The definition of Sacred Geography “may be broadly [understood] as the regional [or global] geographic locating of sacred places according to various […] factors” (Gray 1982-2020). Accordingly, “certain geographical features and areas figure more prominently than others on the sacred map” (Forbes-Boyte 2011). Were they all chosen by a mere accident or were they selected for a purpose?
The layout of such sites may be perceived as a sacred code created for unknown reasons by ancient civilizations. All around the world, mankind built extraordinary structures on powerful sites, and although they can be separated by large distances and thousands of years, they are simultaneously interconnected all over the planet by invisible paths, similar to latitudinal and longitudinal lines, and commonly known as the world grid (Burns 2011; Serena 2018). Amateur archaeologist, Alfred Watkins, discovered in 1921 that ancient features and structures across the English landscape appear to be arranged on straight ley lines (Ibid.). In 1925, he published his remarks in the book The Old Straight Track, where he proposes that ancient monuments are linked by a network of intersecting straight and measurable tracks (Ibid.). Such sites are usually geographically higher than other areas around them, and some, especially in England and France, feature prominent Christian monuments but usually constructed over more ancient ruins (Burns 2011). In his work, Watkins further theorizes that ancient landmarks along ley lines were deliberately constructed by men for the purpose of lining the trade routes, which is questionable, as many of such sites are naturally situated in the areas difficult for being simply reached by a human-being, such as mounts, islands and bogs (Burns 2011; Serena 2018). Some other researchers believe that ley lines are geomagnetic and are points of the Earth’s energies, and subsequently marked by man-made sacral constructions (Burns 2011).
According to independent authors and researchers, there is a notable alignment of sacred and ancient sites, called the Apollo/St Michael Axis, stretching from the shores of Ireland south to Greece and Israel. The GIS project I has been involved in is to illustrate that Line, which crosses the sanctuaries dedicated to both, the Christian Archangel, Michael and the Greek god, Apollo. By using different tools, such as hillshade and viewshed, its major aim is to investigate if the sites are geographically related, as the authors claim, and the Axis itself is more than just an enigmatic coincidence.
Discovery of the Apollo/St Michael’s Axis
Jean Richer, an eminent French scholar living in Greece in 1950s, was engaged in the study of literature and mythology. He was also interested in the holy character (Genius Loci) of landscapes, especially in terms of ancient architecture. According to him, the sacred geometry had been once reflected in temples and monuments built on significant sites (Michell 2000: xiii; Broadhurst, Miller, Shanley, Russel 2003:1-9). “His studies led him to suspect that there may have been some underlying plan that determined the form and positioning of temple architecture in relation to the topography of the land, and for this idea he coined the term Sacred Geography” (Ibid.:7).
While visiting ancient sites in Greece, Jean Richer posed several questions: why are certain temples situated on top of inaccessible mounts or in isolated plains? Is their location a matter of a coincidence or a well-planed positioning? And finally: what factors did decide about their site? The same questions came to Richer’s mind while he was visiting megalithic monuments of Celtic Brittany. Is there any relations between the Celtic and classical landscapes? (Michell 2000: xiii; Broadhurst, Miller, Shanley, Russel 2003:1-9).
In the process of his research, the French scholar discovered that at least three of the most significant Greek temples and oracles connected with the ancient god, Apollo, were in direct alignment, and all of them lying on a straight line (Michell 2000: xiii).
- Delos – Apollo’s legendary birthplace,
- Delphi – main sanctuary of the same Greek god,
- Athens – the centre of the goddess Athena, with Apollo’s altar in the cave at the Acropolis (Richer 1994:1-16, 29-36, 120-125, 209).
Later, two other sites have been added to that group of Apollo’s sanctuaries (Broadhurst, Miller, Shanley, Russel 2003:1-9).
4. Kerkyra – Corfu, with the so-called Secret Temple of Apollo, 5. Rhodes – the island of the Sun God, Helios/Phoebus, also identified with Apollo (Richer 1994:22, 39, 94, 201, 122, 297; Broadhurst, Miller, Shanley, Russel 2003:1-9).
Most prominent of all Apollo’s sites is the temple of Delphi, in Greece. After the Greek mythology, the god took his heavenly chariot twice a year to travel from Delphi to the faraway land in the north (Burns 2011).
