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





Sarsen stones – Shaped like wood 42 centuries ago

5 02 2011

Sarsen stones are the very large stones that forms the outer circle at Stonehenge.

These stones are a very hard type of sandstone. Now to give one a clear idea as to how hard this particular stone is we will take a look at the Mohs scale.

The Mohs scale is simply a measurement used to measure the surface resistance to abrasion of any hard substance.

That just means that if we take a hammer and bash the stone how much will it resist before we can knock a chunk off it.

Sarsen stone measures a seven (7) on the Mohs scale.

Now, if we compare the surface resistance of sarsen stone to that of steel we find that steel measures 6,7 on the same scale.

So, we now know that sarsen stone is a very hard stone and we can appreciate how difficult it must have been to shape the stone with ancient tools.

Sarsen stones were worked and dressed with other sarsen stone which were round balls of stone known as mauls. The mauls were of various sizes and can today be viewed at the Salisbury museum.

From exploration at Stonehenge it would appear that there were 30 stones that were used as “uprights”.

Of these “uprights” 29 of them were shaped to the same basic size.

When the sarsen “uprights” were placed into position they were then capped with a line of sarsen stone lintels.

The lintels weighs up to seven tons ( 7,000kg.) each.

To fix the lintels securely in position thirteen feet or 4m. above the ground these lintels were locked together like pieces in a jigsaw.

The lintels were held in place on the upright sarsen stones by mortice-and-tenon joints which was carved out of the solid stone.

The lintels in the circle were then locked end-to-end by a method known as vertical tongue and groove joints.

The vertical tongue and groove jointing techniqueThe jointing techniques used on the sarsen stones are all from the wood joiners craft.

Another amazing feature is that the lintel circle of sarsen stones were shaped to follow the curve of the circle which is both a design and engineering feature.

Merlin @ Stonehenge
The Stonehenge Stone Circle Website





A new henge discovered at Stonehenge

5 02 2011

An archaeology team led by the University of Birmingham and the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Archaeological Prospection and Virtual Archaeology in Austria discovered a major ceremonial monument less than one kilometre away from the iconic Stonehenge.

History is set to be rewritten after an archaeology team led by the University of Birmingham and the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Archaeological Prospection and Virtual Archaeology in Austria discovered a major ceremonial monument less than one kilometer away from the iconic .

The incredible find has been hailed by Professor Vince Gaffney, from the University’s IBM Visual and Spatial Technology Centre, as one of the most significant yet for those researching the UK’s most important prehistoric structure.

Professor Gaffney says: “This finding is remarkable. It will completely change the way we think about the landscape around Stonehenge. “People have tended to think that as Stonehenge reached its peak it was the paramount monument, existing in splendid isolation. This discovery is completely new and extremely important in how we understand Stonehenge and its landscape.”

The new “henge-like” Late Neolithic monument is believed to be contemporaneous to Stonehenge and appears to be on the same orientation as the World Heritage Site monument. It comprises a segmented ditch with opposed north-east/south-west entrances that are associated with internal pits that are up to one metre in diameter and could have held a free-standing, timber structure.

The project, which is supported by the landowner, the National Trust, and facilitated by English Heritage, has brought together the most sophisticated geophysics team ever to be engaged in a single archaeological project in Britain.

Provided by University of Birmingham.  Find out more about the latest discoveries, join a guided tour of Stonehenge – book through ”The Stonehenge Tour Company

Merlin @ Stonehenge
THe Stonehenge Stone Circle Website








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