The Crop Circle Phenomenon

by Jim Lyons

This  article  first  appeared  in  ISSUE  46  of  Caduceus  magazine and  is  reprinted  here  with  their kind  permission 


The  Crop  Circle  Phenomenon  is  arguably  one  of  today`s  strangest  enigmas.  Ranging  from  some  aficionados  claiming  divine  intervention,  to others indulging  in  the creation of “landscape  art”,  so  called  `Croppies`  cover  a  wide  spectrum  of   personalities  and  interests.  Thought  by  many  to  be  a recent phenomenon,  it  is  now  known  that  crop  circles  have  been  appearing  at  least  since  medieval  times.  While some early records have blamed the devil, the 20th  century  happenings  have largely  been  ignored  until  the  last  decade.  Many  were  seen  during  World  War  II  by  low-flying  Battle  of  Britain pilots – although  at that time other matters would have taken priority. It  was  only  in  the  1980s  that  any  real  investigation  of  the  phenomenon  began.  At  this  time,  formation  shapes  were  very  simple,  principally  simple  circles, and sometimes annuli.  Many investigators saw it simply as a geophysical  phenomenon,  linked  principally  to  local  weather  effects.   It  did  become  apparent,  however,  that  other  factors  were  involved.  Not  least  was  the  observation  that  the  location  of  the  formations  was  more  often  than  not  associated  with  ancient  sacred  sites  such  as  Stonehenge  and  Avebury.  The  Wiltshire  area  became  the  prime  location.  In  addition  to  their  mere  appearance,  other   effects soon  started  to  emerge.  Among  the  more  bizarre  were  the  occurrence  of floating  balls  of  light  (in size usually a few inches to  a  few feet, but occasionally much larger) seen  either  within  or  above  the  formations and often at night over the place where a circle would subsequently be formed. Occasionally were heard high-pitched sounds, which came  to be  called  “trilling”  noises.  Perhaps  the  strangest  of  all these  observed  effects   was  the  apparent  link  of  the  formations to   people`s  interest  in  the  phenomenon.  This appeared  to  be  a  classic  case of  synchronous  events  which  not  only  had  implications  for  the  locations  of  the  formations  but  also  the  shapes  which  eventually  manifested.

The  appearance  in  1990  of  the famous Alton  Barnes  Pictogram  caused  something  of  a  stir,  since  for  the  first  time, it  became  obvious  that  there  was  more  to  the  phenomenon  than  at  first  appeared.  The  mainstream  scientists  involved  up  to  that  time  declared  these  new  patterns  to  be outside  the  realm  of  geophysics,  and  so their  interest  declined  rapidly;  while the  media  initiated  its  well  known  derogatory  campaign  attributing  everything  to  the plank  and  rope  brigade.    That  year  also saw  the  formation  of  the  Centre  for  Crop  Circle  Studies,  an  organisation  with  the  aim  of  trying  to  unravel  the  many  conflicting  features  of  the  Circle  Phenomenon.  However,  it  was  1991 that revealed  the  truly  innovative  formations  which  stirred  my  own  interest  into  becoming  an  active  researcher  in  the  topic,  as  opposed  to  being  merely an armchair  observer. 

Circle  Basics

The  serious  research  work  which  had  been  done on  formations up  to  the  early  1990s  identified a  number  of  features  of  the real (as opposed to manmade)  formations  which,  now  with  the  hindsight  of  a  decade`s  further investigations,  can  be  well  substantiated.  Their  links  to  ancient  sites  have  been  well  established.  The  vast  majority  occur  on  or  near ancient  routes  over  chalk  downs.  A  study  by  Steve  Page  and  Glenn  Broughton1 has  convincingly  shown  that underground  water  associated  with  these  chalk  downs is   a  key  feature  to  the  location,  both of  ancient  sites  as  well  as  most  crop  formations.  The  exact  placing  of  a  formation  is  further dictated,  very precisely, by  what  is termed `The  Earth  Energy  Grid`. This  refers  to a network  of  energy  lines  associated  with  the  earth. It has been  referred  to  in  literature  since  at  least  the  time  of  Pythagoras.  These  essentially N-S,  E-W  lines are  known  to  be  strongly  correlated  with  the  Sun/ Earth  magnetic  field  interaction. They  form  the  basis of all sacred sites prior to the  Reformation.  These  sacred  places,  be  they  Pagan,  Christian,  Aboriginal  or  any  other  culture  are  always built  on  places where these lines cross over.  At  certain  specific  sites,  patterns  of  energy  occur  which  form  what are known  as  spiders’  webs.  These  have both radial  lines  and  equi-spaced  rings,  which  together  form  the  pattern   well  described  by  their  name.  How  do  we  know  these  patterns  are  there?  This  is an  important part of the  fundamental  link  of  Man  to  Earth; for his  ability  to  detect  these  shapes  within  the  earth, using  his  own  conscious  processes, has much to do with the  origin  of  the  world  of  the  Sacred. 

