Tag Archives: energy

Light and Life (PDF)

[An extract from my next book–some speculations on energies]

Light and Life

The forms of nature are subtle and far ranging. When one moves from the lattice structure of a crystal or the dance of electrons in a superconductor to the coherent oscillations in the human brain, the distinction between animate and inanimate begins to become blurred. Indeed a particularly striking suggestion is that light itself may play a key role in living systems.

Light has a powerful mythic history in the creation of the world. In the Judeo-Christian religion light was a result of the first act of creation and, in this sense, everything that exists comes from light. Light fills the entire universe and there is not one region of space, however remote, that is not criss-crossed by complex patterns of electromagnetic radiation. Indeed, the random noise that can be picked up by a microwave dish facing an empty region of the sky is believed to be the actual radiation present at the Big Bang origin of the universe. The radiation that once filled the embryo universe is present everywhere and, as space expanded over billions of years, so this aboriginal radiation was stretched out into longer and longer wavelengths until it forms the hiss that can be picked up by a microwave dish today.

(Foot Note: However, I do not all together accept the Big Bang convention that the universe was created at a single instant in time. The discussion of the previous chapter suggests that there is no fundamental level or origin to the universe. The “Big bang radiation” may nonetheless be the residue of some spectacular event occurring within a particular range of energies and space-time.)

Even the smallest region of space is filled with radiation from the extremely low frequencies of the Big Bang remnants, through the range of radio waves, from visible light and into ultra violet, and so up to gamma rays of the highest energy. This radiation comes from stars, supernovas, quasars, the event horizon of black holes, and from the twisting magnetic fields that stretch across vast regions of empty space. Moreover all this light is carrying information–it conveys information about it origin, in a nuclear process deep within the heart of a star, or as matter hurtles into  a black hole. Every volume of space is alive with electromagnetic radiation and, therefore, packed with an immense amount of data about the whole universe.

Light is a highly efficient way of encoding and transmitting information. Think also of the large number of telephone calls, television programs and telecommunication channels that can be carried on a single beam of light along a fibre optic link. This light stretches to the limits of all space so that each tiny region of space contains an amount of information that far exceeds the memory capacity of all the largest supercomputers put together. Indeed, every time you look into the night sky some of this information enters your eye and then unfolds within the brain to give a picture of the universe of stars and galaxies.

Light is information and communication. But what is truly remarkable is the recent highly controversial idea that light may play a central role in all biological systems. One of the active workers in this field is Fritz-Albert Popp of the Institute of Biophysical Cell Research in Kaiserlautern, Germany who is also associated with the Centre for Frontier Studies at Temple University, Philadelphia. While his ideas are not accepted by all physicists they are certainly striking in their implications.

For many decades it had been speculated that electromagnetic fields are associated with living systems. But research in this field is extremely difficult to carry out, since for every good, well documented experiment there are many others that can never be duplicated. Nevertheless, a number of experimentalists have been looking at this proposed bio-radiation and have suggested that photons, quantum particles of light, are emitted from the DNA molecule.

DNA is the key molecule in the nucleus of every cell and now it seems that this same molecule may be giving off a very weak level of radiation–just a few photons at a time. Experimentalists who have investigated the nature of this radiation believe that it is coherent, just like laser light only enormously weaker in its intensity. A biological molecule, DNA, seems to be acting like a laser and producing collective vibrations in an electromagnetic field.

If this is eventually confirmed to everyone’s satisfaction the question must be raised as to why. Nature does not normally do things without a reason. Why should the central molecule of life be emitting a very weak form of laser light? What could be its purpose?

An immediate answer is communication. Admittedly it is just a conjecture but one that scientists like Popp are willing to make. Suppose that DNA is using electromagnetic radiation, coherent light, to communicate inside the cell. Light can penetrate across the cell and is ideally suited for transmitting information. could it be that the cell uses a two level communication system–slower speed communication via conventional molecular processes that take place around the DNA molecule and a much higher speed communication within the whole cell using coherent light?

Scientists are also looking at coherent radiation from individual cells. The idea is that the entire organism may be swimming in a “living”, vibrating electromagnetic field. It may turn out, for example, that coherent light is being used as a communication system throughout the whole plant or animal–between DNA and the cell, between cell and cell and between organ and organ. The entire organism may therefore be a complex flow of information in which each cell and organ is responding to a constant flux of electromagnetic messages.

A living being would be a complex communications system in which coherent light ties together all its activities of metabolism and change. The very coherence of light would therefore be acting to preserve an even greater coherence–that of a living, changing organism. In this sense, light is active information. It is a global and active information that stretches across the cell, indeed the whole organism, and coordinates its efforts.

