We visit a lot of ancient sites and, over the years, have developed both a set of ideas and a bit of a ‘feel’ for these places. Some of those ideas have later been borne out by research into the archaeological record and scientific perspective, others are speculative and the rest will probably remain no more than subjective.
By dint of spending time in these ancient places, we have felt what many others have recorded as subjective impressions and observed phenomena that others have reported. But, every so often, we are gifted with a snippet of confirmation. We ‘knew’, for example, long before we actually knew, that there had to have been air burials in the early days of our land. We ‘knew’ that bones were painted with ochre before trawling through research papers confirmed it.
We were aware of how stones were chosen and placed to ‘mirror’ the shape of hills, long before we realised it was not ‘mirroring’ but ‘shadowing’, creating a microcosmic landscape within a sacred site. But, like our impressions, sometimes the ‘proof’ is just as personal as the idea.
We have always thought that the ancient sites were more than just part of the local landscape, especially for their builders. While it is easy enough to accept that a construction as impressive as Stonehenge, or as vast as Avebury or Stanton Drew, must have had significance for a whole community, there are literally thousands of small, half-forgotten sites… like the tiny burial mounds, for example… that appear to be a by-product of the populace, rather than having any deep meaning of their own.
But, we reasoned, if the Ancestors were a significant presence within a community’s rituals and beliefs, surely these carefully constructed mounds, built to hold their bones and ashes, would be important? Perhaps they were seen as points of contact with the Otherworld? Perhaps the Ancestors served as intermediaries with whatever lies Beyond? If so, then even the smallest cairn would have been important and, if that were true, then the link between the land and its people went deep. You could say that the Ancestors were placed there to care for their own.
There is an intimacy about some of the out-of-the-way sites that is lacking at the grander stone circles. Once off the beaten track and away from the crowds, you feel the presence of these places in a way that is difficult to describe, but quite unmistakeable. Some are sleepy, others vital, but the character of each place feels as different as if you were meeting a living being.
We do not have to subscribe to everything our ancestors believed in order to understand what they might have believed. Nor do we have to understand all the intricacies of their physical and spiritual technologies, for want of a better word, in order to see what they might have hoped to achieve for the life and wellbeing of their communities. We do feel, however, that there is something in this link between their sacred places and the people who live close to them.
At one such site, a little while ago, we had a curious experience that, for us at least, appeared to confirm a link between the place and ‘its’ people, even now, thousands of years after its builders were forgotten. The encounter was a simple one and unexpected. It was only after the event that we began to question the number of ‘coincidences’ it contained and how, of all people, we should have left that ancient, sacred place after reaching out to the ancestral pool, only to find ourselves caught up in a very local love story…
If you have had a strange experience or encounter that you would like to share, please get in touch with me at firstname.lastname@example.org (or my usual email if you already have it) and we can discuss a guest post.
I am not looking for sensationalism or fictional tales… but in light of the response to some recent posts, I think it would be both useful and reassuring to others to realise that none of us are alone in these strange encounters and experiences. Perhaps we can open discussion on what they may be or may mean…and each of us sees our own reality.
If you would like to share your story but prefer to remain anonymous, we can discuss that too. If you would like to share your beliefs and opinions on the nature of these experiences, I would be happy to talk about a guest post. Through sharing with respect we may learn to understand our world and each other a little better.
You can find some previously published guests here