The many sacred structures built by ancient peoples had varied purposes. They functioned as places for ceremonial worship and tribal assemblies; tombs where great leaders or saints were buried; astronomical observatories and calendars that were aligned with various celestial objects; and sites that also featured underground springs or wells that were thought to have magical healing properties. These structures had multiple functions, some of them very practical—but let’s focus here on the idea that these sacred structures were specifically designed for directing spiritual energy.
It is reasonable to suggest that the ancients had a greater appreciation and respect for the subtle world than modern humans, in the sense that they were more in touch with parallel realities not perceptible to the normal range of human senses. Certain of their members, their priests or shamans, were sensitive to the currents of energies that flowed through their natural environment and knew how to channel these energies for spiritual purposes. In fact, such knowledge and its application may well represent an arcane “technology” that has been lost over millennia.
The renowned earth mysteries investigator and author, John Michell, concurs. According to Michell, those who lived close to the natural sources of life were able to recognize qualities in the landscape and in the atmosphere that amounted to “a further dimension of vision” (Michell, John. The New View Over Atlantis, Thames and Hudson Ltd., London, 2001). In what he calls “sacred engineering,” Michell proposes that this natural energy was known even in prehistoric times and that a method was discovered involving a fusion of the “terrestrial spirit” (subtle magnetic forces) with the “solar spark” (application of ancient spirituality), by which this energy could be utilized for human benefit. This type of arcane technology was applied through two types of tools: rituals (which brought the mind’s attention to the ethereal planes) and magic (which involved a manipulation of the subtle forces).
At some point in the history of human civilizations, such knowledge became dormant or corrupted. While in many ways our Western culture has become more intellectually sophisticated, there are realms of experience that we have closed off, dismissed as reflections of more primitive and superstitious societies. The theory that it was extraterrestrials who helped the ancients achieve certain technological feats, difficult to replicate even today, betrays a profound conceit that shows how little we know about, and how quickly we underestimate, the ancient peoples’ level of understanding.
A major way ancient cultures were able to control and direct subtle energies to enhance their worship and rituals was by designing structures that amplified these forces, building temples, tombs, and monuments to intentionally focus and direct them. Many of these sacred structures still maintain a measure of their ancient power, although in most cases, due to natural erosion or vandalism, that power is only a vestige of what it was many centuries ago.
Ley Lines and Standing Stones
Photographer Alfred Watkins originally described ley lines in the 1920s. He called them “old straight tracks” and noted that they passed through or connected various prominent landmarks in the British countryside, some of which were ancient and human made, such as stone circles, standing stones, and early churches. In some places, they intersected and radiated out like the spokes of a wheel. These types of tracks were also observed in other parts of Europe. For instance, Wilhelm Teudt noticed similar linear features in the German countryside, which he called heilige linien, or “holy lines” (Devereaux, Paul. Secrets of Ancient and Sacred Places: The World’s Mysterious Heritage, Brockhampton Press, London, 1995). According to him, these lines linked a number of pagan (megalithic) and Christian holy sites (Wheatley, Dennis, The Essential Dowsing Guide, Ozark Mountain Publishing, 2012).
Although Watkins did not refer to ley lines in any mystical sense—suggesting simply and conservatively that they represented ancient trade routes—he did have a secret he shared with only a few people. In his book Earth Magic, Francis Hitching notes that Watkins was a psychic. Throughout his childhood he carried out experiments in mind-reading and prediction, but he suppressed such abilities for almost the rest of his life, fearing the disapproval and skepticism he would meet if he was open about them (Hitching, Francis. Earth Magic, Picador, London, 1977).
One day in June of 1921, sitting in his car outside the village of Blackwardine, the map that he was looking at took on very different dimensions. He was able to see beyond familiar landmarks that he had passed often on his travels. According to Hitching, revealed to Watkins was “a web of vein-like lines that ran between hilltop and hilltop, church and castle, mound and moat, holy wells and crossroads—a prehistoric pattern laid down in a long forgotten past, and lying there overgrown and unnoticed until this moment of rediscovery.”
