Heath Altar Stones
Note: The Heath Altar is one of the best kept Celtic secrets I’ve seen to date, and it’s in Western Massachusetts, of all places. Unfortunately it is on a private residential farmstead that is not in any way welcoming, which is disappointing because every megalithic site in Ireland is on a private farmstead, but Irish farmers almost never restrict hikers intent on finding sacred sites located in their fields. Sadly, the signs on the road approaching the Heath Altar vista read: “Trespassers will be arrested, or shot.” Flatly, this is an unfortunate indicator about American attitudes these days. I was extremely frustrated to finally arrive at this beautiful area in Heath, only to find ‘KEEP OUT’ signs, but I did not allow this to stop me from getting to the Altar. It is extremely rare that I would write about, or encourage hiking in a place that you could get arrested or harmed, but it is important to me that people see this incredible Altar from it’s intended intimacy. It was worth risk for the images achieved. I humbly believe that these are the best pictures ever released of this gorgeous sacred site. This particular area of central/northern Massachusetts, on the boarder of Vermont, is one of the fairest countrysides one could hope to discover, especially in the season of peak Autumn, which is when I went. Now people have a chance to see, up close, for most likely the first time, a full Celtic altar, but in New England. The Town of Heath: The rustic countryside on the boarder of Vermont and central Massachusetts, on the northeastern coast of the U.S, is as picturesque as any Celtic scene. Small mountains, rocky hills, Pines, Birches, and Hemlocks, all dot the landscape. The four classic seasons flux distinctly in this part of the world, with a most captivating Autumn. The Green Mountains of Vermont are 15 miles northwest of Heath, along with state preserved trails at Mount Watatic, Monument Mountain, Savoy Falls, and Bears Den, all within an hour of here (and featured on this site). These woods have inspired tales and fables from the ancient tribes like the Mohegan and Wampanog, who inhabited this region while the Celts and Picti inhabited Ireland, England, and Scotland. One of the most amazing commonalities between New England and Celtic places are the hilltop alters such as the haunting Heath Altar Stones. Along the streams approaching the area in Heath are Celtic looking irrigation walls that provide ‘pivots’ in the landscape for the stream to flow by. This 12 foot high, and beautifully leveled, work of irrigation is only 4 miles from the Heath Altar, adding to the mystique of the overall area.The dry rocky plateau on which this Altar sits radiates hallowed vibrations. These are among the oldest cultural structures on earth. There is a loose symmetry to the scene, with a bed of flat granite at the highest point of the broad hill, guarded at each of it’s four corners by deeply incised, and notched, standing stones. The standing stones here are not flimsy, as depicted in most old articles. These are broad and intimidating megaliths, which can be seen here against the scale of a lovely human being amidst the fixtures. This is the photographic justice this site demands, capturing the grandeur of the overall area as well, not obscure images from old newspaper articles or desperately zoomed photos from 100 yards away from fearful on-lookers. Everything about this place says “Celtic Altar”, not “colonial farmer’s pet project”, which is what many writers have guessed is the meaning of these stones. Irish farmers did not claim the Irish altars. They would think it disrespectful and inviting a curse to even imply such a thing. Yet in the United States, the idea of colonials having possibly built these megaliths is often mentioned. It is infuriating, and totally irresponsible. Nothing about this area says ‘colonial’. The standing stones are each about 6 feet in height, and a single foot in width. Just beyond the Altar is a fifth standing stone that serves as a kind of head-stone. The ‘stone table’ may have served to support a bonfire, or perhaps it was more of a literal ‘large table’, used for sacrificial rites, or skinning hunted game. Whatever happened at this spot, the builders of this place made it distinct, so it is clear that this was considered a sacred place.Radiating out away from the Altar are smaller standing stones.
Smaller Standing Stones near by: Here is look at a smaller white marble, 3 feet tall standing stone, almost 50 yards from the top of the hill. Stones like this may have served as a boundary, or warning stone, for others approaching the Alter. It is obvious that this particular stone was also chosen for its beauty. In another area away from the Altar site, possibly fixed to the northerly cardinal direction, sits another standing stone deeply set into the ground, and somewhat tilted. This one looks to have been about 8 feet long, although only about 3 feet is above ground, with a darker colored rock face pointing to Vermont just beyond.Facing to the south is another amazing standing stone that has a 45 degree angular cut at the ‘arrowhead top’, standing roughly three feet high, and six inches thick. This particular type of stone can be found in other parts of New England as well, supporting the idea that it is a singular megalithic culture that occupied this natural space. Pictured on the right is a massive 45 degree angle New England standing stone with the same dimensions as the Heath standing stone below. The area the Heath stone is directing our attention towards is fantastic. The trees here are stunning at this time of year. Notice also that even the flat granite stones along the ground seem to have been leveled and cut on their sides. The amount of cultural stonework happening here gives the area a type of energy, perhaps like at the Hill of Tara in Ireland, or at the Avebury stone circle. The feeling is just overwhelming that someone, a very long time ago, loved this place enough to mark it out in amazingly playful ways with massive stones.Quartz stones and classic Celtic stone-linings: The energy-storing and transferring properties of quartz are well known. On this rocky plateau sits one of the most abundant quartz rock faces in all New England. The surreal vision it creates against the dry red brush is striking, looking almost like snow. Quartz boulders are scattered throughout the area. It would make sense that if this place was designed as a kind of ‘energy center’,with the quartz absorbing energy from the Sun. This piece below looks to weigh at least half a ton, set proudly above a cut granite slab. It’s as if megalithic anthropological sites are revealing a knowledge of the properties of stones. If this is true, then this entire area is a type of energy center. Further to the north are classic Celtic linings running through the area. These can be found in Cavan Burren National Park in a very similar style, connecting peaks from hill top to hill top. There are enough of these linings in New England to circle the earth six times, with probably just as many in Ireland and England. New England, somehow, is absolutely Celtic: There are beautiful subtleties to understand about this place. The elevation of the rocky hill; the distance to the tree’s below to the altar in the high clearing; and the fauna of the tall reeds mingling with the stones looking exactly like hilltops in the heart of Ireland. Take a look at the overall similarity between this hill in Heath, and the hill top above Kinnitty Forest in Ireland, where stone-linings and irrigation walls exist in the landscape as well. It’s as if the landscapes are paternal twins, with similar scaling in the features, with only different colors to distinguish them. The elevations and patterns of sacred Neolithic places are similar because it was a similar culture that was choosing them, valuing the exact same things.Here is the hilltop at Heath.Here is the hilltop at Kinnitty
Summary: Look at all these features at Heath. It’s overwhelming, and obviously a cultural center. Once upon a time these advantageous vistas were chosen by a Celtic culture, both in Ireland and New England. They were absolutely of the same mind, as to what areas were worth inhabiting. The similarity of these chosen areas, the elevations and circumference of the rocky clearings, the distance to running streams, the types of stone being utilized, the megaliths themselves, all reveal compelling evidence towards a related culture, both in the American northeast and the ancient Irish hills. The Heath Altar Stones are a direct anthropological connection to the Celtic world, and yet this information is considered ‘alternative‘. It’s absurd when seen first hand, what the academics are ignoring. There is an energy and beauty in central Massachusetts that is on-par with any of the preserved pastoral natural spaces of the Celtic world. All it takes is an exploratory hike in the forests and rocky hills of Heath, and you will see and feel it for yourself. And that is the more important point, to see it, and feel it for yourself. Don’t let anyone tell you what something is before analyzing it for yourself, or it won’t be long before not one of your ideas will actually be your own. When you find a sacred place, it reveals the sacred potential in you. Go for it.