From an astrological point of view, Summer Solstice is when the Sun enters the sign of Cancer. This year, it takes place on Monday 20th June 2016, at 10:34pm GMT (11:34pm British Summer Time). However the first Sunrise after this is celebrated – as usual – at Stonehenge the next morning. on Tuesday 21st June 2016, at 4:42am (Brit.Summer Time).
Access to Stonehenge:
I’ve found out that the Carpark & access to Stonehenge (free to all subject to T&C) is from 7pm the night before (monday 20th June). Full info from English Heritage site copied/ added below with links for your own confirmation. People will be ushered out by 8am next morning (after Sunrise has been observed)..and car park will close at 12noon.
I shall be heading that way to celebrate, drum and greet sunrise, and take a few photos/ videos..and perhaps do a personal ceremony with few friends.. I’ll share pictures afterwards here on my blog. Meanwhile, here’s a Video I made from my Midsummer visit to Stonehenge last year (2015).
“English Heritage is pleased to provide free Managed Open Access to Stonehenge for Summer Solstice 2016 and ask that if you are planning to join us for this peaceful and special occasion that you follow these Conditions of Entry. These are written to ensure enjoyment and safety for everyone attending Summer Solstice at Stonehenge.
Please note to reduce risk to those attending and to the monument itself, alcohol is not permitted in the monument field during Summer Solstice.MONDAY 20 JUNE
Access to monument field – 7pm
Sunset – 9:26pm
TUESDAY 21 JUNE
Sunrise – 4:52am
Monument field closes – 8am
The Solstice Car Park opens at 7pm on 20th June with last admissions at 6am (or when full, if earlier) on 21st June. The car park will close at 12 noon on 21st June.
ADMISSION, PARKING AND PLANNING YOUR JOURNEY
Admission to the Summer Solstice at Stonehenge is free of charge, however please note that parking fees apply.
We strongly recommend travelling by public transport or arranging to car share. Help with planning your journey and accomodation can be found on the pages below, along with other helpful advice if you are planning to come to Summer Solstice.
Nearly all who practise Wicca & modern Witchcraft will have heard of the Wiccan Rede (An it harm none, Do as you Will’). But am sure not all know that there is a `longer poem’ related to it. The longer version first made its appearance in 1974, when it was published in a magazine `Earth Religion News’. Although people have claimed the longer version originates before 1950’s (before Gerald Gardner `created’ Wicca), some believe that the longer poem was created *after* Doreen Valiente spoke of the short Rede in 1964 in a public lecture. So in fact, original source is still disputed. There is a good article charting this in wikipedia (see links below)
`An it harm none Do what you Will’ is – many would agree, an `impossible’ one to follow 100%. Whatever we do will cause some sort of harm or distress to someone or thing elsewhere.. emotionally or psychologically, if not physically. (simple examples are when we attend a job interview and get the job, so the other candidates don’t get it…Another example is a nice happy country walk.. where just the walking alone probably kills insects and worms underfoot and new seedling plants!). The Wiccan Rede can only ever be an aspiration..and in particular, in the practice of personal magical workings and spell-casting.
I posted just the graphics (above) in a facebook page, and within 10 hrs it had been shared 22 times and reached 1,200+ people (and still going!). It tells me that this is a matter of great interest to many people.
One person asked the question, `at what point do you stop letting it [The Rede] harm you?’
It is an Interesting idea. Trying to be true to `it’ can cause the person harm because it ties the person’s hands from possibly doing what he/she can do to getting what he/she wants without worrying about other people. So the Rede needs to be factoring in a balance of needs and their fulfilment by many people..not just one. ..
Another comment made was, `and it harm none also applies to yourself’
My response to this is, in everyday world, people -while serving themselves- do (Will) countless `ordinary’ things that in some way cause harm/ stress/ distress to many other people or living things (animals, trees, environment)… That’s is them just going about their lives…without even being spiritual, religious or magical in any conscious way.. So this Rede is ..as said before.. an `impossible guideline’ to follow to the letter!. It can only be an aspiration.. and has to be balanced with everything else one does.. be it self-serving or selfless serving of others.
I shall add more to this as and when I hear of other questions/ comments and any related responses I give.
Below are 2 resources – A full version of Wiccan Rede poem, and a video by Stephen Cole (friend of mine) reciting the full poem in a video for his `One Man Theatre Company’
The Wiccan Rede (Full Version)
Bide within the Law you must, in perfect Love and perfect Trust.
Live you must and let to live, fairly take and fairly give.
For tread the Circle thrice about to keep unwelcome spirits out.
To bind the spell well every time, let the spell be said in rhyme.
