Without doubt the most wonderful part of travelling in Scotland was visiting the megalithic complex at Callanish on the Isle of Lewis.
The people on the island are extremely friendly and hospitable and the overall atmosphere is
welcoming and not at all touristy compared to some places in Altai!
In her blog comment Jenny asked what it felt like visiting the Callanish stones for the frist time. Having thought about it I would say that as you approach the site from the road that leads to the visitor’s centre the stones are not immediately visible. Nonetheless, they draw you with their magnetism and personally, I experienced an immediate sense of urgency to get closer to them. Least poetic of the words that follow, would be the image that comes to mind of a dog that has suddenly had a whiff of bacon. The unseen draws because the senses are engaged. You can feel the moon, the gentleness of the surrounding landscape. I felt filled up with something very nourishing. There is a fair amount of material available on the internet about the Callanish stones with photographs far more evocative than my own that you see above. Margaret Curtis and her previous husband Gerald Ponting have carried out research into the Callanish site over the years and I found their books fascinating, well-researched and informative. They provide interpretations that include the surrounding hills and water, the moon, the stones and man into one cultural landscape. Check out the links of their names for some back-ground information and photographs. The Royal Commission on the Ancient + Historical Monuments of Scotland is also worth a visit. Just do a search for Callanish on the home page. I naturally think of Altai when I visit other monuments around the world. In Altai the notion is widespread that sacred land and sacred sites are like pressure points on the body of the earth and that when one visits a place one is drawn to, one massages the body of the earth. How grateful I was to stumble across the following quote in one of Curtis’ books. Unfortunately, I could not find the name of the author but share it here because the metaphor it includes of polishing the human mirror most eloquently answers Jenny’s question. On visiting Callanish I felt the mirror in my soul had been polished:
"It can be seen to what extent the ancients took care to draw in the energy of the rising sun, moon and stars, even after the extreme natural environment has weathered the stones. For thousands of years the sculptured forms of their tops still reflect the point on the horizon where that first or last ray enters or leaves the body of man and his goddess at precisely the same moment. The circle stone which makes an alignment must balance vibrationally with the point on the horizon where the celestial phenomenon occurrs. Magnetic energy from faultlines passing beneath, auric energy of the stones themselves, add to this the human in contemplative state and the pure celestial energy of the "rising/setting" and the cosmic spark passes into as well as out of the goddess that surrounds him. He becomes an acupuncturist’s needle in the body of the earth and in so being his mirror is brightened and the reflective energy of his vision is clarified…"
Visiting sacred sites like Callanish can be a truly enriching experience and hearing of other people’s impressions and experiences can help in understanding their meaning and how to visit them. Please leave a comment if you’d like to share a thought….