What Are Ley Lines?

By: Kate Kershner  | 
Next stop on the energy highway? The Pyramids of Giza!

So, what if I told you there were straight lines crossing (and crisscrossing) Earth that demarcated important locations? If you're a kind of everyday normal-type person, you might think I'm talking about latitudinal and longitudinal lines. If you're not entirely normal and everyday, your first thought might be something more like, "Oh, right — ley lines that connect sacred sites throughout the world. Sure. Those." And right about now, everyone else is probably wondering, what are ley lines?


Straight Lines and Ancient Ancestors

Ley lines are kind of like latitudinal and longitudinal lines in one sense: They're not lines we can actually see in the real world. But the theory is that big, important monuments (think Stonehenge and the Pyramids of Giza) are all running on a kind of energy highway that "connects" them.

The idea took hold in the 1920s when Alfred Watkins, a photographer and amateur archaeologist, noticed straight lines that connected ancient sites in certain areas of the United Kingdom. On the one hand, it made sense. A road, for instance, might be built between an ancient place of worship and a fort [source: Macfarlane].


Watkins believed these lines weren't random. He thought ancestors seemed to have constructed important sites in a deliberate linear pattern across the British landscape for navigational purposes. In 1925, Watkins published this idea in "The Old Straight Track" [source: BBC].

Earth Energies and Ley Lines

At some point, other interested parties hijacked the simple idea and embellished the story. Some claim that ley lines are energy lines that carry a powerful magnetic field, while others say they hold a psychic power [source: Crystal]. Still, others are pretty darn sure the lines are somehow associated with UFO landings — or that there are healing properties found in the vortex of ley lines [source: Sacred Destinations].


Sometimes a Straight Line Is Just a Straight Line

Of course, no one has ever found any evidence for "energies" of any kind on the lines, and there doesn't seem to be a lot of objective basis for believing that UFOs landed there. But that doesn't stop anyone from noting that you can connect lots of important points with straight lines on a map.

However, it's not exactly "science" to get a few important points to connect or to imbue significance on places that do fall on a parallel. You can make patterns from all sorts of locations. As is the case with ley lines: While there might be some compelling reasons that local sites are easily navigated between, it doesn't mean they have any mystic purpose [source: Radford].


This article was updated in conjunction with AI technology, then fact-checked and edited by a HowStuffWorks editor.


Ley Lines FAQ

What is a ley line on a map?
On a map, ley lines are represented as straight lines connecting prominent landmarks and historical structures, believed by some to channel Earth’s mystical power.
What are leys?
Leys are another way to refer to ley lines.
What are ley lines used for?
Some in the Earth Mysteries movement say ley lines guide alien spacecraft during their visits to Earth. Others believe they have mystical and healing powers. However, these notions are typically dismissed by scientists and historians as pseudoscientific.
What significance do stones, hills, and churches have in ley lines?
They're often considered important landmarks in ley line theories, believed to serve as markers or concentrators of Earth energies.
Is Stonehenge built on a ley line?
Conspiracy theorists posit that Stonehenge is centrally located on a ley line, serving as an energy portal. These theorists often suggest that various ancient sites in Great Britain are interconnected through these invisible lines.
How does the concept of balance relate to ley lines?
Balance is a crucial theme in ley lines lore, with many believers feeling that these lines represent a harmonious distribution of Earth’s energies, fostering a sense of balance and connectedness between humans and the natural world.
Who invented ley lines?
Alfred Watkins introduced the concept of ley lines in his 1925 book "The Old Straight Track."
Who are Liz Bellamy and Tom Williamson?
Bellamy and Williamson are scholars who have conducted research and analysis on ley lines, contributing valuable insights and critiques to the discourse surrounding their history and significance.
What is a ley line vortex?
A vortex is believed to be a concentrated point of Earth’s energy, with ley lines serving as connectors between these powerful points. They're also called energy vortexes.

Lots More Information

Related Articles

  • Carr-Gomm, Philip and Richard Heygate. "The Book of English Magic." Penguin. 2010. (Jan. 14, 2015) https://books.google.com/books?id=ml-5ieZx_NcC&pg=PT529&lpg=PT529&dq=book+of+english+magic+pdf&source=bl&ots=rRSXlbfrlv&sig=QFMD_IyQKnd2cdR-mAjHlAY23rk&hl=en&sa=X&ei=28K1VJamNseOyASXr4KADg&sqi=2&ved=0CFYQ6AEwCQ#v=onepage&q=watkins&f=false
  • Crystal, Ellie. "Earth's Grid Systems." CrystalLinks. 2015. (Jan. 14, 2015) http://www.crystalinks.com/grids.html
  • Griffiths, <a>Chris. "The ancient network that links Britain." Nov. 5, 2019. (Oct. 3, 2023) https://www.bbc.com/travel/article/20191104-the-ancient-network-that-links-britain </a>
  • Macfarlane, Robert. "The Truth Behind Alfred Watkins's 'Ley Lines.'" The Telegraph. May 31, 2013. (Jan. 14, 2015) http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/hay-festival/10076220/Hay-Festival-2013-The-truth-behind-Alfred-Watkinss-ley-lines.html
  • Radford, Benjamin. "The Lore and Lure of Ley Lines." Live Science. Nov. 19, 2013. (Jan. 14, 2015) http://www.livescience.com/41349-ley-lines.html
  • Sacred Destinations. "Sedona Vortexes." 2015. (Jan. 14, 2015) http://www.sacred-destinations.com/usa/sedona-vortexes
  • Witcombe, Chris. "Ley Lines." Britannia. 2011. (Jan. 14, 2015) http://www.britannia.com/wonder/leylines.html