The role of ancient landscapes in mental health

UNITED KINGDOM — Modern celebrants have been convening at the ancient site of Stonehenge in Wiltshire for many years now: revivalist Druids of the early 20th century, hippies of the 1960s and 70s, New Age travelers and political activists, and modern Pagans have all gathered at the summer and winter solstices to hold free music festivals, conduct rituals, hold raves, and simply acknowledge the turning points of the year. The role of the site is ongoing and has a highly significant place in the practices of contemporary Pagans worldwide, but not just Pagans alone. As well as solstice rites and ongoing archaeological work, Stonehenge is now the focus for a wider new initiative: the Human Henge Project. Beginning in 2015, the Human Henge Project is a mental health initiative run by a number of organizations. These include the Restoration Trust, the Richmond Fellowship, English Heritage, and Bournemouth University.

Pagan Community Notes: Summer Festivals, COVR Awards, Pagan Families, and more!

Pagan Community Notes is a companion to my usual Pagan News of Note series, more focused on news originating from within the Pagan community. I want to reinforce the idea that what happens to and within our organizations, groups, and events is news, and news-worthy. My hope is that more individuals, especially those working within Pagan organizations, get into the habit of sharing their news with the world. So lets get started! Summer Festival Season Begins: This weekend the Pagan Summer festival season officially begins!

Tensions at the Stone Circles

The Western Daily Press reports on the tensions and difficulties of balancing the needs and desires of various groups at the world-famous Avebury henge and stone circle. While not as instantly famous as Stonehenge some twenty miles away, the site has become a popular alternative gathering point with Pagans, travelers, and tourists for solstice and equinox observances. The National Trust, which owns much of the village, has found itself caught in the middle of several different interest groups: English Heritage wants to preserve the stones, the council wants to keep roads open, the police want to stop anti-social behaviour, the pagans want to uphold their right to their religious observances and residents want the three-day ‘invasion’ kept to a minimum. For now local residents have decided to continue allowing limited camping near the site, not so much for selfless reasons, but because they are genuinely afraid of “significant problems” if they outright ban camping at the site. Many still recall with dread observances from 2005 and 2006 when disorder and chaos ruled the day and seek to avoid a repeat if they can.