St Michael’s Line
Richer also discovered that the Apollo’s Line extends north beyond ancient sites of Greece to pass through most ancient pre-Christian and Christian sites in Italy, France, Great Britain and Ireland, all connected, in turn, with the Christian figure of Archangel Michael (Michell 2000: xiii).
These encompassed such spectacular sites as, starting from the south:
- Monte Sant’ Angelo on the Gargano peninsula (Italy),
- Sacra Di San Michele (the Italian Alpes),
- Mont Saint Michel (Normandy, France),
- St. Michael’s Mount (Cornwall, UK),
- Skellig Michael (Co. Kerry, Ireland) (Broadhurst, Miller, Shanley, Russel 2003:11-12).
After the Book of Enoch, which is the apocrypha to the Bible, “St. Michael appears to be a protector of [seven] mountains and the Tree of Life that is located on one of [them]” (Kosloski 2019). According to the same tradition, “an imaginary line links seven different monasteries from Ireland to Israel, [which are all dedicated to the Archangel] (Ibid.). Usually, it is called the Sacred Line/Axis of St. Michael, St. Michael’s Line/Axis or the Sword of St. Michael (Ibid.). The latter is clearly a reference to Saint Michael as the Archangel with the sword and His victorious fight with the devil, usually represented as a dragon speared with the sword under His feet (Ibid.).
According to such a theory, the Axis revolves around the following seven ancient monasteries: (Kosloski 2019).
- Skellig Michael (Co. Kerry, Ireland),
- Saint Michael’s Mount (Cornwall, UK),
- Mont Saint Michel (Normandy, France),
- Sacra Di San Michele (the Italian Alpes),
- Monte Sant’ Angelo on the Gargano peninsula (Italy),
- Archangel Michael of Panormitis (Symi, Greece – in the north-west of Rhodes),
- Stella Maris Monastery (Mount Carmel, Israel) (Kosloski 2019).
However, the number of sites varies by tradition (Kosloski 2019) and after some other sources there are over thirty such places related to the same Line/Axis.
The Final Point
Although the seventh and ultimate location on the Line in the south, namely Stella Maris Monastery or the Monastery of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, is definitely associated with Saint Michael’s Sword, “[there] doesn’t seem to be a direct connection between the Mount Carmel [and the Archangel]” (Michael 2018). Mount Carmel may be considered as the closing point because of its alignment and topography, and also because it is mentioned in the Bible as the place where the Pagan worship of Baal was replaced by that of Jehovah, and His Prophet, Elijah, triumphant over the pagan priest is represented just in the same way as the Archangel killing the devil-dragon (Broadhurst, Miller, Shanley, Russel 2003: 347-366; Kosloski 2019 “How Mount Carmel …”).
Nevertheless, if “the curvature of the earth [is taken] into account, the [Line] ends at the ‘Gates of Hell’ at the foot of Mount Hermon” (Michael 2018), situated between Syria and Lebanon and north to Mount Carmel. The Book of Enoch (Enoch 6:1-6) describes the legendary Mount Hermon as the place where fallen angels descended to earth or, after the Revelation (Rev.12:7–10), they were cast down from Heaven by Saint Michael and His angelic army. According to other sources, however, the last point of the Axis should be Megiddo Tell (in Greek known as Armageddon – the location of the final battle between the good and evil), lying close to Mount Carmel (Broadhurst, Miller, Shanley, Russel 2003: 347-366) Consequently, “the remarkable alignment of all the [places] is perceived as a sign, pointing to an apocalyptic battle between St. Michael and [the devil]” (Kosloski 2019).
The given above sites are all said to be located in a straight line and are either “associated with apparitions of [the Archangel or] ancient [sanctuaries] of devotion to the heavenly messenger (Kosloski 2019).” .
Two key characters
The Apollo-Saint Michael Axis “thus formed a corridor of sanctuaries that ran right through western Europe, linking the ancient Greek world to some of the most prominent centres of the Christian religion” (Broadhurst, Miller, Shanley, Russel 2003:1).
What do these two characters, pagan Apollo and Christian Archangel Michael, have in common? Obviously, they share the same attributes and associations. They are both connected with the symbol of the Sun, and their legends give the same archetypal type of a dragon’s slayer; whereas St Michael kills the devil in the disguise of the dragon, Apollo slays the famous Python, the serpent guardian of the Delphic oracle. Sometimes, Archangel Michael is even related to as the Christian counterpart of the Greek god of the sun, and furthermore his name itself means: “He who is like God” (Broadhurst, Miller, Shanley, Russel 2003:1-4).
