Stonehenge Spring Equinox 20th March 2012

1 03 2012

The exact time for the 2012 Spring (or Vernal) equinox at Stonehenge is 5.14am ;
Sunrise on the March 20th at 6.09am.

Stonehenge EquinoxEnglish Heritage have confirmed Open Access for Stonehenge on the Spring Equinox 2012 will be dawn on the 20th of March.

Expect a short period of access, from approximately 5.45am to 8.00am.

This is the second of the four ‘sky points’ in our Wheel of the Year and it is when the sun does a perfect balancing act in the heavens.

At the Spring (or Vernal) Equinox the sun rises exactly in the east, travels through the sky for 12 hours and then sets exactly in the west. So all over the world, at this special moment, day and night are of equal length hence the word equinox which means ‘equal night’.

Of course, for those of us here in the northern hemisphere it is this equinox that brings us out of our winter.

For those in the southern hemisphere, this time is the autumnal equinox that isArthur Pendragon taking you in to your winter. And this is very much how I think of the equinoxes – as the ‘edges’ of winter. This is why they can be quite hard on our bodies as it is a major climatic shift, so it is a good time to give a boost to your immune system with natural remedies and cleansing foods.

Here in Wiltshire (as with the rest of rural Britain), it was traditional to drink dandelion and burdock cordials at this time as these herbs help to cleanse the blood and are a good tonic for the body after its winter hardships.

As the Vernal Equinox heralds the arrival of spring, it is a time of renewal in both nature and the home, so time for some spring-cleaning!

This is more than just a physical activity, it also helps to remove any old or negative energies accumulated over the dark, heavy winter months preparing the way for the positive growing energy of spring and summer.

As with all the other key festivals of the year, there are both Pagan and Christian associations with the Spring Equinox.To Pagans, this is the time of the ancient Saxon goddess, Eostre, who stands for new beginnings and fertility.

This is why she is symbolized by eggs (new life) and rabbits/hares (fertility).

Her name is also the root of the term we give to the female hormone, oestrogen.By now, you may be beginning to see the Christian celebration derived from this festival – Easter.

And this is the reason why the ‘Easter Bunny’ brings us coloured eggs (and if you’re lucky chocolate ones!) at this time of year.

So, as nature starts to sprout the seeds that have been gestating in her belly throughout the winter, maybe you can start to think about what you want to ‘sprout’ in your life now and start to take action.

Our sponsors ‘The Stonehenge Tour Company’ are offering transport from London. They have been offering ‘non obtrusive’ small group guided tours of the solstice and equinox events for many years and we welcome their approach and ‘thought provoking’ trips.  It works out much cheaper and certainly easier  at that time of the morning.

Link: http://pagancalendar.co.uk/
Link: http://wwp.greenwichmeantime.com/longest-day/
Link:  http://www.stonehengetours.com/html/stonehenge-spring-equinox-tour-2011.htm
Link: http://www.timeanddate.com/calendar/determining-easter-date.html

Merlin says “See you there and remember – RESPECT THE STONES!”

Stonehenge on Twitter:  http://www.twitter.com/st0nehenge 

Merlin @ Stonehenge
The Stonehenge Stone Circle website





Stonehenge Summer Solstice Celebrations 2012 – June 20th / June 21st

15 02 2012

English Heritage are again expected to provide “Managed Open Access” to Stonehenge for the Summer Solstice. Please help to create a peaceful occasion by taking personal responsibility and following the conditions (see below).

Please note that a high volume of traffic is anticipated in the Stonehenge area on the evening of Wednesday 20th June. The car park (enter off the A303 from the roundabout – it’s signposted) will open at around 7pm on Wenesday 20th June, and close at around noon on Thursday 21st June.
Note that last admission to the car park for vehicles is at around 6am. Access Access to the stones themselves is expected to be from around 8.30pm on Wednesday 20th June until 8am on Thursday 21st June.

Stonehenge Summer Solstice

There’s likely to be casual entertainment from samba bands & drummers but no amplified music is allowed. When you visit Stonehenge for the Solstice, please remember it is a Sacred Place to many and should be respected. Van loads of police have been present in the area in case of any trouble, but generally a jovial mood prevails. Few arrests have been made in previous years, mostly in relation to minor drug offences.

Facilities Toilets and drinking water are available and welfare is provided by festival welfare services. There are normally one or two food and drink vans with reasonable prices but huge queues, all well away from the stones themselves.

