Stonehenge Tours at Christmas and the New Year

14 12 2011

There are a number of tours departing from London that include Stonehenge on Christmas Day, the New Year and over the festive period.  Please use the link below to view the available coach tours.

All are discounted and have printable tickets

Top Stonehenge tour operators:
The Stonehenge Experts – www.StonehengeTours.com
Coach tours departing from London- www.SightseeingTours.co.uk
Histouries UK (Bespoke Tours),  – www.Histouries.co.uk

Stonehenge Christmas Toursclick here

Christmas Eve in Windsor, Stone
Christmas in Windsor, Stonehenge and Bath
Boxing Day in Windsor, Stonehenge and BathPrivate Viewing of Stonehenge including Bath and Lacock

 

Melin says:  Its a good time to visit Wiltshire, in particular Salisbury

Merlin @ Stonehenge
The Stoneheneg Stone Circle Website





Pagan Mistletoe Symbolism and Legend

4 12 2010

Mistletoe and Christmas After Celtic Pagans were converted to

Druids cutting Mistletoe

Druids cutting Mistletoe

Christianity, Catholic bishops, with one exception, didn’t allow the mistletoe to be used in churches because it was one of the major symbols of Paganism. Before the Reformation, a priest at the Cathedral of York brought a bundle of mistletoe into the sanctuary each year during Christmastide and put it on the altar as symbolic of Jesus being the Divine Healer of nations.

‘Mistletoe, one of the most magickal and sacred plants of Paganism, symbolizes life and fertility and protects against poison. It was considered an aphrodisiac. ‘

The English used mistletoe as a Christmas decoration for their homes. In Medieval times, branches of mistletoe were hung from ceilings and put over houses and barn doors to repel evil spirits. People believed the plant could extinguish flames. Although much of the Pagan symbolism was forgotten, the plant represented good will, happiness, good fortune and friendship.

‘The sacred mistletoe is a hemiparasite, partial parasite that grows on branches or trunks of trees and has roots that penetrate into the tree for food. The American plant grows on trees while the European mistletoe can also be a green shrub with small yellow flowers and white berries. The plant contains toxins that can cause physical reactions including gastrointestinal disturbances and a slowed heartbeat.’

Mistletoe Sacred to Celtic Druids

The plant has qualities including the power of healing, rendering poisons harmless, good luck, great blessings, bestowing fertility on humans and animals, protection from witchcraft and banishing evil spirits. Enemies who met Druids under the forest mistletoe laid down their weapons, exchanged friendly greetings and kept a truce until the next day. The Celts suspended mistletoe over doorways or in rooms as a symbol of good will and peace to all who visited.

‘Mistletoe was revered by the ancient Druids both magically and medicinally. It’s possible that modern mistletoe traditions have their roots in ancient beliefs.’

Druid Mistletoe Ceremony

The plant is a fertility symbol and the soul of the oak tree. Belief was that the mistletoe could come to the oak tree during a lightning flash. Mistletoe was gathered at mid-summer and winter solstices. The plant, when it grew on the venerated oak tree, was especially sacred to the Celts. On the sixth night of the full moon after Yule, white-robed Druid priests gathered oak mistletoe by cutting the plant with golden sickles. Two white bulls were sacrificed with prayers that the recipients of mistletoe would prosper.

Mistletoe and the Ancient Druids

Pliny the Elder, a Roman historian interested primarily in natural history, recorded valuable information about the Druids and their religious and healing practices. These ancient priests of Celtic lands revered mistletoe as sacred. Pliny stated in Natural History, XVI, 95 that, “The Druids — that is what they call their magicians — hold nothing more sacred than mistletoe and a tree on which it is growing…Mistletoe is rare, and when found, it is gathered with great ceremony, and particularly on the sixth day of the moon.”

In the scene quoted above, the Druids are preparing for a ritual sacrifice which involves a white-robed priest carrying a golden scythe while climbing an oak tree to ritually cut the mistletoe. According to Pliny, it was the Valonia oak the Druid’s believed was the most sacred tree to gather mistletoe from and that it would heal poison and encourage fertility.

Mistletoe in Celtic Art

Celtic art is resplendent with what are believed to be mistletoe motifs. Some artifacts have been found that resemble human male heads adorned with a crown of comma-shaped leaves that resemble mistletoe. Historians believe these finds may be representations of crowned Druid priests.

External links:
http://www.mistletoe.org.uk/ A survey of Mistletoe use in Britain
http://www.mistletoes-r-us.co.uk/  Mistletoe matters
http://www.archaeology.co.uk/books/blood-and-mistletoe-the-history-of-the-druids-in-britain.htm The History of Druids – Blood and Mistletoe

 Next blog will be about -‘Yule’

Merlin @ Stonehenge
The Stonehenge Stone Circle Website





English Heritage Gift of Membership makes the ideal Christmas present

24 11 2010

Gift of Membership
For the person who has everything.  Why not buy them an English Heritage membership
English Heritage Membership
English Heritage Gift of Membership makes the ideal Christmas present – free entry to over 400 English Heritage properties for a whole year! The gift of membership comes as a beautifully branded card, plus we offer felixible delivery options. 

Your Gift of Membership also includes:

  • exclusive members’ magazine Heritage Today
  • free English Heritage Handbook worth £8.95
  • free entry for up to six accompanying children (under 19 – within the family group)
  • free or reduced price entry to 100s of special events
  • free or reduced price entry to over 100 associated attractions

Please bear in mind that the last order dates for Christmas delivery are: delivery to UK: Friday 17th December, delivery to Western Europe: Thursday 9th December, delivery to Rest of World: Thursday 2nd December.

External Link: http://www.stonehenge-stone-circle.co.uk/overseas-visitor-pass.htm

Thats my Mum and Dad sorted!

Merlin @ Stonehenge
The Stonehenge Stone Circle Website





Coach Tours to Stonehenge at Christmas 2010

30 09 2010

December 2010 Stonehenge ‘Special Access’ Tours
Private Viewing of Stonehenge
Most visitors to Stonehenge are not allowed direct access to the stones. On this special day trip from London, you’ll be invited to enter the stone circle itself, and stand beside the mysterious rocks towering above you. Your guide will unlock the secrets of this ancient UNESCO World Heritage Listed monument. Enjoy the peace, away from the crowds, as you experience Stonehenge at its atmospheric best at sunrise or sunset. Availability is strictly limited so book early, as private viewings regularly sell out and operate on selected days in 2010 only.  CLICK HERE

Stonehenge Christmas Coach Tours – departing from London
Some London tour operators are offering guided coach tours to Stonehenge on Christmas Day.  There are all sorts of tours available including Windsor Castle, Bath, Oxford, Canterbury, Avebury, Salisbury Cathedral, Christms markets and much more.  Click for discount tickets

Merlin @ Stonehenge
The Stonehenge Stone Circle Website








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