Alignments – General Characterisation of Sites and their Coordinates
The first English publication on Richer’s discovery took place in 1991 by Christine Rhone and John Michell (Broadhurst, Miller, Shanley, Russel 2003:12) who observed that “the first thing one wants to know about this line is its degree of accuracy when it is projected across the surface of the globe. Richer defines it as a line of constant bearing with the meridian, a so called rhumb line, which can be represented on Mercator’s projection of the globe by a straight line drawn between Skellig Michael and Mount Carmel” (Ibid.).
In order to investigate if the theory of Apollo/St. Michael’s Axis is correct, the very first step is to use ArchGis Map in order to mark the points of the sites and check if they are aligned according to the direction described by Jean Richer, namely of 60 degrees NW-SE. If this alignment exists, the successive points should be placed on the same line. It is to visually verify whether by using a map projection, all the points are represented along the straight line. Here the first problem occurs: although the sites associated with St. Michael can be accurately marked as points on a map and their coordinates can be easily found, Apollo’s sites are not so evident in this case. Unlike Saint Michael who resides on particular mounts or mountains, Apollo is associated with the whole islands; on some of them, there is more than one temple dedicated to this solar god. On Rhodes, for instance, there may be two Apollo’s sites; one is in the north, in Rhodes (the island’s capital), and the second possibly in Camiros (Kameiros), situated around forty kilometres to the south-west of the City of Rhodes. Yet the most prominent of the two seems to be the Temple of Apollo Pythios on the Acropolis of Rhodes (see Island of the Sun). The authors also point to Camiros and Rhodes but additionally identify Feraklos and Lindos (Broadhurst, Miller, Shanley, Russel 2003:8, 343-346).
The initial lines (Figure 1 and 2), which have been drawn by means of GIS, include both: the sites of Saint Michael and Apollo, from the first point (Skellig Michael) to the last one given by the authors, that is to say, Mount Carmel in Israel. If we take into consideration all the Archangel’s sites including Saint Michael’s Monastery on the Greek island of Symi, the line would go slightly astray to the north from the line of Apollo’s sanctuaries, which starts itself from the Greek island of Corfu.
As the coordinates slightly differ in several cases, the straight line consequently breaks at some points. To reach a relative compromise, the coordinates of Apollo’s islands, and not particular points with the temples, have been chosen for the sake of this project.
60 Degrees 11 Minutes West of North
As it is illustrated by the Figure 1, the Axis goes across the planet almost 60 degrees 11 minutes west of north (Creightmore, Rocka 1996-2018; Broadhurst, Miller, Shanley, Russel 2003:13). Nevertheless, Richer (1998) admits that “each segment may not be oriented perfectly in the direction of 60 degrees NW-SE (Broadhurst, Miller, Shanley, Russel 2003:12). Although there are differences, according to the scholar, they are “minimal and compensate for one another, so that the direction as a whole is indeed very close to this theoretic angle” (Ibid.), as it is shown in the Figure 2 (below).
As it is mentioned above, St Michael’s Line joins with Apollo’s between Monte Sant’Angelo and the island of Corfu. There the Line seems slightly broken, while it is moving south and changing into Apollo’s Axis (red line of “LineAxis” indicates such breaks). Nevertheless, if we draw a line that omits Apollo’s sites on its way and goes directly from Monte Sant’Angelo, in Italy, further to the site of the Archangel on Symi, in Greece, it would keep a more straight axis (Figure 3). In this case, however, it would not finish exactly at Mont Carmel, situated to the south, but more likely it would reach closer to the point of Mont Hermon.
What is also quite interesting is the fact that the Monastery of Archangel Michael of Panormitis (Symi, Greece) was built around the fifth century AD “over the site of an ancient temple dedicated to the pagan god Apollo” (Sanidopoulos 2010). Accordingly, at least one of the sites of Saint Michael overlaps with an ancient site dedicated to Apollo. It is also observed that a few sites of the cult of Apollo or of Saint Michael are clustered around in the proximity of the main Line, yet not being directly crossed by its axis. For example, on Symi, most of the monasteries and churches scattered around the island are dedicated to Saint Michael (Sanidopoulos 2010). The same phenomenon appears in France, where the Archangel is venerated as the patron saint. Similar multiplicity of Apollo’s temples is noticed on the Greek islands.
