Saturday, November 13, 2010

The Callanish Stones

My Callanish Stones Experience

By Jim Boyle

I have always been drawn to the unknown. Ancient mysteries and rituals, the Paranormal, unseen worlds, and especially UFOs have been my main area of interests since I was a child. As an Art student earning a degree in Fine Arts - Jewelry and Metalsmithing I was focused on the ancient pieces, hand wrought works whose use and importance in their respective cultures cannot really be known or felt - only guessed at.

We leave to Archeologists the task of assigning names and deciphering the utilitarian used of these objects and the places from which they were gently retrieved from earth, grave, and cave. Dates, categorization, and radiocarbon dating, do well to place a piece or ancient site in a historic perspective relative to our own. Think of it as a snapshot. Click, this is what it looked like in Machu Pichu in 1450. But like a photograph of a bird in flight it does nothing to convey in the least what it is like to actually BE that bird soaring over the land. Just as the true meaning of these places and objects is unknown, how it felt in the heart to be at these sites taking part in the rituals and using them to connect with the Divine.

I was fortunate to have felt, if only for a brief time, the power of place and ecstasy of connection to the state of living on Earth that transcends words and rational categorical thought. I am very rational and interested in science and history. Even though I am drawn to the fringe of both science and history it is because I find that is where the truths lie, or more accurately where they live. Modern Quantum Physics point, more and more, to the true picture of the world where matter, distance, and even time itself are mere illusions.

Ancient cultures and religions already knew this. They came to realize it through either Divine awareness or their own ancient sciences we condescendingly refer to as mythology. Most people scoff at their allegorical stories quaint or as trying to describe a world they were afraid of. When the Hindus describe the Veil of Maya they were talking about exactly the same concepts as modern quantum physicists allude to when trying to grasp the true nature of reality. It is just as difficult for the biological brain to comprehend now as it was then, I would think. To know what is behind the Veil one needs to experience it on a level beyond the limited 5 senses, which cannot process the information coming from this realm. An instrument which is made and calibrated to pickup one thing is of no use to detect another. A gauss meter can read the magnetic field and give its strength. Point that same meter at a noisy city street and it can not tell you how many decibels there are. The same is true with our brains. Some energies, waves, information, can only be experienced by humans using other forgotten senses. Intuition, precognition, and what we call gut reactions are just three of these extra-senses. I don’t know how many we have, and to me it is irrelevant. It is with one of these other senses I was able to experience the energies at a 5,000 year old stone circle In the Outer Hebrides on the Isle of Lewis, Scotland.

My first activity I planned was to take The Jacobite Steam train trip From Fort William to Mallaig, as the service was ending till the following Spring. It was voted the most scenic train ride in the world. It was beautiful and awe inspiring in spite of the typical Scottish Fall weather. After taking a Steam train ride I met up with a Scottish friend from the Borders. He wrote me a couple months before saying he was going on a trip to the Outer Hebrides with a friend and one of the places they were going to see was the Callanish Stones. I had wanted to go to Scotland for many years but finances made it seem impossible as did my belief that is was something other people did not me. Besides the issues of money, self worth was a stumbling block. I didn’t feel I deserved such a trip. So I worried about everything that could go wrong including dwelling on catastrophic events that might take place at home and in my business for the 17 days I would be gone.

At one point in between the agonizing I did something that I am really bad at - I took a leap of faith.

The night before we headed off to Ullapool to catch the ferry to Stornaway on the Isle of Lewis we found one of the few restaurants open past 9 and had a good meal. I had a nice curry and some lime pickle which we use all the time at home. I even had a couple of pints of cider on tap which is more alcohol than I would normally drink in 6 months time. When in Scotland do as the Scots do , I guess. The combination was not good for the early morning twist and turn roads of the Highlands while sitting in the back seat.

We made the ferry with time to spare. After a 2 ½ hour ferry ride we landed on the Isle of Lewis and headed off. One of the first stops was the famous Callanish stones. I had seen many pictures of the stones before. My wife had visited them three years ago and thought they were great. I was looking forward to seeing them for myself. In America there are almost no remains of anything this ancient which is manmade.

Arriving at the small visitor’s center we followed the path to the stones. They
are not that visible from the car park so as you wind around a small hill the path
begins to slope up and coming around the bend the Stone circle comes into
sight. At this point I stopped and took a couple of photos and thought
“Wow…this is really neat!” Only a few steps later did my thoughts change to My
God! What is happening!!”
I was not yet inside the low stone wall enclosure surrounding the stones when I
froze in my tracks. I began to tremble and the emotions that welled up were
powerful , unfamiliar, and quite, should I say, TOTALLY unexpected. After a couple minutes I calmed myself as best I could and moved the 60 feet or so into the area of the stones . Again, about 9 steps into the area I was hit with emotions so powerful that I again began to shake and weep uncontrollably.
It was not necessarily sadness. As I described it later I realized that the reaction of the body to such overwhelming energies is to react with the most extreme emotion it can.

