Vote for King Arthur this election!

29 04 2010
Minute Manifesto: King Arthur Pendragon (Independent)

King Arthur

Vote for Arthur

King Arthur Pendragon is an Independent candidate for Salisbury. He is a Senior Druid and Swordbearer and was brought up in Aldershot.

He served with the Royal Hampshire Regiment. He’s worked as a General Foreman for a Parish Council and Senior Supervisor for Hampshire and Surrey County Councils on the Basingstoke Canal restoration project

King Arthur Pendragon’s manifesto

My name’s Arthur Pendragon, I’m a Senior Druid sworn to fight for Truth, Honour and Justice, who wants to scrap our nuclear arsenal and bring our boys back from Afghanistan.

The main thing I believe in is democracy, by, for and of the people, not by, for and of the Party.

At present, you can have a Scottish MP representing a Welsh constituency and living in London, but in reality representing no-one save their Party line, and let’s face it, there’s not much to choose between any of them.

Well, I’m different.

Don’t be put off by the robes – I may be spiritual but I’m certainly political, and to date have embarrassed two National Parties into last place and taken Her Majesty’s Government to High and European Courts.

Another thing I believe in is leadership from the front, motivation by example, and I’m not afraid to get my hands dirty.

Having opposed the Newbury Bypass, and fought continually for Stonehenge not only was I arrested ‘up the trees’ and on the ‘picket’ argued the cases in Court, but guess who dug the latrine?

If you want an MP with a hands-on approach, by, for and of the people, vote for me. If you want much of the same, vote for anyone else.

I don’t care what London, Brussels, Washington or even Andover want

Elect me and you elect a warrior with a proven track record to represent and fight for the Salisbury constituency, nothing more and certainly nothing lesS

He’s got my vote!

Merlin @ Stonehenge
The Stonehenge web site

Do Dartmoor’s ancient stones have link to Stonehenge?

27 04 2010

LITTERED across the hills of Dartmoor in Devon, southern England, around 80 rows and circles of stones stand sentinel in the wild landscape. Now, striking similarities between one of these monuments and Stonehenge, 180 kilometres to the east, suggest they may be the work of the same people. The row of nine stones on Cut Hill was discovered in 2004 on one of the highest, most remote hills of Dartmoor national park. “It is on easily the most spectacular hill on north Dartmoor,” says Andrew Fleming, president of the Devon Archaeological Society. “If you were looking for a distant shrine in the centre of the north moor, that’s where you would put it.” Ralph Fyfe of the University of Plymouth and independent archaeologist Tom Greeves have now carbon-dated the peat surrounding the stones. This suggests that at least one of the stones had fallen – or been placed flat on the ground – by between 3600 and 3440 BC, and another by 3350 to 3100 BC (Antiquity, vol 84, p 55). That comes as a surprise to archaeologists, who, on the strength of artefacts found nearby, had assumed that Dartmoor monuments like Cut Hill and Stall Moor (pictured) dated from the Bronze Age, around 2100 to 1600 BC. Instead, Fyfe suggests that Cut Hill is from the Neolithic period, the same period that Stonehenge was built. Unlike Stonehenge, the 2-metre-tall Cut Hill stones lie flat on the ground, parallel to each other and between 19 metres and 34.5 metres apart, like the sleepers of a giant railway track. Packing stones discovered at the end of one of the megaliths suggest at least one of them stood erect at some point, but the regularity of their current layout makes it likely they were deliberately placed that way, Greeves says. What’s more, the stones’ alignment with the summer and winter solstices seems identical to that of Stonehenge, Newgrange in Ireland and Maes Howe in Scotland. “It could be coincidence, but it’s striking,” says archaeologist Mike Pitts.

Merlin @ Stonehenge
The Stonehenge Stone Circle website

Celebrate St.Georges Day – Morris Dancing at Stonehenge

23 04 2010

Morris Dancing – Maypole and morris dancing for St George’s Day
Thought you would like this old picture I found in the archives showing ‘Morris Dancing’ at Stonehenge on Saint Georges Day.

