WILTSHIRE, England – Arguably the UK’s most famous monument, Stonehenge has undergone a roller coaster century since it passed into public ownership in 1918. With a controversial new visitor centre and an even more controversial plan for the surrounding landscape, the henge is rarely out of South Western news at the moment. Let’s take an overview of the project to date. In 1915, a barrister named Cecil Chubb attended an auction in Salisbury, allegedly planning to bid for a pair of curtains. He came out of the auction with Stonehenge, having paid £6,600 for it (around £474K in sterling today).
Salisbury, UK. Stonehenge has been back in the news recently with the arrest of three pagan women who are said to have breached access restrictions to the sacred site. Maryam Halcrow and Angela Grace, identifying as witches, and Lisa Mead, identifying as a Druid, were found guilty of entering the site without reasonable excuse. All have received 6-month conditional discharges. Grace and Halcrow are from Swindon; Mead is from Aberdeenshire.
My suitcase is an antique, a big red leather monster. It doesn’t do anything that modern luggage is supposed to do. Suitcases today have wheels and collapsible handles, so that there’s no difference between carrying one change of pants or twenty. Mine doesn’t have that, and I kind of like it that way. Suitcases are meant to be picked up and carried, hefted with one’s own arms and back.
JERSEY, U.K. — Part of Pouquelaye de Faldouet, a 6,000-year-old Neolithic tomb on the Channel island of Jersey, has been fenced off without consulting local Pagans. The members of the Société Jersiaise, who own the site, say that the fencing is necessary in order to prevent further erosion. However, the island’s Pagan community have responded that this is an example of religious discrimination. The passage grave, which is five metres in length and leads into a series of circular chambers, is currently estimated to date back as far as 3250 to 4000 B.C.E. Excavations in 1839, 1868 and later in 1910 by the Société Jersiaise members revealed human bones belonging to both adults and children. One intact skeleton was found in a seated position.
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.