Sunrise is at around 5.14am.- in 2012

Conditions Rules include no camping, no dogs, no fires or fireworks, no glass bottles, no large bags or rucksacks, and no climbing onto the stones. Please use the bags given free on arrival and take them out, filled with your litter, to the skips provided.

Please respect the rules so that we’re all able to enjoy the solstice morning at Stonehenge for years to come.

Getting there: Where possible, please travel to Stonehenge using public transport. The local bus company, Wilts & Dorset, will be running a service from Salisbury railway and bus stations to Stonehenge over the Solstice period. This bus service will commence at 1830 hours (6.30pm) on Wednesday 20th June and run regularly until 0115 hours (1.15am) on Thursday 21st June. A service taking people back to Salisbury will start again at 0400 hours (4am) and run frequently until 0945 hours (9.45am). Access to Stonehenge from the bus drop off point is through the National Trust farmland. More information will be here when available.  Needless to say this service is extremly busy, please allow plenty of time.

From London: Our friends at the ‘Stonehenge Tour Company’ will be offering their usual small group unobtrusive tours to the solstice from London.  There are two services departing London at 4pm and 1am – Click here: ‘Stonehenge Summer Solstice Tour 2012′
Stonehenge summer solstice tours

LINKS: http://www.efestivals.co.uk/festivals/stonehenge/2011/
http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/daysout/properties/stonehenge/explore/summer-solstice-2011/:
http://www.thestonehengetour.info/

TWITTER: Follow Stonehenge on twitter.  Get all the latest news and Solstice updates - http://twitter.com/ST0NEHENGE

FACEBOOK: Join Stonehenge on facebook: http://www.facebook.com/stonehenge.tours

See you all at the Summer Solstice, yipee……………..

Merlin @ Stonehenge
The Stonehenge Stone Circle Website





Romance in the stones as Stonehenge monument tops poll

14 02 2012

It may have been a site of ritual slaughter and Druidic practices but a new poll of the UK’s top romantic locations puts Stonehenge in second place overall but top in England, beating Windermere and King Arthur’s Seat.

Stonehenge Handfasting

Despite its Druidic history Stonehenge has topped a poll of most romantic place in England to propose

The Welsh coastline tops the poll with 24 per cent of those surveyed voting the secluded beaches of the principality as the perfect leap year proposal spot. The Cotswolds, with its picturesque stone cottages and countryside comes third.

The survey, by PCH Prizes, also revealed that twice as many men as women voted for the turf of Wembley as their most romantic location.

Stonehenge has been attracting the spiritual and the curious for 5,000 years and while it may now be deemed romantic for Dorset novelist Thomas Hardy it was a symbol of isolation. In Tess of the d’Urbervilles Tess falls asleep on an ancient stone altar at Stonehenge after murdering Alec d’Urbeville, not the kind of future that leap-year brides are planning.
Source: http://www.thisissomerset.co.uk

Sponsored by ‘The Stonehenge Tour’ www.StonhengeTours.com

Merlin says “Happy Valentines Day, remember it is actually a Pagan festival!

Merlin @ Stonehenge
The Stonehenge stone Circle website





Archaeologists and pagans alike glory in the Brodgar complex

2 02 2012

Let’s not jump to conclusions about ritual significance, but this site is clearly immensely important to ancient British history

The Ring of Brodgar ancient standing stones in Orkney, Scotland, flank the Brodgar complex, now thought to be older than Stonehenge. Photograph: Murdo Macleod

The Ring of Brodgar ancient standing stones in Orkney, Scotland, flank the Brodgar complex, now thought to be older than Stonehenge. Photograph: Murdo Macleod

Archaeologists are notoriously nervous of attributing ritual significance to anything (the old joke used to be that if you found an artefact and couldn’t identify it, it had to have ritual significance), yet they still like to do so whenever possible. I used to work on a site in the mid-1980s – a hill fort in Gloucestershire – where items of potential religious note occasionally turned up (a horse skull buried at the entrance, for example) and this was always cause for some excitement, and also some gnashing of teeth at the prospect of other people who weren’t archaeologists getting excited about it (“And now I suppose we’ll have druids turning up”).

The Brodgar complex has, however, got everyone excited. It ticks all the boxes that make archaeologists, other academics, lay historians and pagans jump up and down. Its age is significant: it’s around 800 years older than Stonehenge (although lately, having had to do some research into ancient Britain, I’ve been exercised by just how widely dates for sites vary, so perhaps some caution is called for). Pottery found at Stonehenge apparently originated in Orkney, or was modelled on pottery that did.

