My first visit to Stonehenge

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samurai
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My first visit to Stonehenge

Postby samurai » 17 Jun 2014, 15:39

I had my first visit and ritual at Stonehenge last Sunday,brillant ritual especially as I was the Holly King.Being in the stone circle away from the maddening crowds was a sense of peace. But Stonehenge itself left me with a bad taste.It seems to be a theme park built by English Heritage. I understand it has to be managed, but the cost to the sacredness of the site has been lost, with its overpriced Alton towers feel.
In fact the amount of tourism was 1000's and the cameras were clicking non stop as if we were part of the admission price. A joyous feeling from the ritual but a feeling of violated. Has anyway else felt this way?

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DaRC
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Re: My first visit to Stonehenge

Postby DaRC » 18 Jun 2014, 13:15

I've heard plenty say the same - although I've not been to the stones myself yet.
I think I'd try and arrange it for a cold, miserable Tuesday in February when you can be far from the madding crowds who will be inside.
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and to live a life without shame. (Havamal 68)
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Re: My first visit to Stonehenge

Postby Fire oak » 18 Jun 2014, 15:20

I won't go now. Have fond memories of spending lots of time there as a child which is far enough back that there were no restrictions on being amongst the stones nor were they overrun.
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samurai
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Re: My first visit to Stonehenge

Postby samurai » 18 Jun 2014, 15:48

I'll go again to do ritual as its a privilege to go inside the circle,but as before I won't hang around the theme park.You even get buses upto the stones.

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shirley mclaren
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Re: My first visit to Stonehenge

Postby shirley mclaren » 24 Jun 2014, 05:57

Sounds awful.
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Re: My first visit to Stonehenge

Postby katie bridgewater » 27 Jun 2014, 22:21

The litter and mess left by the people who did get their free access on the summer solstice this year was ten times more shameful than the efforts of EH to update the site.... :-(
Tragic.

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Davin Raincloud
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Re: My first visit to Stonehenge

Postby Davin Raincloud » 28 Jun 2014, 08:22

The litter and mess left by the people who did get their free access on the summer solstice this year was ten times more shameful than the efforts of EH to update the site.... :-(
Tragic.
Oh that sounds terrible :(

If I ever get to visit one day, I'll probably just do it as a tourist.

To me the best rituals are low key and semi-private.

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Re: My first visit to Stonehenge

Postby samurai » 28 Jun 2014, 14:55

Fortunatly our ritual there was a private affair that once in the stones the tourists couldn't really see us,and us them.Getting there and meeting up,we had 1000's of cameras going off and people pointing like we was a freak show which was a little mean as we had children with us. and a lot of people were polite and asked before they took our pic. I'm sure most tourists thought we were there for there entertainment.
I saw the state of Stone henge after Alban Helfin, and agree it was a disgrace. Do pilgims soil Mecca or Vatican city? No they show respect.
I recommend a ritual there but as my friend says "Stonehenge has been sacrificed for the benefit of the other stone circles around the UK".

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Re: My first visit to Stonehenge

Postby Heddwen » 28 Jun 2014, 17:25

The litter and mess left by the partygoers at the free access event this year, has been well documented and photographed . The 'blame' for this has been thrust mainly at the pagan community. I think that this is unfair, as we cannot know the religious leanings (if any) of the revellers. 36 000 were there for the night and I suspect that the majority of them were just there for the party atmosphere. I have been to this event a few years ago and was struck by the open drug taking and treatment of the stones. That year there were five arrests, mainly for climbing the stones, this year 25 arrests.
English Heritage have been criticised by the pagans/druid community for not providing enough litter bins, yet they provided fast food outlets with nowhere to put the litter.

I'm sorry that you had this experience Samurai. My first visit to Stonehenge was before the changes had been made to the visitor centre. I witnessed a young Downs Syndrome girl being 'lynched' by security men for wandering past the rope barrier and into the middle of the stone circle during the afternoon. The very same evening it was open access for the summer solstice and thousands of people had no problem walking around and through the circle ...climbing the stones and even urinating on them.

