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





Aboriginal Stonehenge: Stargazing in ancient Australia

12 10 2011

An egg-shaped ring of standing stones in Australia could prove to be older than Britain’s Stonehenge – and it may show that ancient Aboriginal cultures had a deep understanding of the movements of the stars.
Australian Stonehenge

Fifty metres wide and containing more than 100 basalt boulders, the site of Wurdi Youang in Victoria was noted by European settlers two centuries ago, and charted by archaeologists in 1977, but only now is its purpose being rediscovered.

It is thought the site was built by the Wadda Wurrung people – the traditional inhabitants of the area. All understanding of the rocks’ significance was lost, however, when traditional language and practices were banned at the beginning of the 20th Century.

Now a team of archaeologists, astronomers and Aboriginal advisers is reclaiming that knowledge.

They have discovered that waist-high boulders at the tip of the egg-shaped point along the ring to the position on the horizon where the sun sets at the summer and winter solstice – the longest and shortest day of the year.

The axis from top to bottom points towards the equinox – when the length of day equals night.

At Stonehenge, the sun aligns instead with gaps in the stones on these key dates in the solar calendar.

The probability that the layout of Wurdi Youang is a coincidence is minuscule, argues Ray Norris, a British astrophysicist at Australia’s national science agency, who is leading the investigation.

Prof Norris and his Aboriginal partners used Nasa technology to measure the position of each rock in relation to the sun, and to demonstrate the connection with the solstices and equinox.

This photo of the emu in the sky, above an aboriginal rock carving, was sent to every school in Australia

This photo of the emu in the sky, above an aboriginal rock carving, was sent to every school in Australia

It’s truly special because a lot of people don’t take account of Aboriginal science,” says Reg Abrahams, an Aboriginal adviser working with Prof Norris.

As happened with Stonehenge, the discovery could change the way people view early societies. It is only recently that it has been demonstrated that Aboriginal societies could count beyond five or six.

Songs and stories

“This is the first time we have been able to show that, as well as being interested in the position of the sun, they were making astronomical measurements,” says Prof Norris, who is also a faculty member at the School of Indigenous Studies at Macquarie University in Sydney.

“It is interesting to know how far back people were doing astronomy – if it is 5,000 years old it would predate Stonehenge”

Quote Prof Ray Norris Astrophysicist

Other studies by Prof Norris, of Aboriginal songs and stories, have also indicated a clear understanding of the movements of the sun, moon and stars.

Indigenous customs vary among groups across Australia, but one story that appears in many local traditions is the tale of a great emu that sits in the sky.

The emu, which can be seen in the southern hemisphere during April and May, is a shape made by the dark patches of the Milky Way.

Its appearance coincides with the laying season of the wild emu and for the storytellers it is a sign to start collecting eggs.

Prompted by historian Hugh Cairns, Prof Norris examined and photographed an emu-shaped rock carving in Kuring-Gai Chase National Park, near Sydney, which cleverly mirrors the celestial animal-like shape.

During the southern autumn, the constellation is positioned above the rock with the bird shape almost perfectly reflected by the engraving.

Intellectual leap

Other stories show more complex, intellectual understanding of the universe.

In the case of the solar eclipse, the Walpiri people in the Northern Territory tell the story of a sun-woman who pursues a moon-man. When she catches him the two become husband and wife together causing a solar eclipse.

The idea that the solar eclipse is caused by the moon moving in front of the sun is something only widely accepted by western scientists in the 16th Century.

“This is not about balls of flames going out, it’s about one body moving in front of the other,” says Prof Norris. “That is a giant intellectual leap.”

Since solar eclipses are rare, the survival of this story, passed down through generations, also shows a remarkable continuity of learning.

These discoveries play a crucial role in helping Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Australians understand just how intellectually advanced their ancient society was.

“This discovery has huge significance for understanding the amazing ability of this culture that is maligned,” says Janet Mooney, head of Indigenous Australian Studies at Sydney University.

“It makes not only me, as an Aboriginal person, but a lot of Aboriginal people around Australia very proud.”

She hopes to be able to tell her students of an aboriginal site more ancient than Stonehenge.

Until it is dated however, Wurdi Youang could be anywhere from 200 to 20,000 years old.