The site at the Ness of Brodgar – a narrow strip of land between the existing Stone Age sites of Maeshowe and the Ring of Brodgar – is massive: the size of five football pitches and circled by a 10ft wall. Only a small percentage of it has been investigated; it is being called a “temple complex”, and researchers seem to think that it is a passage complex – for instance, one in which bones are carried through and successively stripped (there is a firepit across one of the doors, and various entrances, plus alcoves like those in a passage grave, which are being regarded as evidence for this theory – but it’s a bit tenuous at present). Obviously, at this relatively early stage, it’s difficult for either professional archaeologists or their followers to formulate too many firm theories.

When it comes to the pagan community, I don’t think that its sounder members will be leaping to too many conclusions too soon; as discussed in a previous column, some of us would prefer to rely on the actual evidence rather than rushing off at a tangent. I cannot help wondering whether the relatively muted response across the pagan scene to the Brodgar findings has to do with the fact that the central artefact discovered so far – the “Brodgar Boy” – is apparently male rather than female. I am cynical enough to wonder whether, if it had been a northern Venus, there would be much more in the way of rash speculation about ancient matriarchies. Will we see the pagan community flocking to Orkney at the solstices? I doubt it. Orkney is a long way off and rather difficult to get to, whereas Stonehenge and Avebury are with a reasonably easy drive if you happen to live in the south of the country. In the days when the site was at its peak, most traffic would have been coastal, and remained so for hundreds of years to come. (And to be fair, many modern pagans aren’t actually too keen on trampling over ancient sites, sacred or otherwise, due to awareness of their relative fragility).

With regard to the “boy” himself, and other ancient representations of the human form, we simply don’t know why people made them. Maybe they are gods, goddesses, spirits. Maybe they’re toys, or lampoons of particular individuals, or just someone doing some carving in an idle moment. It’s hardly a startling theory that, throughout history, people have made stuff for fun: I’ve always been very amused by Aztec pots made in the shape of comical animals, looking for all the world like the early precursor to Disney and somewhat at variance with the sombre bloodiness of other aspects of that culture.

 

As soon as the Bronze Age arrived, Brodgar was completely abandoned. There was apparently a mass slaughter of cattle, which would have fed as many as 20,000 people on the site; this is being taken by some experts as evidence of a complete and sudden cultural replacement. But whether it has ritual significance or not, the sheer size, age and numbers involved with the Orkney site make it of immense importance to the history of ancient Britain.

Source: http://www.guardian.co.uk

Sponsored by ‘The Stonehenge Tour Compay’  www.StonehengeTours.com

Merlin @  Stonehenge 





The Celtic Festival of Imbolc – 1st / 2nd February 2014

1 02 2012

Imbolc is traditionally regarded as the first day of Spring.
Life is beginning to stir again. The Celtic festival of Imbolc or Imbolg - pronounced without the ‘b’ sound – is sometimes known as Oimelc, means ‘ewe’s milk’ – named due to the birth of the first lambs at this time, and celebrates the return of fresh milk. Sheep are earlier with their offspring than cattle, because they could crop lower for grass and so thrive on the sparse vegetation in late winter. Cattle would calf around March. Bulbs are beginning to shoot and new lambs are born – the cycle of new life returns to the earth. Imbolc marks the rebirth of nature and fertility. It is the celebration of the gradual dawning of increasing light, bringing nature to life again. Nature is awakening from her winter rest – the long winter darkness begins to break as the daylight hours begin to get longer. Christians celebrate this festival as Candlemas.Stonehenge maidens - Imbolc

“As the light lengthens, so the cold strengthens”

Maidens
Imbolc focuses on the Goddess, both as Mother – as she gave birth to the Sun God at the Winter solstice, and as the Maiden. Brigit was originally considered a form of the Triple Goddess.
Imbolc is a feast dedicated to the Goddess in her maiden aspect, in her guise as Brigid, Bridget, Bride, Brighid, Brigit or Brig – goddess of learning, poetry, prophesying, craftmanship, agriculture and healing. Imbolc is considered a traditional healing time and it is a good time to consider ways to improve your health.

