Have you ever gotten that tug of place? That is that draw to a certain place that seems to resonate within you and seems to call you back even if it has been years?
That has happened to me lately, and the monument is not the more familiar Henge but instead one that is located much, much further north in the Orkney Islands. The particular monument is now called the Standing Stones of Stenness. There is not much left of the surviving megalithic stones but what there is, is still impressive and to me something very mystical.
Standing Stones of Stenness I remember visiting the site in more years ago than I care to recount but even so, though windswept and cold, there is a magic to the place. Long before I became a person of Fairy Faith or even knew anything about things like the Otherworld when I circled the site on foot and then stepped into the center. It did not feel as if I was on mortal Earth anymore. Oh, the sights and sounds where still there but I am not sure how to describe the feeling, that it would take but just a little effort and one would be in another place.
Now a bit about the Stones and the nearby more complete Ring of Brodgar. The Stones are considered now to be the oldest archeological henge in the British Isles dating back to as far as 3100 BCE making them far older than the first stones laid down at the more famous Henge (around 2600 BCE) and older than the nearby Ring estimated at 2500 to 2000 BCE.
These are not the only sites in the Orkney Isles as there are far more standing stones and Neolithic village that are there. One legend is that the Watch stone near the spot that connects between the Standing Stones and the Ring of Brodgar, at the stroke of midnight on New Year’s leaves its spot and goes for a drink in the loch.
Looking at the amount of effort that went into the building of the two sites along with other monuments in the area, that are all as old if not older than the first pyramid in Egypt, makes you wonder what it was that people here on these windswept islands made them do what they did. All I can say is if you get away from the bustle and stand there you can feel the magic in the land.
As mentioned there are many sites throughout the Isles of standing stones, henges, tombs and they are way too numerous to mention. However, one other place that caught my attention, and it was because of the folklore associated with it, is over in Pembrokeshire in Wales. Now called Pentre Ifan (John’s village) Dolmen, it is another ancient monument dating back before the Henge was built and estimated at being put up around 3500 BCE. The most interesting part of the monument is the estimated 16-ton capstone delicately balanced on three pointed upright stones. There is a legend associated with this and it goes like this: The people that built the monument could not lift the capstone into place and then balance it so delicately on the three-pointed uprights. Thus, they put out offerings to the Tylwyth Teg (Fair Family), the Fairies, who then with their magic lifted the stone into place and then balanced it on the three uprights. The Good Folk must have done a bang-up good job as it has lasted so delicately balanced for over 5500 years! It is said to this day that at certain times that one can hear music and that the fairies still return to dance in the area on certain nights.