Individual animals may even be able to communicate with each other using electromagnetic radiation, just as do cells in a body. Indeed, one may ask if information, in the form of the coherent dance of fields of light, is the essence of all life and the way that complex living systems coordinate themselves?

At this point some readers may feel uneasy, for the idea of a complex flux of electromagnetic radiation which controls the activities of an organism begins to sound like a “life force”. The idea of such a field of information has echos of an elan vital, or of an aura of energy which surrounds the organism and is supposed to indicate its state of health. But in fact this is just what several scientists are indeed claiming–that the radiation given out by healthy cells is quite different from that given out by those that are sick or dying!

Could it be that health is an active flow of information within the body while sickness is a breakdown in that flow–an impoverishment of information? The ever changing flux information carried in within the electromagnetic fields and in the complex interlocking of a wide variety of chemical reactions must so subtle that, to an external observer, its very complexity may almost appear as chaotic. Indeed, it is very difficult to distinguish between chaos and a flux of ever changing complexity. So, when sickness occurs the overall coherence of these complex and subtle field of information will begin to break down until all that is left will be the various individual processes–a simple ticking over of the machinery as it were. This could explain why scientists discover what looks like chaotic behaviour within the heart or brain is characteristic of health, while simple regular heart beats, for example, presage a heart attack.

This idea that living systems are sustained by highly complex fields of cooperative information may characterize not only living organisms but entire ecosystems, societies and indeed of the whole planet. Life is always fluctuating and exploring, while simple oscillations are more characteristic of machine and dead matter. Simple stability spells death while vitality lies in the ability to support a complex and subtle pattern of global fluctuations. An ever flowing, ever changing pattern of meaning becomes life itself and the boundary between the animate and the inanimate begins to dissolve.

The whole field of electromagnetic bio-information is controversial but it is nevertheless engendering some interesting research and raising a variety of significant questions. Is it possible, for example, for an organism to gather electromagnetic information about the environment and then feed it back into itself? If this is true then an electromagnetic sense must be added to those others of sight, sound, touch, taste and smell. Indeed there is already considerable evidence that many animals use electromagnetic sensors to help them navigate.

The surface of the earth is alive with electromagnetic signals. In addition to the magnetic field of the earth there is the radiation from the sun that falls on the earth and its upper atmosphere. There are slow oscillations in which the electromagnetic field of the whole earth vibrates at a frequency of between seven and eight times every second. There are also waves of the activity high in the ionosphere and magnetosphere whose effects are ultimately felt on the surface of the earth. Indeed, the whole earth is a vast and complex sea of radiation whose strength and pattern varies very subtly from place to place, for the information encoded in each location is affected by the chemical composition of nearby rocks, by minerals, underground streams and surface water. This radiation pattern is also modulated by the daily fluctuations of the earth’s weather.

So within any tiny portion of the earth’s surface there is encoded a vast reservoir of electromagnetic information, not only concerning the global state of the earth but also the details about the particular local area. As a bird flies through the air, an animal moves across the surface of the earth, or a fish swims in the oceans, so it may be picking up and responding to a sea of electromagnetic information that is far more complex than that in any radar signal or radio broadcast. Moreover, the organism may even be picking up the faint electromagnetic signals and modulations given by its prey or other members of its pack. It is quite possible that some of this vast reservoir of information is decoded by the animal so that direct information about its surroundings is constantly being received.

But electromagnetic information is only one of several possibilities for a vast ocean of information carried through sound. For a small mammal this sea of sounds paints a detailed picture of all the transient patterns of life and movement within the immediate environment. An animal not only responds through the ears to what is “heard” but possibly at the cellular level to high frequency vibrations and to low frequencies that cause the whole organism to oscillate in sympathy. The animal will be aware of the way its own sounds are reflected back and transformed by the environment. It will constantly be interpreting the complex symphony of bird song, insect sound and animal cries. When it comes to whales and dolphins this matrix of vibrational information may extend throughout the ocean for several hundred miles. And add to all this a sea of smells which, to a dog, can produce a vivid impression of the world around. Every living being is immersed in a rich, subtle and multilevel ocean of information.

DNA: A listening molecule

If DNA is responsible for sending coherent photons into the cell then is it also possible for this radiation to be modulated and bounced back from the environment where it is detected by the same molecule? Could it be that DNA can actually “listen” to the environment around it?

The DNA molecule is a vast repository of information, indeed it contains the whole history of the cell’s ancestors and evolution. This information is then expressed by directing, in exactly the right time sequence, the synthesis of various proteins which become involved in, depending on their nature, growth, regular metabolism, or repair. DNA is therefore pictures as the chairperson of the board, the active principle at the top of the hierarchy.

