“To speak the Truth, to honour our spoken word, and to be Just & Fair in all our dealings..!”
I’ve followed (King) Arthur Uther Pendragon for a long time now.. and admired what he (sometimes single handedly) stands up for and injustices he stands up to! Had the privilege of inviting him to facilitate one of the rituals at PF London in 2005-6 when i was Events Organiser for PFL. Some years ago when he said to a group.. hold everywhere sacred..(not just Stonehenge) I took it to heart and have been keeping London as my sacred focus..instead of always running out of london to other spiritual places all the time.. And appreciate his sentiment that if we pagans want to keep Stonehenge sacred in the eyes of tourists etc at festive times, we should `robe up’ and be seen in our magical/ priest/ priestly appearance..
So it is finally my honour to be Knighted by Arthur at the Templar Church yard – this time last year (2017) in London… at the culminating ceremony of a day of rituals around London. (there were others.. warrior Priestesses & priests who were knighted at same event..and we stand together in fellowship). Sir John Crow was the first, followed by Jenny, Debbie, Donna and a number of us. Their photos are in my other album for this Sacred day of rituals’ 🙂
To the `uninitiated’ it may be seen as a curiosity, a gimmick.. but for some of us, this – done in a magic circle, on sacred grounds (Templar Church in London, on the spot where the old Lamb building stood before it was wiped by WW bombing in 1942).. this act matters.. and takes on deeply significant proportions.
“To speak the Truth, to honour our spoken word, and to be Just & Fair in all our dealings..!”
I’ve always done this.. so it isn’t so much a beginning of the journey but a recognition of what i have been doing for a decade and a half.. and I will continue to do so..
`We swear by peace and love to stand,
Heart to heart, and hand to hand,
mark O spirit and hear us now..
Confirming this our sacred vow!’
My father’s body wasn’t even cold in the hospital body, but I ran up to the car, grabbed my camera, came back to the Intensive care unit and started taking a few `forensic’ photos of his torn ear, head injury – all through my tearful and blurry eyes! That was one cold hour past midnight back in January 1990. And here I am, on a Summer’s day in June 2018. What’s that got to do with Sophie? Well, the common thread.. is Photography! And she’s very well, energised and happy that her photo’s going viral all over new sites around the world this morning, following our visit to Stonehenge yesterday – in case you were worried for her!
Sophie first attended one of my Woodland Witches & Pagan ceremony- back in Autumn 2017. She had glitter make up on her cheeks and a new agey jacket. But that’s not what caught my attention (well that did catch my eyes). I was asking for volunteers form the attendees to take on a ritual role of the Goddess, and Sophie stepped forward. Now normally only experienced or regular attendees volunteer.. so I was surprised, but she looked every bit like she could carry the beautiful and maiden Goddess Persephone who gets abducted by the Dark Lord Pluto/ Hades and taken to underworld.. So I accepted her offer.. And my friend Aaron took on the role of Hades! The ritual went well, and their roles – symbolic – and directed and coached by me – went well too.
Since then, Sophie has attended many of our woodland ceremonies & socials, hung out with us, gone camping with us to Glastonbury, day trip to Hasting and sea side, and more recently (yesterday) an ver night drive out trip to Summer Solstice at Stonehenge and then Avebury. She’s become a good magical friend of mine.. (and still remains awesomely beautiful like a Goddess!)
For me, Photography is not a hobby..!!
As the opening paragraph will have told you.. `taking photos’ is a serious `interest’ of mine.. capturing real life moments and characters of people on photo – as I do that ..be it my father who had just died, or a sun set, or a Maypole Dance …or a mermaid like Sophie after a ceremony !) Why ? because life is precious, moments are magical and once past ..can never be lived again, and I have insecurities about loosing people that are dear to me. So I snap away.. moment after moment.. trying to hold of to them all, lest I forget! I have done since I was a little boy. (Now am almost a 49 yr old middle-aged man!)
That said, one of my growing gripes / disappointments / irritations in modern times – is that of my creativity being hijacked or worse `stolen’ .
I see moments …character.. beauty .. life..death.. and all inbetween.. and capture it.. Or compose it creatively and artistically. If it’s people – friends – I direct them (be it a video production or a photoshoot). Then I shoot the picture. So it infuriates me, when someone standing next to me – swoops in – without so much as a polite request – and takes the shots that I line up and the people that I direct. This happens a lot now.
On the one hand, I am happy for the person whose photos are being taken. They are being `seen’ and their moment being recognised and captured. But unlike me who honours, respects and uses it to empower people, others often seem to just steal a moment.. and that person’s soul! They don’t seem to give acknowledgement or thanks to the subject at hand. They don’t seem to celebrate them. They don’t seem to offer them anything in return as a kind gesture.
This I realise happens a lot in the cut-throat world of Photography, Journalism, media, movie and celebrity culture we now live in. If someone is in public eye, they are fair game? Is that it? Is that right?