Light of eye and soft of touch, speak you little, listen much.
Honor the Old Ones in deed and name,
let love and light be our guides again.
Deosil go by the waxing moon, chanting out the joyful tune.
Widdershins go when the moon doth wane,
and the werewolf howls by the dread wolfsbane.
When the Lady’s moon is new, kiss the hand to Her times two.
When the moon rides at Her peak then your heart’s desire seek.
Heed the North winds mighty gale, lock the door and trim the sail.
When the Wind blows from the East, expect the new and set the feast.
When the wind comes from the South, love will kiss you on the mouth.
When the wind whispers from the West, all hearts will find peace and rest.
Nine woods in the Cauldron go, burn them fast and burn them slow.
Birch in the fire goes to represent what the Lady knows.
Oak in the forest towers with might, in the fire it brings the God’s
insight. Rowan is a tree of power causing life and magic to flower.
Willows at the waterside stand ready to help us to the Summerland.
Hawthorn is burned to purify and to draw faerie to your eye.
Hazel-the tree of wisdom and learning adds its strength to the bright fire burning.
White are the flowers of Apple tree that brings us fruits of fertility.
Grapes grow upon the vine giving us both joy and wine.
Fir does mark the evergreen to represent immortality seen.
Elder is the Lady’s tree burn it not or cursed you’ll be.
Four times the Major Sabbats mark in the light and in the dark.
As the old year starts to wane the new begins, it’s now Samhain.
When the time for Imbolc shows watch for flowers through the snows.
When the wheel begins to turn soon the Beltane fires will burn.
As the wheel turns to Lamas night power is brought to magic rite.
Four times the Minor Sabbats fall use the Sun to mark them all.
When the wheel has turned to Yule light the log the Horned One rules.
In the spring, when night equals day time for Ostara to come our way.
When the Sun has reached it’s height time for Oak and Holly to fight.
Harvesting comes to one and all when the Autumn Equinox does fall.
Heed the flower, bush, and tree by the Lady blessed you’ll be.
Where the rippling waters go cast a stone, the truth you’ll know.
When you have and hold a need, harken not to others greed.
With a fool no season spend or be counted as his friend.
Merry Meet and Merry Part bright the cheeks and warm the heart.
Mind the Three-fold Laws you should three times bad and three times good.
When misfortune is enow wear the star upon your brow.
Be true in love this you must do unless your love is false to you.
These Eight words the Rede fulfill: An Ye Harm None, Do What Ye Will.
Here also is a video by a friend of mine, Stephen Cole
Winter Solstice is one of the 8 major festivals celebrated by Pagans, Witches, Ritual Magicians, and generally Esoteric & New Age people! And in the UK, Stonehenge (ancient neolithic stone monument) is one of the places where people of all beliefs gather to mark this festival.. thanks to English Heritage – who owns and allows access to people.. Normally visitors are allowed to only walk around the Stonehenge (after gaining entry by paying a ticketed fee)…But at Summer Solstice & Winter Solstice, they allow people to enter into the stones.. to worship, commune, attune, mark and celebrate the event.
Here is the info, taken from English Heritage website, pertaining to the coming Winter Solstice event.
Note: Sun enters the Sign of Capricorn at 23:00hrs on 21st December 2014, so the nearest morning for celebrating Winter Solstice (Pagan festival of Yule) is on Monday 22nd December 2014…when Stonehenge access is open.
Bright Solar Blessings
English Heritage will once again welcome people to Stonehenge to celebrate the Winter Solstice. Sunrise is just after 8am on Monday 22 December and visitors will be able to access the monument as soon as it is light enough to do so safely. Please be aware that parking is very limited and there is a thirty minute walk, in low light, from the parking areas to the monument.
CONDITIONS OF ENTRY FOR WINTER SOLSTICE
These conditions of entry are written to ensure enjoyment and public safety for everyone. Contravention of any of these conditions may result in entry being refused or your removal from Stonehenge. English Heritage reserves the right to refuse entry. Stonehenge is a sacred site to many. Please respect it and please respect each other.
Managed Open Access
English Heritage is pleased to be providing managed open access to Stonehenge for the Winter Solstice. Please help us to create a peaceful occasion by taking personal responsibility and following the conditions of entry and guidelines. We have a duty of care to ensure public safety and are responsible for the protection of Stonehenge and its surrounding monuments. If we are to ensure that future access is sustainable, it is essential that everyone observes and abides by these conditions of entry.
