Ley lines emerged from the imagination of author and self-taught archeologist Alfred Watkins. He deduced that straight lines could be drawn that connected geographic features and ancient sites in Great Britain, and he thought these revealed Neolithic trade routes.
However, there are so many prominent geographic features and places of historic relevance in Great Britain that there seems an almost unlimited number of possible starting and connecting points. One could randomly draw a line connecting any two places and inadvertently have geographic or historic points at both ends.
The idea vanished until author John Mitchell took a break from decoding UFO messages to announce that Watkins was partially correct. The lines were not trade routes, but rather sources of magic energy portals. Since this revelation in the late 1960s, several other similar mystic interpretations have been drawn. Since these mystery spots exist solely in the minds of devotees, they can be anywhere, but usually involve major ancient sites such as Stonehenge, the Pyramids, the Nazca Lines, and the Moai. One could even draw a line from one of those sites to your kitchen and get Wonder Twin powers along with your sloppy joe.
The most costly example of this belief was when the Seattle Arts Commission gave $5,000 to a group of New Age dowsers to do a ley line map of their city. For its money, the commission received this Seattle ley line map, which I suspect was plagiarized from a preschooler’s connect the dots book: http://www.geo.org/qa.htm. They were also given this pronouncement: “The vision of the Seattle Ley Line Project is to heal the Earth energies within the Seattle city limits by identifying ley line power centers in Seattle, neutralizing negative energies and then amplifying the positive potential of the ley-line power centers.” As a bonus, this would lead to Seattle being “a center of power for good on Spaceship Earth.”
To believers, alignments of monuments and natural features are responsible for magic, psychic awareness, and special abilities. But the randomness and subjectivity of deciding which points to include was demonstrated by archaeologist Richard Atkinson who drew a set of similar lines, with each one including telephone booths.
These energies are said to be laid out around Earth in grid form, with significant geographic and manmade features being used to access this energy. This requires accepting that ancient cultures built these massive features without passing onto subsequent generation the reason for doing so.
Ley line energy cannot be detected by magnetometers or other measuring devices. Besides this lack of scientific evidence, there are other disqualifying considerations. How big a hill counts as an important one? Where is the historically relevant cutoff? Drawing these lines can require selecting a point of marginal historic importance while bypassing one of more relevance in order to make it fit. Plotting these lines requires pareidolia, determination, and use of artistic license with a psychic twist.
So what had been a novel but ultimately incorrect hypothesis involving Great British archeology transformed into a worldwide search for secret energy. But the significant ancient sites at the center of these searches were based on practical considerations of geography, culture, and available supplies. Builders of Angor Wat were unaware there was Stonehenge to intersect with. The Great Pyramid was built to ensure a pharaoh’s safe passage to immortality, not so future advanced societies could complete the magic energy triangle with Machu Picchu and the Eiffel Tower.
Some believers, primarily those at ancientwisdom.co.uk, have tried to tie ley lines into other New Age concepts. They introduced Feng Shui in an attempt to establish that major sites were built in order to interact with springs and rivers. Here’s the logic behind that, from the website: “Earth’s natural magnetism was believed to have been used to re-fertilize the soil. Water is extremely sensitive to electromagnetic fields, and as the fields are changed or influenced, so the chemistry of the water may be altered too.” To summarize, castles were meant not to protect from invaders, but from negative liquid energy.
These ideas are too spacey for astrology to not rear its celestial head. The site also tells us, “The St. Michael Ley is aligned along the path of the sun on May 8, which is the spring festival of St. Michael. It can therefore be considered astronomical. This line passes through several megalithic sites before it reaches Glastonbury and Avebury, both significant English landscape features.” There are also many important features it does not pass through, as well as passing though areas without significance.
In fact, it happens that this alleged astronomical ley line does not include Stonehenge, which New Agers consider ancient Great Britain’s most significant astronomical feature. No worries, ad hoc thinking to the rescue: “Stonehenge, whilst not being a part of the St. Michael ley, is connected with both Glastonbury and Avebury through geometry, and also forms the crossing point of several prominent ley lines.”
So even though it passes through other lines, it still counts as being a part of the one they want it to. As we’ve seen, it’s easy to come up with any connection using ley lines, and even easier if you ignore the rules you established in the first place.