The  technique  used  to  detect  and  track  these  earth  energy  patterns  is  the  ancient  art  of  dowsing,  which was certainly  well known to the  Egyptians.  Better  known  in  latter  days  for  its  use  in  water  divining,  it  is  used  for  many  other purposes,  including  finding  missing  persons,  and  as  a  diagnostic  tool  in  healing2.  The  earth  patterns,  detected  mainly in  this  way,  lie at the origins of Sacred  Geometry. They can  be  found  in  manifested  form  in many places around  the  world – perhaps most  clearly  in  the  siting of  medieval  churches.  This  Grid  Network  of  lines  and  geometric  patterns  is  known  to  move in  a cyclical  fashion in  response  to  the  Sun’s  progression  around  the  ecliptic  plane.   An  energy line is  essentially  a  grouping  of  five  dowsable lines and  resembles  a  road   with  its  double  white  lines  at  the  centre,  the  road  edge  and,  beyond  the  pavement  edges.  The  movement  is  as  a  unit  always  returning  to  same  location  on  the  ground  with  the  road`  widening  at  the  Equinoxes  and  Solstices.   

In  particular,  at  the  Solstices  when  the  earth  tilt axis  relative  to  this  reference  plane  is  such  that  the  induced   E-W component  of  the  sun`s magnetic  field  reverses  direction, the  whole earth grid  pattern  collapses  for  around  one  hour  then  slowly  builds  up  again  during  the  next  few  days.  Thus one`s  ability  to dowse earth energy patterns  during the solstices is  severely  impaired. This  human/earth  energy  link  is a central feature of Goddess-based  religions  and  is  clearly  a  key  factor  in  the  origin  of  the calendar  year.  As  for  ancient  sites,  and  Crop  Circles  in  particular,  this earth grid  pattern of  magnetic  origin  represents   the  `graph  paper`  on  which  all  formations  are  created (see  Fig.1).   The  link  between earth energy lines and  Stone/Crop  Circles  has  been examined in  some  detail  by  the  late  Richard  Andrews:  a  very  fine dowser,  whose  fundamental  studies  in  this area3  have  been  confirmed and  extended  by  many  subsequent  investigators,  including  myself. 

Other  basic  features  of  Crop  formations  can  best  be  understood  by  reference  again  to  Stone  Circles.  This  time,  we  will  use  Avebury  as  an example  to  identify other  major  factors.  A  glance  at  a  map  of  Avebury,  stripped  of  its  latter  day  buildings  and  roads  with  locations  of  its  original  stones  identified,  reveals  several  significant  features (see  Fig.2). 

Firstly,  although we  talk  of  Stone  Circles, Avebury  is  not in fact circular, but rather ovoid  in  shape.  This  indeed is  consistent  with  the  geometry  of  all  other Stone Circles  in  the  British  Isles,   studied  in  some  detail  by  Alexander  Thom4.  It  also  has  a  ditch  or  henge  to  give  it  its  correct  name.  Today,  this  is  filled  in  to  some  extent,  but  what  is  clear  to  dowsers  is  that  the  earth  energy  detectable  along  the  lines  that  intersect  the  henge also flow around  the  ditch,  much  like  traffic  flowing  around  a  roundabout.  The  energy  can therefore be seen as a  container  for  a doughnut    shaped  energy  field,  half  being above  the  ground, and half within the  ditch  itself.   The  technical  term  for  this  shape  is the toroid,  well  known  in  the  realms  of  science  as  a  shape  which  conserves  energy.  It  is  for  example  the  shape  of  the  van  Allen  radiation belts  which  surround  the  earth.  In  a  henge,  the  earth  energy  flows  around  the  toroidal  pattern as a spiraling  wave,  much  like  wire   wound  on  a  toroidal bobbin.  The  direction  of  crop lay follows the direction of energy flow in the ground.

