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Starz series Outlander takes its cue from the novel series by Diana Gabaldon. The premise of the series sees 20th century woman Claire Beauchamp Randall (played by Caitriona Balfe) unexpectedly falling through time and embarking on a romance with 18th century Highlander Jamie Fraser (Sam Heughan). Some fans of Outlander are curious to know more about when time travel is deemed possible in the story.
When can you travel through time in Outlander?
Gabaldon’s has remained deliberately vague on the rules of time travel in Outlander, allowing her to bend them when necessary.
However, over the years, it appears certain rules or patterns have emerged about when a person can go through time.
In Outlander, standing stones and ancient structures are used to transport people from one period to another.
For instance, Claire travelled for the first through the standing stone circle at Craigh na Dun in Inverness.
She was not the only one to use the stones with Geillis Duncan (Lotte Verbeek) also using it to go through time in an effort to change and influence historical events.
Other structures with the power to harness time travel included Cave at Abandawe, in Jamaica and the Stone circle on Ocracoke in North Carolina.
Over the years, it emerged gemstones were also helped to ease passage through time with Claire previously using precious rocks to help her go back to Jamie.
A more sinister method of travelling was making a blood sacrifice with Geillis killing her former husband to help channel the power of the stones.
Interestingly, one other way of going through time – and getting back to a particular era – is by thinking intensely about the place or person you wanted to get back to.
For Claire, this helped her to get back to Jamie when she travelled back to be reunited with him in the past following an excruciating 20-year separation.
But there is one other thing which seems to influence time travel in Outlander and this is the time of year.
The first time Claire went back was around the pagan festival of Beltane in May.
She wasn’t the only one to travel at this time with both Geillis and also Roger MacKenzie (Richard Rankin) and Brianna Fraser (Sophie Skelton) passing through on this auspicious date of May 1.
Other times characters have travelled in Outlander are Samhain and both the winter and summer solstices.
From the looks of it, these pagan times of the year seem to be when the power of the stones is at its most potent.
The standing stones themselves are thought to be built on ley lines – lines which channel power from the Earth and are believed to have mystical powers.
Even though the time travel in Outlander is fictional, Gabaldon is likely to have been inspired by real-life standing stones which do exist across Scotland.
One such formation is Clava Cairns in Inverness which represents fertility and lights up on the solstices when the sun hits it at a particular time.
Clava Cairns is significant because it is located close to Culloden – where Jamie would have fought and nearly died in battle.
Therefore, it’s highly likely the fictional Craigh na Dun is located near Culloden which has importance and relevance to the story of Outlander as it’s from the battle Jamie’s ghost projects to Claire in the 20th century.
Perhaps the most famous standing stones in the world is Stonehenge in Salisbury, which is another location attracting druids and pagans who carry out rituals at the site every year.
Outlander seasons 1 to 5 are streaming on Amazon Prime Video now
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