Callanish - Temple of the Moon
Updated: Mar 15
In the Outer Hebrides, off the north-western coast of Scotland, reverence and respect for elemental forces have been 'second nature' since people first arrived here. The sea is so close, the sky so huge, the air so clear and the land so potent, truly a fitting place to construct an astronomical temple.
Callanish, sometimes referred to as 'Scotland's Stonehenge', has watched over this magical landscape for more than four thousand years. The thirteen central stones of the main circle, at up to sixteen feet tall, make a powerful impression on us mere mortals as we walk through them, it is an awe-inspiring and humbling experience.
In the centre is a later addition, a chambered cairn, for who wouldn't want to be buried within such a hallowed sanctuary? But don't ignore the three smaller circles with dwarf stones that are 'off to one side' because last year we dowsed powerful earth energies within these circles and found their atmospheres to be wonderful. Together with the main circle they form a complex landscape temple somewhat akin to Avebury in southern England.
Another similarity is a long avenue of stones to the north, and there are shorter stone rows to the east, south, and west giving the impression of a distorted Celtic cross.
Broad appreciation for the skills of the megalithic masons suggests that the site was designed and built around celestial alignments especially the moon. The southern line of stones is an accurate north-south line which indicates to the north the 'pole' around which the stars of the night sky appear to revolve (Polaris today but Thuban in the constellation of the dragon when Callanish was built), and to the south the highest position the sun and moon attain in the sky on any day.
Alexander Thom suggested that the alignment of the stone avenue (when looking southward) pointed to the setting midsummer full moon behind a distant mountain. During our Sacred Celtic Pilgrimage to the Highlands and Islands of Scotland in June we will be visiting Callanish at the midsummer full moon. We will celebrate the season and the gifts left to us by our distant relatives as we stand amid the towering megaliths under a ceiling of stars and watch 'la lune', full and ripe, gain her ascendance into the heavens...
by Glenn Broughton