The  third  feature  of  Avebury  we  need  to  take  note  of  relates  to  the  geometry  of  the  stone  locations.  The  central  stone  circles  within  Avebury are lined  up  relative  to true  north  at a  precise  angle – 19.5 degrees, while the  transverse  axis  of  the whole formation  is  also lined  up  relative  to  north   at  this  angle.  These  figures  are  very  significant, since  they  are  also  found  all  the  time  within  Crop  Circles!    They  refer  to  a  common  feature  of  the  flow  of  the  earth`s  subtle  energy  which  is  related  to  one  of  the  Platonic  solids,  well  known  to  students  of  Greek  geometry : the  tetrahedron (see Fig. 3). 

This  is  a  triangular  pyramid  with  sides of equal  length.  It is also related to the cube, being derived simply by joining  all  of the cube’s vertices diagonally  rather  than along its  edges.  To summarise: the basics of all crop circle geometries are to be found in (a) the toroid, (b) the resulting  dual  tetrahedral structure which is characterised  geometrically  by  specific  angular  alignments  in  the  resulting  patterns, (c)  the oval  or  egg  shape,  which  can  also  be  shown  to  be  related  to  both  the  the  toroid and  (d) the vortex shape, as seen in a tornado. It  is  the  vortex  which  is the key to  the  dynamics which  finally create the circles.

Circle  Shapes          

We  have  seen  from  our  study  of  Stone  Circles  that  their  shape  can  vary  significantly from a  circular  shape.  Crop  Circles  on  the  other  hand  are  generally closer  to being circular although, apart  from man  made  formations,  I  have  yet  to  come  across  one that  is  truly  circular.  Many  of  those  occurring  in  the  eighties  were  simple  ovals  with  the  crop  swirled  in  a well  defined spiral  flow  pattern,  often taking  one  revolution  of  the  formation  to  reach its outer  edge.  The  vortical  centre,  i.e  the “centre  of  swirl”,  of  the  energy  field is  often slightly offset  from the geometric  centre.  This  offset  is  related  to  the  degree  of  asymmetry  of  the  formation.  To  understand  the  crop  flow   pattern,  imagine  a  toroidal  shape  aligned  with  the  circle (see Fig. 1 for  clarification) but,  as  in  the  case  of  Avebury,  half  above  the  ground  and  half  below  ground.  This  “shell” of energy is  related  to the  earth`s  magnetic  field  and  forms what  I  term  a  “magnetic  cloche”,  within  which  the  air, once it  is  ionised  by  the  initiating  electrostatic  fields, flows  in  a  helical  motion.  This  simple  model  of  what  is  going  on  is often more  than  sufficient  to account for the  crop  flow  pattern.  It  appears that the flow is initiated by the  main  earth  energy  lines which traverse the  formation. The direction of flow in the circle is then related to the direction of energy flow in the main earth energy lines which cross it. In fact the  whole  thing seems  to  obey  the  same  laws  that  govern  the  direction  of  rotation  of  electric  motors!

Generally,  for  a  simple  shape,  one  revolution  of  flow  is  sufficient  to  create  the  resultant  shape.   There  have,  however,  been  a  few  formations  where  two  revolutions  of   flow  are  needed  to  create  the  final  pattern. More  complex  patterns  make  use  of  the  already  existing  dowsable  earth  energy  patterns  within  the  ground.  In  this  case,  imagine  the  cloches  more  as  hemispherical  bubbles  which  coalesce according  to well  established  laws  in  physics.     The individual  bubbles  permit  very  complex  local  flow  of  ionised  air  within  them  thus  potentially  creating  subsequent  complex  crop  flow  patterns on  the  ground, often  of  exquisite  elegance.   All  of  these  shapes  derive  from  a  basic  toroidal  template  which  undergoes  a  bifurcation  process.  This  means  that  the   original  vortex  breaks   up  into  several smaller  vortices  having  well  defined  geometrical sub-shapes. The combination  of  flows  from  all  the  vortices  generated create  the  final  pattern  on  the  ground.  For  formations  having  large  and  small  elements  in  combination,  this  process  suggests  the  larger  elements  of  the  formation  are  laid  first,  followed  by  greater  detail  as  the  bifurcation  process  proceeds. The precision and complexity of these patterns of movement of ionised air (plasma) can only be understood in terms of recent  research in plasma physics. The  plasma state is  naturally unstable and short-lived; thus the  whole  process is  complete well within a  minute,  as has been attested to by a number of eye-witness reports.