Brigid is the virgin goddess who brings new life to the earth. She is known as Bride in Scotland – pronounced Breed – which is the origin of the word ‘bride’. Imbolc is also known as Bride’s Day. She was christianised as St. Bridget of Kildare, the patroness of sheep and fertility, and she was also known as the ‘Mother of Ireland’.
Briget’s Cross is woven from corn and consists of four arms that meet to form a square centre – a fire wheel.
Traditionally, on this day candlelit processions were led to St. Bridget’s holy shrines – wells

Imbolc Traditions

Imbolc is a ‘fire festival’. particular attention was paid to the hearth fire and keeping it alight.
A celebratory dish used to be made from the new lambs’ docked tails.

Bridie dolls are made out of a sheaf of oats and dressed in women’s clothing, and then ritually buried in the earth as a fertility rite. Another custom was to place the doll in a ‘Bride’s bed’ of woven wheat, like a basket, which was placed near the front door, or sometimes near the hearth. A white candle was burnt nearby all night.

Spring cleaning comes from the habit at Imbolc of getting rid of unwanted clutter and preparing for the new season, physically and mentally.
Now is the time to finish old habits and make a fresh start, and realise the world is full of new opportunities.

Imbolc is a time of optimism and for making new plans for the sunny days ahead. Plant the seeds of your plans now and tend them so they mature into your hopes and dreams. Now is the time to renew your New Year resolutions.

Like many Celtic festivals, the Imbolc celebrations centred around the lighting of fires. Fire was perhaps more important for this festival than others as it was also the holy day of Brigid (also known as Bride, Brigit, Brid), the Goddess of fire, healing and fertility. The lighting of fires celebrated the increasing power of the Sun over the coming months. For the Christian calendar, this holiday was reformed and renamed ‘Candlemas’ when candles are lit to remember the purification of the Virgin Mary.

Imbolc is still a special time for Pagans. As people who are deeply aware of what is going on in the natural world they recognise that there is strength in cold as well as heat, death as well as life. The Horned God reigns over the Autumn and Winter and although the light and warmth of the world may be weak, he is still in his power.

Many feel that human actions are best when they reflect the actions of nature, so as the world slowly springs back into action it is time for the small tasks that are neglected through the busy year. Rituals and activities might include the making of candles, planting spring flowers, reading poetry and telling stories.

Links: http://www.druidry.org/obod/intro/festivals.html
Link: http://www.new-age.co.uk

Merlin says “It is called Imbolc in the Druid tradition, or sometimes Oimelc. Although we would think of Imbolc as being in the midst of Winter, it represents in fact the first of a trio of Spring celebrations, since it is the time of the first appearance of the snowdrop, and of the melting of the snows and the clearing of the debris of Winter. It is a time when we sense the first glimmer of Spring, and when the lambs are born. In the Druid tradition it is a gentle, beautiful festival in which the Mother Goddess is honoured with eight candles rising out of the water at the centre of the ceremonial circle.”

Blog Sponsored by ‘Stonehenge Guided Tours’ www.StonehengeTours.com

Merlin@ Stonehenge
The Stonehenge Website





Winter solstice sunrise over Stonehenge 2011

23 12 2011

The omens are good that 2012 will be an excellent year, a druid said today, after the sun shone on Stonehenge during a dawn ceremony to mark the winter solstice.

 

Stonehenge Winter Solstice Sunrise

Stonehenge Winter Solstice Sunrise

 

Organisers of next year’s London Olympics could perhaps take heart from the positive pronouncement by Rollo Maughfling, the arch druid of the standing stones in Wiltshire, after this morning’s ceremony.

He said that the sun rising over the horizon at the end of the religious service, bathing more than 1,000 people who attended in pale light, meant good things for the next 12 months.

The mild temperatures and sunshine at the pre-historic site were a marked contrast to last year’s solstice, when the giant stones were surrounded by a thick blanket of snow and the winter morning mist obscured the actual sunrise.

”Just as the ceremony came to an end the sun came over the horizon, it was excellent,” Mr Maughfling said.

”It has been a very jolly occasion. It’s a good omen for the year ahead.”

During the winter solstice, the sun is closer to the horizon than at any other time in the year, meaning shorter days and longer nights.

The day after the winter solstice marks the beginning of lengthening days, leading up to the summer solstice in June.

The shortest day of the year often falls on December 21, but this year the druid and pagan community marked the first day of winter today because the modern calendar of 365 days a year – with an extra day every four years – does not correspond exactly to the solar year of 365.2422 days.