Of course some of my other friends who swoop into copy or steal a shot that I line up or direct ..aren’t all like that. They are part of my world, my friendship groups and my spiritual communities. When they do too much that swoop & shot, I do hit back with a joke.. (or in the case of one friend, I actually did throw a light punch at his stomach ..with a smile on my face! We hugged it out afterwards.. but I needed to make the point, and words were not sinking that message!)
Ever since a Hindu priest threw a bucket of water in my direction at a Temple chariot festival 2 years ago, and that blessed water splashing all over my camera, my equipment has not been its full self. The view screen doesn’t work, and video image stabilizer malfunctions. Currently I don’t have enough finances to buy the next gen DSLR. So I make do with a wounded camera…
Well, half the time, I don’t even carry it.. because that’s not my work! My work is Priesthood, and as a Magical /Pagan events Organiser and Teacher. I can’t organise an event, take care of all the related matters, and support, nurture and empower the people ..attendees.. if am clutching on to a camera. So moments come and go..and others capture it.. and sometimes I take out my mobile phone and catch a part of it. (well, effectively, I conjure the Event and others capture it.. Put it the media way, I make the News and others report it!)
I say I don’t worry about this.. but writing this blog indicates that I do! In so much as if my artistry and creativity and Art directions are being used by other people, they should do the decent and honourable thing- of either paying me a proper fee – especially if they used such a shot and sold it to papers…and that got used by many news sites all over the world!
Sophie was just walking away when I called her to stand by that stone, to put her head on that stone, to not look at camera, but look at the Sun, and to close her eyes. That was my work…capturing a moment of my friend ..to give it back to my friend. But the thief who stole that over my shoulder has sold his shot, and earned some money off my creativity ..and my friend.
Does that seem right to you?
There are two upshots to this whole experience. 1. Sophie is feeling happy that her photos and her rune & glitter make up creativity – yes that’s her own magical creativity and her face ..is seen all over the world. (How long before she gets a modelling contract?! Yeah!) 2. I finally realise the value of my own Artistic talents…and it’s time I put my Photography services forward.
I’ll leave you with the exclusive shot of Sophie (test shoot) as an Antlered Goddess!!
A I am a Futurist, as well as a Past-tourist. And all these are material things..Stonehenge, Glastonbury Tor, St.Pauls, Machu Picchu, Temples in India, Mayan Pyramid etc etc.. They were all built by people.. People who also built houses, bridges and castles and cathedrals..
Preserving a scared-site-based-monument for the future..while preventing the present from having full access does not serve the future. If the energies at sacred sites are true.. then I like to believe those are `of the place’..and not of the objects placed on those places.. (am not forgetting that `invoking energies’ into an object repeatedly over time can instill a vortex of sacred energy into that object. States in Hindu temples are an example where I have actually witnessed this process!).
So even in their final crumbling moments the objects / monuments can still manifest some thing important & enlightening for all . And when they have gone to dust…(if the energies are true), something new and magical will still rise in their place.. People of the present might build new things.. And that too will be perfectly okay..
If one bunch of people/community can create something 5,000 yrs ago.. and it’s now seen & viewed as magical and sacred…. there is no reason in- my view- why another bunch of people in modern day can’t do the same..!
After all.. are we any less magical than those who lived and died 5,000, 10,000 or even 50,000 yrs ago? That is the real question under all this ..for me at least!
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.
Some years ago..after a visit to Stonehenge I was devastated by the rubbish & people standing on stones etc. My friends & I collected about 20 bags of rubbish ourselves that time.
I even went around so angry that I set about doing some `closing pentagrams’. Months later I realised the ego of my self.. and went again to do an open-pentagram at quarters. (for my own peace sake.if nothing else).
Am at a place in life right now..where ..while I do respect ancient things/ material things.. I also feel that none of it matters in a deeper sense of our spirituality. Mine is no longer so tied to material things..and I begin to see the magic that people add ..when they make much merriment at a place like this..
Preserving something that is falling apart by the passing of time amounts to a death/ decay cult..
Ancient man built whatever he / she could with whatever cutting edge technology he had; Great!!
Humankind has so much technology NOW to erect / build such magnificent monuments & temples… of OUR times.. yet all we see are giant skyscrapers.. NO NEW magnificent Temples.. What does it say about us? (0and a few thousand people pinning about stones that are past their fall-by-dates.. Those old decaying monuments are kept up by concrete & metal under it.. There is no undisturbed magical continuity. Modern technology has already permeated and polluted it .. ).
Sp I’d rather see mass merriment at stonehenge… let people experience it…let them drum, dance, smoke whatever, eat. let them enjoy it..
If the stones really are magical and powerful.. then they will do their magic on the people attending..and those people’s live be transformed..
And the stones will survive.. But if there is no magic in them… then they are just old artefacts..art pieces … magical husks.. What’s feeding them is the power of people who are dancing about them.. not the other way around..