Admission to Stonehenge
Monument Field opens 07:45 (7.45am) Monday 22nd December (approximately, depending on light levels)
Monument Field closes 10:00 hours (10am) Monday 22nd December
Parking is extremely limited and the area you park in may be a 30 minute walk/1.5 miles from the monument
Please Be Aware
Stonehenge is situated in a field and the weather will be cold and possibly wet. Sensible footwear and warm, waterproof clothing are essential.
Toilets in the Monument Field will only be available once the access period begins.
There are no catering facilities.
Conditions of Entry
Stonehenge is a world renowned historic monument and it is seen by many who attend as a sacred site. Amplified music is inappropriate and will not be permitted
Only small amounts of alcohol for personal use will be permitted on site.
Drunken, disorderly, and anti-social behaviour will not be tolerated. Offenders will be ejected by security staff or police, with no re-admission.
Illegal drugs are prohibited at Stonehenge. The police will be on site during the access period and will take immediate action against anyone breaking the law.
Glass is not allowed at the Monument as many people walk barefoot and livestock and wildlife graze in the area. Any glass items will be confiscated.
Do not climb or stand on any of the stones. This includes the stones that have fallen. This is in the interests of safety, the protection of this special monument and respect for those attending.
Camping, fires, Chinese lanterns, fireworks, candles, tea-lights or BBQs are prohibited at Stonehenge, in the parking areas, and anywhere in the surrounding National Trust land.
Well, that sneaked up on me …the 3rd birthday of Gaian Times!
The idea of a free magazine.. exploring Sciences & spiritualities, Ecology & technology, psychology & logic.. had been in my mind for a few years..and I finally took a leap and made an application to Companies House..back in 2011, to make it a formal Company..
And my application got rejected! Because I had not filled in the proper clauses for the Articles of Association (the legal document that must be submitted with the application form..). The problem was in trying to get it right for `not for profit’ …They don’t give you templates for that… ! I had to look into other companies’ documents, adapt those, and also look into Charity Commission’s guidelines (why? because I wanted the aims and objectives to be clear and valid enough that …in years to come.. GT can qualify to be a charity..with the same existing aims/ objects.. rather than start thinking about adapting it all again..! This is a long term plan.. not just a whim..)
So I looked around, did research..and sent it again.. and it was rejected again…this time because of some minor discrepancies ..between certain words in the application and the Articles of Association..
So finally..Gaian Times got luck..3rd time.. and on 3rd February 2011, it was formally registered with Companies House – the UK government office that deals with all company registrations in England & Wales.
And since then.. well..so many challenges…so many stories.. but also so many achievements.. where one man’s hopes and ideals start to be acknowledged as good enough that others join in to support and strengthen..
I can go on..and on.. I’ve hardly scratched the surface on the last 3-5 years of work that has gone into this..
BUT.. this is about Wishing Gaian Times…a Happy Birthday…So I’ll close this blog..with just the birth story! 🙂
(Founder/ Director of Gaian Times)
ps. In case some people are unaware.. `Gaia’ is the name of the Greek Earth Goddess. So Gaian is another way of saying `Person of Gaia’ or `Earth Dweller’ 🙂 and that includes all living things.. not just the humans!!
You know what..in all the excitement of the Doctor Who 50th anniversary event, I totally forgot to blog the fact that last week, the issue#9 of the Gaian Times e-Magazine was published online 🙂
“…Gaian Times Magazine just keeps getting better – as more and more professionally published authors, experts and beginner-writers join our ever growing team of contributes!
In this issue, we are joined by Kenny Klein, who writes about a very Wiccan Samhain, Amber Agha sharing her shamanic perspectives on Releasing the past held by the land, Julie Dollman writes about Re-Engaging with Living Energy, and Christ Street focuses on the mystical nature of London – be it a city of revelations, planetary chakra or a Stargate!
That’s not all! John Dray, Andrew Durling & Maria Mossman contribute eco-themed reports on the Declining Bee population, the Fracking issues & movie, and the March for Elephants, UK – a new group set up to campaign for saving Elephants!
Something I had always wanted to know- and as if my magic- Bruce Nixon’s feature on how money is made by banks and the impact of monetary reform – covers my curiosity!
Gordina Steckert from Germany writes about spiritual concepts to keep us emotionally stable; Vathani Navasothy not only writes about Herbs fo ruse at Halloween, but gives us photo-blogs about the Dartmoor Stones – which rather nicely resonate with our mini-author profile on Rebecca Beatie who has written books on those very west country landscape-inspired fiction.. !
Wendy Stokes has once more contributed with a Book Review, and also written about the troubles caused by those `Teenage Exorcists from USA’.
