Callanish Solstice, Isle of Lewis. Via Frank72


June 21st saw us reach the longest day and the Summer SolsticePagans believe the solstice marks the marriage between the Sun and the Earth. In astronomical terms, it marks the day when the planet is most tilted towards the Sun and produces the longest period of daylight of the year in the Northern Hemisphere.

A nice place for the hippy in you to take in the event on Lewis would be the standing stones at Callanish

Stone rings have amazed and perplexed people for centuries. The Callanish stones in the Isle of Lewis are no exception. A local legend states that the stone rings of Callanish were found many hundreds of years ago by a farmer looking for large rocks to build a wall. Wandering across the desolate windswept moors of the Isle of Lewis, he stumbled upon a single large stone jutting from the ground. Hoping to remove it, he began to dig for its base, but as he dug deeper into the earth, other stones appeared.

Legend aside, archaeological excavation suggests that the stones were established as early as 3400 BC, while other studies suggest that the ring’s use as an astronomical observation device may have ended around 1500 BC. It was about this time that the weather in much of northern Europe cooled, the previously clear skies clouded over and consistent astronomical observations thereby became impossible. The site of Callanish was abandoned.    

The stones are a large cluster of about 20 megalithic ruins within a two mile radius. The ring itself seems to have originally been set at the centre of a cross shaped arrangement of standing stones. Now, there are 13 stones, the tallest being 15.5 feet tall and weighing five or six tons. Recent astronomical surveys have suggested various alignments of the stones, including an orientation with the Pleiades in 1330 BC, Capella in 1720 BC and Altair in 1800 BC. 

While there is no agreement as to these astronomical orientations, it is generally believed that Callanish functioned as an astronomical calendar associated with the moon and that it accurately marked the 18.61 year cycle of maximum lunar declination. Some suggest it also had a sacred temple function. 

One study suggests that during the solstice periods the radiation readings at Callanish double in intensity. So be careful, this could do some funny things to your watch, aura or belief system…