Stonehenge: Is it sacred?

A place to post stories, pictures, experiences and engage in druidic discussion of areas throughout the world that are considered to be sacred places. These may be ancient man-made structures, natural sites of great power and beauty, places of religious devotion, modern secular sites or individual private places that inspire awe and devotion.
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envisager
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Stonehenge: Is it sacred?

Postby envisager » 12 Feb 2013, 12:15

Sorry if question seems a bit daft: I asked the same question of (non-druids) in the Pagan community: The view was that Stonehenge is not central to Druids or Pagans, "it is simply an artefact of unknown origin."

I'm trying to work out if anyone considers the reasons behind the construction of Stonehenge to be part of their heritage more than say someone who happens to have family roots in the north of Europe.

Thanks in advance

Jon

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Re: Stonehenge: Is it sacred?

Postby DaRC » 12 Feb 2013, 13:09

Sacred is a difficult question - it depends upon what definition of sacred you mean.
Is it holy and religious? It certainly was at one time, to those Druids in the Loyal Arthurian group probably yes
Is it regarded with reverence? I would certainly say I do because our ancestors placed it in that landscape for a reason. That landscape has a certain energy to it. It connects those who see it to the people of the ancient past.

To the wider world you could also describe a lot of world heritage sites as sacred.
Most dear is fire to the sons of men,
most sweet the sight of the sun;
good is health if one can but keep it,
and to live a life without shame. (Havamal 68)
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Re: Stonehenge: Is it sacred?

Postby envisager » 12 Feb 2013, 13:53

Is it holy and religious? It certainly was at one time, to those Druids in the Loyal Arthurian group probably yes
Could you expand a little more on what you mean by the Druids in the Loyal Arthurian group? Is this the same as the Loyal Arthurian Warband or is it a term which encompasses several groups?

Thanks for the reply, much appreciated.

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Re: Stonehenge: Is it sacred?

Postby katie bridgewater » 13 Feb 2013, 21:39

Sacred is a loaded word full of cultural assumptions. What is 'sacred' is subjective. Some peoples think that everything and everywhere is 'sacred', but even then there are often 'special' places. Stonehenge is obviously 'special' but whether it has any ''religious' significance that is separate from other aspects of Stone Age culture is difficult to know. We have no idea how integrated the social, civic, cultural and arts aspects of Neolithic society were, although it is fair to assume that, given what we know about life at the time Stonehenge was built, there was a great deal of overlap, much as there is today in many societies (the state endorsed Christian Priesthood in the UK still wield immense political power in the House of Lords, for example)

We don't know precisely what was sacred to people in the Neolithic and Bronze age. We do know that Stonehenge was immensely important because of the effort and resources involved in building it and the precision of the design. It may have been a sky burial site, an observatory, a temple, a territorial statement or something else we can't conceive of. The people who built it chose an already 'special' landscape with many natural and unusual features that informed the positioning of their structures. The mythology of this landscape may have been extremely ancient already at the time of the build, and already lost in the mists of time, even then. We can be certain that it was a gathering place used by many thousands of people. Theories abound, some of which can be substantiated and are quite plausible, and lots of which are pretty potty, with no evidence or understanding of the site or its context.

We do know for certain, that whatever the intention of the original builders, it is certainly 'sacred' now, to the British in general (who own it collectively through English Heritage) and to Pagans especially. It is held sacred by the international community and this is 'certified' by its status as a World Heritage Site, which I think is a status denoting sacredness to all people/

We are hoping that the experimental archaeology being carried out by the Ancient Technology Centre will help to answer some questions about the lives of people who built it (see this thread for more info: http://www.druidry.org/board/dhp/viewto ... 67&t=41785 )

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Re: Stonehenge: Is it sacred?

Postby Sciethe » 14 Feb 2013, 00:12

Hi envisager,
I can answer this from a personal perspective. First, the hair of my beard tells the world that I'm a mongrel Saxon-Celt etc. My genetic paternal ancestors are Dorset and Wiltshire (2 up branches) stone miners and stone masons as far back as it is possible to go. One, a Bower, was so skilled that a King took off his glove (!) to shake the hand that created. Stonework is in my blood, as is Sacred architecture. It is quite possible that this concern with stones and stone mining stretches back further than the 900 years that I have been able to patch bits of it together. This gives me an ancestral feeling for Stonehenge as a place local to my roots that they might have had a hand in building. Whatever the lost material truth, Stonehenge is Sacred to me for this reason, I feel the hand of my ancestors, as I do at Atworth stone mines, Langton cliff mines, The Crescent in Bath, Box tunnel and all the many other places where they have built with prescision, sweat, intelligence and beauty using the stones that they shaped. It is Druidic to revere and acknowledge the ancestors. This reverence given returns to me as an emotional sense of the Sacred.
Hope this perspective helps.
Sciethe.
For in his morning orisons he loves the sun and the sun loves him. For he is of the tribe of Tiger. Christopher Smart

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Re: Stonehenge: Is it sacred?

