Calw’s Fish Mouth Rock: A Celtic Enigma in Stone

The Fish Mouth

Today, we are embarking on a journey to Calw, a charming town nestled in the northern Black Forest of Germany. With a history dating back to the 11th century, Calw has flourished and now boasts a population of approximately 25,000 residents.

Our route takes us to the elevated Kapellenberg (Chapel Hill), providing a splendid vista of the town’s historical center.

View over Calw from the Kapellenberg

Up here we find the so-called Hohe Fels (High Rock), a cluster of boulders believed to have been erected by the Celts.

According to the official explanation, they intended to construct a wall at this location, although their reasons for doing so remain unclear. However, they seemingly abandoned the project. Personally, I believe that this place, similar to other supposed Celtic sites, is an ancient place of worship, where the artificially arranged blocks seem to gesture towards the west, evoking a sense of outstretched fingers.

One of the rocks stands out due to its resemblance to the head of a reptile or a fish, hence earning the name Fish Mouth (German: Fischmaul).

The Hohe Fels and the Fish Mouth

Adjacent to the cluster of rocks lies a memorial that pays tribute to those who died in the wars of the previous century.

Frequently, I encounter contemporary war memorials at locations that are believed to be ancient and sacred. The reason behind this correlation is still unknown to me, but it appears to be more than a mere coincidence. There must be a meaningful connection between them.

The war memorial next to the cluster of rocks

The memorial bears an inscription from the poem “Requiem” by Friedrich Hebbel, a German poet from the 19th century. It reads as follows: Soul, do not forget them, Soul, do not forget the dead!

The question arises: Does this pertain to the fallen soldiers, or to whom is it truly intended?

Requiem

(Freely translated to English)

Soul, do not forget them,
Soul, do not forget the dead!

Behold, they hover around you,
Trembling, forsaken,
And in the sacred embers,
Which stoke love in the hearts of the destitute,
They breathe in and warm themselves,
And savor, for the last time,
Their fading lives.

Soul, do not forget them,
Soul, do not forget the dead!

Behold, they hover around you,
Shivering, forsaken,
And when you, growing cold,
Close yourself off from them, they freeze
Deep within.
Then the storm of the night seizes them,
Whom they, huddled within themselves,
Defied in the embrace of love,
And it chases them with fervor
Through the endless desert,
Where there is no more life, only the struggle
Of unleashed forces
For renewed existence!

Soul, do not forget them,
Soul, do not forget the dead!

Requiem

(Original in German)

Seele, vergiss sie nicht,
Seele, vergiss nicht die Toten!

Sieh, sie umschweben dich,
Schauernd, verlassen,
Und in den heiligen Gluten,
Die den Armen die Liebe schürt,
Atmen sie auf und erwarmen
Und genießen zum letztenmal
Ihr verglimmendes Leben.

Seele, vergiss sie nicht,
Seele, vergiss nicht die Toten!

Sieh, sie umschweben dich,
Schauernd, verlassen,
Und wenn du dich erkaltend
Ihnen verschließest, erstarren sie
Bis hinein in das Tiefste.
Dann ergreift sie der Sturm der Nacht,
Dem sie, zusammengekrampft in sich,
Trotzten im Schoße der Liebe,
Und er jagt sie mit Ungestüm
Durch die unendliche Wüste hin,
Wo nicht Leben mehr ist, nur Kampf
Losgelassener Kräfte
Um erneuertes Sein!

Seele, vergiss sie nicht,
Seele, vergiss nicht die Toten!

In the early 20th century, it was a tradition for the young men of the town to gather at the Fish Mouth following the September fair. Armed with torches, they would ignite a fire on the plateau of the Hohe Fels.

That sounds a lot like the subtle and probably unconscious continuation of old pagan traditions by the protagonists

Scattered rock cuboids on the Hohe Fels

The Hohe Fels and the Fish Mouth (Fischmaul) can be found on the Kapellenberg (Chapel Hill) above the town of Calw.

The Fish Mouth in Calw

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