am entirely jealous that they’ve found a complete one). The archaeologists attached to the site, Uzi Ad and Dr. Edwin van den Brink, speculate that these ritual vessels were most likely entombed as such for one of two reasons. Either the local Iron Age chaos of the region threatened the objects, and potentially their temple; and they were subsequently hidden and no one ever came back for them. Or the cult or temple they were associated with fell out of favor, and the items were ritualistically buried as a sort of funerary sacrament for the defunct religion. Overall, it’s an exceptional and exciting find and one which has prompted me to explore the origin and nature of the ritual vessel in more depth.
The Psychology & Origin of the Idea of a “Cup”
Imagine yourself back in the good ole hunter-gatherer days. You sleep in caves and outdoors, you subsist off the land entirely, you move around a lot. You have few worldly possessions, and what you do have you use to hunt with. But what do you store your food and water in? Think about it. You kneel down at a nice lil’ gurgling creek and scoop out water with your hands, but you don’t get very much water. You try using leaves. But while the big leaves are useful for carrying those pesky berries you’ve been collecting for dinner, the water spills out when you travel over long distances and you can’t set it down to drink it later. You need something more substantial. And thus the cup was inevitably born. Cups and bowls carved from rock and wood, made from animal bladders and bone, and molded from clay and metal would have revolutionized the business of eating, living, and yes, praying, for the ancient man (and woman).
It seems like such a simple idea to the modern world. We’ve grown up with the idea of containment: with cardboard boxes, plastic bags, and the convenience of rolling suitcases. You’ve had bottles, sippy cups, wine goblets, champagne flutes, soup bowls, mixing bowls, and all sorts of useful containers around since infancy. But in a world just evolving and creating these things, consider the importance of that initial cup or bowl. The magick it must have held for its creators. You put something in it and it stays. It captures things inside and doesn’t let it out. It is as if you have made a permanent new set of hands, separate from yourself, which can hold the water you were trying to drink from that rambling stream much better than you can. And on top of that, there is simply the act of creation itself. Where once there was nothing, you have made something. You have given birth to this tiny little creature made from mud that can do your bidding and hold your water, grapes, seeds, and what have you. It’s quite a novel concept. Often it is the first creation of fire that is seen as the dawn of civilization, I suggest that it was the first cup instead.
It is difficult to pinpoint the evolution of the idea of the cup and other similar vessels and match them up with the human timeline; but it seems likely that its widespread use was a hunter-gatherer, homo sapien sapien phenomenon. Vessels, especially tiny oil lamps, begin appearing in the archaeological record alongside the infamous cave paintings of continental Europe. In order to light their way around the darkened caves to paint their lovely animals, bird-men, and hunting scenes, these early men and women took little bowls of lit oil in there with them. Archaeologically speaking, where the negative items in the record often are more significant than those we have evidence from, if such bowls were being used to such novel usage then and are accidentally preserved as such, it is likely that by this time the vessel was in much more mainstream usage and that few of these everyday cups and bowls remain for archaeologists to find.
With the advent of pottery about 18,000 years ago, bowls, cups, and other vessels appear more regularly in the archaeological record. From then on much of the archaeological record itself is actually determined entirely by the styles and types of pottery being created. When a man is found with a handled cup with a wide lip archaeologists can estimate he lived circa X thousand years ago, whereas when a man is found with a shallow bottomed bowl with a rippled top edge, scholars can say that he was approximately from Y thousand years ago. It’s a system called typology and it’s been a boon to archaeologists for the past two centuries, one which admittedly is being reevaluated and expanded with the advent of technologies like radiocarbon dating which can test the dating sequences in real time.
The Specialization of the Ritual Vessel
But then, like any priceless item, the value of cups and bowls become distinctly overlooked once there are many of them. Anthropologically, psychologically, and even economically speaking, when we start having plates and windows and cars made out of diamonds, we’ll stop valuing them as highly as we do. And the same thing happened to the once special “cup”. If everyone has something that can hold water, oil, or food it stops being a special invention. It stops being a magickal object of supernatural power and just becomes an everyday item. Or so it seems.
