Dreaming Stones: Invisibility and other weirdness

Just beyond the standing stones of Callanish is a small hillock of boulders and green earth. It was here we sat, partly to contemplate the enormity of the site before us… a place we had both long wanted to visit and thought we might never see… but also to await the departure of the latest horde  of tourists. While we are glad to see a resurgence of interest in these ancient places and understand the exigencies of the ubiquitous guided tour, it always feels wrong, somehow, to see crowds being disgorged from huge coaches, knowing visitors are obliged to ‘do’ the site in fifteen minutes, take a few pictures to prove they were there and leave without ever having a chance to feel the spirit of a place or contemplate its relationship with earth hills and sky.

So, in the lee of a great stone, we waited. The hillock and its boulders may well be a natural feature…I have found no official reference to it being anything else… but if it is now as it was five thousand years ago when construction was begun at Callanish, there is no doubt in our minds that it would have been used and formed part of the ritual site. If we could see its ritual possibilities, our ancestors would not have missed them.

The odd thing was that, although we were in the open and in plain sight, we appeared to be completely invisible to the other visitors. No-one met our eyes or smiled, no-one acknowledged our presence. Several people almost stood on us. Indeed, one visitor stood so close, taking photographs, that our feet were almost touching…yet we might as well have been wearing elven cloaks and hidden from view.

It is not the first time we have encountered this at the old places, especially when something is afoot. But, while you can shrug off a couple on the high moors who do not acknowledge your presence, or the lone walker who will not meet your eyes, or a small party that ignores and does not greet you, it feels distinctly weird when you appear to be unseen amidst so large a throng.

Eventually, we gave up. As soon as one load of coaches had reclaimed their passengers, another load arrived. It was almost noon… a busy period for visitors. Our timing and our luck was out so we headed back to the car and in search of the first coffee of the day. We had not far to seek… the alpacas I had seen on the way to the stones proved, like their larger cousin Lammas, to be great guides. Within minutes we had found both coffee and the best bread and butter pudding, served warm and with custard, at a little place rejoicing in the name of Alpacaccino’s.

It was odd enough to find that much-needed cuppa through the good offices of alpacas on a Hebridean island. It was quite a coincidence to find that the owner was a Lancashire lad who came from Stuart’s neck of the woods and who knew my childhood haunts in Yorkshire too. Given his roots on both sides of the Pennines, there was nothing strange about the welcome or the friendliness… but the earnestness with which he was trying to convince us to move to the Isles within minutes of meeting us seemed a tad on the strange side. As did his suggestion we buy the house up for sale a few doors away, even going so far as to tell us the minimum offer the owner would accept… and suggest the best ways of earning a living when we did!

And, all the while, Topaz, the resident peacock, maintained a determined and amorous serenade, in spite of all attempts to shush him by his owners. He rattled his tail feathers and displayed his multi-eyed glory as he called. Apparently, he thought me a suitable mate… For some reason, as Stuart pointed out, they always seem to display for me.

We learned a little more about how the stones of Callanish had been suppressed for centuries by religious bias and of the festival that would be held there at the summer solstice that was just days away. And that was enough to send us back up the hill again to spend a little more time with the stones of Callanish and get to know the site better in the ever-changing light…

About Sue Vincent

Sue Vincent is a Yorkshire-born writer and one of the Directors of The Silent Eye, a modern Mystery School. She writes alone and with Stuart France, exploring ancient myths, the mysterious landscape of Albion and the inner journey of the soul. Find out more at France and Vincent. She is owned by a small dog who also blogs. Follow her at scvincent.com and on Twitter @SCVincent. Find her books on Goodreads and follow her on Amazon worldwide to find out about new releases and offers. Email: findme@scvincent.com.
This entry was posted in adventure, albion, Ancestors, Ancient sites, archaeology, Don and Wen, france and vincent, historic sites, Photography and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

21 Responses to Dreaming Stones: Invisibility and other weirdness

  1. Alli Templeton says:

    People can be beyond belief. Such strange behaviour towards you, and it seems particularly odd to me at such a stunning, ancient site. You’d think there would be more of a sense of unity. I agree that it’s very wrong to limit a tour bus’s time there though. We felt exactly the same when we were outside Anne Hathaway’s Cottage in the recent evening walk we did. The same thing happened. A load of Japanese tourists jumped off a bus, took photos and went within around 5 minutes! All these people are missing something quite profound.

    Lovely pics, though, and I love the alpacaccino though! That’s a new one! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. A very strange occurrence indeed. I often wonder if these people ever remember where they took all of those photographs?

    I love the coffee – a very good bit of decoration.

    It’s strange how he was trying to get you to move there – we had a similar experience in Scotland on Loch Ness. The tour boat operator was trying to convince us to do the same!

    A lovely post and stunning pictures as always!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. What an amazing place, Sue. Those stones are phenomenal. I promise that when I’m a tourist, I won’t stand on your toes. 🙂 And I’ll stay until all the other tourists have left, so I can soak in the mystery. And then have an Alpacaccino! 😀

    Liked by 2 people

  4. What a serene location! You must have felt as though you were in a church. Those stones are amazing. I wonder how they got there in that configuration. The reason they were placed as they are and by whom are a mystery. Can it be solved? I am fascinated. 💕

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sue Vincent says:

      That’s interesting, Michelle… I was going to respond by saying that ‘it is a church’… but that wouldn’t be right as it implies a formalised religion. But it is a temple… a place of faith in something bigger than the individual, with its stories drawn from the land, sky and the ancestors. You’ve set me thinking now… 😉 xx


  5. dgkaye says:

    Amazing Sue. And wow on that peacock shot, and the coffee. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

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