Ancient Stones & Ritual
We often assume that standing stones and stone circles no
longer have a function in the modern world. They are just
relics from a long forgotten age of superstition, naked
devils and evil spirits. But this is far from the case. We
only have to watch the television on mid-summers eve to see
hundreds of people carrying out rituals at ancient sites
across the country. And these are only the ones we hear
Many of the rights and rituals that take place today are
relatively modern inventions. No doubt they have been based
on what evidence the archaeologists have discovered, from
ancient manuscripts and by word of mouth but whether they
are what originally took place, we cannot say for certain.
And who is to say that what takes place today is no less
real or important or meaningful than that of the past?
I firmly believe that many of the ancient sites are still
"active" in the ritual sense. There are still
people who follow the "old ways" and regularly
leave offerings to the spirits of the stones. They donít
shout about it, but quietly get on with what they do, simply
placing their offering quietly and reverently without fuss
During my research into the ancient stones of south east
Scotland, I have on numerous occasions found evidence of
ritual activity taking place. At the 001
Witches Stone near Spott
in East Lothian, evidence of candle wax and offering of
money have been recorded as recently as 2003. On some of the
standing stones in the Tweedsmuir area, small pebbles of
quartz were found placed on top of the stones. At 034
Stone near Penicuik, I found an offering bundle containing a
feather, small bone (bird) and a quartz pebble, all tied
together with a brightly coloured piece of wool. This was
obviously placed there deliberately and for a purpose.
At 014 Maiden Stone on Traprain Law, where good luck and
increased fertility is gained by those who pass naked
between the stone and the bedrock, I read of one visitors
who did indeed complete the ritual. So much did he enjoy the
experience that he wanted to complete the ritual again,
although the thought of being discovered put him off.
In the South of Scotland, this ritual activity does not
seem widespread from the relatively few finds at ancient
sites. This is not to say it does not happen regularly but
personally I have only been able to visit these sites once,
possible twice over the past three years, and the evidence
of ritual offerings may soon disappear.
While the main purpose of the Ancient Stones web site is
to include any details of ritual activity that are found.
So, if you visit any of the sites listed here and find any
evidence of ritual activity taking place please get in
For reference, evidence of ritual activity may include:
Candle remains such as stubs or wax droppings, remains of
insane sticks, evidence of burning such as soot or charcoal,
food offerings, animal remains such as feathers, quartz
pebbles, other offerings placed on or beside the stones,
chalk markings, soil disturbance.
The above list is not exhaustive and you should look for
anything unusual or out of place.