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Standing Stones & Labyrinths >
Callanish Standing Stones - Panorama - Scotland

Callanish Standing Stones - Panorama - Scotland


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The Callanish Stone Circle in the outer Hebrides on the Isle of Lewis in Scotland are awe-inspiring and walking among these ancient Standing Stones is a powerful spiritual experience. Standing next to them, touching their enduring presence, you can’t help but feel a deep connection with the earth and how ephemeral our personal existence is.

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This  37-foot circle of 14 stones was created during the Bronze Age period 5000 years ago, about 500 years before Stonehenge. Builders split Lewisian gneiss from nearby hills into 12 foot-slabs, dragged them over a mile and erected them in a circle around a center monolith or menhir.

The 49 megaliths at Callanish all have captivating shapes, many with crystalline nodules in the gneiss stone. The unique arrangement of the standing stones here has been compared to the shape of a Celtic cross. Most stones are 8-12 feet tall and an impressive 16 foot megalith stands at the center at one end of a burial chamber.

It is still a mystery why these early people created this monument. It would have served as a primitive calendar, marking the beginning of spring and fall and also movements of the moon.

It is likely it served a ritual purpose. Around 1000 BC, the site was no longer used for rituals and for hundreds of years it stood mostly forgotten  with a layer of turf building up and covering most of the stones. Local legend is that a farmer discovered Callanish while looking for large rocks to use for a wall. Seeing a single, large stone jutting from the ground, he began to dig and realized the huge scale of the stone and that there were others arranged around it.

Unlike Stonehenge, you can walk among the Callanish Stones. It is astonishing and humbling to touch them and consider the stones were erected nearly 5000 years ago on this stony, challenging landscape on a remote island in the Atlantic Ocean.

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