To sum up, although some sites are a little bit astray from the exact direction of Apollo/St. Michael’s Axis, it is the result of natural orientation of the landscape, where the temples/monasteries were located. As it is underlined above, another issue concerns the exact coordinates of the sites in question; on Rhodes, there may be more sites associated with Apollo/Helios, and thus the coordinates may differ respective of the chosen site. Furthermore, although some of the sites do not exactly lie on Apollo/St. Michael Line, they all run along the straight line drawn between the first and last points, which can be graphically illustrated and analysed by means of the GIS map, providing that all the coordinates are adequate. Finally as John Michell and Christine Rhone (1998) conclude: “Bearing in mind the distance from the west of Ireland to the Holy Land, some 2 500 miles, [around 4 024 km], and the fact that many of the sites are natural landmarks, sanctifies by nature rather than by human choice, the straight path on which they all stand is indeed narrow” (Broadhurst, Miller, Shanley, Russel 2003:12). Nonetheless, it can be observed that the closer the Line a particular site is located, the more significant it seems in terms of the cult and heritage.
Chosen Points on Apollo/St. Michael Axis
Richer’s study has been continued by several researchers, among others, the authors of the book, entitled The Dance of the Dragon. An Odyssey into Earth Energies and Ancient Religion, namely Paul Broadhurst, Hamish Miller, Vivienne Shanley, and Ba Russell. According to their and Richer’s studies, the mentioned alignment of sacred sites stretches for around 2, 500 miles (4024 kilometres). It starts from the Atlantic remote coast of Ireland, and then goes across western Europe and, if extended, it reaches Mount Carmel in Israel, near the infamous Armageddon site (Megiddo) (Broadhurst, Miller, Shanley, Russel 2003:1-16). Apart from the most important sites mentioned above, others also fall on this alignment (Le Mans, Bourges), or are situated nearby (Tours, Nevers, Blois, Perugia), however, still connected to the mentioned heroes. On the whole, the authors enumerate and describe over thirty sites related to Apollo/St Michael’s Axis (Creightmore, Rocka 1996-2018; Broadhurst, Miller, Shanley, Russel 2003:1-16 ).
Accordingly, Apollo/St Michael Axis passes across or nearby (with all the main sanctuaries in bold):
- Skellig Michael, Ireland,
- St. Michael’s Mount, UK,
- Mont St. Michel, France,
- Mayenne, France,
- Le Mans, France,
- Tours, France,
- Blois, France,
- Issoudun, France,
- Bourges, France,
- Sancoins, France,
- Nevers, France,
- Moulins, France,
- Digois, France,
- Charolles, France,
- St.Vincent des Pres, France,
- Cluny, France,
- Macon, France,
- Perouges, France,
- Lyons, France,
- Vienne, France,
- St. Beron, France,
- Bozel, France,
- Sacra di San Michele (Turin), Italy,
- San Michele (Castiglione di Garfagnana), Italy,
- Monte Sant Angelo (Gargano), Italy,
- Kerkyra, Greece,
- Delphi, Greece,
- Athens, Greece,
- Delos, Greece, (Broadhurst, Miller, Shanley, Russel 2003:1-16 ),
- Archangel Michael of Panormitis, Symi, Greece, (Kosloski 2019),
- Rhodes, Greece,
- Mount Carmel (or nearby Armageddon), Israel, (Broadhurst, Miller, Shanley, Russel 2003:1-16 ) or Mount Hermon, Israel, (Broadhurst, Miller, Shanley, Russel 2003:1-16 ).
In the GIS presentation, there is only a limited number of sites included in order to provide a more detailed description of their landscape (Figure 4). Furthermore, the project focuses particularly on Saint Michael Axis and the features of His five prominent mont-sanctuaries, in terms of their coordinates, natural location, elevation and geographical visibility.
Coordinates of the chosen Apollo/Saint Michael’s sites
As it is illustrated above, the ley St. Michael/Apollo Line breaks at some points on its way southwards, especially as it moves from the northern Saint Michael’s way to the southern Apollo’s path. However, when we separate the two ley lines and and draw them one by one, they both keep a more straight axis. It is also because they include less points on their way than when they are combined together.