Aboriginal stone structures in the region have a vast age range and are very difficult to date. Many of the smaller rock sites that have been found, such as shelters and cooking areas, have been moved over time by natural and human forces.

But given the size of the stones at Wurdi Youang and how deeply they are entrenched in the ground it is more likely they have been there for thousands of years, archaeologists say.

Dating requires archaeologists to test the soil under the rocks to see when it was last exposed to sunlight and the team hope to be able to do this in the next few months.

But Prof Norris believes he has already proven the real value of the stone circle.

“It is interesting to know how far back people were doing astronomy, if it is 5,000 years old it would predate Stonehenge,” he says.

“But it is not quite as interesting to my mind as whether the Aboriginal people were doing real astronomy before British contact. That really tells us a lot about what kind of culture it is.”

Reach for the Stars – Aboriginal Astronomy was produced by Robert Cockburn and broadcast by Discovery for BBC World Service. Listen to the radio documentary via iplayer or download the podcast.

By Stephanie Hegarty BBC World Service
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-15098959

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

Merlin @ Stonehenge
The Stonehenge Stone Circle Website





Secrets of the Stones

30 05 2011

As the summer solstice will soon see thousands gather at Stonehenge, an archaeologist discusses his belief that the Wiltshire monument is evidence of a great civilisation which once thrived there

Sunrise at Stonehenge - June 21st

Sunrise at Stonehenge - June 21st

IN three weeks’ time, thousands of devotees will gather in the dark in a field in Wiltshire. They do this every year and each time their number grows.

They are there to celebrate the midsummer Solstice, the longest day of the year, and will wait until daybreak when the sun sends a piercing ray of light through Stonehenge, the ancient ruin they have come to venerate.

This primordial circle of stones, eight miles north of Salisbury in Wiltshire, exerts an extraordinary power over the people of Britain.

Some, like the Druids, claim it is the source of a mystical power while others, curious but sceptical, believe it to be the site of an ancient monument that has no relevance to the way we live today.

Whatever their conviction they are all missing the point according to one man who has studied the location for 30 years and believes he knows the real reason why Stonehenge is so special.

“Stonehenge is unique; it is already recognised as a World Heritage Site but it’s more than just an ancient curiosity, it is the place where civilisation began,” says writer and archaeologist Robert John Langdon.

“It’s simply the most amazing place in the world and we should all be celebrating the meaning of this incredible place.”

Robert fell under the spell of Stonehenge as a boy. He explored the massive stone monoliths and was intrigued by the official explanation of their origin. As the years passed and he learned more he was puzzled by contradictions in official explanation of its origins.

“The carbon dating of the stones is not consistent. I have discovered that stone post holes in what is now the car park for the site predate the accepted date for Stonehenge by 5,000 years. If this evidence is accepted, and it has been denied for years, it turns the conventional history of Stonehenge, and the rest of the world for that matter, on its head.”

If Robert is right, and he says he has the scientific evidence to prove he is, Stonehenge is the most important archaeological site in the world. It would mean Salisbury Plain is home to the first and most significant civilisation on earth. So how could this have happened?

“The geography and landscape of the site would have been very different. Britain would have been emerging from the last Ice Age, so much of the country we now recognise would have been under water. Stonehenge would have been on an estuary that led to the open sea. Too many important facts have been ignored,” says Robert.

“There is evidence that water was close, but that has been classified as a moat which I believe is wrong. It is also believed the stones were dragged over land from Wales which is misleading.

“The large sarsen stones came from an area close to Avebury which is not far from Stonehenge.  To have brought them overland all the way from Wales takes no account of the fact that according to the official time scale Salisbury Plain at that time would have been heavily forested which would have made that access all but impossible. The bluestones, which are the key to the secret of Stonehenge, were smaller and did come from Wales but they were brought there by boat.”

Robert’s hypothesis is based on his conviction that the men who built Stonehenge were much more skilled and sophisticated than is currently believed. In 10,000 BC, the Mesolithic period, he believes that men in ancient Britain developed the first recognisable civilisation and that Stonehenge was their greatest achievement.

“These were extremely capable people who found a way of drilling into stone and used sophisticated mortice and tenon joints to erect Stonehenge but most importantly they mastered the seas. These boat people, as we can call them, travelled widely and traded and these are the people I believe that Plato referred to in his writings on the origins of civilisation.”

