Ancient peoples set standing stones in various places in the world. In places, such as in the British Isles or Iceland, you can still often find these standing stones, trilithons, stone circles or stacks of stones. While their many uses are shrouded in antiquity and subject to some speculation, in the Druid Magic Handbook, John Michael Greer describes standing stones can channel the solar current into the earth, which offers blessing and healing to the land. I think it’s likely that standing stones can do many other things (tell time, point to astronomical features, be places of worship and community). Today, new groups of people and individuals are choosing to set stones. For our purposes, today, setting stones for land blessing and healing is certainly a good thing to do to provide spiritual support for the land.
The Summer Solstice is a fantastic time to raise a standing stone–in your garden, in a natural place you visit, or even in a planter on your windowsill. You can set a standing stone as part of a permanent sacred grove, sacred garden, or other such space of worship and do this as part of your solstice activities. The full energy of the light of the sun will infuse your standing stone, allowing it to radiate blessing and light to the landscape.
Choosing Your Stone, Location, and Timing
As someone who has raised standing stones with many others at ritual events, I know how hard this work is to do, especially on a larger scale. Ancient—and modern—standing stones and stone circles were set by communities of people working together, often over long periods of time. The size of a stone that a single person, or small group of people, could set is nowhere near the massive stones of old, such as those seen at Stonehenge, Avebury, or other ancient sites in the UK.
And yet a smaller stone, set by one or two people, is no less effective at bringing in that healing energy and light, creating a space for ritual, and allowing you to commune with the land.
Begin by looking for a stone that you could manage to carry and set on your own or with a small group of friends. I usually look for stones that are long and thin. Standing stones are ideal if they are able to be placed 1/3 in the ground and 2/3 out of it, somewhere that gets sun. Thus, the best standing stones are ones that are tall and somewhat long but not necessarily very wide. That’s a general guideline, however, and your stone might end up being something shaped very differently. Stones that contain some quartz are ideal (as quartz is an excellent transmitter of energy). Where I live, we have mostly shale and sandstone, I’d choose sandstone over shale since the sandstone has a higher quartz content.
Take your time looking for your standing stone. Look for it when you are hiking, in your yard, walking along streams, just being out in the world. A standing stone will find you when the time is right. I find a lot of these kinds of stones when I’m hiking and kayaking, but getting them back to where I might set them can prove difficult–so understand your own limits or move a stone slowly over time.
Once you have your stone, find the right place to set it—a place where you feel inspired by spirit to do so. This could be anywhere—an edge of a forest or field, in your backyard, even on your patio set in a pot with flowers (if you use this option, consider then moving your ‘energized’ soil to places in need of healing. Like all other aspects of land healing, make sure that you engage in appropriate deep listening to make sure A) setting the standing stone is appropriate and wanted and B) that you have the right time and location to do such work.
To set your stone, choose a fortuitous day and time. The most fortuitous day of a year and timing for setting a standing stone is noon at the Summer Solstice, as you are calling upon the energy of the sun, and setting the stone when the solar energy is at its peak in both time of day and year will be powerful. You can choose any other day or time that is fortuitous, however, but I do suggest you set it at noon if at all possible.
Physically, to set a stone, you dig a hole, place it where you want it to go, and fill it back in, checking to make sure the stone stays in the position you want it as you fill. Most standing stones go about 1/3 into the ground for the sake of stability. I really recommend keeping it natural–no pouring concrete. Just fill it in with whatever you dig out, add some gravel or smaller stones if you like for stability, and your stone should do well.
If you want, you can plant something around your stone (flowers or veggies if its in a garden, seeds or acorns you find nearby where you are setting the stone) and leave an offering.
You might like to use the following ritual for setting your standing stone.
Ritual for Setting a Standing Stone
Materials: Assemble all of your supplies prior to beginning your ritual. This should include tools needed to move and place your stone (such as a shovel) as well as blessing materials to bless the hole your stone will be seated in. The ritual below uses an herbal tea made from fresh healing herbs: rosemary, sage, oregano, and lavender as well as a blessing sigil (a pentagram or other sigil as appropriate).
Open up your sacred grove in the manner you usually do.
Begin by stating your intentions for the healing to take place. While I highly recommend you use your own words, you can also use the words here: “Land before me. What a journey you have had to get to this place. And now, your healing is coming forth. As you regrow, as you heal, know that I am with you. I set this standing stone today to aid you with your healing, that you may grow bountiful and diverse.”
Now, bless your stone. Pour some of the tea over the stone, and bless the stones in your own words. Or you can say, “Sacred stone, sacred ancestor who has been on this land for millennia, thank you for lending your healing power as a channel for the solar current.”
Prepare to dig the hole. Say, “Spirits of nature, powers of this land, I offer my energy to prepare this earth.”
Dig the hole. As you dig, focus your mind on healing for the land.
After you dig the hole, bless the hole with your own words, or say, “Sacred earth, oh cradle for this stone. Hold this stone firm, and be a conduit for healing to radiate forth.” Pour the remainder of the healing waters in the hole. Place a blessing sigil in the hole as well.
Set the stone, making sure you firmly tamp down the soil all around the hole.
After you finish, say, “From above to below, from the solar to the telluric, may this stone radiate healing energy to all of the lands. Each day as the sun rises until the sun sets, this stone will serve as a conduit to channel nywfre (noo-iv-ruh) throughout this land.”
Visualize the rays of the sun warming the stone, and then envision the stone channeling those rays into the earth, a beautiful golden light emanating from the stone in all directions. Visualize those rays of golden energy helping plants regrow, seeds take root, eggs hatch, and young ones grow. Imagine the land before you as a healthy, strong, and abundant place for all.
Offer your own vow as a caretaker of the land (optional, if you feel led). “As I close this ceremony, I offer myself as a force of good and healing in service to this land. Lead me as to what you need me to do. Speak, and I will listen. I honor you and heed your call.” Bow your head and cross your arms.
Close the ritual space.
This ritual is most effective if you visit the stone and continue to offer healing and blessing. After the initial setting of the stone, you might come back every solstice and equinox and do a full season of healing rituals or use it as a focal point for other work. Or just come by the stone to commune with nature, meditate, and enjoy the energy. I hope that the long days of summer (or long nights of winter for those in the southern hemisphere) bless you and keep you safe.
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