by Ivan McBeth
At the end of 2004, I was approached by Jan and Peter, who live in the country an hour north of Toronto, in Canada. They had attended a slideshow presentation on Contemporary Druidry that I had given at the Toronto Society of Dowsers, and they resonated deeply with what they had heard. They realised that they wanted a stone circle on their land, designed in the ancient way, and built by hand by a team of contemporary ‘megalithic engineers.
Jan and Pete are both dowsers, and had the task of finding the stones. It took them a few months, yet they finally found some beautiful stones they recognised as perfect for their circle. They chose 12. In general, they were long and thin, between 6 and 8 feet in length, and formed of granite. They were beautifully patterned, mostly with swirling blacks, pinks and greys, and were full of unusual features such as faces, figures and evocative shapes. They were a bunch of real characters. I believe that, in some archetypal reality, a potential stone circle already exists and it is the task of the people involved to relax, simply listen, and allow its various components to manifest in their own time. This includes the physical stones, the circle’s placing on the earth, its design, and even method of construction. When I arrived on site, and saw the stones for the first time, I could tell that Jan and Pete had got it absolutely right
I arrived in the foothills north of Toronto on the 4th of July, Independence Day in the States. Very auspicious. The next good omen was when we were on our way to pick up supplies: the car skidded to a halt and we all poured out. There by the side of the gravel road was an ancient snapping turtle, its scarred shell over a foot across, and its tail over six inches long. The Native American people call their beloved country ‘Turtle Island’. To these aboriginal people the Turtle holds a power that suggests nourishment, strength, and stability in the waters of life.
Later , Peter’s shamanic brother, Steve, led me to the local power spot, a clearing in the local woods that contains some unusual rocks. It is sacred to the Native Americans and they still occasionally visit. There is a wonderful atmosphere of peace there; we created a small fire and made prayers. It is also a nesting location for turkey vultures: huge, strange looking birds that soar unbelievably gracefully overhead. As we got out of the car, I counted thirty of these magnificent creatures in the field opposite. What an omen!
We assembled the next day at a beautiful fire pit by the side of the stone circle site. It had been built by Donna, one of our team, and we straightaway lit a sacred fire. The idea was that the fire represented the spirit of the sacred space we were to build; if the fire was lovingly cared for, and kept healthy, this would reflect in the quality of our creation. I asked who would like to tend it during the period of stone circle building. Xaniel, one of the thirteen-year old twins, eagerly volunteered and did a marvellous job as fire-keeper.
Every day the turkey vultures visited, as if they were inspecting our progress. We welcomed them as emissaries of Great Spirit, and received their gifts. Some of their feathers were placed in the holes that we dug, our giveaway in celebration of the sacred.
Finding the Centre
The first physical act in manifesting a stone circle is finding its centre. This is a very important magical act. In my experience, I have found that there is really only one spot that will do; one basically finds it by a process of elimination. In this case, I marked out the only suitable position for the stone circle, and that left a circular six-foot diameter area in which the centre could possibly be. Jan and Peter dowsed and ‘felt’ the area, and marked it out. We had found our Centre!
Bringing Down the North Star
I felt I had consciously approached, and had been welcomed by, the spirit of the land; now it was time to start creating our sacred space. We decided to align the largest and most impressive stones available to the four directions, using Polaris, the North Star, as our marker. The ancients knew that, in the northern hemisphere, there was only one spot in the night sky that marked a stillpoint, a celestial axis mundi, a point around which everything else revolved. It is the axis that marks the spinning of our planet, and represents, energetically, the centre of the universe. When a deep relationship is made with this point, its spirit grants total protection, and a promise that the traveller will never lose his way, day or night, whether physically or spiritually.
Using a compass to find True North does not work, for Magnetic North constantly changes position. At the moment, Magnetic North is in the sea north of Canada: it is travelling towards Siberia and will arrive there eventually.
Performing magical theatre using a whippy pole as a ‘fishing rod’ and a crystal as the lure, we enticed Polaris down to Earth and onto the circumference of our circle. Energetically we had invited, and had acquired, the spiritual qualities of the North Star in our sacred space. Physically we could now mark the position of the North Stone, and from this point (0° True North) the positions of all the others could easily be worked out.
Magic and Mechanics
The next morning we marked the position of the North Stone, and then chose the stone that would stand there. The North Stone is traditionally an impressive stone, long and thin, resembling a finger or needle that points at Polaris in the heavens. We chose a stone that had these characteristics; it was jet black with some interesting bright white patterns of quartz on its surface. Once chosen, we physically separated it from the pile of stones unloaded from the truck.
One of the basic acts we, as stone-movers, perform is to manifest the magic that is possible when large weights need to move from one place to another, one state to another. This is basically an act of honouring and communication. Druids believe that everything is alive, whether it is another human being, a grain of sand, a tree, a stone, a thought, or even a car, and that relationship is the foundation of interaction with all life.