But there are difficulties connected with such a one way flow of instructions. For how precisely is the correct information selected at just the right moment for its expression? If the cell turns out a particular protein too late or too soon then it will disrupt its whole metabolism. Moreover, only a very small percentage of all the information stored in DNA appears ever to be used. What is the function of the rest, those silent areas of DNA? Do they simply contained garbled messages and discarded information from far back in the cell’s evolutionary history? Or could they have the potential to exercise a useful function?

Suppose that DNA could actually listen and respond to the world around it. Suppose that a cell operates in a democratic fashion so that DNA becomes a venerated elder statesperson rather than a dictator. DNA would be like a giant set of reference books on metabolism and the synthesis of various proteins. And, as with a reference book, the actual information that is selected would depend upon a wider context–on the whole cell and on the organism of which it is a part, even perhaps on the external environment.

The electromagnetic dance within the cell carries the data on the ever changing context of the world outside and could play a role in selecting specific information from DNA. In this way, the genetic code would then be part of a much greater language, the conversation of the whole organism, a conversation that even extends far out into the environment. The DNA molecule itself would be constantly informed about its wider surroundings and, in turn, certain of its “hidden information” could, for example, be made active. It is even possible that the whole cell could act in an intelligent way and cause modifications within its own DNA. In other words, a mutation of the organism would be the cooperative response to some overall change in the global context in which the cell lives, rather than a purely random and purposeless event. Evolution would become a cooperative process, the outcome of a constant dialogue between other lifeforms and their entire environment.

The idea that life is a complex dance of meaning and information lead to yet other speculations. One idea that at first sight looks completely crazy, yet has been seriously proposed, is that food may contain not only nutrients but also information! When a  predator hunts its prey, so this theory goes, it is not just seeking a source of protein but a source of information. In consuming its prey it is ingesting a complex structure of information. In this way, information is passed between species.

While this idea sounds pretty far out it is not too distant from that held by many indigenous peoples who view food a nourishing the whole of a person and not just the physical body. To the hunters of North America, caribu and buffalo is “good medicine” and a person thrives by taking its meat, for it does more than supply bodily energy. According to this view, food acts to feed a person at many levels, so that certain foods that happen to be high in protein could in other ways be “bad medicine”. Likewise, a Chinese shaman will perform an act of divination using the bone of a sheep or goat. The animal eats only of pure grass and drinks of pure water, the shaman says, therefore the “universal” will be strong within the bone so that it can hear and see.

Could it be that this “universal” of Chinese tradition is in fact active information and global meaning? Is the web of life, the dance of predator and prey, one great ballet of ever changing information? And is evolution the intelligent and continued development of this symphony of meaning? Indeed if the individual organism is viewed as the manifestation of coherence and information then the whole history and pattern of life’s unfolding on earth must be seen in the same way. Synchronicities now become just one more aspect of this greater dane of meaningful patterns.

By introducing information as a key player we also see how the division between life and the inanimate has begun to dissolve. We realize that all coherent systems can never be fully reduced to interacting components, for they are responding to a collective dance, a dance which represents the essential authenticity of that particular level of being.

Credo Mutwa’s Keynote Address: Living Lakes Conference (PDF)

Credo Mutwa: Keynote Address
Living Lakes Conference, October 2, 1999
US Forest Service Mono Lake Visitor’s Center, Lee Vining, California, USA

The following text was transcribed from an audio recording. The speech includes Zulu words fro people, places, and things that are spelled phonetically in italics.

As we say in our country Bash-on-e-payg which is a completely asexual way to address those who we respect. I stand before you as a man who is stunned and shaken by what he has seen, what he has heard, and what he has experienced. First of all, did you know, you who live around Lake Mono, that your lake joins together Africa and Native American people? Did you know that the most amazing word I heard when I arrived here was the word Inyo? Which is said to mean the dwelling place of the creator, or rather, the place of creation. Did you know that that word occurs in Africa as a reference to the sacred organ of a mother? Did you know that the word Mono is a name for something delicious and nutritious that you eat? Perhaps one day if I return this way I shall share more of these things with you.

Shumenitch-y means “the one,” and no matter who we are, no matter in which part of the world we dwell, we are one. We are one with each other. We are one with the earth. We are one with the moon, the sun. We are one with the stars. Please, please remember that. It is useless to conserve entities such as water and trees if you have severed yourself away from those entities. You cannot conserve something which you do not feel within you. You cannot conserve something which is not part of you.

