A few weeks ago, as part of my summer solstice celebrations I was fortunate enough to be part of a private midsummer ceremony at Stonehenge. We slept a few hours on the drove-way, a small track that passes within a few hundred yards of the stones, and at a sleepy 3.00am took a slow walk across the sacred landscape to join a pilgrimage procession to the stones from the visitor’s centre, as the stars were still bright overhead, and all but us and the owls were lost to dreaming. Stonehenge is not just the stones you see, there is a whole ritual landscape around it stretching for quite a distance with barrow mounds and the mysterious cursus- a rectangular earthwork enclosure 1 and ¾ of a mile long. Predating the stones by 500 years it’s aligned to the equinox sunrises. There is also the likely procession route of the avenue between Stonehenge and the river Avon, surfacing on land again to ‘woodhenge’- Durrington walls henge and settlement just a couple of miles away. Everywhere you go all around the area you step on sacred ground.

 

It was amazing to be there in the dead of night, to feel the myriad of spirits there so close. It’s still and quiet and surprisingly fierce in the early hours. A far cry from the tourist attraction it becomes in the daylight. As we gathered for the dawn ceremony the sky clouded but the dawn still came, gentle and slow, a subtle shift and it was as if the stones rang with sanctity and ancient power, and I felt truly blessed.

 

Later in the day, as the tourists came with their cameras and their selfie sticks I wished them as much of that precious magic as they could get, to breathe in every drop of it, but the stones seemed different in the day, the spirits retreating into the land. But I’m sure, for some at least, its power lingered, its ancient wisdom felt in the heart, rising from the land through their feet, leaving them, like me, more than a little changed and renewed.

 

©danuforest2017

 

www.danuforest.co.uk

 

 

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