We went to visit Clava Cairns a couple of weeks back - a series of ancient religious mounds from around 3000 BC, near Inverness. The description stated that at the Winter Solstice, the light would shine directly through an entranceway into a central chamber, which would be decorated with quartz. Thinking about the effect that would have, and the way the chamber would have glowed golden... ...and thinking about how the Winter Solstice is symbolically a time of rebirth... ...I couldn't help but think that we were effectively looking at a ritual of the earth literally being impregnated by the sun, giving birth to the new year and life. I think I may have read something like this before - but what really struck me was the whole visual experience of being there, and how it was set out. Rather than being a mad idea, it really did seem to make total intuitive sense. I think I've also encountered Cairns later being used as burial places, but that only makes sense if the original practice had changed - either simply re-using the tombs because they were there, or even developing an idea of any interred body being literally Resurrected from within the tomb (familiar?). Anyway, I've visited Cairns and ancient sites before, but the Clava Cairns site is probably more extant than any of the others I've visited - but more than that, it felt much eaier to feel a connection, and longing to find out more, about the original peoples who built them. It probably helped that we went on an early winter's day, with the sun low across the valley, perhaps recreating to some degree the effect the original key ceremony would have had.