So why did these people make such an effort to build Stonehenge? what was it intended to do?

“Stonehenge was accessible to boat people from  all over Europe and Mesolithic men and women came there to be cured of their ailments and to depart from this world. The alignment of the site to the sun and the moon is immensely significant but so is the presence of the bluestones in the circle.

“Bluestone turns blue in water, and was believed to have incredible powers of healing. Evidence from bones found close to Stonehenge suggests that the original inhabitants practised sophisticated medical procedures which included dentistry, limb removal and even brain surgery.

“These were not the fur-clad hunter gatherers living in mud huts that many mistakenly believe were the builders of Stonehenge. They were instead members of a great civilisation that moved out, leaving Stonehenge as the only surviving physical evidence of their genius.”

If Robert Langdon is right Stonehenge is much older than the Pyramids and there is a surprising connection between the two ancient stone monuments.

“Over the centuries the climate and landscape in Britain changed. Mesolithic men used their seafaring skills to move to a more sympathetic environment. They traded widely and sailed south to what is now the Mediterranean and moved in along the coast from Egypt to Greece and Italy. The ancient Egyptians’ skill at engineering and building with stone had its roots in the lessons learnt by the men who built Stonehenge.”

It is not only archaeologists with a theory about the significance of Stonehenge. The Druids regard it as a sacred place where they perform spiritual rituals.

Robert says: “I don’t have any disputes with the Druids and they don’t seem to mind me. I’ll be rubbing shoulders with lots of them at the midsummer solstice. The Druids may well have their beliefs but they came on the Stonehenge scene very late in the day.

“They would have discovered the site as an ancient and abandoned temple and taken it over but that’s all right. I get on pretty well with other archaeologists too although they do tend to dismiss my work, but that’s their loss. Stonehenge has a special hold on me and the more I learn about it the more fascinated I become. I’m already working on a new book which I think will ruffle quite a lot of feathers.

“In a sense what we know as Stonehenge is almost the foundations of a much bigger edifice. Stonehenge is, despite all the myths that have been fostered, a very special place. It is, I believe, the birthplace of civilisation and we all ought to give it the respect that it really deserves.”

Article from The Express Newspaper
Sponosred by ‘The Stonehenge Tour Compant’ www.StonehengeTours.com

Merlin @ Stonehenge
The Stonehenge Stone Circle Website





Stonehenge Winter Solstice 2012 – The end of the world is nigh, or is it ?

18 05 2011

 Stonehenge Stone Circle and 2012

I am surprised at the number of people asking questions and talking about the Stonehenge winter solstice next year.  Many connections are being made to the Mayan calander and ‘the end of the world’   Will we see a record number of people turning up for ‘open access’  from around the world on the December 21st 2012 ?

Stonehenge dates back to being built around 3100 BC. This is in collaboration with creation of the Mayan calendar and the invention of the Sumerian language. On analyzing the Stonehenge several historians have suggested the possibility of the Stonehenge giving clues to the end of time in the same way the Mayan calendar does; thus showing a link between the two.
Stonehenge 2012

It was believed that the Stonehenge was used to tell time using the Sun’s solstice. With the rising and setting of the sun, one can observe time. During one day of summer the sun is set as far in the sky as possible. At this time the sun rises in direct alignment to a section of the Stonehenge known as the “heal stone”. This stone serves the same purpose as the hands of a clock as it casts a shadow over the Stonehenge sector. Coincidentally, this clock goes backward and acts as a countdown to the end of time – on December 21st 2012! On this day due to the wobble of the Earth on its axis and several other alignments, the heal stone will cease to cast a shadow indicating that time has run out.

Moreover, archaeologists have found various carvings in the stone. Using carbon dating archaeologists some of these carvings include Sumerian numbers and writings. The numbers “33” and “32” is significantly engraved on the stones. Interestingly enough, with the Sumerian sexagesimal system, the number 33 is multiplied by 60 and then added to 32 giving 2012 ironically.

End of the world 2012Stonehenge and the Mayan Calendar

The writings of the Mayans and the Sumerians have suggested the world might come to end on December 21st 2012. Furthermore, the Mayan Long Count calendar ends on this particular date. These ancient civilizations lived in close proximity to each other; thus, had a lot of influence from each other to similarly predict the future. Yet, there are other objects that have marked the same date – Stonehenge! Could one of the “Seven Wonders of the World” really foretell the fate of our future?