The only presence of mind I could muster was to tell myself not to try to name what was happening but to just experience it. The double slit experiment done by physicists for the past century which shows that all matter is really a cloud of potential possibilities until it is observed, at which point it drops out of this cloud and becomes a particle. Only then does it become matter in linear space and time. It proves that thoughts create matter. Had I tried, could I have had the energies show up as Cernunnos - Hern the Hunter, or as a druid or an Angel or as Jesus? At that point my intent becae only to give in to the experience. Ro gain what I could from it.

My fellow travelers were in the center of the circle speaking to a lady we met at the entrance who taught Gaelic at the local college. I was grateful they were with her as I was unable to speak for about 5 minutes without crying out loud in gasps of air. It was terrible and sublime at the same time, I think that is just the nature of the experience. I was ably to gain enough control to move again. I got the distinct impression that I was supposed to walk counterclockwise around the central stone grouping. The impression was a notion that - this is how it is done.

I was relieved to move from my transfixed spot and start looping around the circle, all the while transfixed on the center. When I got approximately 45 degrees around Wham it hit me again! The exact same feelings rushed back in. It was at this point that I knew it was not just a passing thing. Whatever this experience was, it was not over. I knew I had to keep circling while at the same time I tried to calm myself enough to be able to continue. Another 90 degrees around the outer stones and I was beginning to reassure myself I was back in control. A couple more steps and I was overwhelmed again. The best description I can give the feeling is like just finding out the closest friend, family member, or pet has just died, the difference being it was not so much grief though there was a huge element of that. The intensity was that strong. It was like hearing that your parent had died and when you are finally in a place of solitude you break down. Again, I tried not to name the emotion and the powerful feelings

After the 4th Zap I fled and put my back to the stone at the most Northern end and stared in awe at the rest of the formation. What the Hell is this? I was not sure I could bear it. I was not sure I could go on. After another 5 minutes or so standing there, again weeping and trembling. I continued back on the circular path around the outer stones and in another spot I was floored as well. It was further around the center and once more I was consumed, standing transfixed, staring at the center stone trying to make sense of what was happening, and what I should do. I caught the attention of my friends who came to see what was up - to see if I was OK. I was not.

The first to come was Brian who asked if I was OK. Between gasping breaths I said yes because there was really nothing physically wrong. Between a few other breaths all I could tell him was that “I am not sure I can go in the center“. I felt at that time that I would not be able to physically bear it. I had no concept of what might happen, but I knew I was already a mess. I was told my later my eyes were wide and a bright red. He left me, quite puzzled I am sure.

My friend Keith then came over. Keith over the past 7 years since his own profound Near Death Experience while in Hospital has been opened to the Fringe of Western sensibilities where the truth of Human existence lies. He knew immediately that I was experiencing something beyond words, beyond description. I acknowledged I was OK as best I could. He touched me on the arm nodded, and left me to it. Though not feeling the same energy, he understood the sacred nature of what was happening.

My friends respectfully went back down to the Visitor Center and gift shop as I waited continued to walk the perimeter. There were a few other folks there looking around. I was waiting for them to leave so I could approach the center alone. I didn’t want strangers to see me in this incapacitated state. They might be inclined to call an ambulance , or maybe the guys in white coats. When they cleared after about 10 minutes I began circling in towards the center.

I walked almost a spiral in, arriving at remains of a small chamber at the base of the center stone. The thunder of emotions has quieted at this point so I was able to study the small chamber remains and try to gain some understanding of its use. It felt Sacred. I had the notion it was used for both initiation as well as rituals of death and dying. Another wave of energy hit me one last time as I sank down with my back on the center stone and my eye fixed on the chamber. At this point it felt more of grief and I gave into it. The only message I got was a sense that my job was to grieve for the World. Looking back , It may have been part of the purpose of the experience. I was mourning for the world. The act of mourning changes nothing that has actually happened. The past suffering and death remain as points in history. The act itself in some way effects the present, and more significantly, the future. This, of course, is hindsight and simply conjecture.

I collected myself and went to rejoin my party at the Visitor‘s center down the hill. I was drained, puzzled, and exhilarated. They welcomed me back and allowed me to recover. We had a cup of coffee and a biscuit in the cafĂ© there. The Scots love their scones. We spoke with a man, Angus , who works there. He was open to hear that I had had this experience and said he has been told of similar experiences by a few visitors over the years.

I was not alone. Whatever it was there also had a message that none of us are alone. From prehistoric man up till present the heart of each person has searched for meaning and connection. I found a bit of both in a 5, 000 year old circle looking out over the Atlantic Sea.

