What Are Ley Lines?

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

So what if I told you that 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, "Ah, yes! Latitude and longitudinal lines run around the planet in straight lines, and you can find pretty much anything based on their location. Checks out!" If you're not entirely normal and everyday, your first thought might've been something more like, "Oh, right -- ley lines. The straight lines that are imbued with deep power and electromagnetic energy, which all connect important and sacred sites throughout the world. Sure. Those."

Ley lines are kind of like latitude and longitude in one sense: They're not lines we can actually see on a map. 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 a photographer and amateur archaeologist noticed straight lines that connected ancient sites in certain areas of the United Kingdom. It made sense: A road, for instance, might be built between an ancient place of worship and a fort [source: Macfarlane].


And maybe if ley lines were nothing more than that -- imaginary lines that seemingly connect two important things -- we would have an easier time simply accepting them. But at some point, some other interested parties hijacked the simple ideas and robustly embellished the story. Some claim that ley lines carry a powerful magnetic field, while others say they hold a psychic power [source: Crystal]. Still others are pretty darn sure that the lines are somehow associated with UFO landings -- or that there are healing properties found in the "vortex" of ley lines [source: Sacred Destinations].

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. For instance, the Washington Monument and the Grand Canyon. That makes a straight line. Also, my house and the corner store. Another straight line.

The point is, it's not exactly "science" to get a few important points to connect, or to perhaps imbue significance on places that do fall on a parallel. You can make patterns from all sorts of locations, but it doesn't make them hold any distinct power. 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].


Ley Lines FAQ

What are ley lines used for?
According to the Earth Mysteries movement, ley lines are used to guide alien spaceships when they come to earth. However, archeologists regard ley lines as pseudo-science.
What is a ley line on a map?
Ley lines refer to the straight lines found on the map. These lines are between prominent landmarks and historical structures.
Is Stonehenge built on a ley line?
According to conspiracy theorists, Stonehenge is an energy portal positioned at the center of a ley line. Further adding to this theory, people believe that every ancient site of Great Britain is interconnected here on this line.
Who invented ley lines?
Alfred Watkins put forth the idea of straight tracks that he later termed as "ley lines" in his book "The Old Straight Track."
What is a ley line vortex?
A vortex is a point of energy. Ley lines are the connectors of these points of energy.

Lots More Information

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  • 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
  • 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