If you’re fascinated by neopaganism and soul-voyages, the Summer Solstice in Stonehenge is the place to go, even if it’s a cloudy day.
The 2009 was an unfortunate Summer solstice in Stonehenge: during the few days when it's actually permitted to get close to the stones, the sun didn’t show up at its own party, despite a promising forecast, and cloudy weather. This didn't of course stop a huge crowd enjoying one of the most mystic moments of the calendar, when the sun takes its longest journey through the sky, due to Earth’s position .
Since 2000, when the ancient site was re-opened to the public, the Summer solstice - also known as midsummer – has attracted an increasing number of spectators, reaching a record this June - 36,500 people. Dave Batchelor, English Heritage’s Stonehenge-based archaeologist, said: “We got the maximum number we had planned for so the infrastructure was able to cope.”
Stonehenge is one the most important neolitic monuments in the world, and in 1986 was added to Unesco’s list of World Heritage Sites. In order to protect the site during the solstice parties, police planned a detailed operation, involving horses and sniffer dogs whilst the English Heritage Organization who manage the site, created strict conditions of entry. "No glass, large bags, fires or amplified music" were allowed admittance, and in a typically British style the rules stated that, “illegal drugs are still illegal at Stonehenge as they are anywhere else”.
The rules of course didn’t stop the multicoloured and eccentric crowd: druids in white robes held ceremonies in front of the stones (like King Arthur Pendragon, leader of the Druid Order of Loyal Arthurian Warbands); joined by priestesses; half-naked Papuan dancers waving their hands in the air, and a multitude of younger and older neo-pagan believers.
Stonehenge is in Wiltshire, England, 13 kilometers north-west of Salisbury. It's time to