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Ley Lines UK – The Old Straight Track

About forty years ago I developed in interest in ley lines.  The interest was sparked by reading about them in various books on related subjects.  It wasn’t long before I had ordered a copy of The Old Straight Trackby Alfred Watkins and other titles soon followed.

Living on the outskirts of Winchester, the ancient capital of Wessex and England, I was well placed for this new hobby.  There were ample tumuli, old churches, and earthworks to explore.

Finding alignments wasn’t easy.  This was a long time before the Web, Google Earth, and apps. The only method at the time was to buy rolled i.e. unfolded Ordnance Survey maps from the Hampshire Chronicle office and try to spot possible alignments of three or more sites of a similar age using a ruler and a variable protractor.

Do Ley Lines exist?

StonehengeIf you want an argument that debunks them then there are plenty of websites that do just that.  If you want to read of how and why they might be real then there are books and websites that do that too.

I’l not really interested in persuading you of their existence or proselytizing about a New Age fad.  If the subject interests you then you’ll probably approach it with an open mind.

If not then you’ll find plenty of reasons to scoff and will find better things to do with your time.

Glastonbury Tor Saint Michael's TowerFor example, one of the points made by those debunking them is the fact that alignments are often made up of sites that are from vastly different eras in history – a medieval church and a Bronze Age tumulus for example.

The Ley Hunter’s answer to this is that the church was built on an existing holy site.  So while the church itself may be medieval the site dates back much further.

What is a Ley Line?

At face value ley lines are (or appear to be) alignments of sites that have been or continue to be sacred and holy.

They can be made up of round barrows (tumuli), long barrows, single standing stones, stone circles, holy wells, ancient churches (built on older sacred sites), man-made notches in the landscape, ancient earthworks, and many more besides.

Ley lines may follow the routes of ancient track ways but they are not just pre-historic paths.

They may follow the length of a Roman road which in turn was built on an older road.  The older road may have been a path created by migrating deer or other animals.

However, the alignments themselves are only half the story.

cauduceus - ley lines - Hermes - ThothThe other half of the equation are the two lines of energy* that weave around the alignment.  These two meandering lines are opposites that form a balance; male and female, Sun and Moon, yin and yang if you like.

*Yes, I know, it’s that vague New Age term energy but ask an experienced dowser to show you how it’s detected in the field and you’ll at least see a demonstration of something there.

An experienced dowser might be sort that the geology, oil, water, and gas companies employ for locating fresh resources (but don’t like to admit that they do).

Think of the cauduceus.  If ever there was an apt symbol for a ley line then that is it.  Two serpents coiled around a winged straight rod and the symbol of  Hermes Trismegistus (Greco-Egyptian), Hermes (Greek), and Mercury (Roman).

There are plenty of lengthy descriptions that go into more detail.  See below for some recommended titles.

Stand Tall and Walk The Line

Walking ley linesInterest in Britain’s holy places has never really waned all that much and now it’s going through a resurgence once again.

Organisations like the British Pilgrimage Trust and the Gatekeeper Trust are encouraging people to get off the sofa and go offline.

By walking the ancient pathways you can expect to be both renewed yourself as well as participating the the process of renewal and regeneration of this timeless network.

Find out for yourself

Ley Lines UK - Following The Old Straight Track

Plotting ley lines. A copy of The Old Straight Track is on the table. Circa 1979.

Whatever your views on the reality of ley lines the process of exploring the sites expands the mind and lifts the spirit.  You will be visiting lonely and near forgotten barrows, old churches (and country pubs), and hills, trees, and earthworks.

It was to be several years later that I learned to drive and had a car of my own so at first I would cycle everywhere.   My bicycle was a heavy relic from the early days of cycling.  With a camera tripod strapped to it and a small pack on my back it was heavy and slow going going down narrow Hampshire lanes.

Later in the 1970s and early 80s I ventured further into Wessex, and to Cornwall and Wales in search of forgotten megaliths and lonely circles of stone.

Forty years later I have re-visited some of those sites and intend to visit many more.  A few years ago I took a drone out on several occasions and made a few short films of some well known sites.

 

Where doe the path lead?

