Standing Stone Circles & FREE My Captive Highlander

Many settings across Scotland have inspired me and my stories. A few that I've found most inspiring have been standing stone circles. They are so mystical and mysterious. Do they have magical properties? Will they cause people to time-travel or find true love? Everyone wonders who built them and why. Not even the experts truly know all the answers, though they have many theories. All we know is that some of them were built around 5000 years ago and most have astronomical alignments.

I've always wanted to include standing stones as an important element in a story and I was able to in my novella, My Captive Highlander.

Can unexpected passion and a little ancient magic turn enemies into lovers? 

During a fierce storm on the west coast of Scotland, Shamus MacKenzie barely survives a galley wreck only to be captured and held for ransom by the enemy MacDonalds. Aided by the gift of second sight, Maili MacDonald, sister of the ruthless chief, senses the handsome, dark-haired stranger will somehow be important in her life. Compelled to help him, she insists on providing him food and a healer to see to his injuries. She knows she is daft to fall in love with this captivating warrior after one forbidden kiss but cannot help herself. With each visit from Maili, Shamus finds his thoughts consumed by the enchanting lass. Can he convince her to help him escape the dungeon and prevent the impending battle between the two clans?


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Now, about those standing stones, one of my favorites is Callanish Standing Stones on Isle of Lewis in Scotland. It is a circle that extends out into a cross shape.






Experts believe that the main circle at Callanish was designed over a long period of time and may have had input from seaborne travelers because of the similarity between Callanish, Stonehenge and Avebury in England and Carnac in Brittany.



Do you see how the central stone is taller? When you are reading my story, My Captive Highlander, and the scene that takes place among the standing stones, visualize this stone. :)



Callanish was almost hidden, buried beneath the deep layers of peat for many hundreds or perhaps over a thousand years. A nearby chambered cairn was just discovered in the 1990s and it is believed more standing stones and other ancient monuments could still lie beneath the peat at various places around Lewis waiting to be discovered.




Callanish is a circle with 13 main stones with a central monolith and five radiating rows of stones. The two rows of stones which form an avenue, aligning almost true north, links with Stonehenge, Avebury and Broomend of Crichie in Aberdeenshire. Some say the overall layout of Callanish is a Celtic cross design although it was built in pre-Christian times. The stones are 1 to 5 meters in height and they are made from local Lewis gneiss stone. The tallest marks the entrance to a burial cairn where human remains were found. The site was excavated in 1980 and 81 and they discovered the cairn was a later addition to the site. Experts believe the stones were a prehistoric lunar observatory. Others believe there is a relationship between the stones, the moon and the Clisham range on Harris.



One explanation for Callanish is that every 18.6 years, the moon skims especially low over the southern hills like a god visiting earth. Wise people who lived long lives must have noticed this unusual occurrence. A thousand years after it was built, Callanish was abandoned and the area inside the circle leveled. It is not known whether this was for agriculture of for ritual cleansing. The climate started to change around that time, becoming colder and wetter. This climate change caused the peat to grow deeper and deeper until the stones were almost buried. When the peat was cut in 1857, their true height was again revealed. In the 17th century local people called them "false men." In 1885 the main circle was taken into state care.



Thanks for checking out my post!
Vonda



18 comments:

Alanna Lucas said...

Wonderful post and so informative. Congrats on the upcoming release!

Vonda Sinclair said...

Thanks so much, Alanna!! :)

Sharon Ricklin Jones said...

Awesome information!

Thanks so much.

Sharon :)

Vonda Sinclair said...

Thank you for checking it out, Sharon!!

Beppie Harrison said...

Your pictures are as always magnificent. I suppose what really fascinates me is how many stone circles there are--little unimportant ones as well as the magnificent famous ones. I remember sitting on one of the stones in some insignificant circle somewhere in Ireland--probably County Meath--and thinking how much work it would have been to assemble even those stones and wondering what had been so important that it was worth doing it over and over and over again.

Vonda Sinclair said...

Thank you, Beppie!! That's true. I suppose every community wanted a standing stone circle for their own. Or at least one they could travel to that wasn't too far away. They must have had incredible significance to these early people.

Annie Kelly said...

Hello Vonda.
Wonderful post. I love stone circles, but they always make me shiver... The theories about them leave much to the imagination. I went to Stonehenge in 2000; it was forbidden to go inside the circle but even if it had been allowed, I'm not sure I would have went! Brrr... Thanks for such detailed info/ lovely pics.
Annie (aka Kelly Ann Scott)

Vonda Sinclair said...

Thanks, Annie!! How neat that you visited Stonehenge. I would love to visit it. I don't get negative feelings when I go into the standing stone circles in Scotland.

Alina K. Field said...

Your post and your pictures are amazing, Vonda!

Vonda Sinclair said...

Thank you for checking it out, Alina!! Glad you liked it.

Brenda B Taylor said...

Thanks for the virtual tour of the Standing Stones. I hope to visit them someday.

Mary Gillgannon said...

Fascinating, Vonda. I wanted to see these when I was in Scotland but ran out of time. Thanks for sharing this.

Vonda Sinclair said...

I'm glad you enjoyed it, Brenda and I hope you get to visit them soon!

Vonda Sinclair said...

Thanks, Mary! I hope you'll get to take another trip soon and see them.

Tamara Hunter said...

I had no idea the standing stones had that type of storied history. Very interesting. I'm in awe that 13 stones surround Callenish - especially with so many folks believing it to be an unlucky number.

Vonda Sinclair said...

Thanks so much, Tamara. I agree. Callanish is a fascinating place. It is interesting about the number 13.

Kathy Martin said...

Thank you, Vonda, for the most interesting and informative post. I'm fascinated by the standing stones and was very disappointed when I could only see Stonehenge from a distance. Can you touch the stones at Callanish?

librarypat said...

Interesting post. Thank you. I keep finding more and more I want to see when, not if, we get over there. Someday soon I hope.