Five Apollo’s sites (all in Greece) and their coordinates according to Google Maps:
- Kerkyra – Corfu: 39,6243°N; 19,9217°E
- Delphi: 38.4824°N; 22.5010°E
- Athens: 37.9838°N; 23.7275°E
- Delos: 37.3963°N; 25.2689°E
- Acropolis of Rhodes: 36.4399 °N; 28.2106 °E
Five St Michael’s sites and their coordinates according to Google Maps:
- Skellig Michael (Ireland): 51.7707°N; 10.5405°W
- St Michael’s Mount (UK): 51.7707°N; 10.5405°W
- Mont St Michel (France): 48.6361°N, 1.5115°W
- Sacra di San Michele (Italy): 45.0964°N, 7.3422°E
- Monte Sant’Angelo (Italy): 44.1527°N, 10.4113°E
Geographical Features and Origins of Saint Michael’s Sites on the Axis
Both characters, Apollo and St. Michael, possess high rocks or islands. Although St Michael preferred rocky summits, Apollo and his twin sister, Artemis, seem to have owned the entire Greek islands: Corfu, Rhodes, Delos, Delphi, all located on the Line. Apollo’s sanctuaries are usually situated on the slopes of mountains, apparently chosen for their spiritual features. Some temples, dedicated both to Apollo and St Michael, are also set in the rocky caverns (Athens/Sacra di San Michele) (Broadhurst, Miller, Shanley, Russel 2003:1-29). According to Jean Richer (1994), they were placed “in the middle of nowhere, on top of inaccessible mountains or isolated in remote plains” (Ibid.:7).
Saint Michael’s sanctuaries share not only their dedication to the Archangel but also the way in which He inspired their creation, through dreams and visions (Broadhurst, Miller, Shanley, Russel 2003:1-29). “One obvious feature is that they are all rocky summits or mountains, […] traditionally associated with the “angel of high places” (Ibid.:13). All of them reach up not less than over 60 meters above sea level and are not easily accessible, located either some distance off the coasts or in the mountains, like floating islands on the ocean or castles high in the clouds. All monasteries have also been the pilgrim centers for centuries and most prominent St Michael’s sites in their regions (Ibid.:1-29).
Digital Elevation Models and Visualizing the Terrain Data
In order to illustrate a geographical shape and topographic features typical of Saint Michael’s sites, their digital elevation models (DEM) have been used for all the five enumerated above sites. Then the hillshade effect has been applied to all of them so as to obtain a 3D representation of the surface. Land-forms are mapped with the help of colour levels, which represent geographical features of all the sites, such as their heights, and visually depict the layout of lowlands (green) and highlands (red).
Skellig Michael’s elevation: 218 metres (715 feet) above sea level.
Skellig Michael, also called the Great Skellig is the most dramatic Saint Michael’s sanctuary of all. It looks like a black and hardly accessible pyramidal rock in the Atlantic Ocean, eight miles (12 km) off the west coast of Ireland, in County Kerry (Broadhurst, Miller, Shanley, Russel 2003:12,55; Department of Culture 2010). Skellig Michael is known for legendary apparitions of the Archangel over its rocks but mostly it is recognized as one of the most significant examples of early Christian Irish monasticism and its highly ascetic character (Department of Culture 2010). Probably already in the sixth century, a small group of monks chose the isle for their remote and inaccessible monastery (Ibid.). As such the Skellig is usually described as the loneliest place on earth (Broadhurst, Miller, Shanley, Russel 2003:12,55).
Saint Michael’s Mount’s elevation: 67 metres (221 feet) above sea level.
A rocky island in Cornwall is connected to the mainland by a cobbled causeway at low tide, and can be reached only by boat at high tide (Broadhurst, Miller, Shanley, Russel 2003:12). It has been regarded as the Cornish counterpart of Mont Saint Michel in France since it was handed to the Benedictine religious order by Edward the Confessor in the eleventh century (“St Michael’s Mount” 2020). Yet the site had featured a monastery already around the eighth century (Ibid.). Saint Michael’s Mount is situated in the lowest point of land above sea level of all the sanctuaries.
Mont Saint Michel’s elevation: 92 metres (301 feet) above sea level.