From that moment on, it was just a question of proving the existence of these lines, and he did so in a very understated fashion, organizing jaunts with members of the local naturalist club throughout the British countryside. Even at that time, and despite Watkins’s lack of sensationalism, his discovery outraged the mainstream archaeological community, which still largely dismisses the existence of leys—despite mounting evidence over the decades that these old straight tracks are in fact not random alignments. Sophisticated computer simulations have further confirmed that their configurations are beyond the likelihood of coincidence (Orton, Clive. Mathematics in Archaeology. Cambridge University Press, 1980). That human-made structures along these tracts were constructed in a purposeful or meaningful way has become more and more difficult to refute.
Since Watkins’s early formulation of ley lines as ancient transport routes, the modern concept has taken on a much more esoteric meaning, probably more in line with his initial psychic vision. Ley lines have since been redefined as currents of energy that crisscross the planet. There are major and minor lines, the former being more powerful but less numerous. The energy of a ley line always flows in one direction. According to Chris Hardy, a noted mystic who can actually see these flow lines and has researched them extensively, if the current encounters an obstruction along its path, it will usually arch upward, over the object that is blocking it, and then continue on its course (Hardy, Chris H. The Sacred Network: Megaliths, Cathedrals, Ley Lines, and the Power of Shared Consciousness, Inner Traditions, 2011).
Hardy believes certain ancient constructions function as “anchoring points” for the matrix of leys. Megalithic standing stones, for instance, “fix” the lines at specific spots, strengthening and stabilizing their currents. They function almost as needles on acupuncture points in the human body. Just as an acupuncture needle directs ch’i or prana (vital energy) into a specific point in the body, erecting a standing stone at the crossing of two or more leys drives the magnetic energy into this “needle” that in fact punctures the Earth’s body. The parallels of the global and human energy systems are quite striking in this regard.
Tom Graves uses dowsing equipment to detect subtle energy flows in the environment. In his classic work Needles of Stone, Graves describes some dramatic experiences dowsers have had with standing stones. One colleague reported how touching a stone with his fingertips had triggered a “violent contraction of the back muscles, throwing [him] backwards as much as ten or fifteen feet” (Graves, Tom, Needles of Stone, Grey House in the Woods, 2008). Others noted feeling that the stones were rocking or moving back and forth, developing intense migraines or uncontrollable fits of giggling, experiencing burning sensations in parts of their body, and even losing consciousness when touching the stones. Other reports have mentioned faintness, dizziness, and chest pains when around the stones or touching them. In most cases, these symptoms were alleviated once the person moved away from their vicinity.
According to Graves, such standing stones were ultimately used to divert, change, or even purify the energy that flowed through the surrounding countryside. However, unlike stone circles, it is less obvious what the specific utility of standing stones was—especially if you consider each stone in isolation. However, if these stones, just by virtue of their configuration, were made to redirect and focus energy in certain locations, it is possible that ancient cultures were able to engineer “power spots” by manipulating the ley currents in the surrounding countryside.
This concept is likewise supported by John Michell, who notes that natural leys are probably undulating in character and do not necessarily follow an exactly straight path throughout their course. He suggests that the magnetic flows that crisscross Great Britain have such a high degree of precision that, rather than being a natural phenomenon, their configuration is almost certainly artificial in origin. The question remains, however: For what purpose? Since we do not have any records related to the application of this technology, it is difficult to say. However, the idea that ley energies could be controlled and their flow manipulated by standing stones is an intriguing one.
Stone Circles as Energy Accelerators
There are many Neolithic stone circle sites in Western Europe, the two most famous being Stonehenge and Avebury Stone Circle, both located in England. These circles function as a kind of cyclotron, a high-energy particle accelerator. The stones conduct and direct energy, but it is their combined configuration that creates a type of vortex phenomenon. Each circle site has a special “vibrational feel” depending on the size of the stones, their composition, the circumference of the circle, how many stones are still left standing (the completeness of the circle), and energy concentrations in the surrounding countryside.
The magnetic fields around stone circles are powerful, although their intensity varies from day to day, and even from hour to hour. These circles were intentionally built at the intersection of ley lines, where the energy is particularly intense. The stones function to modulate the current that emanates from the center of the circle; thereby, creating a circular flow resulting in a type of funnel effect. This type of construction quite literally may represent a long-lost “technology” that is only now becoming understood again.