Humans, however, are keen on the specialization of things; and when applied to a civilization’s seemingly uninteresting cups and bowls, this penchant for specializing and using certain items for specific uses makes for quite a more interesting story. Just as we now have the dinner plate versus the side plate, the wine glass versus the coffee mug, so too the early civilizations had a variety of types of vessels. And to some of them, they ascribed that earlier wonder they once felt for this ‘idea of the cup,’ and these became the ritual vessels of the title.
The cups, bowls, and plates for offerings became imbued with the power of the offering, they too were part of the ceremony, part of the power between the supplicant and the god and/or goddess. In richer communities where there were many containment vessels, specific vessels were made ONLY for ritual use: be this holding sacred oil for temple fires, perfumes to anoint statues of the gods with, or carrying the special bits of sacrificial meat up to your nearby temple in. Often these ritual vessels have particularly ornate decoration carved or painted on them. These decorations range from simple designs to more complicated imagery, including the occasional image of the vessel being used in rituals on the vessel itself or an inscription describing the ritual or spell the vessel was intended to partake in. Ritual vessels are often more decorated than was typical for everyday rough and ready vessels which were far more likely to break through constant usage and handling. Ritual vessels on the other hand, were set apart from other objects and used only in special circumstances and therefore in a certain sense “lived” longer. They could be passed down through generations as well, imbuing them with further oomph via associations with ancestors and their worship, a huge part of early ritual and one which has persisted in various forms into the modern world.
So, the next time you bust out your grandmother’s china for Thanksgiving dinner, raise a glass in a toast, or just simply take a sip from your coffee cup: take a second to realize the remarkable meaning and journey of the vessel you’re using and the power it once, and could still, wield.
For more on the Israeli discovery, click here.
Petra is one of those places that has to be seen to be believed. Sure, it looks mega fabulous in films and documentaries, but it’s nothing like the pop culture simulacra the media has invented for it. The real place is so magnificent, so eye-popping and jaw dropping, it can only be defined as nothing less than an awe-inspiring, and truly religious experience.
An iconic site, Petra sits nestled in the Shara Mountains in southern Jordan. The Shara are sacred peaks, associated with the cult center of the Nabataean god Dhushara, lord of the mountains and son of all fates. But Petra isn’t just that one gorgeous building from Indiana Jones and the last Crusade (which is actually called al-Khazneh or the Treasury) nor is it just the Tomb of the Primes featured so prominently in last year’s Transformers 2 (which is typically actually called the al-Deir Monastery): it’s a vast cosmopolitan complex of sandstone wonder carved into a series of canyons and mountain tops over a series of approximately 36 square miles. You need days and days and oodles of energy to cover at least a partial hike of all the various sections of Petra proper (not to mention Little Petra several miles away from the more tourist-y central area). But it’s worth it, and if you ever get the chance to visit: do it. Just don’t forget comfortable shoes and a water bottle.
At the end of this last winter, I had two wonderful days out of my dig schedule to tour. The first I spent simply wandering through the ultra-tourist-y sections of the site. Petra, especially during high season in the fall, is exceptionally crowded. But as it’s an exceptionally big place, there’s always room for everyone to have their turn and pose for photos next to all the essential spots. And there truly never will be another moment in my life quite like walking up the long processional Siq and coming to its end and seeing al-Khazneh for the first time. It’s very Indiana Jones (and yes, my fellow archaeologists and I even had the theme song playing in the background off an I-pod to reinforce that notion) and it is a not-to-be-missed moment for anyone who has ever dreamed of seeing the world. However as impressive as it is now, imagine how amazing and magickal it would have been centuries ago as a culminating point for sacred parades. Hundreds would have trekked through the winding canyons to reach the space in front of al-Khazneh. Perhaps by torch light or by day light, the festive parishioners would have carried offerings; leaving some at the tiny altars carved into the walls they passed, and reserving others for the final destination. Sacred songs or chants, perhaps even dances would have been performed, but alas little is known of the ritual minutiae associated with this marvelous ritual landscape. However, participants would have come not necessarily to see al-Khazneh, but to have born witness to what was going on above it. For the cliffs above “the Treasury” rise ultimately to the High Place of Sacrifice, which for centuries, perhaps even pre-dating the more famous architecture below, a large basalt rectangle on a wind-swept plateau served as the ultimate offering place to the gods.