It is one of the most spectacular monasteries dedicated to Saint Michael, situated just off the coast of Normandy in northern France, on a large rocky island encrusted with a complex of medieval constructions (Broadhurst, Miller, Shanley, Russel 2003:11). As a legend goes, in 708 Aubert, the bishop of Avranches had in his dream a vision of the Archangel Michael who instructed him to build an oratory on a large isolated rocky islet (Harpur, Westwood 1997:166). Eventually, Mont Saint Michel grew to become a powerful religious center in the Middle Ages, drawing pilgrims from far and wide (Ibid.:166).
Sacra Di San Michele’s elevation: 888 metres (2913 feet) above sea level.
The last two monasteries are set high in the mountains. The first one is placed in the highest point above sea level of all sanctuaries. It is located in the Piedmont region of north-west Italy, forty kilometers from Turin Sacra di San Michele 2020). The monastery dedicated to Saint Michael was built in the tenth or eleventh century, on the summit of mount Pirchiriano, which is still guarding the natural route through the Italian Alps into France (Broadhurst, Miller, Shanley, Russel 2003:11; Sacra di San Michele 2020). The monastery is apparently the very same place that inspired the writer Umberto Eco to conceive the best-seller work in 1980, the Name of the Rose (Il nome della rosa) (Sacra di San Michele 2020).
Monte Sant’ Angelo Di Gargano’s elevation: 800 metres (2625 feet) above sea level.
San Michele di Monte Gargano is the last footprint of the Archangel, placed in Italy, on the spur on the boot-shaped outline of the country, on the ridge of Gargano mountain (Broadhurst, Miller, Shanley, Russel 2003:11). The heart of Saint Michael’s Sanctuary is placed in the grotto, which has been the destination of numerous pilgrimages, starting from the Norman monastery of Mont Saint Michel (“Monte Sant’ Angelo” 2020). According to a legend, the grotto was dedicated to Saint Michael as the Archangel had appeared there three times, in 490, 492 and 493 (Ibid.). Additionally, in 2019 archaeologists of the Ludwig Maximilian University excavating the site announced their discovery of traces of Hellenistic temple dated to the second century B.C. (Ibid.).
Visualizing the Visibility
The DEM data set has been used to create viewsheds as in the analysis of the elevation and landform of the sites. The maps represent the areas visible within 10 km from the sites in red, and those invisible in green.
Skellig Michael’s visibility: 218 meters (715 feet) above sea level.
St Michael’s Mount’s visibility: 67 meters (221 feet) above sea level.
Mont Saint Michel’s visibility: 92 metres (301 feet) above sea level.
Sacra Di San Michele’s visibility: 888 meters (2913 feet) above sea level.
Monte Sant’ Angelo Di Gargano’s visibility: 800 metres (2625 feet) above sea level.
The results look quite interesting. In all cases, there is a wide range of visibility as all the sites are located on the summits of mounts/mountains. The visibility from Mont Saint Michael and Saint Michael’s Mount is strongly concentrated around the sites and then is scattered in red spots around the area, especially in the case of Skellig Michael. Additionally, at the site of Sacra Di San Michele and Monte Sant’ Angelo Di Gargano, the reach of visibility forms long red belts, as both sanctuaries are situated on the ridge of the mountains.
There are, however, some factors that should be taken into consideration while evaluating the viewshed tool, as they may greatly affect the visibility. First of all these are atmospheric conditions at the sites in question; the weather in those areas is prone to sudden changes and has a disturbing influence on the view from the top of the monasteries, especially due to dense mists and clouds.
Results of the GIS Project
On the whole, GIS turned out to be a very valuable and beneficial tool in description and deeper analysis of the subject, providing that the data applied is of a good quality to fully illustrate all the points of the project.
The results show that the major sites dedicated to Apollo/St Michael are on a straight ley Line, more or less aligned to the direction of 60 degrees NW-SE. Others stay close to this Line. Furthermore, it is demonstrated that St Michael’s monasteries accomplish their main purpose of being the sacral centers: not easily accessible but visible and welcoming pilgrims venerating the Archangel.
My own pilgrimage
I have always dreamed of making a pilgrimage along St.Michael/Apollo Line. However, due to a vast distance of the track, it is unlikely for me to complete it at once. Therefore, it will be more reasonable to divide the route into shorter sections or visit the sanctuaries while traveling around a particular country.