Morris Dancers at Stonehenge

 Although the link between Druids and megalithic sites is tenuous at best, there seems to be no reason to doubt that both the celebration of ancient Celtic festivals and the rituals performed at stone circles and other megalithic sites included dancing in one form or another. Evidence for the latter is virtually non-existent, but folklore and other clues suggest, for example, that dance may have been performed at Stonehenge if only through the suggestive description by Geoffrey of Monmouth, writing in the 12th century, who calls Stonehenge the Dance of the Giants (“chorea gigantum”). Much later, Morris dancing used to take place around the ancient barrow at St. Weonards in Herefordshire. Morris dancing, in fact, has been claimed to be a remnant of a pre-Christian Celtic, or Druidic, fertility dance.

Morris dancing also figures among the evidence in support of the claim that dancing formed part of the celebration of Celtic festivals. Among the earliest references to Morris dancing are those made by Shakespeare, who, in “All’s Well that Ends Well” (II.ii.21), makes it clear that the Morris dance was commonly performed on May Day (May 1). That Morris dancing was associated with May Daycelebrations in the early 17th century is also suggested through King James I’s “Book of Sports” which permitted among the amusements to be enjoyed on a Sunday the continuation of “May games, Whitsun ales and morris dances, and the setting up of May-poles…” The Whitsun ales referred to are a beer produced for Whitsun (or Whitsunday, celebrated in the Christian calendar as Pentacost) which Shakespeare, in “Henry V” (II.iv.18), says was also a time when Morris dances were performed.


The origins of Morris dancing are lost in the mists of time. It survives today as a form of folk dance performed in the open air in villages in rural England by groups of specially chosen and trained men and women. It is a ritual rather than a social dance which the dancers take seriously. It is felt that the dances have a magic power and serve both to bring luck and to ward of evil. Attempts to uncover the origins of Morris dancing have focused mostly on the name. Some believe Morris to be a corruption of the word “Moorish” and therefore to have originated in Africa. In order to explain how African dancing could crop up in England, it has been suggested that Moorish captives were brought back from the Holy Land by crusaders. Or, alternatively, it has been suggested that John of Gaunt (1340-1399), Duke of Lancaster, following the failure of his campaign in Spain to claim the kingship of Castile and Leon, returned to England with Spanish Moors as captives.In this sense, the word “morris” would seem to be related to “morisco”, which is a form of court dance performed in Italy. However, Joseph Strutt (1749-1802), in his “Sports and Pastimes of the People of England”, doubts this was the origin of Morris dancing, stating that “the Morisco or Moor dance is exceedingly different from the morris-dance…being performed with the castanets, or rattles, at the end of the fingers, and not with bells attached to various parts of the dress.” Otherwise, Strutt suggests that the morris-dance originated from the “Fool’s Dance” (traceable to the 14th century), in which the dancers dressed in the manner of the court fool, and from which can be traced the bells used by morris dancers. 

If Morris is a corruption of a similar-sounding word, it could equally well be “moorish” in reference to, at the time of Shakespeare, boggy land, and later used in connection with moorland or heathland. It has also been suggested that the word Morris is derived from the Latin word “moris” meaning tradition or custom. Then again, it might be derived from the game “merelles”, forms of which were called “ninepenny morris” or “nine men’s morris” (referred to, for example, by Shakespeare in “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”, II, i, 98). On the continent, the name was applied to the stepping, dance-like game of ‘hop-scotch.’ 

Attempts to discover the origins of the dances performed have revealed a general connection with other ritual folk dances elsewhere in the world such as santiagos, moriscas, and matachinas of the Mediterranean and Latin America, and the calusari of Romania. The ultimate source of this type of dancing, however, remains hidden. The suspicion, though, is that they are of pagan origin performed as part of ancient fertility rites. The music and dances were perhaps intended to attract beneficial influences, while the bells, fluttering handkerchiefs, and clashing sticks served as the means to scare away malevolent spirits. 