The   driving  engine  for  all  this  activity  is  what  I colloquially term  the  `Universal  Pastry  Cutter`.  It  is essentially our  basic  dual  tetrahedron with the two halves intersecting and rotated 60 degrees  with respect to each other.  A  toroid   slots  between  the bases  of  the  tetrahedral  and a sphere occupies  the  centre  of  the  toroid (see  Fig. 4) 

This overall generating shape  can  be  programmed  to  bifurcate  into  innumerable  patterns in a manner suggestive of cell  division. It is  also closely related to the universal vortex shape found  in  tornadoes  and  whirlpools. We now know that the dynamics  of  the  vortex is relevant  to  all  cosmic  bodies,  from  the  spiral  shape  of  galaxies  to  the  black  holes  at  their  centres. In addition, from Fig.4, we can identify  the origin of the very significant  angle of 19.5 degrees. This now  explains  many  features  of  planetary  bodies,  such  as  the  location  of  the  Red  Spot  on  Jupiter  at 19.5  degrees  below the  planet`s equator.     On  earth,  it  accounts  for  the  latitude  of  the  volcanoes  on  Hawaii  and, as  a geophysicist  colleague  of  mine  discovered,  the  location of  volcanoes  in  Mexico,  together  with  the  positions  of  the  Mayan  pyramids!  Adding  90 degrees  to  this  number,  to make  109.5  degrees, yields  a  triangle (see  Fig.  3) seen in  many  geological  situations,  a  key  one  being  the  shape  of  Easter  Island  – which could have implications  for explaining the island’s mysterious ancient civilisation. It  would  seem  that  this  model  of  crop  circle  formation  embodies many  of  the features identifiable in  the  physical  structure  of  the  cosmos.  What seems even  more  revolutionary, as we shall see, are its  implications for  living  matter. 

The  Conscious  Link

We  now  turn  to  what   many  believe  is  the  key  point  of  interest  in the  Crop  Circle  phenomenon.  This  relates  to  the many indications of a  conscious  link  between  the  phenomenon  and the human  interest  in  it. On the one hand there is what appears  to be a dialogue between  the  observer  and  the  phenomenon. Every  formation will offer a different  interpretation  to  each  interested  observer. Another factor is the startling degree of synchronicity, revealed in many anecdotes, in which formations have appeared, in  particular forms and/or locations, as if in response to human wishes. Is  this  just imagination, or  is it a  justifiable  fact?  Whereas    modern  scientific  method  rejects  the  idea  of  mind  being  involved  in any  physical  process,  all  eras  prior  to  the  Renaissance at  least considered  this  to  be  more  than  a  possibility.  In  fact,  in  many  philosophies,  the human mind  was  considered  to play a direct  participatory role in the physical world. This link was severed in the 17th century – largely due to Descartes’ doctrine of the separation  of  mind  and  matter. Newton, on the other hand, seems to have re-discovered  the  ancient  Hermetic  principle, concerning  the link of  mind  to  the  cosmos.  This  however  was  disguised  in  allegorical  fashion  in  his  non – scientific  writings. 

In  the  age  when  the Stone  Circles were created,  there was evidently a deep spiritual relationship between human kind and the all-providing  earth.   It seems that daily involvement with earth energies was a central fact of life  which  amounted to a driving force for civilisation. At  certain  sacred sites, many of which are still evident today, altered  states  of  awareness  became an  accepted  part  of  the  spiritual  life.  There  is  evidence  to  suggest  that  the  ancients  could  indeed  see  the  whirling  flow  of earth  energies  which  acquired  a  mystical  description  in  terms  of  deities and  other  entities.  Today,  only  a  handful  of  people  retain  the  ability  to  see  these  subtle   energy  fields.  In our time, when the  ancient  sites  offer  us  only a  limited  facility  to  study  these  energies, the  Crop  Circle  scene  is  so  dynamic  that  these  things become amenable  to  analysis  using  the  modern  toolkit  of  Science.   Some  involved  in  the  circle  phenomenon  have more  than  a  perceived  ability  to  mentally  manifest  formations  – albeit on  a  still somewhat  hit  and  miss  basis. This is  perhaps  the  bottom  line  to  the  whole  mystery. Especially as, when  manifested,  the  formations`  informational  content  is often highly  relevant  to  those  involved.  This indicates  that  some kind of  dialogue  between  observer  and   the  process  is  taking  place.