So I say.. Let the stones fall.. grind to rubble and dust.. let stars and people burn and be ashes..
That is what every religion says.. They all say reaching God/ Goddess is more important than worshipping material things.. (and stonehenge is a material thing…magnificent..but still a material thing. The moss / lichen on it is not 100s of years old… it’s organic.. it’s new growth.. just like every bits of the human body regenerates every 3-5 months.. There ae no 50 year old cells in the body of a 50 year old human!)
Nothing lasts forever…nothing should.. Only Souls & Spirits matter 🙂
ps. I posted this `Note’ on my facebook wall and created a storm of a debate. I shall select a few responses (preserve the identity of postee) and share below under `comments’ in a day ..
Don’t get all hot up about this! It’s not some big political topic am starting to split the Country into some intense debate! 🙂 It’s just a fun thing..
Few days ago..following a link or trail on social media site, I came across an American Pagan group..What attracted my attention was their profile graphics.. a pentagram with the American flag design woven into it.. ! So I attempted to my own `British flag’ version..! Except, because of the symmetry (8 lines conversing at the centre..where as the centre is non-existent if I put a pentagram) it does not work the same way.
So here’s what I came up with.. It’s still work in progress..or not.. Am not that bothered to be honest.
What I have done is use a Hern image in the Star at the centre..(that comes from a photo I took at Windsor Great Park..some 10 years ago!)
So here it is..just for fun.. The Pagan Britain badge..! 🙂
The Sun’s entered the zodiac sign of Cancer.. 11.09pm GM on 20th June.. which is 00:09 hrs on 21st June (British Summer Time).
Happy Solstice wishes to all.
These pictures were taken last year, when I went to Stonehenge for Summer Solstice, with my wife April and close pal Marcus. What struck us was the sheer amount of rubbish people were throwing about.. which came to light..once the mass of crowds had greeted the Sun!
At the entrance, more or less each person is given a bin bag. And yet, out of the 20,000 or more people who turn up, probably about a handful of them actually keep the place tidy, and put rubbish in bin bags. For our part, April, Marcus & I went around picking rubbish and filling almost 20+ bags, along with the `hired help’ who were also beginning to tidy up after Sun-rise.
Beer cans, bits of food, crisp bags, cigarette buts, plastic bags, glass bottles, clothing items..gooey stuff…you name it..it was all there! How utterly disgusting!! We had no gloves, yet were doing our best.
What’s mind boggling is, for 363 of the days of the year, English Heritage keeps the stones off-limits to all people, except those who pay hundreds to hire it in the early hours or late hours – before or after tourist times- for small group personal ceremonies. No fires, incense, candles…not even flowers are allowed – lest they hard and erode the stones…in those private hires. Yet, at Summer and Winter Solstices, thousands of people turn up and totally and utterly ABUSE the stones.. from sanding on top to throwing disgusting and dangerous rubbish. And the rest of us – who hold Stonehenge sacred – just have to watch in horror and despair.
Free access to he stones is something people fight for – `It’s our right’ many say. But the English Heritage is trying to protect a `world heritage site’- that is thousands of years old. They oblige the campaigns of pressure groups, Druids, pagans and New Agers – and open it up in a limited basis. And thousands abuse and destroy the stones in that shot window.
I recall, few years ago, when I first saw the horror of the rubbish, and ill-treatment of the place, that I went around the 4 Quarters, and did a `banishing & closing’ energy work. I actually wanted Stonehenge to be closed for public. But the following year, I felt the errors of my despaired and angered emotions, and did a grounding (not that in between anything changed). I am now just neutral. Yes, the Stones have been here for thousands of years, and yes hey were sacred and people did magical and spiritual works there.. but perhaps they have had their time…and now Stonehenge wants to truly fall apart, rot and be gone – and so the stones have brought about this themselves? Yeah, I know…funny way of looking at it.. – The Stones want to commit Euthanasia.
I’ve been lucky – I’ve been to Stonehenge on a few private early morning gatherings – a wiccan coven ritual, a handfasting.. and so on. And I”ve been to the mass gatherings of winter solstice and a few summer solstices too.
Sometimes we can’t deal with impending loss – of elderly grandparents about to die, or sacred trees slowly dying, or stone circles – that are being ll treated and will fall very soon.. And when we feel that way, sometimes, we cut ourselves off those things that are dear to our hearts – it’s a way of self-preservation …for us!
And maybe I am going through that now..for the Stonehenge.
My best memory of it- in the middle of clearing all that rubbish, right in the midst of trampling drunken abusive condescending crowds, I saw a small bunny rabbit hiding right under the central (fallen) altar stone. I smiled, wished it well and safety..and went on. I know it would have stayed safe, and would have come out, once all the 20,000 of us have left!
Those stones will fall..and become rubble, dust to dust, and grass and bushes and moss will grow.. Nature will win!