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Monday, 22 December 2014

#Stonehenge #wintersolsticeSH 2014. Happy Yule to my Pagan friends :)

I visited Stonehenge for the first time today, for the dawn Winter Solstice celebrations. It was too dark to apply lipstick!

I left the house at 5am to be there in plenty of time for the sunrise at 7.45am, armed with torch, water bottle and my freshly dry-cleaned "fur" coat, which had been in storage in a plastic bag all summer, and I just sewed a new collar onto last night to make it even cosier.

I'm not religious myself, but I did think it odd that Stonehenge must be the only religious site in the UK where people are barred from entry 363 days of the year. I can't imagine say, Christians putting up with being barred from going into Paul's Cathedral. "WHOSE Heritage?"

Similarly miffed that the BBC News report has spelled "Pagans" with a lower case "p" and "Druids" with a lower case "d", even though I'm pretty both are official religions in the UK. Do they also write "christians" and "muslims"? Can't be bothered to check.


Today was one of the two days a year we all get to go right into the stone circle and touch the stones! I'd never seen the place before and was so impressed at seeing the enormous standing stones close-up. Stonehenge was already old when the Druids first started using it!

c. 8am. Hippies. Hippies, everywhere.

Today there was a modern Arch Druid called Rollo leading a fun ceremony of wishing peace on the world, and then others were invited to take the floor. My favourite was a grey-haired and briskly cheerful Enid Blyton schoolteacher-looking lady in tweeds, boots and a sensible hat who sang an Ancient Egyptian power-word song about dead ancestors while doing a "ghost hop" (bouncy dance). YES MATE. I love the Westcountry.

There are some nice photos on the Guardian website, if you're interested:

After the sun had risen and the show was over, I had a sudden urge to call Nan and wish her a happy Solstice (she tends to get up early). I told her I was at Stonehenge and she said I was on the spot where my grandfather proposed to her in the 1940s! That really added an extra dimension to the whole experience.

We drove over to Old Sarum, but there's really nothing left to look at, so we drove into Salisbury and had an all-day veggie breakfast with large soy cappuccinos at a place called Boston Tea Party, which was utterly overwhelmed with customers, presumably Solstice-related, as the staff seemed baffled.

Too tired to go to the Wiltshire Museum after having got up at 4.30am, so came home via Tesco to buy apples and red wine. Early night tonight.

Happy Solstice/ Yule to my Druid/ Pagan friends :)

Anita x