People, Places & Times
Practising Mithraic Beliefs
The Pictish "Open-Air" Mithraeum
Symbols Decoded
Original Locations of Symbol Stones
Case Studies
Changes in Beliefs
Proposition & Conclusion
Comments - an Invitation
Appendices & Annexes
Bibliography & Acknowledgements
About the Author

 Welcome to this website which has been significantly updated and expanded since its original version of April 2010.


There are important additions to the decoding of the V-Rod & Crescent, Z-Rod & Double Disc and Pictish Beast symbols, clarification on astronomical aspects plus a new section exploring the prospective link between Freemasonry and Pictish Mithraism.


Pictish Symbol Stones - Why So Intriguing?


Around 1500 years ago these enigmatic structures appeared predominantly in the north east of what, more recently, has become Scotland. Sometimes they can be confused with the wide array of other standing stones, megaliths, circles and dolmens that do not display symbols.


1.     They are called “Pictish” but who erected them?


2.     Why is there a gap between the naming of the “Picts” by the Roman invaders around the late 3rd Century CE and the generally suggested dates for the erection of the stones? Or are previous estimates incorrect?


3.     Did the existing population erect the stones – or was it by incomers?


4.     Who had the skills to carve the stones; and why onto a material that has endured so long? Was this choice of material deliberate?


5.     What do the symbols mean – assuming they do have a specific purpose and give a particular message?  Were they for worship, boundary markers, commemorative of specific events, used to educate – or maybe just decorative?


6.     Are the stones located in significant locations?


7.     Why did the symbols on the seemingly older stones carry forward to the newer ones with Christian crosses?


These, and more, are the reasons why they are intriguing. In some ways it would be a shame to have a definitive explanation of their purpose! But that is what this website seeks to do.


The proposals in this web site are likely to cause a review of many theories about what the symbols really mean.


This web site proposes and tests the prospect that the Early Pictish Symbol Stones (those generally know as Class 1) were erected for religious and astronomical purposes – specifically a form of Mithraism which the author has titled Pictish Mithraism and that these purposes continued during transition towards Christianity using stones categorised as Class 2.




A downloadable e-pamphlet Pictish Symbol Stones Decoded – An Introduction to their role in the Mysteries of Mithras (April 2013 version) is available at the adjacent link.



A downloadable e-book The Religious Purpose of the Early Pictish Symbol Stones (December 2012 version) is available at the adjacent link.



Norman J Penny

Birchington, Kent

April 2013


Site last updated March 2013                         Website © Norman J Penny

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