It is clear that ancient peoples revered these stone circle sites as places of spiritual communion, and it is very likely that they functioned as “stone temples” for their priests. For instance, in Neolithic times, Stonehenge drew visitors from hundreds of miles away—and there is evidence that it even attracted pilgrims from areas as distant as Central Europe (Lunan, Duncan, The Stones and the Stars: Building Scotland’s Newest Megalith, Springer, 2013). It is doubtful that the purpose of these structures was simply to function as astronomical calendars or burial sites. These factors would not explain their attraction for people living so far abroad. More likely, they were important places for sacred rituals, and perhaps had miraculous healing powers as well.
Paul Devereux studied low-level magnetic fluctuations in stone circles, measurable only with sensitive magnetometers. He noted that these fluctuations would last for one or two hours, and then a stone would revert to normal. Devereux described these energies as occasional and apparently random, but could not pinpoint their cause (Devereux, Paul, Earth Mysteries, Judy Piatkus Ltd., London, 1999). However, he also studied a more dramatic magnetic effect that seemed to be more constant. He noted that certain rocks at megalithic sites had a particularly strong magnetic signature, enough to deflect a compass needle that was held near them. He attributed this effect to the iron content of the stones and the way their composition interacted with the geomagnetic field of their surroundings.
Other research by Devereux at the Rollright Stone Circle in Oxfordshire, England, found cyclical patterns of radio emissions that were strongest at the equinoxes, twenty-five minutes before dawn at the time of the new moon, and eight minutes before dawn at the time of the full moon (Leviton, Richard, “The Ley Hunters,” In James A. Swan (Ed.), The Power of Place and Human Environments, Gateway Books, Bath, United Kingdom, 1993). A Geiger counter showed unusually high readings, lasting for two to three minutes; and a sensitive scintillometer found strong radiation levels among the stones over and above the background radiation, and stronger readings within the circle than without. These radiation readings varied throughout the course of the day, with the phases of the moon, and as the seasons progressed.
Findings suggest that these circles were used for astronomical purposes, ostensibly to track the movements of the sun and moon—which clarifies reports that the stones and the area surrounding them) seem to be more energized during certain times of the year, or even month (Burl, Aubrey. The Stone Circles of Britain, Ireland, and Brittany. Yale University Press, 2000). It seems likely that the ancients were able to calibrate the energy output of these sites just by virtue of the angles the stones were facing, their alignment with other stones, and their alignment relative to the sun and moon. Hence, these stones were not simply used as celestial markers or calendars, but they were engineered to conduct ley currents most efficiently.
The spiritual ceremonies were likely timed to coincide with maximum charge, such as occurs during the solstices and equinoxes, and more regularly, at specific moon phases. This ability to predict high-energy periods gave more spiritual power to the rites that ancient peoples conducted. Interestingly, current pagan rituals practiced at such sites, and which can be seen as extensions of these ancient rites, are timed to coincide with such periods of high intensity and suggest that even now their power is used for spiritual benefit.
Visitors have reported many strange phenomena in the areas around stone circles, including seeing colored spheres or shafts of light, hearing ringing or humming sounds that seem to come from the stones themselves, and feeling electrical shocks when touching the stones (Whitworth, Belinda, New Age Encyclopedia: A Mind, Body, Spirit Reference Guide, New Page Books, Franklin Lakes, New Jersey, 2003; and Hale, Susan E. Sacred Space, Sacred Sound: The Acoustic Mysteries of Holy Places, Theosophical Publishing House, Wheaton, Illinois, 2007). In his research, Devereux notes that strange anomalies in the vicinity of stone circle sites have also been registered by mechanical instruments—including cloud-like shapes recorded in infrared light, and unexplained ultrasound activity, particularly around sunset. All in all, considering these anomalies and the high-energy environment itself, it is difficult to believe that those who constructed such sites were not aware of their special powers, and when these circles would function at maximum intensity.
Charles Shahar is the author of the forthcoming book, Good Vibrations: The Energy of Places.