So far I have visited three of the seven Saint Michael’s Mounts and some of Apollo’s temples while visiting Greece. The first site of the listed sanctuaries I have ever seen was Mont Saint Michel in Normandy. I went there in 2006, during my year stay in France. As I studied history of art in Paris, I usually travelled at that time around the country to see its artistic and architectural treasure, which France is so famous for. It was long before I had ever learned about Saint Michael’s Axis, which eventually happened in 2008, during my visit in Cornwall – a charming Celtic peninsula belonging to United Kingdom. I spent there a long May weekend with my friend. Having reached the most westerly town, Penzance, we both travelled to Saint Michael’s Mount, situated in the bay, near the town of Marazion. At that moment, I understood there must be a strong connection between these two Saint Michael’s mounts, the Norman and the Cornish, but I mainly thought of their mutual dedication to the Archangel, their similar architecture and natural terrain of their location. I had not realized yet, they could be both geographically interconnected and that there are other sanctuaries of that kind in Europe.
Eventually, after travelling westwards along the Cornish peninsula, we reached the legendary site of Tintagel. There, in one of local library shops, I found a very interesting and thick book by P. Broadhurst, H. Miller, V. Shanley, B. Russel (2003) The Dance of the Dragon. An Odyssey into Earth Energies and Ancient Religion, which explains in detail the idea of St. Michael/Apollo Axis. Since then, I have involved myself in the authors’ research by means of my own studies, including for example the represented above the GIS project. The book itself has become my personal guide through the pilgrimage along the Axis. Also this is why I broadly share here the theories I have found in the undertaken research.
After visiting the Cornish sanctuary in 2008, yet in the same year, I travelled once again to Mount Saint Michel, in France, to see it from the perspective of the Axis research. Only in July, 2015, had I a rare opportunity to land on one of the most inaccessible sites of the Archangel – the Skellig Michael in Ireland, which has already been fully described in one of my previous posts, entitled, Hermitage of the Archangel. In all cases (Cornwall, Normandy and Ireland), the three sites share not only highly spiritual atmosphere but also very similar geographical features. All of them are off the shore, with their summits covered in monastery structures. First two are additionally tidal islands of more or less conical shape, located deeply in the bays with salty marches and wetlands (Bonnot 2013; “Birdwatching – Marazion Marshes” 2018). Visiting them was both inspiring and deeply motivating for my work.
Hopefully, I will continue my pilgrimage southwards in the coming years …
Featured image: Drawing: The Apollo-St. Michael Axis.
Faculties of English Philology, History of Art and Archaeology;
University of Silesia in Katowice, Poland;
Cardinal Stefan Wyszyński University in Warsaw, Poland;
University College Dublin, Ireland.
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Figure 3: Map of “Saint Michael’s line” (2017). Public domain. Source: “Saint Michael’s line” (2020). In: Wikipedia. The Free Encyclopedia. Available at <https://bit.ly/3mXwLgG>. [Accessed 8th April, 2020].
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14 thoughts on “Sacred Geography Enclosed in the Idea of the Apollo-Saint Michael Axis”
I wish article/map aligned more accurately not to the modern state of Israel but the ancient nation states of Phoenicia /Palestine. Especially Phoenicia which shared culturally with Celtic peoples.
Thank you very much for your comment. It is very appreciated. I fully agree that it would be very interesting to see how the St. Michael/Apollo Axis ran in the past. However, while preparing this GIS project, as students, we were provided only with modern-day maps so we worked on them to reflect our ideas. Yet the concept of moving the Axis back in time is highly compelling.
My best regards,
This line also passes over Mexico. The spot behind the story of the Coat of Arms. Where the Gods instructed the greatest city to be built.
Great article, congratulations!
I add a curiosity .. The San Michele\Apollo axis should be aligned to the sunset during the summer solstice.
Thanks again for your work!
Thank you for your comment. Yes, you are right – there are yet many questions behind the phenomenon of St. Michael/Apollo Axis that should researched.
I wish I could visit other sites on the line, which may help to better understand it.
Wow best research on this Ley Line I’ve seen yet ! Thank you so much for sharing it. I’ve been working on this line from the American side of the planet. So its nice to your end in more details. I figured this line had to be know by someone else.
Thank you Leland,
Your comment is very appreciated. I am sorry for a delay in responding but I was unavailable for some time.
Good luck with your research. The matter of the Ley Line is really interesting.