Linj:http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/earthnews/8972331/Winter-solstice-sunrise-over-Stonehenge-is-good-omen-for-2012-say-druids.html

Sponsored by ‘The Stonehenge Tour Company’ – www.StonehengeTours.com

Winter Solstice Videos: http://www.youtube.com/stonehengetours

Merlin says ” A truly great Solstice celebration with a spectacular sunrise” 

Merlin @ Stonehenge
The Stonehenge Stone Circle Website





Stonehenge Winter Solstice is on 22nd December 2011

19 12 2011

For us in the northern hemisphere, the December solstice marks the longest night and shortest day of 2011 and falls on Thursday, 22nd DecemberAfter the winter solstice, the days will get longer. Celebration time!

Stonehenge Winter Sunrise

Stonehenge Winter Sunrise

December 2011 solstice will occur on Wednesday, 21st December  at 11:30 p.m or 05:30am Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) on December 22, 2011. It is also known as the winter solstice in the northern hemisphere and the summer solstice in the southern hemisphere due to the seasonal differences.

The date varies from December 20 to December 23 depending on the year in the Gregorian calendar. The 2012 December solstice will be on December 21, 2012, which is a speculated date for “the end of the world”.

Use the Seasons Calculator to find December solstice date in other time zones or other years.

Solstice and Stonehenge

At Stonehenge  on this day, people watch as the sun sets in the midst of three great stones – known as the Trilithon – consisting of two large vertical stones supporting a third, horizontal stone across the top.

In the case of Stonehenge, this great Trilithon faces outwards from the center of the monument, with its smooth flat face turned toward the midwinter sun. In fact, the primary axes of Stonehenge seems to have been carefully aligned on a sight-line pointing to the winter solstice sunset.

This Stonehenge monument – built in 3,000 to 2,000 BC – shows how carefully our ancestors watched the sun. Astronomical observations such as these surely controlled human activities such as the mating of animals, the sowing of crops and the metering of winter reserves between harvests. Stonehenge is perhaps the most famous of of the ancient astronomical monuments found around the world.

Stonehenge on Twitter.  For the latest Solstice information and all the latest Stonehenge news (including images live from the Stones) follow: http://twitter.com/ST0NEHENGE

Stonehenge snow

Will it snow at Stonehenge this year ?

The December Solstice Explained

The December solstice occurs when the sun reaches its most southerly declination of -23.5 degrees. In other words, it is when the North Pole is tilted 23.5 degrees away from the sun. Depending on the Gregorian calendar, the December solstice occurs annually on a day between December 20 and December 23. On this date, all places above a latitude of 66.5 degrees north are now in darkness, while locations below a latitude of 66.5 degrees south receive 24 hours of daylight.

The sun is directly overhead on the Tropic of Capricorn in the southern hemisphere during the December solstice. It also marks the longest day of the year in terms of daylight hours for those living south of the Tropic of Capricorn. Those living or travelling south from the Antarctic Circle towards the South Pole will see the midnight sun during this time of the year.

On the contrary, for an observer in the northern hemisphere, the December solstice marks the day of the year with the least hours of daylight for those living north of the Tropic of Cancer. Those living or traveling north of the Arctic Circle towards the North Pole will not be able to see the sun during this time of the year.

What is the Winter Solstice?
The Winter Solstice is a magickal event, yet sadly, it is in the main a forgotten celebration. At this time, Christmas preparations are taking place, and the focus is primarily on ‘what colour scheme to go for?  Will the wrapping paper co-ordinate?  Have I forgotten anyone?  What shall we eat?  Will my funds stretch!’

The Solstice is however, the complete antithesis of what has now become Christmas in contemporary society. Also known as ‘Yule’, the Solstice is generally celebrated on the 21st of December, (although the astronomical date changes from year to year – this year the actual Solstice takes place on the 22nd, at 00.22a.m). The Winter Solstice is the shortest day, and longest night of the year, and is the traditional time to celebrate the truly important things in life: your family, your children, your home and looking forward to a wonderful year to come.

Yule is a time throughout time that honours love and new birth, as well as the collective unity of man. Just as Christmas celebrates the birth of Christ, Yule celebrates the birth of the Sun God – child of the Goddess in the Pagan belief system. Yule is primarily the celebration of the rebirth of the Sun. Many people associate the Winter Solstice, or winter itself with death, as it is the season in which nature is dormant, and in which many plants die off and crops are scarce. Conversely, the Winter Solstice, although it is the longest night, (boasting more than 12 hours of darkness), it is also the turning point of the year, as following this night the sun grows stronger in the sky, and the days become gradually longer once more. Thus the Winter Solstice is also a celebration of rebirth, and there are many traditions that stem from this perspective.

