The hearg seems to have different meanings to different scholars, but the nearest I can find to a real meaning is 'a pile of stones'. This is what most people see as an 'altar' made of stones piled on top of each other. This is how Wulfgar and I saw it when we set up Woden's Hearg. I stumbled across the most likely meaning by sheer accident (or maybe this came at the 'right time').
The hearg is far more than just a 'pile of stones' as I am about to show; it has a very deep and significant meaning to Heathenism. The term hearg became our modern 'harrow' and must have been pronounced in a similar way. But the term 'harrow' stems from the same root as the word 'harry', from the Gmc *heri/*here meaning 'to harry', 'to plunder', 'to raid' or 'to pillage'. At first glance this may seem odd, both words having (as it would seem) different meanings, but I am going to suggest that the Gmc *heri/*here may originally have had another meaning, which I will show here.
The Greek god named Hermes is a God of the Dead, just like Woden, and he also has similar associations with the crossroads and with boundaries. Indeed, a 'pile of stones' marking out a boundary was called a Herma, originally Hermes, which gives us the clue to this mystery. Woden is associated with boundaries and with crossroads, and this is a vitally important point to consider here, for a 'boundary' is neither 'in' nor 'out' - it is in-between. The cross roads was where the Warg-Tree or Gallows-Tree was placed, honoured to Woden whose role here can be seen in the figures such as the 'Green Man' where the tongue hangs out, as does the tongue of a hanged man.
The boundary is a 'doorway' or 'gateway', neither in nor out but in a state of 'in-betweenness'. This is where the term Hedge Witch (Haegtessa) stems, for the witch is neither in this world nor the next, is in-between the worlds since the hedge forms a boundary. The 'pile of stones' marks a boundary, a point of in-betweenness, the liminal state between the worlds, worlds which come together at this point. There are boundaries between -
Months - the New Moon forms the boundary between the months, neither in one nor the next.
Seasons - Walpurgis Night (Spring) and All-Hallows (Autumn) form the boundary-points between the seasons.
Year - Midwinter and Midsummer form the boundary-points of the Year. Again, these are in-between.
It may also be no coincidence that 'midweek' is Woden's Day, and this is the mid-point of the 7-day week. This marks the central point of the week, neither in one half, nor the other.
This is why these points of the year were so important, for at these times the barriers between the worlds became thinner, and contact between the worlds of the living and the dead became easier. This is when the Ancestral Spirits were able to 'possess' the young Mannerbunde Warriors who actually became the Dead Ancestors.
Thus, the hearg is far more than an 'altar' or a mere 'pile of stones' since it is a boundary-point between the worlds of the living and the dead. It is a 'Doorway to the Land of the Dead'. This is why it is so important to place the hearg in the right place, and not just anywhere.
This brings me to the point mentioned earlier, for the original meaning of heri/here could well have been linked not only to raiding, plundering etc. but to the liminal state of consciousness whence the young Cultic-Warrior was 'possessed' by the Spirit of the Dead and hence in a state of hearg. The account that Tacitus gives of the Harii suggests just that since these young warriors looked like the Dead Ancestors as the went first into the battle-fray. Being 'dead' they would have had no fear of death at all - they were already 'dead'.
It would have been the case that the Saxon Irminsul would have been placed at a 'boundary-point', and Irmin-Ermin is also Arman-Herman so we can equate this with the Greek Hermes, though Hermes is not Woden although he has some similar traits.
To we Hallowed Warriors of Woden Hergian the hearg is a sacred place at which we can give honour to the High God of the Folk - 'We Are The Folk!'. Woden is the Bundesgott - God of the Bund. This is why we have erected Woden's Hearg in honour of Woden; our worship takes place in the open air, just as our Ancestors honoured the Gods and Goddesses in the open air.
The 'stone' is a marker-stone or a boundary-stone and has the same role as the 'pile of stones' for it is neither in one nor the other, neither in one land nor the other land - it is in-between. The Stan-Rune has many runes bound within its symbolism, these I have shown before and need not go over again here; there are two Peorth-Runes within this which will concern us. Peorth is Beorc opened out in 'birth', a 'birth-rune', also a 'doorway' or 'entry' from one world (the womb) into another world. Indeed, both Peorth and Beorc can be found within this rune-shape. As Hamasson pointed out our Indo-European Folk were well aware of this when they named lands that included the term '-stan' within their language - Pakistan, Hindustan, Afghanistan, etc. But, here the word 'stan' has come to mean the land whereas originally it was the boundary-stone that marked one land from another. The Stan-Rune is thus the key to the mysteries of the 'boundary' - the 'in-betweenness'.
It seems clear that the 'Stone Age' was never the primitive age of 'savages' that scholars would have us believe, but an advanced age of science and technology, albeit a far different science and technology than we have today. Stone was not just a 'piece of rock' or 'pile of stones' but was used for a specific purpose, no doubt depending upon what type of stone was used. Today quartz crystal is used to power watches and this rock formed many of the ancient works of the 'un-hewn stone'. 'Crystal' was the first form of radio which could be made by anyone; crystal was thus used to pick up 'sound-waves'. This is just one example of the use of 'rocks' or 'crystals'.
There is another rune that could be seen to be connected with boundaries, and that is the Haegl-Rune. This is the Rune of the Haegtessa, as mentioned before, the 'Hedge-Witch'. The reason this is so is because the 'hedge' is named after the wood used for hedge-making - the Hawthorn Tree. The name's first part - 'haw' - is associated with 'haeg' or 'hag' and this is a thorn-tree which itself is a protective barrier. The phonetic similarity between 'haeg', 'haegl' and 'hearg' should not be overlooked. The Haegl-Rune is definitely connected with the term 'hallow'. These are subtle links between different words. The 'snowflake' pattern of the Hagal-Rune is the 'Krist-All' as we find within the Armanen System.
Todays scholars would see the 'pile of stones' as a boundary-marker at a purely physical level, marking the boundaries of two different areas of land. Maybe this did develop into this type of 'boundary-marker' but that does not invalidate the original meaning as a boundary between worlds which became lost in time as the Age of Darkness set in. Darkness means ignorance - 'Ignorance is Strength' (Orwell).
A word of caution here; in Occult Lore the magician would mark out a 'boundary' around him when he was working, just as we do when we do the Hammer Rite to mark our 'boundary' around us. This 'boundary' is a protective measure used to keep out 'unwanted wights'; it should not need emphasising that where we have this 'in-betweenness' this is a gateway to another world, and that, like this world, not everything in it is good and benevolent towards us - there are 'evil' wights too, and Dark Forces that seek entry to our world. This is why we 'banish' these type of forces by creating a barrier, a boundary through which they cannot enter. 'Possession' can work for good but it can also be used by 'Evil Wights' who wish to enter our world - this needs to be heeded when doing rites, and is why some rites are most certainly not suitable for children to take part in. When we do our 'Wheel of the Year' Rites they are for all, but some rites have to be restricted.