The many millions of readers of this blog will know that I am not overly impressed by the Daily Telegraph’s reputation for up to the minute scientific reportage. Often a scientific story gets reported a few days or even a week late, and sometimes even the time-gap is even longer (e.g. getting round to reporting on Professor Chandra Wickramsingh‘s work in astrobiology only after he had been doing it for the best part of forty years).
Now however they have taken the biscuit. In today’s edition I read that “Prehistoric man navigated his way across England using a crude version of sat nav based on stone circle markers, historians have claimed.” Further:
They were able to travel between settlements with pinpoint accuracy thanks to a complex network of hilltop monuments.
These covered much of southern England and Wales and included now famous landmarks such as Stonehenge and The Mount.
Well, well! There is only one problem with this theory: it was first proposed by Alfred Watkins in 1922 in his book Early British Trackways (1922), which was the fore-runner of the seminal The Old Straight Track (1925), which is the first major work on Ley Lines.
Note however that Watkins never claimed that Ley Lines were anything other than a geographical phenomenon. It was left to later writers to attach paranormal connotations. John Michell’s The View over Atlantis (1969) is generally thought to be the definitive work in this regard, although in actual fact occultists had latched onto the ley-lines-as-paranormal-phenomenon barely a few years after Watkins first published his work. E.g. Dion Fortune’s The Goat-Foot God (1936) describes a method of using ley lines to determine the best location to site a magical temple.
Actually the idea of siting a temple using ley lines is perfectly sound, especially when you consider that ancient places of worship would have been the very sorts of location that neolithic man would have wanted to find as he roamed over the countryside. Hence: it is inevitable that ancient temples would be located upon ley-lines not necessarily due to any paranormal significance, but so that pilgrims would succeed in finding them.
This is not to say, however, that Ley-lines do not have paranormal significance. One of Michell’s assertions in the View Over Atlantis is that ley-lines indicate currents of energy which he refers to as “dragon-current,” because they are comparable to similar currents of energy found in Feng-Shui. Moreover the idea of “dragon-current” appears to be archetypal because along at least one ley-line in Britain there is a number of Christian churches – built on the sites of old pagan temples – which are all dedicated to either St Michael or St George – two saints famous for killing dragons. The official explanation for this is that they represent the victory of the Christian Church over Satan – although one may point out that it really meant the victory of the church over the pre-existing pagan religion, on the basis that in those days any religion which one did not like was linked by the Church to Satan by default.
So far, so coincidental. However recently I found a book called Ancient Magicks for a New Age in which the author, Alan Richardson described his psychic investigation of a conical tumulus somewhere in Wales known as “Bel’s Tump.”
But, prior to sleep, approached Bel’s Tump in the astral. Had a vision of a broad tree with a whitened bole, and then the Tump itself, a demonic looking creature rising from it. For once, despite the usual frisson of fear, I didn’t shut it out and demanded, several times, to know its secret.
Then came an extraordinarily long and vivid image of a colossal dragon pouring from the mound,* slithering out, vast. Again I felt no fear despite the reality. I knew it was part of me. At my demands to know its secret it crumbled to white powder and bones.
* My emphasis.
The biggest irony comes however when Richardson comments on the interpretation of his vision. “I am unable to give any clues, even at this remove, as to what my poor, short-lived beast actually meant.” We may speculate that a conical tumulus may have been just the kind of earth-work that neolithic man might have erected as a marker along the direction of a ley-line. If so we then have the situation that a clairvoyant, whilst still ignorant of John Michell’s theory of “dragon-current,” nevertheless has a dragon-related vision in relation to this particular locale. It may just be anecdotal evidence but it indicates a tentative vindication Michell’s writing.
So, all in all it is at least worth keeping an open-mind as to the paranormal or spiritual significances of ley-lines as something far-more than just a primitive sat-nav system.
What next for the Daily Telegraph one wonders? Scientists discover round-things which help make transport easier???