Traditions:  Holly, Ivy and Mistletoe

The Holly and the Ivy

The holly and the ivy
When they are both full grown
Of all the trees that are in the wood
The holly bears the crown.

Chorus:
Oh, the rising of the sun
And the running of the deer
The shining of the winter stars
As the longer days draw near.

The holly bears a blossom
As white as any flower
As our Mother bears the infant Sun
In the winter’s darkest hour.

Chorus

The holly bears a berry
As red as any blood
As our Father bears the hunter’s spear
for His hungry children’s good.

Chorus

The holly bears a prickle
As sharp as any thorn
As we shall bear our song of hope
On triumphant Yuletide morn.

Adapted by Hilda Marshal.

The tradition of bringing sprigs of Holly and Ivy into the home pays homage to the masculine and feminine elements. Both of these powerfully magickal plants are evergreen, a reminder in itself that the earth never dies, but merely sleeps during the winter months, (a tradition which was the precursor to our modern tradition of the evergreen Christmas tree). The male element is represented by the prickly holly; with its sexually potent red berries. The mistletoe is the female; entwining, gentle yet powerful. An alternative view of Holly is that the leaves of the plant represent the male, whereas the red berries symbolise the resting Mother Goddess, and life returning to the land.

The symbolism of Holly is especially potent. The Holly King and the Oak King are part of Celtic/Pagan mythology, and they represent two sides to the Greenman, or Horned God. Since the Summer Solstice, the Holly King has ruled the half-year of waning light, yet on this night the Oak King will take his throne to rule. In other words, the Oak King rules over the lighter half of the year, (Yule to Litha), and the Holly King over the darker half (Litha to Yule).

Another account of the Holly King and Oak King imagery is that they do not directly switch places twice a year, but rather both exist concurrently. The Oak King is born of the Goddess at Yule, growing in power through the spring, peaking at Beltane and then weakening through autumn until he dies at Samhain.
The Holly King however lives a reverse existence, and is born at Midsummer (Litha), increasing in strength throughout summer and autumn, reaching his zenith at Samhain. His sway then diminishes until it is his turn to pass at Beltane. Thus the two Kings enjoy a more elaborate sense of duality in this account, and it is perhaps a better illustration of their twofold nature, and their varying levels of influence throughout the year. As such they both have their characteristics. The reign of the Oak King is a time for growth, development, healing, and new beginnings. The Holly King’s time is for rest, reflection, and learning. Thus the Holly King is honoured with the boughs of Holly, and the Oak King is honoured with Mistletoe – the belief being that Mistletoe is best grown on the Oak as Mistletoe’s most powerful host, (a belief strengthened by the opinion of the 17th century herbalist, Culpepper). Ivy is representative of the Goddess; mother of both Kings, both Kings also being her consort – again powerful ideas of duality.

Mistletoe has a most compelling and influential history. According to ancient Druid tradition, Mistletoe was the most sacred of all plants. Mistletoe was used by the Druid priesthood in a very special ceremony; held five days after the New Moon following winter solstice. The Druid priests would cut Mistletoe from a holy Oak tree with a golden sickle. The branches had to be caught before they touched the ground. The priest then divided the branches into sprigs and dispersed them to the people, who hung them over doorways as protection. The folklore, and the magickal powers of this plant, have blossomed over time, although most are now forgotten. It was believed it had miraculous properties that could cure illnesses, antidote poisons, ensure fertility and protect against witchcraft. It was also a sign of peace and goodwill. When warring tribes came across Mistletoe, a temporary truce would be observed until the next day.

However, although Mistletoe carries a broad array of customs, and benefits in ancient times, the tradition which has lived on is that concerning fertility and love. According to most current day traditions, a young woman stands under the mistletoe and awaits her lover’s kiss. But from where did this tradition spring? It is considered that Mistletoe and kissing tradition is borne of a Norse myth.