It was believed that the Stonehenge was used to tell time using the Sun’s solstice. With the rising and setting of the sun, one can observe time. During one day of summer the sun is set as far in the sky as possible. At this time the sun rises in direct alignment to a section of the Stonehenge known as the “heal stone”. This stone serves the same purpose as the hands of a clock as it casts a shadow over the Stonehenge sector. Coincidentally, this clock goes backward and acts as a countdown to the end of time – on December 21st 2012! On this day due to the wobble of the Earth on its axis and several other alignments, the heal stone will cease to cast a shadow indicating that time has run out.

Moreover, archaeologists have found various carvings in the stone. Using carbon dating archaeologists some of these carvings include Sumerian numbers and writings. The numbers “33” and “32” is significantly engraved on the stones. Interestingly enough, with the Sumerian sexagesimal system, the number 33 is multiplied by 60 and then added to 32 giving 2012 ironically.

Stonehenge holds many secrets that mankind has yet to discover. It is possible that something will happen on December 21st 2012, as it is not only limited to one side of the world since the Mayans and Sumerians lived in Meso-America; 2012 is also a big part of history in other countries. As time passes, we might be able to discover more. Hopefully all this information should give us a better insight of what is to come.

What will happen after December 21st 2012 ?  hopefully December 22nd 2012 because I will be there trying to enjoy the sunrise and celebrations.

Links:
http://www.the2012discovery.com/2012-videos/2012-mayan-calendar-doomsday-stonehenge-link-video/
http://www.2012hoax.org/stonehenge
http://www.stonehengetours.com/html/stonehenge-winter-solstice-tour.htm

Sponsored by ‘The Stonehenge Tour Company’

Merlin @ Stonehenge
The Stonehenge Stone Circle Website
P.S My opinion – Stonehenge isn’t a doomsday clock!





Stonehenge Summer Solstice Celebrations 2011 – June 20th / June 21st

27 04 2011

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 Sunday 20th June. The car park (enter off the A303 from the roundabout – it’s signposted) will open at around 7pm on Monday 20th June, and close at around noon on Tuesday 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 Monday 20th June until 8am on Tuesday 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 4:45am.

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 Monday 20th June and run regularly until 0115 hours (1.15am) on Tuesday 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 2011′
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 uddates – 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





Stonehenge Spring Equinox 2011

22 03 2011
Stonehenge Spring Equinox 2011

Stonehenge Spring Equinox 2011

Stonehenge Spring Equinox 2011

Stonehenge Spring Equinox 2011

Stonehenge Spring Equinox 2011

Stonehenge Spring Equinox 2011

Stonehenge Spring Equinox 2011

Stonehenge Spring Equinox 2011

Stonehenge Spring Equinox 2011

Stonehenge Spring Equinox 2011

I will upload more Equinox pictures and video shortly

sponsored by ‘The Stonehenge Tour Company’

Merlin @ Stonehenge
The Stonehenge Stone Circle Website





Stonehenge Druids – The mysterious guardians of the ancient Celtic knowledge.

7 02 2011
Druids_celebrating_at_Stonehenge

Druids_celebrating_at_Stonehenge

The Druids were the priests of the Celtic religion during the Iron Age

The Druids were the priests of the Celtic religion during the Iron Age which was before the Romans invaded Britain.

The Druids has been popularly associated with Stonehenge ever since an earlier researcher John Aubrey said in 1666 that stone circles were built and used by Druids as places where they conducted their rituals.

Today we know that this ancient Druid connection to Stonehenge is not true.

Druids and most of what we know of them today have been written about by Julius Ceasar and Pliny during the Gaelic wars.

According to Ceasar Druids chose to conduct their rituals in densely wooded areas and did not built special places to perform their ceremonies. Druid comes from the Celtic word for “knowing the oak tree

Pliny writes mostly about the Druids practicing medicine and sorcery.

According to him the Druids held the mistletoe plant in the highest veneration. Groves of oak were their chosen retreat. Mistletoe grows on the oak trees and a priest dressed in a white robe would cut it with a golden knife. It was the custom that two white bulls were to be sacrificed on the spot.