My own interview / video follows up the matter, by giving an opportunity to Maria Savva -owner of Spirit of Isis. Interestingly, Maria’s son George Eralclides – whom I met during that event turned out to be a fashion blogger, and has contributed GT’s first fashion column!
And that’s not all.. By now you’ve seen the titillating images of that `Angel’ on the cover..and will know that we are starting some new features.. into the many worlds of alternative cultures. We start with a report on Erotica 2013!
Well, things are certainly going to warm up, as we head towards winter in western hemisphere, and summer in the southern hemisphere.
Earlier in 2013, GT took a few extra months to surface (April’13). But we are going to make up for it… with a special edition next month! (Oh yes, more work for me..I’ve only just finished with this issue!)
As it’s coming up closer to Christmas / Yule, and New Year, we’ll go with those themes..as well as our usual columns. Am already looking forward to `The Muse that got away’ (ahem, that will be a Burlesque feature on a good friend of mine who is very successful now in Canada!). We hope to have features from the alternative/ goth scene in Brighton; A persona profile of a Glastonbury Priestess of Avalon.. Astrology, and more!
So hurry up and finish reading this issue…before the next one gets here quickly!!
-Mani Navasothy (Editor / Director – Gaian Times)
November 2013, London, UK…”
A very Wiccan Samhain
Death by Words
Releasing the past, held by the land- a Shamanic Perspective
Re-Engaging with Living Energy
Five spiritual concepts to keep you emotionally stable.
Samhain Herbs: Insights into Seasonal Herbs
London city of Revelations, Chakra or Stargate?
Making Money – A word on monetary reform
Ecology & Campaigns
Honey Bees Decline;
Gasland pt2: A Fracking Film Event & Review
March for Elephants – Reviews & New Initiatives in UK
International Peace Day- Family Picnic in London
Storm Magic & Psychic Techniques
Wicca Full Moon Rituals in London
Events & Reviews
The Country Writer’s Craft: Writing for Country;
The Warrior’s Call to Glastonbury
International Peace Day
Quests of Isis (Thames Ritual)
Woodland Autumn with Romuva & Hern’s Tribe
People & Community:
Author feature: Rebecca Beattie –
Right of Reply: Spirit of Isis speaks to Teenage Exorcists
Photo & Video blogs:
Ancient Stones of Dartmoor
Notting Hill Carnival
Closing Down Kew Gardens!
Thames Halloween Ritual
Culture, Fashion & Entertainment:
A Rosey Winter; Halloween fashion;
All Acts of Love & Pleasure: A Day at Erotica 2013
Magical Bookshops & Sites
Atlantis spiritual Centre (Enfield)-
Atlantis Bookshop – oldest occult shop in London
Clearly Destiny – based near Euston, London
Crystal Delights Emporium (website created under Gaian Times Social Enterprise Initiative!)
Pagan Frontiers of London – established in 2005, this Community platform now serves over 50,000 visitors a year!
Enjoy.. Just click the picture…visit the website…opt-in to become FREE subscribers..and we’ll send all the links to you to star reading.. BUT hurry.. next issue#10 comes out in m id-December..
A spiritual offering to you all.. first look at this Willow twig/branch sculpture I have been making from all the pruned pieces…since September 2012.. It is Ganapathy (Ganesh) the elephant-headed Hindu God of course. 🙂
It started with some difficult issues with neighbours..and I had to do a drastic prunning/ cutting of branches of my much loved Willow tree. But I promised that every piece will be used for a good reason..and this is one of them 🙂 (The other is a small one-person meditation hut by the tree, with branches covering parts of the sides (picture another time).
So I guess you could call it Eco-art.
Last week I created `tusks’ and repaired the wear & tear of the previous winter months.. and more work needed.. But now..there is another danger.. those birds are hunting for twigs…to make their nests 🙂
But hey, am sure Lord Ganesh won’t mind.. and neither do I 🙂
Earth Day is on 22nd April.. every year. It is declared by the United Nations, and celebrated by everyone on our planet – everyone who is aware of it, that is. Many Eco-groups and Organisations focus several of their ecology & environment related campaigns, and so do magical and spiritual people who consider the Earth to be a living entity (Gaia). Here is some background and lots of eco-spiritual activities you can do.
Gaian Collective explained
The Earth is our home in space. Thousands believe it is a living entity, built up of not just the physical bodies of millions of humans, animals, plans and other inanimate objects (rocks, rivers, mountains). It is believed that all the minds of the living creatures on planet Earth are connected, and give rise to `Gaia’ the living Collective consciousness-being who is self-regulating. It is akin to our bodies, where each cell is living and has a function, but collectively gives rise to a single human or animal being. We each one of us think each one of us is a `I’ or `me’ – but within us are billions of living cells.. (and all the symbiotic and parasitic creatures that live inside our bodies).