If you want your mind blown see how the line overlays on Mars. It connects the 3 large volcanoes. I found its because this line actually is part of 2 lines that divide the planet into 4 roughly equal parts. Planets tend to follow the same crack patterns. Almost if gravity wells really do effect them all in uniform fashion. Like how we can find the Fibonacci all over nature. I do podasts. Love to have you on to talk about what you wrote here. If you ever have the time.
Good to hear from you. Thank you for your comment and your insight into the subject.
I am sorry for a delay in responding but I am engaged in a PhD project right now and there is no time for any other additional activities I would like to take.
In the future, I will be more than pleased to talk to you more on Apollo/St Michael Axis.
My best regards,
This is an absolutely incredible article !!!!
A friend of mine just visited Symi (he is Greek) to give thanks to St Michael to whom he asked intercession for him and his wife to conceive children, which they did.
Being a Catholic amateur historian, I knew about the 7 places of the straight line of St Michael, so when he said Symi, we went searching and found this incredible article.
Such depth of research, God bless you, I have learnt so much !!
This alignment cannot possibly be a co-incidence:
what is God telling us with this?
I would be very interested in the completion of your research on this topic, especially Mt Carmel, as I am a spiritually a third order Carmelite.
Thank you very much for your inspiring message.
It is also good to hear that Saint Michael has listened to your friend’s prayers.
I have not been to Symi yet but it is on my list.
This year, precisely at the turn of November, I am going to visit the two other sanctuaries on the axis, which are located in Italy; Sacra di San Michele near Torino, and Monte San Angelo on Gargano Peninsula.
I will also write further articles on the subject. Apart from the article you have read, there is one on Skellig Michael in Ireland, and another on the Isle of Rhodes, which is more about that section of the Axis still associated with the pagan god, Apollo. The Sanctuary of Symi is just at the crossroads between the Christian cult of Saint Michael, spreading north-westwards, and the cult of the sun-god, whose temples were built along the line south-eastwards.
The subject of Mount Carmel is also very intriguing as it is the closing of the line; a place related to early Christian hermits dwelling there in the 6th century, and to the sites associated with the last battle between the good and evil. I will study it more carefully in the future. Apart from writing on archaeology, I am also doing a PhD project related to the subject – this is why it will take some time before I visit all the sites associated with the Axis.
My best regards,
Thanks for post, find this story very interesting, it was ufo interest that brought me here, see a tv program where it said that a priest or monk see lights in the Sky one night 🌃 He prayed about what he had seen and decided to build ⛪ Church where the light was over,
Thank you for your comment and interest in the subject of my article.
I agree that there must first have been a very special and mysterious event, usually regarded as supernatural, which initiated a construction of a church, or earlier a pagan temple, to sanctify the site itself.
Regarding the phenomenom of UFO in the past, it has been caught in many medieval and Renaissance paintings, such as “The Crucifixion of Christ”, 1350, ‘The Miracle of the Snow’, 1428-1432, “The Madonna with Saint Giovannino”, Late 1400s, etc. The “object” is, however, interpreted differently by historians of art. Yet, it is still open to interpretation. There are also many legends about visions of different saints who saw Saint Michael the Archangel or other angelic beings. It is very popular in hagiographies of Irish and Coptic saints.
Soon, there will be new articles related to Saint Michael’s Axis and on angelic beings, in general, so feel welcome to visit my website.
My best regards,
Thanks for your very informative reply,
The following is a re post from a page of mine re ufo,
from Mass reading today, The Transfiguration
17 After six days Jesus took with him Peter, James and John the brother of James, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. 2 There he was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light. Just then there appeared before them Moses and Elijah, talking with Jesus.
Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here. If you wish, I will put up three shelters—one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.”
While he was still speaking, a bright cloud covered them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!”
When the disciples heard this, they fell facedown to the ground, terrified. 7 But Jesus came and touched them. “Get up,” he said. “Don’t be afraid.” When they looked up, they saw no one except Jesus.
As they were coming down the mountain, Jesus instructed them, “Don’t tell anyone what you have seen, until the Son of Man has been raised from the dead.”
(to Me the Cloud Scene reminds Me of a Spacecraft) this is Luke,s account of what happened,
While he was speaking, a cloud appeared and covered them, and they were afraid as they entered the cloud. A voice came from the cloud, saying, “This is my Son, whom I have chosen; listen to him.” When the voice had spoken, they found that Jesus was alone. The disciples kept this to themselves and did not tell anyone at that time what they had seen,
(The above description about said cloud reminds me of a spacecraft ?)