Traditional Morris dancing is today associated with the Cotswolds, a region of England located between Oxford and the Welsh border. Cotswold Morris is danced in sets of six dancers arranged in two rows of three. For some dances, handkerchiefs are held in each hand, while for other dances short sticks are carried, and struck against each other or against those of a partner. Part of the costume includes bells, usually worn tied below the knees. 

Costume varies from one Morris team, or ‘set’, to another, with each village also producing its own steps and dances. Morris men usually wear a white shirt, white trousers or dark breeches, and black shoes. Coloured sashes or baldrics worn over one or both shoulders, or a waistcoat, serve to distinguish different teams. The Stroud Morris Dancers in Stroud, Gloucestershire, for example, wear white trousers and shirts with red and green sashes (the colours of Stroud) shown performing the Stick Dance, Sidmouth, England 

Shown (left) are the Manley Morris Men dancing in the North West tradition. 

Other teams, such as that dancing in front of the Old Neighbourhood Inn at Chalford Hill in Gloucestershire, are dressed in dark breeches and bowler hats. A variant of Cotswold Morris is Border Morris, associated with the Welsh border counties, which has sides of four, six, or eight men who darken their faces and wear ‘rags’ and dark trousers. Border Morris is danced more vigorously than Cotswold Morris and involves much clashing of sticks. Cotswold Morris is usually performed from May 1 to September, while Border Morris is traditionally performed in the winter months. Another form is North West Morris, in the North West of England, which is more of a processional dance with sides of at least nine men wearing clogs. 

Merlin @ Stonehenge – Happy Saint Georges Day!
The Stonehenge Stone Circle Website

Stonehenge Down Under: Australians copy Neolithic rock structure to draw tourists

21 04 2010

A full-sized replica of Stonehenge will be built on a beach in western Australia after a small town gave the green light for construction in a bid to draw tourists.

The shire council in Esperance, 460 miles south-west of Perth, has approved plans for the A$1.2m (£722,749) project, which it hopes will generate much-needed tourist revenue for the small coastal community – its only attraction at the moment is small piece of the US Skylab which fell onto a nearby farm in 1979.

“Stonehenge Down Under” is being spearheaded by the local Rotary club, which wants to build the structure from local pink granite on a council-owned site overlooking Twilight Beach, just outside the town.

 Kim Beale, a spokesman for the Esperance Rotary Club, said the Australian version would be a faithful reproduction of the original Neolithic structure in Wiltshire and will consist of 100 stones, each weighing up to 45 tons.

“Obviously some people may wonder why you’d build Stonehenge at Esperance, but the stone is already here and I think it’s a good opportunity. I reckon it’s quite fascinating,” he said.

Although local tourism operators have thrown their weight behind the prehistoric theme park, other townspeople remain sceptical – an earlier Stonehenge proposal ran into financial difficulties. Rotary, however, is confident that it can raise the necessary funds to complete the new project with giant cut stones donated by a local quarry. Work on Stonehenge Mk 2 is due to begin shortly.

Stonehenge Stone Circle

Beltane – May 1st 2020 – The beginning of Summer!

19 04 2010

On the cusp between spring and summer, Beltane is a fire festival that celebrates the fertility of the coming year.
The beginning of Summer – Summer is a comin in !

Beltane is a Celtic word which means ‘fires of Bel’ (Bel was a Celtic deity). It is a fire festival that celebrates of the coming of summer and the fertility of the coming year.

Celtic festivals often tied in with the needs of the community. In spring time, at the beginning of the farming calendar, everybody would be hoping for a fruitful year for their families and fields.

Maidens at Stonehenge

Beltane rituals would often include courting: for example, young men and women collecting blossoms in the woods and lighting fires in the evening. These rituals would often lead to matches and marriages, either immediately in the coming summer or autumn.