The High Place of Sacrifice, a two hour hike up and around the mountains is not often on the general tour. Typically a visit of Petra proper consists of a wander through the famous tombs, a stroll, or as in my latest visit, a camel ride across the Roman center of the city (which features the only remaining standing building, a later temple to the goddess al-Uzza), and a hike up a particularly treacherous mountain to see both the al-Deir Monastery and a panoramic of the site below.
The tombs stand out as the most prominent remaining feature, and many assume it was simple a necropolis. But what most people don’t realize about Petra is that it was a city of the living AND a city of the dead. Tombs and homes alike were carved into the mountain or else homes were built freestanding just beyond the ancestral tombs. And the living did not just live among the dead, they interacted with them on a frequent basis, often leaving feasts for the dead in the tombs and having celebratory feasts of their own. Later tombs, like the Tomb of the Obelisk just outside the Siq, even incorporated this element into their design and feature a special central room encircled with stone benches for the living to sit on as they enjoy their macabre meal. The close family ties this type of ritual communion implies and the respect of ancestors must have been a particularly satisfactory form of worship, because many of the Romans that were stationed in Nabataea, particularly the higher up commanders converted: living, dying, and being entombed according to local customs.
On the second day of my recent visit, in an effort to see some more of the quieter, less well known bits of Petra, I hiked even further off the beaten tourist path. Veering off just before the Siq a winding sandstone canyon, worn silky smooth by years of flood run-off, leads
up to an area of Petra called Moghar al-Nasara: a section of Petra you are virtually guaranteed to have to yourself on any given day. The canyon, a processional route, like most canyons round Petra, is dotted with carved altar niches to the various local gods. Some are topped with their totem symbols, and others, worn smooth by the wind, sand, and reverent hand, are mysteries even to the contemporary Bedouin tribe who work among the ruins. Several of the niches even contained recent offerings of stacked stones and small change. Upon encountering a particularly well worn niche which featured an intact and simple crescent moon above it (the symbol of the goddess al-Uzza), I too left a small offering of coins. I’m not sure how much of the goddess’ favor I can curry with 35 piastres, but I do really believe that it’s the thought that counts.
Towards the far end of the long and winding canyon, the niches take on a more decidedly Roman flavor with inscribed columns, more pronounced pediments, and a drastic increase in size. One along the way was more than 600 times the size of the regular 15×9-ish niches and more resembled a doorway. This change in style is not surprising however, considering that the canyon ultimately ends in another canyon, perpendicular to the first and parallel to the Siq farther south. This canyon is haphazardly lined with dozens upon dozens of purportedly later tombs, the nucleus of the later Roman enclave of Petra as the center of the region moved farther and farther away from the previous center below the High Place of Sacrifice and more towards the water sources farther southeast. The later Islamic period township is likewise even farther removed and the modern town of Wadi-Musa is even farther beyond that.
Seriously though, if you can go to Petra. Don’t leave it on your bucket list until it’s too late. Not only will it be a pain in the you know what unless you can get an ass to ride you round it; but carved as it was into the local sandstone: Petra is eroding away. Older tombs are already soft washed and blend into the background of the canyons, leaving only the odd opening shapes or occasional pediment to temporarily mark their passing. Petra is melting away into the desert cliff faces, blending in with the Gaudi-like landscape that the ancient Nabataeans changed to suit their religious and urban aspirations over two millennia ago.