A number of other  effects  of  circle  energies  on  humans  have  been studied  by  Lucy  Pringle  and  her  co-workers5.  In summary, what  has  been  found  is  that  the energy fields have a  dramatic  effect on  the  hormone  system  of  humans  and  animals.  Some recent measurements suggest that  the  pituitary  and  pineal glands  are  very  reactive  to  these  energy  fields.  Nausea  or  elation  can  be  elicited  simultaneously  within  the  same  formation  in different individuals.  Time  aberrations  have  also  been  reported – an  effect  also well  known  in  Stone  Circles.  The  healing  of chronic health  problems  has  been  known  to  occur.  For  example, after exposure  to  the  energies  of  one  formation  for  just  a  few  minutes,  a  lady  with  a  long-standing hearing  defect  in  one  ear  no  longer  requires  a  hearing aid.    There  have also been  cases  of  post  menopausal women having  recurring  periods  after  exposure  to  the  energy  fields – a possible  explanation  of  the association of fertility  rites with  certain  of  these sites.

In  addition  to  these  effects  on  humans,  there are  many  recorded other  physical effects associated with the circles. Most common are inexplicable misfunctions of  electrical  equipment  such  as  cameras  and  mobile  phones. Floating  balls  of  light  are  also well documented.  Similar balls of light have been known to occur at  ancient  sacred sites  and also in earthquake  areas,  where  a  study  of  geologic  fault  zones  contributes to our  understanding of the  phenomenon.

The  Current  Position

Mainstream  science  has  been  struggling  for  many  years  to  understand  the relation of mind to matter.  Much  progress  has  been  made  in  understanding  the  brain  and  its  functioning – but this still skirts around the basic problem. Very  recently,  however, fresh understanding is coming from new concepts  in  physics, especially Quantum  Theory. Several factors are driving us to recognise at  least  some connection between mind and matter. In particular, the enigma of non-local  interactivity  leaves one struggling to escape the conclusion that conscious  connections  exist between  apparently  separate objects.  Thus fundamental  particles,  having  been  once  together (entangled  in the  current  terminology) when  separated, still  appear  to  behave as  one, even though there is no way in which information can apparently be passing between them.  The  world  of  science  is  still  endeavoring  to  come  to  terms  with  such  outrageous  behavior!  A  common everyday example is  that  of  identical  twins.   To  them, it is commonplace for  similar happenings  to occur to  each  of  them  at  virtually  the  same  time.  If  this  is considered  too  speculative,  what  about  Jung`s  long  term  study  of  the  phenomenon  of  Synchronicity?  That  there  could  be  an  all  pervading  Mind  Field,  amenable to  analysis using  the  latest  techniques  is  generating  enormous  interest  for  some  researchers,  but with  severe  rearguard  actions being  fought by many  others!  This reaction is  occurring  despite  the  fact  that  Transcendental  Meditation  has  been  very  well  studied  and some of its associated  non-local phenomena reported and accepted in the mainstream literature6.  Such  are  the  inconsistencies of   present  day  science.   In  the  Crop  Circle  scenario,  we see  many  features  implicit  in  this emerging new understanding.    The phenomenon may well be providing us with a demonstration  of  the  Hermetic  Principle.  In focusing exclusively on  a  clockwork  universe,  science has so  far ignored  the possible  (re)discovery  of  the  Universal  Mind.  After centuries of reductionism, it is now coming to be appreciated   that we   interact  creatively with  the  intelligence  of  the  Cosmos. The crop circles are now offering us a new way to experience this great truth. Each  year as we  see  ever  more  symbols are portrayed in  the  fields, we  hope the  phenomenon  will  continue  long  enough  so that,  collectively,  we  can  begin  to  appreciate  that  truly  everything  is  connected.

© 2000 J. Lyons & BSD EEG

  1. Page. S  &   Broughton.  G,   ‘The  Underground  Connection’ The Circular  Issue  33  December  1998. ISSN: 1463-0788 []
  2. Bird. C, ‘The Divining Hand – The 500 year-old mystery of Dowsing’, Whitford Press 1993. ISBN: 0-924608-16-1 []
  3. Andrews. R, ‘The  Living  Countryside’ in ‘The  Crop  Circle  Enigma’ Ed.  Noyes. R ; Gateway  Books  1990  ISBN 0-946551-66-9 []
  4. Thom.  A, ‘Megalithic  Sites  in  Britain’, Clarendon  Press Oxford 1967 []
  5. Pringle, L, ‘Crop Circles, the Greatest Mystery of Modern Times’, Thorsons 1999. ISBN: 0-7225-3855-3 []
  6. Radin, D, ‘The Conscious Universe’, Harper Edge 1997. ISBN: 0-06-251502-0 []