So, by each of us becoming consciously aware that we are part of a larger collective, and tying to reconnect to that Collective, we are in fact strengthening that Gaia Collective – spiritually an magically. And if Gaia is strong and well, that can only benefit the whole world..
What can you do on Earth day? Some simple ideas and suggestions:
Go for a walk in the wild, a park or woods – to be reconnected to Earth – on a conscious, physical or magical level. You don’t need to make it grand or specific – just go for a nice long walk, without any usual distractions such as internet, ipods, phone calls, personal every day problems ( we all have them!) Yes, they are products of human intellect and genius, and so in a round about way, `natural’ – but purpose of this exercise is to de-clutter our conscious mind and reach a sort of meditative state.
Hold a celebration or picnic – with family or friends. Gather other like-minded eco-aware people and mark the day. We all celebrate or mark (or remember) our birthdays in some way of form.. This is Gaia’s special day (not exactly birthday but closest special day). So celebrate it as such. Yes, why not have a cake and cut it in honour of Gaia / Earth?
Earth `Heart beat’ Meditation – group or personal: A more spiritual approach is to actually do an Earth meditation (on your own, or as part of a group). It does not have to be a big complicated activity. Just 5 minutes will do (but 20-30 minutes is ideal). All you do is sit in a pleasant natural place if possible (woodlands, by a garden tree, by a small pond, river, stream, cave etc). Sit by a natural place, be comfortable, close your eyes – and let go of every day thoughts. Then try to visualise the Earth in space.. a planet, full of billions of life forms within it. Think of each one of those creatures having a heart, and heart beat. Try to `hear’ that heart beat. Different animals have different rates of heart beats – but for this meditative purpose, it is okay to visualise all the heat-beats being slowly becoming synchronised.. and the Earth beating as one heart!
Healing work: One magical activity that some may consider doing is Earth Healing. For this, it is perhaps good to be in very calm and peaceful state of mind. Keep a rose quartz or other green crystals with you (in your hands or pockets). Then think of love and peace, an send that energy to the Earth.. into the ground. You can also visualise green light coming from your heart – pure and sincere of well-intentions- and pour that unconditionally to the Earth. One meditative way is to visualise the Earth in space.. and pour your light and bath the whole of the Earth with it..!
Eco-activities:Think of real tangible ways you may b able to help protect, preserve and nurture the ecologies and environment of the World. Some suggestions are – raising awareness by writing & blogging (as I am doing), getting your fiends together and doing some litter-picking and tidying p a natural spot (like a local river side or woodland), creating a group or charity and doing eco-work, raising money / funds and donating it to other eco-organisations that do good genuine work.
Affirmations- Oaths, vows and personal Declarations: This one is for those who feel very spiritually inclined. Get to a natural place – and do some meditative work, as suggested, or a ceremony. Then lay your hands on a living Tree or the ground itself, and make your promises, affirmations or eco-related vows to the Earth it self. Think of this as important as a marriage vow that people make (and try to keep), or the equivalent of formal declarations and oaths people make when they take on a position in community (like MP’s, Solicitors, Police, etc. It is akin to swearing a real loyalty and allegiance to the Earth…and should be taken as magically binding).
Sharing: After Earth day, remember to share what you have done, by writing about it, sharing any related photos, poetry and other thoughts – with people, internet social groups & forums etc. That way, the positive regard ad energy spreads…and can add to the next year’s Earth Day!
Feel free to share this post.. more people are aware and do these, the better for Gaia.
The first issue of Gaian Times e-magazine – and the e stands for both electronic and ecology – came out in June 2011.
Gaian Times e-magazine explores the Science, Magic, Arts, Psychology and Social trends – among many other eco-centric subjects. Is there such a word? Eco-centric? I have been using it for a while now. Anyway GT offers thought-provoking articles, features, information on Eco events and initiatives, other charitable bodies and campaigns. GT also has counselling & psychology related columns- social observations and commentary really, by several regular writers (April Jonquil, Rose Dixon, Antara, Kelly).
Of course many others have already contributed articles / features – Marcus, Reggie, Hazel’O, Pete
GT magazine was a natural progression to the 3 Gaian Conventions that I had created and managed for Pagan Federation London between 2007-1009.
Oh, almost forgot to say – Gaian Times is also a not for profit Company Ltd by Guarantee. Well, I like to call it an `organisation’ that is growing..
This year, am planning to focus quite a bit of my attention on Gaian Times. So watch this space.