Summer Solstice at Stonehenge
Around 18,000 people attended the summer solstice at Stonehenge on the longest day of the year, 21st June. Access to the stones was allowed from 7pm on 20th June until 8am the following day and it attracted an eclectic mix of young and old, pagans, hippies, and those just curious or wanting to celebrate.
Sunrise was at 4.54am but because of the cloud cover the sun itself couldn’t be seen but this didn’t seem to deter anyone’s spirits. The drumming around the ancient monument had many dancing and the sound of skylarks filled the air.
The ceremonies performed at the stones are mainly associated with the Druids. Titular Head and chosen Chief of The Loyal Arthurian Warband, King Arthur Pendragon led the solstice proceedings at the Heel stone.
The solstice was extra special for two couples because they had a handfasting ceremony. One couple, Pavel and Tanya had come all the way from Canada. They entered the circle of gathered people and King Arthur bound their wrists with their chosen material. A handfasting binds them together as they pledge to commit for a year and a day, eternity and beyond or as long as their love will last. Their ceremony finished with them jumping over a staff, showing a leap of faith.
The day was also particularly special for the sister and son of Brian Viziondanz. He was well known at the solstice and was often seen dressed as a wizard. Stonehenge was important to him and his ashes were scattered at the sacred site.
The words of the druids during the rituals were a sentiment echoed by many:
May there be Peace in the East! May there be Peace in the South! May there be Peace in the West! May there be Peace in the North!May there be Peace throughout the whole world.