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A Winter Solstice celebration is to be held at which  The Ancestor will be receiving his new winter crown and decorations for the festive period….  Could it be the start of something significant?

Few would disagree that when he was set up at Stonehenge for the summer solstice The Ancestor was a marvelously apt symbol, a powerful expression of everyone’s feelings towards sunrise, particularly at the solstices. But clearly he can’t be shipped to Stonehenge twice a year so is there not an opportunity here? 

Everyone knows that vast gatherings at Stonehenge, particularly at summer solstices, pose major logistical, conservation and financial problems for English Heritage, ones that they will be finding increasingly difficult to cope with in the face of the cuts. The pagan community are acutely aware of this and also that the difficulties aren’t caused by them but by others attracted to the event without adequate appreciation of the need to respect the monument.

 So here’s a possible solution:

Suppose the main summer solstice celebration centred not on Stonehenge but elsewhere, around The Ancestor? Could this not take much of the pressure off Stonehenge and perhaps allow a smaller-scale, more seemly gathering at the stones, to the advantage of both pagans and the authorities?

Not that the alternative celebration need be any less valid. As well as The Ancestor there might be the opportunity to erect heel stones at the venue so more people could see the symbolism of the sunrise more accurately – after all, modern pagans are Neo Pagans are they not? Why shouldn’t they (and all of us) have a way to celebrate modern sunrises properly, not long-gone ones inaccurately? 

Who would pay? Well, presumably no-one would mind paying a pound or two at the gate since it wouldn’t be at Stonehenge and would be easily approached without a long cold hike. And the start-up costs? How about asking English Heritage if they’d mind paying that out of the savings they’d make out of not having to run the event at Stonehenge!? Seems like it would be a very good deal for them, the taxpayer, Stonehenge and all pagans.

So there’s the suggestion. Discuss! Could the Solstice be better celebrated by everyone? And could The Ancestor be made into the permanent and universally admired face of modern paganism?


December 2010

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