Druidic lore consisted of a large number of verses to be learned by heart and a novice would apparently train for up to 20 years to prepare for his duties as a guardian of the sacred knowledge.

It is interesting that many Druids were women. Celtic woman enjoyed more freedom and rights than women in any other contemporary society. They had the right to enter a battle and even divorce their husbands.

The modern version of the Druids is known as The Ancient Order of Druids and was formed in 1781. Neo Druidism is apparently based on Freemasonry.

The Ancient Order of Druids was not able to hold a ceremony at Stonehenge until 1905 and at this occasion 650 of them arrived for a mass initiation.

They erected their own marquee and were well stocked with food and drink.

Druids Autumb Equinox

Druids Autumb Equinox

Apparently they used a secret password to keep outsiders outside. Sir Edmund Antrobus the then owner of Stonehenge was also one of the 258 novices present to be initiated.

After the feasting the initiates were blindfolded and led into the stone circle while an anthem which was especially composed for the event was played.

The ceremony was lead by GA Lardner, Most Noble Grand Arch Brother of the Order who waved his battleaxe over a so called sacred fire. After he recited the sacred oath the blindfolds were removed and everyone apparently had a hearty singsong of the anthem.

Over the years a number of famous names have had involvement with the Druids.

Here are some of their members;

Winston Churchill – Prime Minister

Ludwig van Beethoven – Composer.

Benjamin Franklin – Politician and American President.

Salvador Dali –Artist.

More recently Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury who is the head of the Anglican Church was initiated as a member.

Today Druids mostly gather at Stonehenge during the summer and winter solstice days.

which was before the Romans invaded Britain. The Druids has been popularly associated with Stonehenge ever since an earlier researcher John Aubrey said in 1666 that stone circles were built and used by Druids as places where they conducted their rituals. Today we know that this ancient Druid connection to Stonehenge is not true. Druids and most of what we know of them today have been written about by Julius Ceasar and Pliny during the Gaelic wars. According to Ceasar Druids chose to conduct their rituals in densely wooded areas and did not built special places to perform their ceremonies. Druid comes from the Celtic word for “knowing the oak tree” Pliny writes mostly about the Druids practicing medicine and sorcery. According to him the Druids held the mistletoe plant in the highest veneration. Groves of oak were their chosen retreat. Mistletoe grows on the oak trees and a priest dressed in a white robe would cut it with a golden knife. It was the custom that two white bulls were to be sacrificed on the spot. Druidic lore consisted of a large number of verses to be learned by heart and a novice would apparently train for up to 20 years to prepare for his duties as a guardian of the sacred knowledge. It is interesting that many Druids were women. Celtic woman enjoyed more freedom and rights than women in any other contemporary society. They had the right to enter a battle and even divorce their husbands. The modern version of the Druids is known as The Ancient Order of Druids and was formed in 1781. Neo Druidism is apparently based on Freemasonry. The Ancient Order of Druids was not able to hold a ceremony at Stonehenge until 1905 and at this occasion 650 of them arrived for a mass initiation. They erected their own marquee and were well stocked with food and drink. Apparently they used a secret password to keep outsiders outside. Sir Edmund Antrobus the then owner of Stonehenge was also one of the 258 novices present to be initiated. Image Credit After the feasting the initiates were blindfolded and led into the stone circle while an anthem which was especially composed for the event was played. The ceremony was lead by GA Lardner, Most Noble Grand Arch Brother of the Order who waved his battleaxe over a so called sacred fire. After he recited the sacred oath the blindfolds were removed and everyone apparently had a hearty singsong of the anthem. Over the years a number of famous names have had involvement with the Druids. Here are some of their members; Winston Churchill – Prime Minister Ludwig van Beethoven – Composer. Benjamin Franklin – Politician and American President. Salvador Dali –Artist. More recently Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury who is the head of the Anglican Church was initiated as a member. Today Druids mostly gather at Stonehenge during the summer and winter solstice days.

External links:
The British Druid Order – http://www.druidry.co.uk/
The Council of Druid Orders – http://www.cobdo.org.uk/
The Druid Network – druidnetwork.org
Stonehenge Guide – stonehengeguide.com
Stonehenge Tours – StonehengeTours.com

Merlin @ Stonehenge
The Stonehenge Stone circle Website








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