Other festivities involved fire which was thought to cleanse, purify and increase fertility. Cattle were often passed between two fires and the properties of the flame and the smoke were seen to ensure the fertility of the herd.

Today Pagans believe that at Beltane the God (to whom the Goddess gave birth at the Winter Solstice) achieves the strength and maturity to court and become lover to the Goddess. So although what happens in the fields has lost its significance for most Pagans today, the creation of fertility is still an important issue.

Emma Restall Orr, a modern day Druid, speaks of the ‘fertility of our personal creativity’. (Spirits of the Sacred Grove, pub. Thorsons, 1998, pg.110). She is referring to the need for active and creative lives. We need fertile minds for our work, our families and our interests.

Fire is still the most important element of most Beltane celebrations and there are many traditions associated with it. It is seen to have purifying qualities which cleanse and revitalise. People leap over the Beltane fire to bring good fortune, fertility (of mind, body and spirit) and happiness through the coming year.

Although Beltane is the most overtly sexual festival, Pagans rarely use sex in their rituals although rituals often imply sex and fertility. The tradition of dancing round the maypole contains sexual imagary and is still very popular with modern Pagans.

The largest Beltane celebrations in the UK are held in Edinburgh. Fires are lit at night and festivities carry on until dawn. All around the UK fires are lit and private celebrations are held amongst covens and groves (groups of Pagans) to mark the start of the summer.

Merlin @ Stonehenge
Stonehenge Stone Circle Website

Dramatic Sunsets at Stonehenge due to Volcanic ash

18 04 2010

Stonehenge is in line for some spectacular sunsets as the sun’s rays reflect off the volcanic particles, creating beautiful skies around Salisbury plain and Wiltshire.



Dramatic: Volcanic ash can bring out dramatic pinks and purples during sunset, as shown by the latest erupting volcano in Iceland

While yesterday’s eruption caused chaos for travellers, some scientists said there could be an unexpected upside to the phenomenon.

But there were further downsides as motorists were told to look out for a layer of ash on their cars from remnants of the explosion. There could also be colder temperatures as tiny particles of ash high in the atmosphere block out light from the sun.

Red sky at night: The sun sets over Heathrow Airport as an ash cloud from an Icelandic volcano grounded all flights
Forecaster Jonathan Powell said: ‘Long-term, the eruption could well have a long term affect on global weather patterns. Cloud particles, basically minuscule grains of crushed rock and glass, can remain in the atmosphere for many years.

‘The Mount Pinatubo eruption of 1991 went on to cool the global climate by just under half a degree, although that volcano was on a much larger scale.’

eather forecaster Brendan Jones from MeteoGroup, said: ‘If you look back in history there have been some periods where the weather has been changed by big volcanic eruptions like Mount Tambora and Mount St Helens.

‘They have been proved to lower temperatures. There is so much ash in the atmosphere that it reduces the amount of sunlight getting to the ground.’

‘If the ash remains in our atmosphere for weeks or months it can reduce temperatures slightly but we are talking about fractions of degrees.’

But while experts said the ash could irritate conditions such as asthma, it was not expected to cause major health problems.

Volcanologist Dr Dougal Jerram said: ‘The high altitude of this plume above the UK means that it is air traffic that will suffer most.’

More powerful eruptions can emit large amounts of poisonous sulphur dioxide that is much more hazardous to health.

Volcanic ash can also create the appearance of a blue moon, if the particles are the right size (experts say that means one millionth of a metre or a micron).

However, ash thrown up into the atmosphere usually contains a mixture of particles with a wide range of sizes, which tends to scatter blue light so a reddish moon is more likely.

Experts fear the eruption of Eyjafjallajokull, which has sent this cloud of ash into the sky, could trigger a much larger explosion of nearby Mount Katla.

Katla is described as ‘enormously powerful’, and because it lies under a glacier its eruption would cause a huge glacial outburst flood and could spread its shadow over a much larger area.

