Dr Airdre Grant
Dr Airdre Grant

Hey, no standing in my stones

CALLANISH Standing Stones are found on the Isle of Lewis, Outer Hebrides, Scotland. They are the most complete stone circle in Europe and are called the Stonehenge of the north. They were erected 5000 years ago and have a long and interesting story of being found and lost, half buried in peat and now recovered.

Some tumbled, most standing they are in the form of a Celtic Cross with central stone circle and a kind of burial chamber in the middle. They stand high on hill in the dramatic Scottish landscape where wind and sun cast shadows and light on these ancient and impressive obelisks.

You can walk amongst them, stand and try to get your head around what was happening 5000 years ago that caused this to be built.

The wonder how the giant stones were dragged into place. Legend has it a giant called the Shining One dragged them into place. If you were to be here at solstice you would be among all kinds of believers of the old ways, doing ritual and dance.

My travelling companion and I had taken an early ferry, and then driven in the pre-dawn light along the windy Scottish roads through the glens to get there.

We were excited to be in that holy space. We stood and simply looked. Around us the heath-clad hills swept up and away. The loch was indigo blue and the sky changed and changed again. It was magnificent.

There is a universal fascination with the unknown, the mystic and the magical.

That captivation comes through in literature, poetry, film and many a TV series. There are the cynics and the scoffers and then there is everyone else, avidly reading and watching stories abut the unknown and the unseen. A handsome protagonist helps - think Supernatural, Outlander.

I like a bit of mystery. I don't need everything tidied up and explained. Here in the UK I had seen ancient yew trees in mossy churchyards and Druid stones in grassy fields. I learned that you must never cut down a Rowan tree. I was in a country steeped in evidence of the Celtic ways of my ancestors.

At Callanish a group of 5 Americans strode boldly into the middle of the stones and began a long, loud and authoritative conversation. One declared loudly 'The stones are at least 200 years

But they didn't seem to notice the sky or the stones. They were very busy with their loud conversation. I gave them my best and most ferocious glare. I followed up with a killer blow, a stern, disapproving look. They didn't even notice me.

We left and went to a deserted stone circle nearby where the wind, light and silence reigned. I was happy although I realise I must work on my repertoire of frowns and expressive glares. I need to employ some magic powers to give them a wee bit of a boost, next time I come across some behaviours I deem unacceptable. Watch out when I get back fresh from my encounters with the mystic.


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