Our feedback to English Heritage on this years (2013) Summer Solstice at Stonehenge.
On the matter of this years summer solstice at Stonehenge we would like
to say that we were impressed with the organisation, level of security
and good humour of staff involved. Thank you.
We would still like to see, however, provision for a more sacred space at
this sacred time. People are there not just to party, but to celebrate an
ancient festival, learn about the Earths ways and join together in
community and ceremony.
At this years event, we were able to join in a small space just on the
outside of the stones for a ceremony at sunrise, which started with 7
people involved, then quickly rose to over 50, all of whom expressed
thanks and joy in being able to be welcomed and involved in a ceremony at
this special time. We were heartened that members of the local community
and the present mayor of Amesbury were involved in the ceremony.
However we did have to move rubbish, and work around very drunk people to
achieve this possibility.
We think that there is definitely now an opportunity and a will for a
space being created for Druid groups and others to lead an inclusive,
ceremony within the stones at sunrise during the summer solstice for the
visitors and local community.
If this was to be announced within the literature and information before
the event, and an organised group (which could join together, or rotate
each year perhaps), process in at this time, we believe that the crowd
would enjoy a little more depth in their celebration.
They could still enjoy the event, but it would bring a more sacred aspect
to this most special time. At present this is still unfortunately
lacking, and to many people and visiting groups, a party without the more
sacred aspect shows a disrespect to the sacred temple of Stonehenge.
Unfortunately, there was still a lot of misuse of drugs at the event,
which we know everyone is working to limit, however, we were asked by
young people if we had any drugs to sell in the carpark(!) We also
overheard other young people asking for ketamine, as if it was the most
natural thing in the world to do there. It is shocking and sad that this
still seems to be the expected norm for many of the visitors at this time.
We are of course aware of the history of the summer solstice event in
particular, and how far things have progressed, however, we are still
strongly compelled to work towards a more integrated and sacred event
where all people have the opportunity to come and celebrate with love and
Each time we go to celebrate and create ceremony at Stonehenge, and
particularly at the summer solstice, we meet groups from overseas. and
other individuals, who are coming here for a sacred event in this our most
sacred temple, it is hard to explain to them why there are drunk or
drugged people lying around the stones or partying hard, when there is no
clear space for ceremony. Last year, as you may be aware, we hosted the
Ambassador of Bolivia and two Aymara priests who wanted to join at
Stonehenge in ceremony at the summer solstice. It was so shocking to them
to see the party instead of a ceremony. In Tiwinaku, their ancient temple
is attended by similar numbers of people as here at the summer solstice,
but the priests there carry out sacred ceremony at the sunrise, (the
president even attends this) and after, the crowds are allowed in to the
temple to celebrate.
There is clearly still a way to go, but we believe it is possible to find
further ways forward and are committed to being part of the solution.
Aes Dan Grove.