When I was initiated for the first time in 1937 into the mysteries and knowledge of Mother Africa I was ordered by my teacher, who was my aunt, to go outside and fill a small clay pot with water. Then she said to me, “Look into the water—what do you see?” I was caught in a trap because an initiate is not supposed to have an ego. An initiate is not supposed to refer to himself. I said, “Aunt, I see a person in this water.” She said, “Who is that person?” I did not dare say it was me. I said, “It is the person I know who is the son of my mother, the only son.” And she said, “Yes, you are in this water, and the water is in you. Until you know that, that you and the water are one, you must not even drink the water, you must not even think about it, because you have cut yourself off from it.”

Respected ones, no matter where you go in Africa you will find African people referring to water by a very interesting name indeed. In the language of the Swahili people in Kenya, water is called ma-gee. In the language of my people the Zulu’s, water is called amaze. And in the language of the Besutu people of Esutu in a small kingdom in South Africa, water is called mazte. And all these words mean one thing no matter where you go: the fluid of creation, the thing that did something, the thing that caused something to be.

In olden days Africans used to risk their lives protecting water. In olden days our people used to severely punish anyone they caught urinating into a stream or a river. There are some ants which you find in my country, they are called ma-the-bella ants. When you hold one in your hands it looks as fat as myself, and it fights like nobody’s business. And if you were caught, wise guy, making water into the water, one of those babies was taken, and made to bite you on your thing, closing the hole for several hours, and it will be the biggest lesson you will ever learn.

Africans used to say that no punishment is too severe for somebody who murders nature. There are trees in South Africa and in other parts of Africa which you are not allowed to cut. And sometimes this thing is carried to such extreme ends even now, that one day, I, Credo Mutwa, was brought before a chief and accused of murder. It was a really serious charge, and after a trial which lasted for three days. I was acquitted because I pleaded that I was guilty but insane. The holy person whom I had murdered had interfered with my dinner, which in the Credo Mutwa book is a mortal crime. Now, who was the holy person? It was a fly, an ordinary housefly. In South Africa, there is a tribe called the Bahune-bamata who even today will charge you with murder if they find you hurting a fly.

Honorable ones, our people believe many strange things regarding water. They believe that water is a living entity. That water has got a mind, that it remembers. The reason why a lake forms where it is, the reason why a river flows through where it flows, is not because it happens to be the right place for water to flow—no! It is because in that place where the river flows, there is an energy, an invisible spirit that moves like a snake, under the ground through the fine sand and which moves in the direction opposite to the one down which the river flows. If this great fire snake, as we call it, this unseen energy, if it dies, then the river dies too. We are told that lakes form where they form because there is an agreement between the water and certain types of rock.

In the language of my people, the Zulu, a lake is called Icibi.
Now this word icibi gave birth to the verb iciibella which means, “to patch.” If there is a hole in a cloth and you put a batch on it, that patch is called icibi, and you, icibella. Now why do we say that a lake is a repairer? We believe that a lake controls the life forces of all living things around it. A lake controls the life forces of every bird, every fish, every tiny creature that you find in water, and it also controls and stimulates the life forces of bigger animals up to and including human beings that they are of the same. And each time there is an illness in the land, our kings used to prevail upon the tribespeople to go closer to lakes, to get into that field. There is and invisible field of power all around a lake. If you take off your clothes and moisten your skin slightly and walk into that field, you will feel a tingling. That is what we call the spirit of the water, the icibi, the repairer of life.

Our people believe that there is a music, a sort of communication that goes on between streams, and rivers, and lakes. If you destroy a lake, say about 20 miles away from another one, this music is cut off and the lake that you have destroyed dies, and so does another lake which has been in communication with it.

Ladies and gentleman, many, many times in Africa, when I started fighting to preserve what I thought was sacred, I was often snarled at, ridiculed, and even beaten up as a superstitious heathen. But I was only preaching what my grandfathers had preached. I was only preaching what our mothers had taught us: that water is sacred. It is the life-blood of the great mother. It should not be dammed or in any way interfered with because if that is done, the water dies.

Our people say that water is the first thing that happens to you. It is also the thing that happens to you throughout your life. And it will be the last thing that will happen to you. When you are born, you are bathed, and thus, you are married to the spirit of water. When you leave, you take-in water and you become one with it. You drink, you wash, and you clean your clothes. You drink in the spirit of water whether you like it or not, or whether you believe in the spirit or not. Our people also believe that when you die, you are bathed with water, not to clean you up, because who needs to clean something that has kicked the bucket in the first place? But you do need to be bathed so you can quickly go into the village of judgment and advance to reincarnation. We say that a dead body which has not been bathed will not be able to reincarnate.

Our people further say that water has got ears. We have a proverb amongst my people that says: he who makes love to another man’s wife on the bank of a river must be careful not to utter loud and stupid noises. Because why? Because water. If there is a fierce emotion near a stream, that stream somehow records it. And guess what will happen? What you did near the river will be heard by every person in the surrounding villages one day. And you will wonder how they got to hear about it.