The Mount Tambora eruption in 1816 caused such a drop in temperatures that it became known as ‘the year with no summer’.

Crops failed due to low daytime temperatures, late frosts and abnormally high rainfall, provoking food riots, famine and disease.

In Ireland, rain fell on 142 days that summer and across France the grape harvest was virtually non-existent.

In North America there was snow in June and lakes and rivers froze as far south as Pennsylvania during July and August. am passing through nature

Merlin @ Stonehenge
Stonehenge Stone Circle

The word ‘HENGE’ – What does it mean ?

12 04 2010
Dictionary meaning:
Henge definition
henge (henj)
a Neolithic or Bronze Age monument of the British Isles, consisting of a circular bank or ditch enclosing, variously, stone or timber uprights, burial pits, etc.

What is a ‘Henge’ monument

Stone Henge – What is one?


A henge is the term given to a large prehistoric earthwork, usually but not always circular, whether of stones, wood, or earth.

This word, interestingly, is a back-formation from Stonehenge. Additionally some spell it stone henge or stonehedge even though that is incorrect. Stonehenge was the Saxon name for the famous monument on the Salisbury plain, and the “henge” part is Old English for “hang,” not earthwork. Nonetheless, the term henge is in wide use in both popular and scientific literature to refer to megalithic monuments of the Neolithic and Bronze ages.

Whether you are thinking stone henge or Stonehenge, both are basically Megaliths. Megaliths are single large stones, or a group of “standing stones” usually arranged in a circular or semi-circular formation, and that archaeologists believe were religious temples or monuments. The earliest sites are thought to date back to the millenia. The word, “megalith” itself has Greek origins: “mega” meaning “great” and “lithos” meaning “stone”. Certain megalith sites, and there are thousands of them all around the world, were also known burial sites. England seems to have the greatest concentration of megaliths that carry names like Avebury, the Hurlers, the Merry Maidens, and the Rollright Stones. The most famous of these is, of course, Stonehenge.

People do commonly mistake the words stone henge for Stonehenge and should learn the difference so they may find the correct information.

Titchmarsh on Telly the other evening in a prog on English buildings started with Stonehenge.
The ‘expert’ stated that the ‘henge’ element of the name ‘stonehenge’ meant, or referred to, the ditch and embankment surrounding Stonehenge.
I have always believed that ‘henge’ meant ‘hanging; ‘thus ‘Stonehenge means ‘hanging stones.’
That is ‘hanging,’ not in the sense of gallows where people were hung but, meaning ‘stones that appear to be suspended.’

The original sense is a difficult one to call: henge is obviously related to hangan. It could mean that even in ASJ times, some of the stones were leaning over (they were straightened dramatically in th C20th), or might be related to ME henge in the sense of “hinge” — possibly referring to the mortise-and-tenon joints. There again, “stone gallows” is a good description — ASJ gallows were two posts and an crossbeam , and we know it *was* used as a cwealmstow.
“Henge” was subsequently appropriated by the archæology-Johnnies to mean a monument with a ditch and bank like Stonehenge — though ironically, Stonehenge itself is no longer deemed to be a “henge” because the ditch is inside the bank…

The original sense is a difficult one to call: henge is obviously related to hangan. It could mean that even in ASJ times, some of the stones were leaning over (they were straightened dramatically in th C20th), or might be related to ME henge in the sense of “hinge” — possibly referring to the mortise-and-tenon joints. There again, “stone gallows” is a good description — ASJ gallows were two posts and an crossbeam , and we know it *was* used as a cwealmstow.
“Henge” was subsequently appropriated by the archæology-Johnnies to mean a monument with a ditch and bank like Stonehenge — though ironically, Stonehenge itself is no longer deemed to be a “henge” because the ditch is inside the bank…

Merlin @ Stonehenge
Stonehenge Stone Circle

Druids reburial appeal rebuffed

12 04 2010

Druids have lost a bid to have an ancient skeleton which was unearthed in Wiltshire reburied at one of the county’s most famous stone age sites.