Postby DaRC » 14 Feb 2013, 10:44

Is it holy and religious? It certainly was at one time, to those Druids in the Loyal Arthurian group probably yes
Could you expand a little more on what you mean by the Druids in the Loyal Arthurian group? Is this the same as the Loyal Arthurian Warband or is it a term which encompasses several groups?

Thanks for the reply, much appreciated.
I should have put Loyal Athurian Warband which is what I meant :blink:
Most dear is fire to the sons of men,
most sweet the sight of the sun;
good is health if one can but keep it,
and to live a life without shame. (Havamal 68)
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Re: Stonehenge: Is it sacred?

Postby Corwen » 14 Feb 2013, 17:02

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Re: Stonehenge: Is it sacred?

Postby treegod » 15 Feb 2013, 23:08

What is 'sacred' is subjective.
Quite.

And with that in mind I'm going to say that I do find Stonehenge a sacred site, at least as a symbol.

It symbolises the the ancestors and their ingenuity and how that can last through time, it represents one focal point for many modern druids (for various reasons). It represents the light of consciousness shining on and through "crude" matter.

I've always found ecosystems to be "sacred sites", especially the one that surrounds me. Why worry about far of sacred spaces (that I've only ever been to once) when I have one surrounding me?

But even so, Stonehenge, at least as a symbol, is important. And in a way sacred.

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Re: Stonehenge: Is it sacred?

Postby envisager » 16 Feb 2013, 18:08

Thanks everyone

Very much appreciated. There are some ethical concerns we're trying to work through and your thoughts are very much valued.

Bright blessings to you all

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Re: Stonehenge: Is it sacred?

Postby Animated » 12 Feb 2015, 17:02

I do think its sacret why? Because not only the ancestors made it but it also holds alot of spirits of people who were presented to the Gods thetefore i believe it is sacret

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Re: Stonehenge: Is it sacred?

Postby Gwion » 13 Feb 2015, 13:08

I recently had a rethink about my concepts of sacred places thanks to Damh the Bard’s latest blog (http://www.paganmusic.co.uk/thinking-ab ... red-sites/)

To me “sacred” describes not a state or status but a relationship. Of course, I have a relationship with the whole universe so, in that sense, everything is sacred but, yes, some places are more sacred than others. This is more to do with the reciprocity of my relationship with them than any independent characteristic of the site.

I believe my relationships are affected by a number of factors. Spirit to spirit “resonance” is the most important but cultural and social context and expectations are also likely to influence whether and how a relationship develops. Another major influence in my case is that my relationships can only develop given time and a certain amount of privacy. I, personally, have not been able to form a sacred relationship with Stonehenge because I have only visited it a few times and have never had enough privacy there.

As to the way in which some places like Stonehenge come to be more widely recognised as sacred: in smaller, more geographically fixed communities then it’s likely that many members will develop similar relationships with places and these shared place-relationships become that society’s sacred sites. Eventually social/cultural expectations encourage others to expend the time and effort to form relationships with the same place.

I sometimes wonder if the pre-eminence of Stonehenge as a sacred site doesn’t owe more to cultural expectations than to spirit to spirit connection. For example, the “druid” community carries the cultural heritage of its early revival founders and, despite the druidic dislike of dogma it seems almost heretical now to say that one doesn’t find Stonehenge sacred. Partly as a result of this cultural/social status, I respect Stonehenge for its heritage and cultural significance. I am also fascinated by its age, history and what it must have witnessed and I respect it for what it means to others (in the same way that I respect cathedrals, mosques and temples) but I do not have a sacred relationship with it myself. This is, in part, due to the lack of time/privacy and partly, I have to admit, because for me, man-made structures can never compete with Nature’s creations. No creation of human spirits can ever compete with the creations of the millions of different spirits that constitute natural landscapes. When it comes to human creations I’m more likely to form a relationship with those that are being reclaimed by nature than those stripped back. Stonehenge is a little too sanitised for me to form any meaningful relationship with it.
I've always found ecosystems to be "sacred sites", especially the one that surrounds me. Why worry about far of sacred spaces (that I've only ever been to once) when I have one surrounding me?
Exactly!

P.S.
What is 'sacred' is subjective.
Perhaps the most important point that needs to be made. My comments are in no way meant to imply that those whose relationship with Stonehenge is sacred are not correct - but everyone's relationships are different.
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