Dolmens as Light Gates

Light show Kercado

In the category ‘my hunebed’ we invite people to write about their own personal thoughts about hunebeds and megalithic monuments. Here is a story of Peter van den Hoek.

Article version: 5-8-2023

Peter van den Hoek (Archaeoastronomer)

Today, there are few dolmens in the world that are still complete with their original mound. That’s a pity, because it deprives us of the opportunity to experience such a special structure as the builders originally intended. Fortunately, the dolmen of Kercado, near the town of Carnac in French Brittany, is well preserved and freely accessible to everyone. The ideal opportunity for me to meet it just like after its construction 6.500 years ago!

During a summer sunrise, I walk towards the structure in the morning twilight. It is very early and that gives me the guarantee to experience the dolmen without being disturbed by other people. Through a six-meter-long corridor with large stones I enter the room where I look for a seat with a view to the exit. Then I wait silently and patiently in the semi-darkness for what presents itself. Through the entrance, the morning light enters through the corridor all the way into the room. I can see very well how the light like wreaths becomes finer and finer the deeper it falls into the corridor. It’s like the light is becoming more and more subtle and with it my consciousness. As if I have access to the subconscious and receive knowledge that would otherwise remain hidden from me. I joyfully think: ‘This is why dolmens are also called ‘Thin Places’ in Ireland and Great Britain!’ They form a kind of light gates from one dimension to another. The light image of the corridor reminds me of what people say who have experienced a ‘Near Death Experience (NDE)’. Often these people speak of a corridor through which they go towards a beautiful and all-enveloping light. In this loving light, knowledge is offered, and people experience a clarity of mind that they did not know before. Could this be the image that automatically emerges as our minds travel from one dimension to another? Would the builders have wanted to imitate this literally, to make it easier to undergo a change in consciousness? I experience it as such here while I was not prepared for it! Now I suddenly understand why the corridors of some dolmens, such as Gavrinis, Newgrange and Knowth are so long. To reinforce this effect even more! Through these long corridors, the light that enters is filtered even more and perceived more subtly. In the dolmen of Gavrinis this seems to have been literally depicted on the many stones with beautifully decorated concentric circles. These circles symbolize the defining wreaths of light. In addition, in one stone of the room in this dolmen a handle has been made to make this stone a kind of door to another dimension. It is not a real door, because there is no space behind it. This decoration is a symbolic representation of the function of this dolmen.

Corridor stones Gavrinis

As can be seen from the previous, dolmens seem to work as a kind of light gates that transform light into ever finer dimensions. Our pineal gland or epiphysis is an important hormone gland, in the middle of our head and under our crown, which is very sensitive to light. Under the influence of day/night, this gland produces hormones that are psychoactive such as serotonin, melatonin and dimethyltryptamine (DMT) and bring us into a different state of consciousness. I believe that the ever finer light in a dolmen triggers our pineal gland to release psychoactive hormones so that we can experience a change in consciousness naturally. People who use dimethyltryptamine by drinking ayahuasca, for example, also regularly report a kind of ‘near death experience’ that gives them deep insights and they often drastically changes their lives afterwards. Dolmens, but also meditation caves, such as those used by the Rishis (Clergy/Seers) in India, were the ideal places to undergo changes in consciousness. In my opinion, this was also the main function of a dolmen, but also a meeting place for celebrations. As time went on, this knowledge was increasingly forgotten, and dolmens lost their original function. Sometimes they were still used as graves or worse as quarries. Many mounds were also dug out so that only the ‘skeleton’ of stones remained.

Light show Kercado
Sunlight Halloween on back wall Kercado

The dolmen of Kercado has a very special alignment. During Halloween sunrise at the end of october, the rising sun shines its light as a kind of arrowhead right upon the connection between the two huge stones that form the back wall of the room. For the Celts this was one of their most important annual festivals that they called Samhain (Sowen in spoken language). They celebrated the beginning of winter and the Celtic New Year. According to the Celts, this was the moment in the year when the veil between the spiritual and physical world was the thinnest and thus contact could be made back and forth. This fits with the dolmen as a place to experience another dimension or change of consciousness! Many dolmens have this alignment, also most of the dolmens in the Netherlands¹. Would the Dolmen builders or Megalithic Culture have known this and therefore given so many dolmens this magical alignment? At the dolmen of Kercado, this important moment could be observed exactly a month in advance. That was the moment when the sunlight from the rising sun first fell through the corridor at one of the backstones in the corner of the room, a few days after the equinox, or mid-autumn. Every day the light moved a little bit further over the back wall until a month later it fell exactly on the middle between the two stones. Actually, this play of light formed a kind of countdown calendar to this special moment. As an archaeoastronomer, I am always amazed with what precision these kinds of mythical structures were built during my research. The accuracy of this play of light and darkness with the celestial bodies is truly pure art!

I have always wondered why there are no thick layers of soot on the stones on the inside of most dolmens because light was made by candles, torches or fire. Now I know the answer. This was not the intention at all! Light was used from our celestial bodies, which was filtered and refined to bring those present into a different atmosphere or state of mind. This may sound a bit strange, but we all do it at home! If we want to have a pleasant evening with loved ones, we also dim the light to create atmosphere. Right!

In the Netherlands, unfortunately, we can no longer observe the special play of light in any of our ‘Portal Dolmens’, because they are all stripped down to just a skeleton of stones. I think this is a great pity, because nowhere in our country can we experience such a dolmen as it was originally intended. I would like to plead for one of our dolmens to be restored to its former state with a mound, kerb stones and no fence in front of the entrance, so that everyone has the opportunity to feel and experience this place as intended. Under the Havelterberg are two beautiful dolmens (D53 and D54) next to each other. If we return D53 to its original state with a mound and leave D54 like it is, then everyone can see how a dolmen was originally and has now become. If that is not possible, I want to challenge someone with a piece of land and/or money to buy and move stones to build a portal dolmen with me, so that we can also experience how the light falls in here and affect our consciousness. The garden of the Dolmen Museum also seems to be a very suitable location!

Who dares!?!

Peter van den Hoek

Peter van den Hoek


Nieuwstraat 22 D

3811 JZ Amersfoort


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