In South Africa there is a range of mountains called the Devaterbergh Mountains. There are many springs and fountains of water, and there were many more in the past. And when you come to the water mountains and you sit alone in total solitude, you are going to hear clearly sounds of ancient battles which were fought in that area. You will hear horses screaming, sabers clashing, and you will hear warriors shouting and people dying in pain. You will hear that because water has got ears.

Ladies and Gentlemen, there is much I could share with you. But our people say that he who talks too much makes people tired. I am not here to make you tired. I am here to tell you this: let us by all means conserve the beautiful song of nature. Let us regard each lake and each river. Not simply as an interesting stretch of water across whose expanse spoiled millionaires will zip around in their powerboats—no! Let us feel the water, let us hear the water, and let us be one with the water.

Accompanying me is my ritual wife, Nobella. Nobel is capable of finding water. Nobel is what is called a dowser. In Europe she would be honored and here in the United States, but because of rapid death of the black culture in South Africa a person like Nobella stands a great chance of being burned to death as a witch. She can find water, and I sometimes play tricks upon her. I will sometimes lead her blindfolded to a place where I know there is a great sewage pipe that passes under the ground and she will find this, and very angrily, and she is a Mantebella with a very fiery temper. She will be furious that the water under her feet is dead and is not sinking at her breasts. Now what does that mean? it means that sewage water is water that is now so overloaded with dead matter that it has died itself. It has died as a living entity. It only lives as a liquid entity that is taking this rubbish to wherever it is going to go.

Ladies and Gentlemen, please, let us bring back the earth. Let us accept one thing which our mothers accepted and our grandfathers knew: that the earth is a living entity where everything is joined to everything else in eternal marriage. And if you destroy something in one part of the world you create a chain of destruction that destroys things somewhere else.

Let me tell you two last things please. One, it is this, that I am told by the great storytellers of our tribes, that fresh water is not native to our earth. That at one time, many thousands of years ago a terrible star, or the kind called Mu-sho-sho-no-no, the star with a very long tail, descended very close upon our skies. It came so close that the earth turned upside down and what had become the sky became down, and what was the heavens became up. The whole world was turned upside down. The sun rose in the south and set in the north. Then came drops of burning black stuff, like molten tar, which burned every living thing on earth that could not escape. After that came a terrible deluge of water accompanied by winds so great that they blew whole mountaintops away. And after that came huge chunks of ice bigger than any mountain and the whole world was covered with ice for many generations. After that the surviving people saw an amazing sight. they saw rivers and streams of water that they could drink, and they saw that some of the fishes that escaped from the sea were now living in these rivers. that is the great story of our forefathers. And we are told that this thing is going to happen again very soon. Because the great star, which is the lava of our sun, is going to return on the day of the year of the red bull, which is the year 2012.

Well, I’m glad I won’t be there to see the fun. My wish is this: that there may be ““blessing over everything that you have done, over everything that you are going to do. May whatever power there is beyond the stars strengthen your efforts, because each lake that you bring back to life is a whole world saved.
Thank you,

Credo Mutwa is a Zulu spiritual leader.

Some Thoughts on Stones and Sacred Sites (PDF)

Some Thoughts on Stones and Sacred Sites.
David Peat

It is remarkable that North America is scattered with sacred sites, sacred rocks and rock paintings. The question arises as to what these sites mean and how rock markings are to be interpreted. Why put them there and why?

Even more disturbing is the fact that similar stones, mounds and sites, and even similar markings are found throughout Europe and even as far away as India and China, as well as in other parts of the world

What are the meanings of these great sites? Why did early civilizations spend so much energy to build them? Why are they laid out with such accuracy? Why was it necessary to build them to such a scale and why are there so many of them — (ie why duplicate an accurate observatory?).

Scientists and archeologists have offered a number of explanations. One is that many stone circles are astronomical observatories00and it is certainly true that they show accurate astronomical alignments.

But why were they built? It is too far fetched to suppose that such vast and complex undertakings by a society with a sophisticated knowledge of surveying and astronomical arithmetic should have built them simply to discover when to plant crops! Were they perhaps built to acknowledge the great powers and movements of the heavens? Were they an expression of “as above, so below”, ie a representation on earth of the dynamics of the heavens? Or were they built so that people could move through them and celebrate and participate in the actual movement and power of the cosmos? Or were they points of focus for certain “energies”, psychic amplifiers as it were? Who knows? One promising track would be to discover the meaning of these sites from elders in, e.g., North America and Australia who are still part of a living oral tradition.

