Externsteine panoramas


Lucifer Rising (1973).

The first time I saw Kenneth Anger’s Lucifer Rising (1983, at a film club) I recognised all the ancient monuments apart from the peculiar group of rocks where we see a line of robed and cowled torchbearers ascending a stairway at night. These shots are intercut with a caped Marianne Faithfull making the same ascent in daytime until she reaches an alcove where she’s given a vision of an Egyptian sunset. It took a few more years to discover the location was the Externsteine rock formation in northwest Germany, one of those singular outcrops which—like Glastonbury Tor—was a focus of pagan ritual before being co-opted by the Christian church.


Photo by Markus Krueger.

360cities.net has a number of panoramic views of the area, the best being the one above which shows Marianne’s alcove as well as allowing views of the surrounding countryside. Photos such as the one below are far more common. While these give some idea of the unusual nature of the site they don’t show just how isolated the rocks are. For an older view, the Library of Congress has this Photocrom print.


Photo by Wilfried Pinsdorf.

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