Once you put a foot on the path you are likely to be lead into all kinds of new avenues of exploration, research, and adventure.

Any study of ley lines and the earth’s energy network will inevitably include touching upon the history of Britain and elsewhere, astroarchaeology, sacred geometry, dowsing, myth & legend, folklore & local customs, the Occult, the Western Mystery Tradition, the world of Faery, Paganism & Christianity, Shamanism, and more besides.

Be prepare for raised eyebrows and the rolling of eyes.

Suggested Reading

There are plenty of books to pique your interest.  The research since the 1960s has been extensive and is ongoing.  Here are nine of my recommendations.  Think of these as a starter pack.  You’ll probably end up with a small library once you get bitten by the bug.

Like so many things, it is far better to read a book on the subject that to rely on dubious information gleaned through web browsing.

The British Empire’s Legacy Makes The World A Better Place

The British Empire's Legacy Makes The World A Better PlaceEmpire’s should be measured by their legacy, not their longevity.  Quality, in terms of what influences endure, is how to judge an empire’s contribution to the world.   The British Empire’s legacy is one that has had a positive effect on the lives of billions.

It’s ironic to watch people complain and condemn, in English, the British Empire and its colonies in a medium invented by an Englishman (the World Wide Web, Sir Tim Berners-Lee).

It’s reminiscent of that sketch in Monty Python’s Life of Brian in which the rebel leader asks the question, “What have the Romans ever done for us?!

One by one the answers come: the aqueduct, sanitation and public health, the roads, irrigation, medicine, education, the wine (very popular), public baths, public safety, and peace.

Of course it’s true that there were terrible events, cruel people, catastrophic errors of judgement and other examples of the corruption of the human soul but then there were all these things in every empire before or since.

If the British Empire is to be judged only on these aspects then so must every other one and it’s surprising just how many there have been.

The capacity for cruelty and barbarism at one end of the spectrum, and spiritual, artistic, and scientific achievement at the other end is something that all humans possess.

The net result is that the British Empire may not have lasted the longest but it was the biggest (23.8% of the world’s land area) and its influence is being felt all over the world today, and that’s likely to continue for many years ahead.

What have the Britons ever done for us?

The Spitfire trumps everything. So there.

The list of British inventions is long and comprehensive. It covers just about every aspect of human life.  If you want a more detailed list you can divide this down into lists of English, Scottish, and Welsh inventions.

All the above are practical things.  They are inventions that have contributed to the worlds of engineering, medicine, agriculture, science, technology etc.

They have enhanced people’s lives making them better and more productive.  They have enriched and improved the lives of billions.

The list of inventions don’t take into account Britain’s contribution to the world in terms of everything from art, culture, music, government, architecture, and language, to sports, the postal service, and sense of humour.

The English parliamentary and judicial systems were adopted and absorbed by many former colonies.  English is the first language of over 400 million people. It’s also spoken and understood by about 1.5 billion people around the world.

Oh, and let’s not forget what we won the Battle of Britain and held out against the Nazis when the rest of Europe was under the jackboot.

Reparations

Despite all this, mention the British Empire anywhere and you’re likely to provoke some vitriol from those obsessed by the Slave Trade.  Briton’s make an easy target for these arguments because we are, generally speaking, open and honest about our country’s past.

However, the people who cannot see anything else but this part of our history are often the same ones who seem unable to confront the Arab nations about their participation in the northern and eastern African slave trades.

Nor can they admit to the uncomfortable truth that many Africans become wealthy by participating in the slave trades with both the Europeans and the Arabs.

The British Empire’s Legacy

It should be apparent, even if it is only grudgingly admitted by some, that the net result is of British Empire’s legacy is one of enormous good to the world.

It is recognition of this combined with the long and fascinating history of Britain from the Stone Age to the present that makes me proud to be British.

It is also what draws millions of tourists to visit Britain each year to marvel at our landmarks, whether they were built 500 or 5,000 years ago.

In the years to come that influence will continue to reverberate around the world but it’s not a series of waning ripples from a past event.  It is a strong pulse emanating from the beating heart of Albion as it continues to grow and develop as a nation.