The notes below are some reflections on ancient mounds, stones, etc. They are approached only from a Western scientific perspective:

1. Megalithic Yard
In the 1950s Dr. Alexander Thom, a professor of engineering at Oxford University, made highly accurate surveys of over 600 megalithic sites in Britain and France. His significant discovery was that all these sites were built on the basis of a common unit of measurement–the megalithic yard–of 2.72 feet (to an accuracy of 0.003). He discovered that many sites were constructed with a veery high degree of surveying skill and that the same unit of length was used throughout Europe to a high degree of accuracy. It raises the question of how and why sites that are vast distances apart in space (and time) should all be constructed according to the same measure. Admittedly a human stride is under 3 feet and a natural unit–but not to such accuracy.

There is now independent statistical evidence that Thom is correct and that a single standard of measurement extended over Europe in megalithic times.

(Question: Is this unit of measure found in North American sites? Note: It was known in Iberia and may then have been carried as the more modern “vera” to South America in post Columbian times. The evidence would therefore have to be from pre-Columbian sites.)

The question is why and how? Were highly accurate length standards transported across Europe and handed down from generation to generation in the form of physical standards–like the French Meter that is kept in Paris? Or was the “yard” derived from some natural, and unknown, process? This is a mystery but it does suggest that the builders of these sites were highly skilled engineers capable of great precision.

Question: How was this information and surveying skill passed on? Were there special sites where teaching took place? Did people come from afar to learn how to carry out their building? And remember that some of these sites may not have been built in one generation–Stonehenge was modified at a number of periods stretching over 1000 years. How was this information encoded and transmitted? Is there any evidence that the sites in North America are connected to those of Europe? (Of course astronomical observatories will always have similar shapes that are determined by the earth’s relationship to sun and moon.)

See: “The place of astronomy in the ancient world”, Proceedings of the Royal Society, 1972. Oxford U.P. 1973.

Alexander Thom, “Megalithic Sites in Britain”, OUP 1967. “Megalithic Lunar Observatories”, OUP 1971.

2. Ley Lines

In the 1920s Alfred Watkins, a psychic and amateur archeologist, had the vision that ancient sites in Britain were all connected by straight lines. Watkins called these “ley lines” and showed, for example, that the Glastonbury-Avebury ley line extended to St. Michael’s Mount in Cornwall and to Bury St. Edmunds. Often monasteries and churches were built on more ancient sites so Watkins began to look for leys that connected standing stones, churches, burial mounds, megalithic sites, ancient crossroads and sites with ancient names. Many of these were found–but some people objected that with so many ancient sites and stones in Britain it was simply a matter of chance that some of them would fall on straight lines.

Today Watkins is not taken seriously by archeologists. Some people have even associated these patterns of supposed lines with the patterns in Peru, with flying saucers, etc. It certainly attracts a lunatic fringe. Yet some of the major coincidences on ley lines are indeed persuasive. But why straight lines? And why were these lines extended for hundreds of miles?

3. Why do some things look alike?

To see a similar shape or structure in two distant cultures is often staggering. Why should this be, one asks? It must mean that these two cultures were in direct contact in megalithic times, one supposes. But this does not necessarily need to be the case. There are a number of other reasons why symbols and objects may look identical.

Nature’s Design

Note how similar shapes occur throughout nature–in animate and inanimate forms. There are a number of books showing remarkable photographs where identical forms occur at different scales. Sometimes this is because a particular form is the result of simple cumulative growth. The famous Fibonnaci spiral is found in a ram’s horn, the seeds of a sunflower, etc. It is simply the result of any form of growth in which next year’s growth is added to what went befor. 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13…. Find any number by adding the previous two together–a universal law of growth.

Fibonnaci spirals–and other forms that are related to the same mathematical sequence such as arrangements of certain tiles–are inevitable when growth or accumulation occurs in a particular way–it must always be so, it is a simple fact of the natural world and this accounts for the fact that similar shapes are seen at vastly differing scales throughout nature.

Other shapes have to do with nature’s solutions to design problems–trees, river deltas, lungs, blood vessels all have a branching character. the shape of an egg is repeated throughout nature and in the domes of great buildings because it is the most elegant solution to maintaining strength in certain structures. Grains pack in a certain way before slipping, which means that the angles formed by a pyramid of sand will always be the same. There are a variety of other instances in which such things as gravity, stress, wind, waves, etc., all impose design problems that nature, and humans, solve in the best way. For such reasons it is often the case that natural and human-made forms may resemble one another.

Human Representations

A further example would be a megalithic observatory–used to determine such things as the equinoxes, movements of the moon, etc. Observations will be made in similar ways–using stones or mounds as markers and as backsites and inevitably they will fall into a certain pattern. Anna Sofaer has also shown how the spiral naturally emerges from such a procedure. (This is not to say that there are not other meanings to the spiral.) In this way certain geometric arrangements, triangles, angles and shapes, appear to be universal and similar mathematics is found in widely different sites–they are all a response to the movement of the heavens.