The Council of British Druid Orders told an official consultation that the body of a neolithic child, found in 1929, should be reinterred at Avebury.

The druids contend that the remains which are on display in the village need to be treated with more respect.

But English Heritage, which owns the site, says the bones should be on show.

They say the public interest in viewing the skeleton – which is about 3,700 years old – outweighs the druids’ arguments.

Cultural link

The druids say the remains of the child, known as Charlie, should be reinterred within Avebury’s stone circle out of respect for the dead.

The Order says it has taken up the case because it feels it has a cultural link with pagan ancestors in the British Isles.

It is not known if Charlie, who was about three years old, was a boy or girl.

The remains were found at Windmill Hill, near Avebury, by eminent archaeologist Alexander Keiller. They are currently housed at the Alexander Keiller Museum.

Merlin @ Stonehenge
Stonehenge Stone Circle

Avebury Stone Circle, Wiltshire, UK

5 04 2010

Everybody needs to see Stonehenge. But  Avebury is the connoisseur’s circle: subtle and welcoming.

Avebury Stone Circle

The stone circle at Avebury is bigger (16 times the size), less touristy, and, for many, more interesting than Stonehenge. You’re free to wander among 100 stones, ditches, mounds, and curious patterns from the past, as well as the village of Avebury, which grew up in the middle of this fascinating, 1,400-foot-wide neolithic circle.

In the 14th century, in a kind of frenzy of religious paranoia, Avebury villagers buried many of these mysterious pagan stones. Their 18th-century descendants hosted social events in which they broke up the remaining pagan stones (topple, heat up, douse with cold water, and scavenge broken stones as building blocks). In modern times, the buried stones were dug up and re-erected. Concrete markers show where the missing broken-up stones once stood.

To make the roughly half-mile walk around the circle, you’ll hike along an impressive earthwork henge — a 30-foot-high outer bank surrounding a ditch 30 feet deep, making a 60-foot-high rampart. This earthen rampart once had stones standing around the perimeter, placed about every 30 feet, and four grand causeway entries. Originally, two smaller circles made of about 200 stones stood within the henge (free, always open).

Visit the Alexander Keiller Archaeology Museum, with an interactive exhibit in a 17th-century barn. Notice the pyramid-shapedSilbury Hill, a 130-foot-high, yet-to-be-explained mound of chalk just outside of Avebury. Over 4,000 years old, this mound is the largest man-made object in prehistoric Europe (with the surface area of London’s Trafalgar Square and the height of Nelson’s Column). It’s a reminder that you’ve just scratched the surface of England’s mysterious, ancient, and religious landscape.

Eating in Avebury: The pleasant Circle Restaurant serves healthy, hearty à la carte meals, including at least one vegetarian soup, and cream teas on most days. The Red Lion Pub (The only thatched haunted Pub in the middle of a Stone Circle in the World) has inexpensive, greasy pub grub; a creaky, well-worn, dart-throwing ambience; and a medieval well in its dining room.

Sleeping in Avebury: This makes lots of sense since the stones are lonely and wide open all night. Mrs. Dixon’s B&B, directly across from Silbury Hill on the main road just beyond the tourist parking lot, rents three cramped and homey rooms for a fine price.

Tours to Avebury: The most convenient and quickest way to see Avebury and Stonehenge if you don’t have a car is to take a scheduled tour from London – The Stonehenge Tour Company ( opertate daily tours from London or a truly great way is to organise your own private tour from Salisbury or Bath:
Merlin highly recommends:
HisTOURies UK – They have the best local guides and best reputation and seem to be the most competitive.

Drivers can do a loop from Bath to Avebury (25 miles) to Glastonbury (56 miles) to Wells (6 miles) and back to Bath (20 miles).

Good luck and enjoy!
Merlin @ Stonehenge Stone Circle

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