Calanais Anyone ever been to Calanais on Lewis? I’m interested in comparing notes if you have. If you haven’t, I have one word for you: GO! I’ve been there but not since I was a much younger Celyn. Great place! I do have some photos, but no scanner or I’d put them up somewhere. Any […]


Anyone ever been to Calanais on Lewis? I’m interested in comparing notes if you have. If you haven’t, I have one word for you: GO!

I’ve been there but not since I was a much younger Celyn. Great place! I do have some photos, but no scanner or I’d put them up somewhere. Any experience you had there that could be remotely described as ‘psychic’? I’ve been to Calanais last August 2004 and I do have fresh pictures (so if I know where to upload them, I’ll be happy to do so).I personally found the standing stones rather impressive. The views on the coastline though, impressed me more, quite spectacular!

Did you learn anything about the supposed ‘function’ of the site? Any weird experiences in the circle? I’m just curious.

That is a good question. I did have a weird experience in seeing an old couple wandering around with hats I couldn’t have imagined myself. After that I bumped my head against the doorpost (being rather tall) of the small coffee-house (the nice one). But I don’t think you mean this kind of experiences. Being there on my honeymoon I gather I missed some of the original meaning of the site. We did read all the explanations of course, it reminded me of Corsica, where they also have standing stones. The atmosphere at Callanais was impressive, it would even be better with no people around, I think. I hope to visit it again, being fairly obsessed of Scotland. My heart aches every time I have to return to my own country.

I’ve spoken to dozens of people about the site, from unlettered casual visitors to big high hiedyins in the archaeology world. My guess is that around 40% of them report experiences that could conceivably be called ‘psychic.’ This includes ALL the hiedyins, who understandably will not go on the record. If there is such a thing as psychically active locales, then Callanish seems to be a doozie. Its power could simply (!) be aesthetic — the same kind of power you perceive around the Mona Lisa, Chartres or Uhuru. Individuals may project their own cherished fancies on this response to art. (I guess the caves at Lascaux are another prehistoric example of art as “religious mystery.”)Calanais does appear to be a lunar site, designed in part to predict the 18.6-year cycle of the moon’s progression. Next to such ‘standstill’ is in 2006. I hope to be there. As you say, it’s better without people. Calanais stones by the light of a full moon are said to be awesome.

That’s most impressive what you’re saying here. By the way, I can guess what ‘hiedyins’ are, but would you care to explain? I can’t recall anything about this psychic feelings explained to us in the rough guide. I always feel impressed by monuments like Callanish, but in what you describe there must be more to it than meets the eye.I wonder if you had these psychic experiences yourself? If so, how do you describe them?

“Big high hiedyin” (big high head one) is a comical Scots expression meaning the man (or woman) in charge. In short, a bigwig. I was referring to some recognized leaders in the field of Hebridean archaeology. There is certainly much more to Calanais than meets the eye. I confess to being somewhat conflicted in what I experienced there. It was certainly an ‘altered state,’ the details of which I would rather not share. Two reasons: Firstly, I’m supposed to be a professional observer and I don’t want anyone to think I’m a nutcase. I have no New Age leanings and dislike astrology and every form of ‘junk science.’ Secondly, I don’t want to condition anyone’s reaction to the site by giving them a hint of what to expect. I stuck firmly to that rule in my interviews, taking great care not to ‘lead’ the witnesses. I was agreeably surprised by the commonality of my personal experience. Five out of eight reported the same effect. I must say that the effect was not earth-shattering or life-changing for me. It was pleasant, consoling and startling. I took all scientific care to test — no fewer than six times on two separate days — if the effect could be repeated. It worked every time, with slight variations in different locations on the site.

Standing Stones of Callanish

I was in Callanish for the 1997 minor lunar standstill (the moon was about 10 degrees above the horizon). Quite a magical night. There’s a verse related to the Major Standstill: “When the moon walks on the land, at the calling of the cuckoo the shining ones return.”A friend was in Callanish for the 87 standstills. Before dawn, moonlight filled the stone circle. A group, including my friend, had formed a circle at the northern end of the avenue leading up to the stone complex. Suddenly a cuckoo made its sound, the light shimmered in the complex, and several members of the circle were knocked over by a burst of light directed at the group from the center of the rock formation. During my visit, persistent rain occurred for 3 days prior to the minor standstill. On full moon night, the clouds parted just prior to sunset with several rainbows appearing. The night was clear (our only clear night during the 10-day stay). A cuckoo also made a sound prior to dawn, however, no effect was noticed in the circle. I guess that energy is reserved for the major standstill. I understand the next major standstill occurs near mid-summer in 2006. Can anyone confirm this?

Fascinating stuff. For me, one of the most interesting aspects of Callanish is the diversity of effects. A very brilliant dowser went among the stones (and she could find a piece of tinfoil under a carpet) and the wands went haywire. She gave up, saying there was too much going on. The effects also seem to vary daily. I have a lot of anecdotal information about this and I’m adding your report to the database. The next major standstill, in micro-terms, is Sept 26 2006. However, because the changes are so gradual, the light show is spectacular throughout most of the year on either side. I’d go for the June or July full moon when the skies are more likely to be clear and the nights warmish. You also get the double whammy of the summer solstice. I’ll be curious to see where the sunrise is in relation to the cross and circle.I think it’s high time people took a more scientific look at such phenomena — not in terms of archaeology or astronomy, but in terms of the subjective ‘spiritual’ effects. I believe these things can be monitored. One day we will have portable cat-scan helmets that we can wear to record color pictures of what happens to the brain during ‘sublime’ states. I understand that you have heiaus (sacred sites) in Hawaii. Do they have a comparable effect?

I had something of a surreal experience at Callanish about 2 weeks ago if anyone wants to hear about it! I find this so interesting reading of peoples experiences at Calanais, im going to Scotland in July next year, would anyone here know if there would be anything impressive going on at Calanais at that time.

I understand the “highland midges”, a very nasty biting, almost invisible insect is in vogue from July to the first frost. If that’s not an impressive event I don’t know what is! Seems insect repellant may be essential to a pleasant trip.