Putting the fire back into Stonehenge

2012 Cultural Olympiad the Government insisted that a fire garden be laid out for three nights at Stonehenge to correspond with the Olympic flame visiting Wiltshire.

Bearing in mind that English Heritage have steadfastly refused for years to allow us even a candle lantern to be taken into Stonehenge for our pagan ‘fire festivals’ and are always harping on about pushing nothing into the topsoil, that they allowed this was a very big surprise to us. We went along to the opening night to check it out for ourselves and share with you our experience.

What was it like? In a word, Glorious!!

It was spectacular in appearance, the several thousand people attending were well behaved and very polite, it was a properly family friendly and safe atmosphere and the ancestor spirits very much approved. Why can’t solstice be a little more like this? The Stones and naked flame go hand in hand, the natural light reflecting from the stones and flickering is dramatic and spiritually powerful.


Thousands waiting to get in, a reminder of Solstice anyone?

Below: Ceramic fire pot, fixed to the ground by iron spike. These marked the way to Stonehenge and were arranged to good effect in the out bank and ditch marking out the circle of Stonehenge as you will see in later photos

Right: the view leading up to the stones

There is something distinctly ‘right’ about this event, bringing fire and stone together.

It proves that events taking place at Stonehenge that are family friendly and involving a bit of imagination can really work for the benefit and wonder of everyone.

We might have preferred less use of iron within our sacred place, bronze could be used instead, and a local / pagan involvement would have added something from the spirit also, but the key thing here is that it indicates how stifled the thinking has been that has prevented this kind of public enjoyment and celebration of Stonehenge before now.

Stonehenge is a living sacred ancestral space to be appreciated and used by the living. The success of this initiative is probably a blow to the preservationists with their ‘don’t touch this don’t touch that’ (unless you are an preservationist) attitude, but it has been a rare breath of fresh air for those who saw and experienced first hand what Stonehenge is like when you allow it to come to life.