Carl Jung offered yet another explanation–he held that certain symbols such as the circle, square, serpent that swallows its tail, etc.–together with figures such as the hero, virgin, all powerful father, destroying mother, etc., were universal, appearing at all times and in all cultures. He suggested that these were symbolic manifestations of archetypes that reside within the collective unconscious of the human race. for this reason similar dreams, stories and symbols are to be expected to surface across the world.

Recently I discovered a remarkable example of this. In my book Synchronicity I describe the physicist Wolfgang Pauli’s great dream of the World Clock, a vision that is also recorded in a medieval manuscript. A film maker told me that he had heard a report of an identical dream that had occurred to an Inuit Shaman. Such synchronicities would not be considered at all unusual to Carl Jung.

Another case is that of alchemy which was much pursued in the Middle Ages and may have its origins in Sufi knowledge of the spirit. But there is a related spiritual alchemy in ancient China which speaks in terms of the circulation of energies through the spiritual body (as in Kundalini). Likewise one student of alchemy has suggested a deep connection between the alchemical process and the Peace Pipe of the Plains. To Jung there need not be direct physical connection of peoples to establish these parallels–they are all manifestations of the same archetypes.

To Jung the serpent and turtle mounds, rock images, etc., of North America would be manifestations of the collective unconscious and would also occur as far away as India and China. Yet to talk of archetypes and the collective unconscious is to beg the question. For in what sense are these images shared–are they inherited genetically within the brain, like an appendix in the body?
Are they somehow related to the actual architecture of the human brain?
Are they deep inherited memories from our common evolutionary past?
Or are these images communicated psychically?
Or could it be that mind is disembodied and distributed throughout nature–being focussed and unfolded in each individual?
Or do these images come from gods and spirits that enter the human mind?
Or could there be a common wisdom and knowledge within the human race that expresses itself in slightly different ways in different cultures?
Jung is not at all clear about this, his writings are often evasive with the same term being used in a number of different ways throughout the same article.

Are, for example, the Aztec and Egyptian pyramids evidence of direct contact and exchange of knowledge? Or could it be that they are manifestations of the same ancient knowledge and wisdom that is held within the human race? I don’t think that Jung’s archetypes take us far or deep enough–the question may be even more far reaching.

Certainly it is curious as to why standing stones are found throughout the world. Why serpent mounds can be found in different parts of the globe and why certain patterns found on rocks in North America are also found in India, Scotland, Australia, etc. The meaning of these marks is a deep question.

3. Energies

There is some speculation that mounds and rocks have to do with some sort of energy in nature. Below are few speculations:

Cosmic Energy

The whole universe is alive with flows and fluxes of energies. Our galaxy is threaded with vast magnetic fields that act to accelerate and channel cosmic rays. Gravitational vibrations may well be emitted from black holes and even from the centre of the galaxy. In addition electromagnetic radiation of all frequencies comes from the stars. Indeed every cubic centimeter of empty space is packed with vibrating energy which could also be thought of as enfolded information about the whole universe.

Solar Energy

Fluxes of energy also occur at the level of our solar system–magnetic fields extend from the sun and from individual planets. Cosmic rays from far out in the galaxy spiral in towards the sun and earth. A solar wind of charged elementary particles streams out from the sun and, meeting the magnetic field of the earth, creates a great shock wave as well as a long trail that stretches out far behind the earth.

The sun itself is not a static furnace for its output of energy is constantly fluctuating. To begin with the sun actually “rings” like a great bell-vibrating and changing shape. Solar flares push out streams of elementary particles that race towards earth. Periodic sun spot activity also changes the nature and amount of radiation that reaches the earth.

Earth Energies

Our earth is therefore racing through an ever-changing bath of energy and radiation. Not only does this radiation change from day to day–with the rotation of the earth–and year to year–with the earth’s movement around the sun. It also responds to cycles within the sun, to the change in gravitational force as the moon moves around the earth, to disturbances induced by the movements of planets and to the solar system’s movement through the galaxy. So cycles upon cycles upon cycles affect the earth–and keep in mind that many of these cycles are not regular but are effected by other cycles and movements.

As to the earth itself–it has an outer magnetosphere that interacts with the sun’s magnetic fields and solar wind. There are belts of charged particles, like the Van Allen belt, that circle high above the earth from pole to pole and produce the Northern Lights. There are various belts that reflect radio waves–but whose strength and height fluctuate from hour to hour, day to day, and season to season. There are the various cosmic rays that reach the earth’s surface, and whose intensity also fluctuates with a variety of cycles.