The Norse god Balder was son of Frigga, goddess of love and beauty. She loved her son to such a degree that she had the four elements: Fire, Water, Air, and Earth- promise that they would not harm her son. However, Loki, an evil spirit, found the one thing that could defy this promise – mistletoe. He made an arrow from its wood, which was shot at Balder’s heart, and he fell dead, and Frigga’s tears became the mistletoe’s white berries. Balder is however, restored to life, and Frigga is so grateful that she reverses the reputation of the offending plant–making it a symbol of love and promising to bestow a kiss upon anyone who passes under it.

In the true spirit of Yule, focus your celebrations as a family upon love, and the fact that every ending is a new beginning. There are many simple rituals that you can enjoy as a family, to seal your bonds and celebrate each other at this magickal time of year.

Link: http://www.timeanddate.com/calendar/december-solstice.html
Link: http://brighterblessings.co.uk/articles/yule.htm
Link: http://earthsky.org
Link: http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/daysout/properties/stonehenge/
Link: http://www.druidry.org/
Linj: http://www.phreak.co.uk/stonehenge/psb/stonecam.htm

Sponsored by ‘The Stonehenge Tour Company’ – www.StonehengeTours.com

Merlin says “Happy solstice everyone, see you at the Stones..”

Stonehenge on Twitter.  For the latest Solstice information and all the latest Stonehenge news follow: http://twitter.com/ST0NEHENGE

The Stonehenge Stone Circle Website





Pagan stone circle built at US Air Force training academy

29 11 2011

The US military has built a stone circle in its Air Force academy to give pagans, druids and witches somewhere to practice their religion.

Stonehenge, UK: The Colarado base has spent around £50,000 building the Stonehenge-like structure

Stonehenge, UK: The Colarado base has spent around £50,000 building the Stonehenge-like structure


The Colorado base has spent around £50,000 building the Stonehenge-like structure to allow witches to cast spells, and pagans to form “circles of power” by night.

it is situated on top of a wooded hill and includes a fire pit.

The academy says it is for cadets who practice ‘Earth based’ religions including druids, witches and North American faiths.

Despite the expenses it is believed only three out of the 4,300 cadets have openly admitted that they are pagan.

Bob Barr, a former Republican congressman, campaigned to ban witches from the military, saying: “What’s next? Will armoured divisions be forced to travel with sacrificial animals for Satanic rituals? Will Rastafarians demand the inclusion of ritualistic marijuana cigarettes in their rations?”

The Wiccan religion was added to the US Army’s chaplain’s handbook in the 1970s and includes details on how covens are organised and how Druids worship ‘Mother Earth and Father Sky.’

“Most Wiccan groups also practise magic, by which they mean the direction and use of ‘psychic energy’ — those natural but invisible forces which surround all living things,” it explains.

The air force says the site is to help to protect the constitutional right to religious freedom.

But some think it is an attempt to attract more Wiccans to the army.

“Many men attracted to wicca are also attracted to this fantasy of the ancient warrior who is spiritually adept, but also a great fighter,” Margot Adler, a renowned witch and broadcaster, said.

The American Religious Identification Survey estimated that there were 700,000 pagans and wiccans in the US

US Army says Wiccan work it out

Sponsored by ‘The Stonehenge Tour Company’ www.StonehengeTours.com

Merlin @ Stonehenge
The Stonehenge Stone Circle Website





18,000 gather at a cloudy Stonehenge for all-night summer solstice party

22 06 2011

Tens of thousands of revellers gathered at Stonehenge for an all-night party to celebrate the longest day of the year this morning – despite grey clouds that obscured the sunrise.

Here comes the sun: Revellers cheer as the sun finally breaks through the clouds, more than a couple of hours after daybreak

Here comes the sun: Revellers cheer as the sun finally breaks through the clouds, more than a couple of hours after daybreak

English Heritage say 18,000 revellers descended on the site that is usually roped off to the public to witness dawn at exactly 4.43am. The event is significant for druids, who were joined by hippies, pagans and tourists as well as hordes of younger visitors in search of a good party.

However the number of people who camped out overnight or arrived early to witness the dawn was down on previous years because of the poor weather and the solstice falling on a weekday.

There was no beautiful sunrise into clear blue skies – heavy overnight rain gave way to overcast but dry skies as the sun rose, greeted by cheering and applause.

The self-styled King Arthur Pendragon, the veteran druid who led the event, said it had passed off smoothly.

‘We didn’t get a great sunrise but it was dry,’ he said. ‘Everyone seems happy with the result.

‘It is great to see the stones being used in this way, as opposed to the usual manner with tourists being herded around.’