It Has Begun...Again!

A year hiatus - a year apart from myself and the written word. I was compelled to write about the things that I have found meaning in, the things which not only caught my attention , but also held my mind for parts of most every day. 

My last entry was about the 2nd annual Dreamland festival in Nashville. It was a magical time, and the magic though distant is still felt a little most every week. I returned this year with a different attitude somewhat. The year has brought about much change for me. The year has changed me.

At some point if we are lucky or unlucky , as some may view it, we come squarely up against ourselves. If it is the a less enlightened view in the mirror or a more enlightened one we smack into it matters little. What does matter is that the image we have of ourselves is simply inaccurate. It is the nature of the mind to project an illusion called the ego. If you hear someone tell you they are not ruled by ego try not to laugh ( it will be the ego laughing ). True, there are some who see themselves more clearly than others. By clearly I mean they see themselves as those who love them see them. As Robert Burns so eloquently put it

“O would some power the gift to give us to see ourselves as others see us”

Our strengths or weaknesses compassionately and clearly laid out before our eyes is a gift. Those who see themselves as much better than that “gift” are easy to spot in day to day interactions. Those who think they are much less than that gift would desperately be told by those close to them “ You ARE wonderful- why can’t you see it?” Well, almost none of us can see it. That is the curse of being human. It is the teaching of Jesus, and Buddha, and the old lady or neighbor you knew as a kid who paid attendant you for a reason you could not fathom - you weren’t special, after all…or were you ?.

Would you call yourself special ( worthy ) as an adult? Yet how many people can you think of who you would refer to lovingly as special or worthy? It has been my experience that people tent to think everyone else is worthy of everything but themselves. The ironic exception being the humans so caught up in ego , that false image of self, that they spend most of their energy attaining by force what worthy are supposed people outwardly have.

How does this relate to he blog? Well first I want to thank all of you whose kind encouragement gave me the courage to write down a few thoughts and share a few experiences. The reason I stopped writing was because my insecurities about being able to write were empowered by some criticism about my writing. It was a huge leap of faith to write what little I did here. As an artist craftsman in the visual arts I am fairly secure in my abilities to sculpt and draw. But when it comes to writing I am just the opposite. Funny enough, like most folks, I can talk about these things without the same fear of rejection that writing brings. Speaking is spontaneous and in the present whereas writing can be judges and scrutinized.

I wrote a blog entry about Philip K Dick last year as I had been reading much about his experiences with the Other realities that so many of you are drawn to. I decided to send a copy of the blog to his last wife Tessa Dick who herself is a science fiction author. What I wanted was some input concerning the accuracy of the information or some comment on whether I was myself out in left field with my assumptions.

What I got back was a severely corrected copy of my entry and a note saying “sorry..I was an English teacher and can’t get it out of my system” - GULP! Thus ended my short writing career. I felt like a kid who showed his drawing to an adult and was reprimanded for drawing outside the lines so many times and using the inappropriate color.

A friend I met this year in Nashville urged me to pick up my crayons and try again. For those of you who were at the Dreamland Festival 3 in Nashville in June 2010, you might remember this man. In the Q & A session a the end of the weekend he summed up the answer to the big question of the festival. It was not the official theme , however it was at the core of everything that was said there. It was the main point of William Henry’s talk in which he asked us all the question that was asked of him at one point in his life - “ what would you do if you weren’t afraid?” That is, how would you live your life differently if you weren’t afraid, afraid of criticism, afraid of failure, afraid of death. etc. For most of us fear is a part of day to day decision making. We either made decisions based on what we fear might happen, or what might not happen if we don’t decide correctly.

Well this guy stood up in front of Whitley William Anne, Jim , Linda, and Marla and with some apparent hesitation he spoke about his own overcoming of some fears. When asked that question himself “ what would you do if you weren’t afraid?” He said “ I’d be up there with you guys“. Everyone laughed at the frank obviousness of the answer. It did sum up what everyone was feeling. It is the reason we were all there, to be part of something greater than our individual selves, stronger than our individual fears.

What would I do ( besides Danny‘s bulls eye answer above of course) ? I would look at that image of myself reflected in the eyes of those closest to me and try to believe it as true, then act accordingly. I would try not to doubt myself and be more compassionate of my shortcomings. In that I might just find the hope that always seems out of reach.

This man, and others I met at the last two festivals and have kept in touch with, are the reason for all of it. Another guy I really enjoyed hanging out with again this year at the festival heard the 9 knock Whitley experiences and was compelled to find answers. They all have amazing experiences and live seemingly normal lives. There is a deeper level to life that drives them. It is not exclusive to the UFO or Fortean crowd . It is a force in all who seek - whatever that might mean. Seek and ye shall find. Knock and the door shall be opened unto you…or on this Path perhaps use 9 knocks.