....so basically I'm saying that I don't know where the middle ground lies. If English Heritage provided more bins and litter collection, is this the answer?

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Re: My first visit to Stonehenge

Postby Selene » 29 Jun 2014, 00:48

I had my first visit there recently, too, as a part of the OBOD 50th Anniversary Gathering in Glastonbury. Doing it that way (a cool Sunday morning not long after sunrise with maybe a hundred other OBODies having a lovely ritual) was great; I was so glad the non-druid tourists were kept out until we were finished.

When the coach pulled up with to discharge the first load of general tourists and bring the first batch of OBODies back to the visitor center, we noticed that the regular folks wouldn't even glance at those us in the white robes! I had to wonder if they were afraid of getting their eyeballs fried if they looked full on at actual pagans...
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shirley mclaren
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Re: My first visit to Stonehenge

Postby shirley mclaren » 29 Jun 2014, 08:14

I got the call to druidry at Stomehenge - seems it was a lot different to now :cry: I did overnight there once for the solstice and there were 14,000 there. That was enough. Worst thing was seeing people climbing and sitting on the stones.
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Re: My first visit to Stonehenge

Postby samurai » 29 Jun 2014, 14:40

The trouble is the middle ground is still not being used correctly by both sides. Being used by religious groups for rituals has loads of restictions but in my mind correct. EH benefit from it as the tourists love it. Then when its open access its bedlam, EH encourage certain practises, others use it as an excuse for a fingers up at society and Pagan community are trying to express their rights. Then everyone blames everyone for the problems. Personally I think that the summer solistice, should be for groups only,as this would be the only way to police it. Say each group from pagan federation has 100 places each.

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Re: My first visit to Stonehenge

Postby treegod » 29 Jun 2014, 21:43

I went to Stonehenge for a handfasting, but I missed the tourists. I went with some friends very ealry in the morning and we got some "private time" with just a lone secrity guard looking on from the outside. I think it was specially booked time.

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Re: My first visit to Stonehenge

Postby Heddwen » 29 Jun 2014, 22:09

Yes, you can book private time in the stones out of the normal visiting times...that way you miss the crowds ...and the litter!

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Re: My first visit to Stonehenge

Postby Sciethe » 29 Jun 2014, 22:15

I got the call to druidry at Stomehenge - seems it was a lot different to now :cry: I did overnight there once for the solstice and there were 14,000 there. That was enough. Worst thing was seeing people climbing and sitting on the stones.
I remember the stones when they were free as well, (was there at Solstice 1984) and they will be free again. A thousand years is nothing to the energetic hard grey people. Civilization rise, civilization fall. I think they take the doings of the soft fast folk in their stride. :)
Although a bit more respect would definitely be good.
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Markjones
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Re: My first visit to Stonehenge

Postby Markjones » 28 Sep 2015, 14:17

When I went to the solstice this year, it was a busy experience, but for me, was just as magical. I had not joined the order at this point, but I still held the stones as sacred.

In my mind we can't know the true purpose, but it is likely it was a place of gathering and festivities of one form or another. I understand why people dislike the "revellers", but I also feel that this was part of the purpose of the place. Most of the people I met and spoke to also held the place in high regard.

As for the litter, well, I agree there were not enough bins, and yes the fast food upset me a little. I spent most of the morning picking up litter with quite a few others until we were kicked off the site. It did however remind me of other festivals where I have spent time picking up litter. I will never forget how disappointed I was with people as I spent 4 days picking up litter after the "Earth Energy Festival" in Sutton, London in '96, where, incidentally, I built a mini-henge out of a group of large rocks that had been left behind.

I had a beautiful experience there this year, which in part led me to this order which I joined last week. I fully intend to go next year, when it will be a weekday so hopefully, less people.


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