Stonehenge, which is between 4,000 and 5,000 years old, has in past years been the site of confrontations between revellers and police.

But Superintendent Gavin Williams, of Wiltshire Police, said the majority of the crowd this year were well-behaved and ‘came to see the sunrise in the spirit of the event’, which was policed in the same way as night spots in the county. However, two men were photographed fighting at the event.

Of the 20 arrests, 11 were for drugs offences and five for public

Mr Williams said: ‘Although it was disappointing that some individuals chose to bring drugs with them, they were dealt with robustly.’

English Heritage, which manages the Stonehenge site on Salisbury Plain in Wiltshire, said the atmosphere had been ‘peaceful and good natured’.

The annual event is a modern take on solstice celebrations which were once a highlight of the pre-Christian calendar. Celebrations focus on the Heelstone, which sits just outside the main circle, and is aligned with the midsummer sunrise.

The solstice is one of the few times access is granted inside the stone circle, which has been roped off since 1978 following years of erosion and vandalism.

Stonehenge’s origins remain a mystery, but one theory is that it is a huge astronomical calendar. Others say an ancient sun-worshipping culture aligned the structure with the midsummer sunrise and the midwinter sunset.

The World Heritage site was used as a cremation cemetery since its inception, archaeologists say, but it is unclear if that was its principal function.

It was build in three phases, with stones brought from up to 150 miles away, between 3000 BC and 1600 BC

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2006112/Summer-solstice-18-000-gather-cloudy-Stonehenge-night-party.html

Sponsored by the Stonehenge Tour Company – www.StonehengeTours.com

Merlin @ Stonehenge
The Stonehenge Stone Circle website





Druids celebrate summer solstice at Stonehenge for first time as mainstream faith

17 06 2011

When robed Druids gather at Stonehenge for the summer solstice in next week, they will be worshipping at the prehistoric stone-circle monument for the first time as members of an established religion under British charity law. The classification means members of the ancient pagan tradition, which some see as a curiosity of Britain’s ancient past, have mainstream status equal to the Church of England. The change of status, which is controversial, gives them tax advantages.
Stonehenge Druid

Opponents of the change of status regard it as a mistake made for the sake of political correctness by a government agency, the Charity Commission. The see it as the first step to recognition of Scientology, sorcery, witchcraft or even the Jedi as religions eligible for tax-exempt status. The 2001 census recorded the country as having some 390,127 Jedi, the fictional Star Wars religion, in England and Wales.

After a four-year campaign by the Druids, the Charity Commission says it accepts that they worship nature and believe in the spirits of places such as mountains and rivers, as well as in divine guides.

Druids are best known for the gathering at Stonehenge each year on Jun 21 to greet the dawn, but they hold festivals eight times a year to mark stages in the solar and lunar cycles. Encyclopedia Britannica describes the ancient Druids as members of the learned class among the Celts. They do not worship a single god or creator, but seek to cultivate a sacred relationship with the natural world. The earliest known records of the Druids come from the 3rd Century BC. 

RELATED READING:

Druids: Worshippers of nature who were said to sacrifice humans (Telegraph 2 Oct 2010)
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/religion/8037258/Druids-Worshippers-of-nature-who-were-said-to-sacrifice-humans.html

MELANIE PHILIPS: Druids as an official religion? Stones of Praise here we come (Daily Mail 4 Oct 2010)
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-1317490/Druids-official-religion-Stones-Praise-come.html?ito=feeds-newsxml

Stonehenge preperations
THOUSANDS of revellers are expected to descend upon Stonehenge for this year’s Summer Solstice.
Sunrise will occur at about 4.45am on June 21, which is the longest day of the year.
English Heritage is opening Stonehenge to the public from 7pm on Monday, June 20, to 8am the following day.
The Solstice car park, just off the A303, will open from 7pm on Monday, June 20, with last admission at 6am on Tuesday, June 21. Access to the stones and car park will be free of charge but organisers have advised people to use public transport where possible.
Wilts and Dorset bus company will be running a regular service from Salisbury railway station, via the bus station, from 6.30pm on the Monday evening through to 1.15am on Tuesday. A return service will operate frequently from 4am to 9.45am on Tuesday – with buses stopping at any recognised bus stop along the Amesbury route

Sponsored by ‘The Stonehenge Tour Company’  www.StonehengeTours.com

Merlin at Stonehenge
The Stonehenge Stone Circle website








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