Druids celebrate summer solstice for first time as mainstream faith

8 06 2011

When robed Druids gather at Stonehenge for the summer solstice in 2011, 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 solstice druids

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

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Merlin @ Stonehenge
The Stonehenge Stone Circle Website
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John Aubrey (12 March 1626 – 7 June 1697)

7 06 2011

John Aubrey died today 1697

John Aubrey

John Aubrey

John Aubrey was an English antiquary and miscellaneous writer. He was born in Kingston, Wiltshire, and educated at Trinity College, Oxford. His most famous work is “Lives of Eminent Men”, which was not published, however, until 1823. He also wrote “Miscellanies” (1696), a collection of stories and folklore, the “Natural History of Wiltshire” (edited by John Britton, 1847), and a “Perambulation of Surrey”. His most important contribution to the study of British antiquities, the lengthy and discursive “Monumenta Britannica”, remains in manuscript. A scheme was afoot in 1692 to publish the manuscript and a prospectus and a specimen page were issued in 1693, but nothing more came of the project. It contains the results of Aubry’s field-work at Avebury and Stonehenge and notes on many other ancient sites, including Wayland’s Smithy. Apparently the original title of the manuscript was to be “Templa Druidum”.

It was Aubrey who, in 1648, at the age of 22, while out hunting with some friends near Avebury in Wiltshire, recognized in the earthworks and great stones placed about the landscape in and about the village a great prehistoric temple. In the following century, William Stukeley was to develop the claim that Avebury was as an ancient cult centre of the Druids.

In addition to his ‘discovery’ of the Avebury complex, Aubrey is also remembered for his inclusion in a plan of Stonehenge in his “Monumenta Britannica” of a series of slight depressions immediately inside the enclosing earthwork. Curiously, Stukeley does not record them in his painstaking examination of the site, and it was not until excavations undertaken in 1921-25 by the Society of Antiquaries that they were found to be holes cut in the chalk to hold timber uprights. A total of 56 holes were discovered and named the Aubrey holes in honour of John Aubrey’s observation. These holes are now recognized as belonging to the first phase of the monument’s construction.

What a guy…………………….

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Merlin at Stonehenge
The Stonehenge Stone Circle Website





Marlborough mound mystery solved – after 4,400 years

1 06 2011

Hill in Wiltshire school grounds nicknamed Silbury’s little sister revealed as important neolithic monument

Ancient mound in the grounds of Marlborough College, Wiltshire. Photograph: Steven Vaux /Marlborough College

For generations, it has been scrambled up with pride by students at Marlborough College. But the mysterious, pudding-shaped mound in the grounds of the Wiltshire public school now looks set to gain far wider acclaim as scientists have revealed it is a prehistoric monument of international importance.

After thorough excavations, the Marlborough mound is now thought to be around 4,400 years old, making it roughly contemporary with the nearby, and far more renowned, Silbury Hill.

 

The new evidence was described by one archeologist, an expert on ancient ritual sites in the area, as “an astonishing discovery”. Both neolithic structures are likely to have been constructed over many generations.

The Marlborough mound had been thought to date back to Norman times. It was believed to be the base of a castle built 50 years after the Norman invasion and later landscaped as a 17th-century garden feature. But it has now been dated to around 2400BC from four samples of charcoal taken from the core of the 19 metre-high hill.

The samples prove it was built at a time when British tribes were combining labour on ritual monuments in the chalk downlands of Wiltshire, including Stonehenge and the huge ditches and stone circle of Avebury.

History students at the college will now have the chance to study an extraordinary example just a stone’s throw from their classroom windows. Malborough’s Master Nicholas Sampson said: “We are thrilled at this discovery, which confirms the long and dramatic history of this beautiful site and offers opportunity for tremendous educational enrichment.”

The Marlborough mound has been called “Silbury’s little sister”, after the more famous artificial hill on the outskirts of Avebury, which is the largest manmade prehistoric hill in Europe.

Marlborough, at two-thirds the height of Silbury, now becomes the second largest prehistoric mound in Britain; it may yet be confirmed as the second largest in Europe.

Jim Leary, the English Heritage archeologist who led a recent excavation of Silbury, said: “This is an astonishing discovery. The Marlborough mound has been one of the biggest mysteries in the Wessex landscape. For centuries, people have wondered whether it is Silbury’s little sister, and now we have an answer. This is a very exciting time for British prehistory.”

 The dating was carried out as part of major conservation work amid concerns that tree roots could be destabilising the structure.

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Merlin @ Stonehenge
The Stonehenge Stone Circle Website








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