Here on the surface of the earth we are subject to an ever-changing dance of electromagnetic fields and charged particles. There is even the Schumann resonance–a standing wave of electromagnetic energy that circles the surface of the earth at about 3-4 cycles/second. (Indeed some have speculated that these ELFs–extremely low frequency waves–have a biological significance,i.e., they may resonate with brain rhythms.)

Add to all this the fact that the earth itself is vibrating with shock waves produced by seismic stresses and one realises that we live in a great bath of fluctuating energy and that the nature of these fluctuations are very much connected with arrangements of the heavens–sun, moon, planets and stars (i.e., our position with respect to the rest of the galaxy).

What’s This Got to Do with Us?

Given that we live in a flux of energies, some of them cyclic, others ever changing, can this in any way affect our lives? this could happen in several ways. Energy fluxes could:

1. Affect the world’s weather, temperatures, winds etc. Which in turn affects life on earth.

2. Certain patterns of energies could affect plant and animal life, such as growth, movements, migrations, etc. These, in turn, are observed by humans.

3. These energies could affect humans directly by
a) Cellular effects, or effects on the immune system; i.e., not sensed consciously, but through changes in the body.
b) Interaction with some special organ, or location, in the body; i.e., certain animals have, I believe, concentration of minerals which respond to the earth’s magnetic field and thereby allow the bird or animals to orient.
d) Subtle effects are focussed or amplified by various natural phenomena such as rocks and rivers to the point where they can be “sensed” by humans.
e) Effects can be sensed only by very special individuals who become dowsers, priests or shamans.

What is the experimental evidence? Very, very controversial. I have visited laboratories and talked to sincere and careful scientists who have demonstrated repeatable human responses to electrical currents, low frequency radiation and electromagnetic fields. I have also talked to other scientists who have been unable to detect any effect at all. Certainly the anecdotal information is strong–as in reports of dowsing. Yet dowsers are also able to use maps and locate water and minerals without ever visiting the site–so their skills may have nothing whatsoever to do with energy fields. Other dowsers speak of spirals, spirals in DNA and in the fields of stones–what does all this mean?

Energy or Information?

It is important to make the distinction between a simple response to energy–such as the movement of a compass needle–and a response to the “information” within this flux; i.e., a television set extracts the important information within a very weak signal. What counts is not the energy itself but its detailed subtle form. My guess would be that people are responding not to brute energies or radiation, but to very subtle forms and levels of information–information about the earth and cosmic orientations.

A Field of Information

In my recent book I have tried to tie in some ideas on electromagnetic processes in cells to the idea of global fields of information. I include the print-out of this.

Stones and Sites

A further possibility is that in some way this flux of information becomes localized, amplified and focussed within limited geographical regions. In these regions holy people, and possibly ordinary people, can sense some great force, spirit or intelligence–indeed they would ultimately be responding to the overall intelligence of the whole universe.

In addition to standing stones, mounds, long barrows, etc., there are also the Fairy Glens, Holy Wells and sacred woods that are found all over Britain. All suggest that a certain “force” or “spirit” may be associated with particular places on earth.

But how is this possible? Can an explanation be given at the purely “scientific” level? Take a rock that contains quartz. A quartz crystal is piezoelectric which means that when placed under pressure it will generate a considerable electrical potential–tens of thousands of volts. Suppose a deposit of quartz lies in the path of periodic seismic shock waves–the result would be a fluctuating electrical field in the area. Indeed a variety of speculations have been made about underground rivers, rocks and standing stones–i.e., that they amplify weak effects and generate fields that are detectable.

One theory is that carefully chosen stones are placed at a sacred site and amplify subtle effects to the point where they are detectable by ordinary, sensitive people. In this way the various sacred sites grew up–they were “beacons” and amplifiers of natural forces. But such arrangements also have astronomical significance, so presumably there would be some connection between earth and cosmic energies. All that is pure speculation–some sensitives report feeling electrical impulses. Others claim to have measured magnetic and electrical fields–but it is hard to rely upon anecdotes like this.

My own opinion is that there may well be some sort of response to the fact that we live in an ever changing electromagnetic flux. Life evolved under such conditions and may make use of them. There may well be subtle ways in which we can communicate with the earth and listen to the cosmos. Indeed we may even be able to make use of these complex fields to communicate with each other. Moreover, since the fields on earth are the results of complex processes involving the planet, its interaction with the solar wind and sun, its perturbation by the planets and galactic effects, it is not unreasonable to suppose that this vast sea of energy-information contains within it patterns of the sun, moon, planets and cosmos.

But it is a major jump from such speculations to suggest that this is why the great stones and earthworks were constructed. There may be many other reasons. One should also listen to elders and oral historians who may have their own accounts of the meaning of the stones.