The quality of our relationship with life is directly proportional to the thoughts, energies and attitudes we hold. If one relates to life as if it is cruel and a place of pain, so will it be. If one relates to life as if it is a state of joy and of pleasure, so will it be. Likewise, if one relates to life as if it is magical, meaningful and an opportunity for miracles, so will it be.
In practical terms, whenever we start stonemoving or need to change the direction of our flow, we stop and make a ring around the stone that is our focus. We then tune into the stone, enter it in our imaginations, becoming at one with it, and share our love and respect. We welcome it onto the field, and tell it in pictures why it is there – to make sacred space by standing in a circle with its brothers and sisters for as long as the spirit of place needs it. After a while we then communicate with it, always in pictures and feeling, the way and direction we wish it to move next. When it feels right, we complete and start to move it. Since we first started relating to the stone beings in this way, we have never had problems in their moving. It is if they want to move as effortlessly and easily as possible, to fulfil the pictures they have received. In other words, they feel the love and respect we direct upon them – and respond in kind. This attitude and behaviour applies to life in general. Life is a mirror. It makes simple common sense, after all.
We raised the North Stone off the ground with levers and placed it on rollers, then transported it to its final position. Moving stones requires impeccable teamwork. Our movement was inefficient and clumsy at first, but the team was ace and we soon found our rhythm. The picture I hold in front of my imagination for a perfect team is of a shoal of fish, or a flock of birds. After time, each individual becomes perfect and unique, yet merges into the whole and becomes one. As the stone circle progressed the team honed its skills, began to anticipate, and eventually actually become a shoal of humanfish. Towards the end, all I had to do was to occasionally remind the team to curb its enthusiasm and slow down a tad!
In order to move large stones with a team you need two things: Magic (communicating often with the stone), and Mechanics (the skill of using the best mechanical advantage gained by levers and tools). We had found both in abundance.
Measuring the base of the North Stone, we dug a hole in the ground much like a socket holding a tooth, and then placed gifts in the hole, objects of beauty that celebrated the union of stone and land, or God and Goddess. Flowers, a crystal, a feather, healing essences, articles of meaning and personally precious. Sage and other sweet-smelling herbs were burnt. Within a very short time our first stone was erect, and we performed a short yet heartfelt ceremony to welcome it into its final position in our growing sacred space.
The next stone to enter the earth was the South, or Warrior Stone. Using the same procedures, this second stone was soon standing proudly in the ground. That night, the stars were out in their millions. Imagine our delight when we used the South Stone as a backsight, and followed the point of the North Stone vertically, where it intersected Polaris! Our alignment was exact! The force was with us.
The next stones that found their way into the ground were the West, and then the East Stones. These became our foundation, the four Direction Stones that would hold the spirit of the stone circle with safety, strength, and balance. It is always a great relief to stand, admiring the four foundation stones, as they emerge proudly from the ground. They proclaim that the heart of the sacred space has been laid, and that first base has been reached. An interesting synchronicity was that a week earlier, Jan’s dog Sky died, and was buried under a small tree on their land. From the centre of the circle, the grave was in direct alignment with the West stone. Traditionally, West is associated with the setting sun, and Death.
Each stone in the circle needed to have a conscious alignment to a meaningful phenomenon: this is one definition of sacred space. Some alignments were to sunrises and sunsets: we had incorporated some of those possible, given the uneven nature of the horizon as seen from the centre of the stones. These were: Midsummer sunrise, Equinox sunrise (East), Midwinter sunrise, Samhain sunset and Equinox sunset (West).
There was a strong faery presence on the land; we aligned a stone to the centre of their area. We aligned a stone to either side of the house doorway. In Feng Shui, this spot is known as the ‘Gatherer of Chi’, the place that determines the type, and quantity, of energy that is drawn to a home and the people living there. We reckoned that emphasising this area, gently but strongly, would enhance the health, happiness and abundance of the inhabitants.
Then there was the ‘Guardian’ Stone, a heavy grey stone aligned towards the place where the public road intersected with Jan and Pete’s private drive. Finally, there was one place in the circle that had no visible horizon, and there seemed no possible alignment. We decided to place a stone there in honour of the Mystery.
stones were modest in size and were quite easy to move. Their willingness
to be transported was proportional to how often we communicated and tuned
into them. A few times we got stuck, and it was only our alert health
and safety person who reminded us to stop and take time to honour the
stone that got us moving again. I’m serious! This trick is applicable
to any similar blockage in everyday life. On average we managed two stones
a day, but even so that required up to twelve hours of steady work. Stones
do not like to move fast – except when they plummet due to the unfair
felicitations of gravity! When the stones got close to their final positions,
we would measure their bases, and dig a hole. We would then place our
offerings in the hole, and erect the stone. We learnt a useful technique
that can be used on stones of this size: we would place the stone in the
hole with as great an angle as possible, and then tie the pole we used
as a lever onto the stone, crosswise, close to its top, making a cruciform
shape. The pole was about fifteen feet long. That enabled five or six
people to hold the pole, and, all at once, ‘walk’ the stone
into its erect position. Very satisfying!
