Ivan McBeth

Druid and Master Stone Circle Builder
I have been passionately interested and inspired by the ancient megalithic culture and their magical structures for as long as I can remember; I’ve spent a large proportion of my conscious life traveling to, and interacting with, these sacred sites. My belief is that the main purposes of stone circles are to provide a network to regulate energy flows between the heavenly energies and the earth, to create a network of sacred space over the earth and to be dream teachers of the secrets through which humanity can realize its divinity.I believe they are places on the Earth’s surface that focus the sacred: their influence can be worked with strongly in an individual way and magnified in groups. They create well-being in communities, fertility and health to crops and nature in general, and provide a powerful sacred space for meetings, teachings, healings (of people, animals, the land and ultimately the world) festivals and celebrations.

Stone Circles are fully alive and conscious, and their effects are directly proportional to their levels of life-force, and the expression of their unique and individual spirit of place. To interact most effectively with a stone circle, ancient or modern, it is essential to approach it as if it is fully conscious, and connected to the Source of All. Respect is essential, and a relaxed sense of humor and irreverence is handy, too! Possibly the most important preparation one can make is to consciously generate an open, positive state of mind. It must be non-judgmental, and fully accepting of any experience received within the stone circle, however unusual. It is possible to be affected deeply by a stone circle before and/or after your visit, by dreams, memories, and visions, etc.

I would like to share the process of designing and constructing a stone circle. I will concentrate of my first large stone circle; the details of each temple are unique, yet the process is the same. In February 1992 I got the go-ahead to design and build a permanent stone circle at Worthy Farm, the site of the Glastonbury Music Festival. During those years over half a million people would descend on this farm, positioned 4 miles east of Glastonbury, and celebrate the magic of Midsummer depending on their religions, belief systems, levels of energy, and general inclination. This was to be my first full-sized stone circle; I was nervous and ecstatic at the same time. Until quite close to the time of construction, I had no idea what the design would be.

I was sitting by my fire on the night of the May full moon, pondering my dilemma, when I remembered that many so-called stone circles are in fact egg shaped. Within a couple of minutes of receiving this memory came the vision. The stars of Cygnus the Swan were directly overhead, and shining their glorious rainbow energies down through the crown chakras of humanity. I had the realization that the energy of this stone circle would be that of the star constellation Cygnus the Swan; I would bring its energies consciously down to Earth.

In a basic way, the stones would ground the often manic and unhealthy atmosphere of the festival. From a power-animal point of view, every person entering the stones would have healing, transformational energies (ugly duckling to graceful spiritual swan) focused on them, and the pure energy of the stars would touch their spirits, by-passing their brains. The major stones of the design would correspond to the brightest stars of the constellation, and if someone looked over the stone erected in the center of the stone egg, representing the belly of the Swan at Midsummer sunrise, the sun would be seen to rise directly over the stone that depicted the Swan’s head.

I chose 21 of the most suitable stones from the Torr Limestone Quarry only 2 miles distant from the site. They weighed between 5 and 15 tons each, and were delivered to the farm individually, thus they suffered minimal damage. As the stones arrived I marked out the circle in relation to the sunrise and the sunset.

During the marking-out process I became quite negative and had severe attacks of worry and doubt. It was so vital that my vision and calculations were in alignment with the wishes of the Earth. After three or four days I prayed for confirmation that what I intended to do was right. That evening just before sunset I was sitting outside in the field with my girlfriend by the fire when we heard a strange sound. It was eerie and frightening, a rhythmical whistling like spirits singing. It grew rapidly louder until we were both panting and approaching panic. Suddenly seven swans, very low in a V-formation, flew gracefully over our heads and then directly above the stones. I was filled with a tingling over my entire body and raised hair on my head… and a knowledge that I had been touched by Spirit. We looked at each other in amazement. Any doubts about the rightness and authenticity of what I intended to do forever faded.

On the 21st of May we started digging. We dug holes for the direction stones first of all, in order to magically define the space. I was determined to dig all the holes by hand, despite constant pressure from Michael, the owner of the farm and overall manager of the festival, and Keith the backhoe driver, who couldn’t understand why we wanted to expend such a lot of energy when it ‘would be so easy’ to use the machines. I don’t think they ever totally understood… I had put the word around that I wanted crystals from different places both in Britain and around the world to place underneath the stones. Many people gave me such gifts, and they were placed where appropriate. A large crane arrived and, after many days of adjusting their positions with both crane and backhoe, and replacing the turf on the damaged ground, we downed tools and completed our physical work on the Swan Circle at 5pm on Midsummer’s Eve, exactly on target.

The Glastonbury Order of Druids performed a delightful ceremony at sunrise to inaugurate the new stone circle, the sun rose directly over the head of the Swan, and there was much celebration.

Since then the stone circle has been a wonderful temple of harmony, healing and celebration. Many tens of thousands of people have entered its portals and have celebrated their spirituality in their own ways, whatever belief or religion they practice. As a builder of sacred space, I am happy and fulfilled. For I know that whenever anyone enters sacred space, consciously or unconsciously, they will be changed by the properties of the place, at a deep and fundamental level.

My work goes on. I have built 18 large stone circles (my definition of ‘large’ is erecting stones over 5 tons each) and am in the process of constructing 5 more, around the world. I have learned to construct stone circles by hand, without the use of machines, using only those tools available to the ancients (except metal tools such as shovels). The largest stone I have moved and erected by hand was the Winter Solstice sunset stone at West Chazy, in upper New York State. It weighed 23 tons. I am presently involved in a project to move and erect a 50-ton stone, by hand, also in New York State at New Pfalz. Some stones circles I construct with a combination of these methods.

The last stone circle I completed (in a harmonious sacred dance with the Circles for Peace team, an awesome and knowledgeable circle of Earth-energy practitioners) is the Burlington Earth Clock, at Oakledge Park, Burlington, Vermont. It stands proudly and powerfully on the shores of Lake Champlain and is dedicated to World Peace. It is very gratifying to see the wider community using the space for varied uses, including ceremony, honoring the lake, weddings, kirtan (sacred song-singing and celebrating the sacred), tai chi, meditation, and simply hanging out in a wonderful space.

At present I am constructing new stone circles in Britain, the USA, and around the world; a modern network of earth energies and leylines is being born. My dream is to help prepare, with many others, a new network of conscious, sacred spaces here on Earth in order that the new evolutionary changes can manifest in accordance with the Divine.