After the earth was filled back into the hole and the turf relaid, the stone and grass was watered. Then we would perform a ceremony to welcome the stone into the earth, an operation that Druids consider analogous to sacred sex. This ceremony is naturally very important, enviably passionate, and has a very loud whoopee at its conclusion!
Well, I had no idea where the final stone was going to go. The only guidance was a large gap between the East and South Stones. So we tuned in and rolled it to the centre of the circle. Then I invited everyone to take off their socks and boots. What did they feel underneath their feet? Were there places that felt good, or bad? Hot or cold? Just walk about… Then I invited everyone to trust their bodies and use them like dowsing instruments. I asked them to ask their body to find where their most beneficial place (in the circle) was located, and allow themselves to find it. They did. I did it myself and found my spot immediately. Great.
After a while I invited everyone to instruct their body to swivel so it was pointing at the spot on the circumference that was the most beneficial place for the Mystery stone. We all did this; I was nervous but when it was my turn my guiding Angel stood in front of me, just to the right, and said, ‘Here it is! No sweat!’. And so it was.
I invited everyone to pick up a pebble and place it on the spot they had chosen on the circumference. Almost everybody placed their stone close to the others, making a cluster; only two stones were outside the width of the Mystery Stone. I then asked if there was anyone present who wished, in good faith, to change the position of their stone. Two people approached and placed their stones differently, closer to the cluster. We had reached consensus! Triumphantly, I marked out the centre of the Mystery Stone and its distance from the centre. It was done! We had made and identified a space for the Mystery in our lives.
The base of the stone was measured and the hole dug. Imagine our joy when a horseshoe emerged from the hole! We had found our luck! We returned the horseshoe to the hole. Once the stone was lowered and erected, our sacred circle was complete. We performed a ceremony to welcome the Mystery Stone into the earth, and afterwards another ceremony to celebrate the completed circle. A happy day, and many dreams fulfilled!
Druids work closely with the Power of the Word. Simply stated, whatever you utter in clarity and power, especially in ceremony or sacred space, will manifest. As each stone was chosen from the pile, we would state out loud its purpose in the circle, and bind the quality into its matrix. In our welcoming ceremony after it entered the earth, we would instruct each stone in its duties. For instance, the Midsummer sunrise stone was to hold the energy of masculine power in the circle, while the Midwinter sunrise stone was to represent the darkness of the spent sun, yet also the spark of its cyclical rebirth. The King is dead, long live the King! The faery stone was to hold the presence of the Little People and to provide a welcome space for the dragons, and the Mystery Stone held the power of the eternal, empowered feminine. Finally, the Guardian Stone had very specific instructions: “You are to stop any unknown person who wants to enter this property. You must ask this person: ‘What is your intent in entering this space? If your intent is harmonious with the energy of this place, you are welcome. If your intent is not in alignment, do not enter, and find another space with which you are harmonious.” This it does, and does well. Even I wouldn’t like to mess with that stone!
When a sacred space is complete, it must be connected to the earth energy grid, and ‘switched on’. When our stone circle was finally complete, we all assembled after dark. The inner face of the stones were illuminated by candles, and we were all dressed up in our costume finery. A magical, Otherworldly atmosphere hovered close. We all worked out our roles to play, and we performed an ancient ritual to bring our creation alive. Glowing coals from the sacred fire that had been tended so lovingly all week by the children were brought to the centre, igniting the wood placed there. The flames leapt for the sky, and the sparks played tag with the stars. Then we had a party, and produced our poetic, musical and story gifts to share with each other around the fire. It was a wonderful, magical night and a perfect way to bring alive a new stone circle on the sacred land. Oh yes, I nearly forgot: that night it was given its true name: The Moonmaiden Stone Circle.
It is now time to concentrate on the Earth changes that are leading up to 2012. There is no time to waste; they have already started. We must build a new relationship with the Spirit of the Land, and with our true Selves. The Moonmaiden Stone Circle was the first sacred space I have built with this conscious intent, and it is happening.
Everyone involved in its creation has changed, and its simple presence will ensure that these new energies will continue to be generated and radiate out through the earth energy grid from now on. Jan, Pete and Donna describe the experience as “life-changing”. What an honour to be part of this project!
You can read more of Ivan’s many adventures on his website www.ivanmcbeth.com or in his book “The Crystal Journey”, available direct from Ivan.
© 2005 Ivan McBeth & BSD EEG