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Thursday, February 22, 2024

1000’s collect at Stonehenge for annual ritual marking the summer time solstice

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LONDON — All hail the rising solar.

A seemingly curious alliance of druids, pagans, hippies, native residents, vacationers and costumed witches and wizards are gathering round a prehistoric stone circle on a plain in southern England to specific their devotion to the solar, or to have some communal enjoyable.

They are going to keep and have a good time at Stonehenge for the evening and greet dawn on Wednesday, which would be the longest day within the Northern Hemisphere.

Everywhere in the U.Okay., optimism will reign supreme as summer time formally begins. It is no coincidence that the close by Glastonbury Pageant, one of many world’s largest music occasions, opens its doorways on Wednesday, too. Each Stonehenge and Glastonbury supposedly lie on ley strains — mystical vitality connections throughout the U.Okay.

For the hundreds making the pilgrimage to Stonehenge, roughly 80 miles (128 kilometers) southwest of London, it’s greater than wanting ahead to Elton John at Glastonbury or a number of ciders within the solar.

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For druids, modern-day spiritualists linked to the traditional Celtic spiritual order, Stonehenge has a centuries-long significance, and they are going to be there to carry out daybreak rituals across the solstice of their conventional white robes. It is successfully all concerning the cycle of life, of dying and rebirth.

This 12 months, the summer time solstice at Stonehenge goes from 7 p.m. Tuesday by way of 8 a.m. Wednesday. For this one evening, worshippers are allowed to spend the evening contained in the stone circle. Others chant or play their acoustic guitars. Alcohol is prohibited, as are sound programs. Carry a blanket, however no sleeping baggage, please. And undoubtedly, no climbing on the stones.

The foundations have been tightened over the a long time, actually throughout the coronavirus pandemic. Again within the less-restrained previous, tens of hundreds would journey by foot, automobile, bus or bike to worship on the photo voltaic temple, or simply have a little bit of enjoyable.

It’s a image of British tradition and historical past and stays one of many nation’s largest vacationer attracts, regardless of the seemingly everlasting site visitors jams on the close by A303 freeway, a well-liked route for motorists touring to and from the southwest of England.

Stonehenge, one of many world’s most well-known prehistoric monuments and a World Heritage Website, was constructed on the flat lands of Salisbury Plain in phases beginning 5,000 years in the past, with the distinctive stone circle erected within the late Neolithic interval about 2,500 B.C. A few of the stones, the so-called bluestones, are identified to have come from the Preseli Hills in southwest Wales, almost 150 miles (240 kilometers) away, however the origins of others stay a thriller.

The positioning’s that means has been the topic of vigorous debate, with some theories seemingly extra outlandish, if not alien, than others.

English Heritage, a charity that manages tons of of historic websites, notes a number of explanations — from Stonehenge being a coronation place for Danish kings, a druid temple, a cult middle for therapeutic, or an astronomical laptop for predicting eclipses and photo voltaic occasions.

The charity mentioned essentially the most typically accepted interpretation “is that of a prehistoric temple aligned with the actions of the solar.”

In spite of everything, the stones match completely with the solar at each the summer time and winter solstices. On the summer time solstice, the solar rises behind the Heel Stone within the northeast a part of the horizon and its first rays shine into the center of the stone circle. When the sky is obvious, these rays are a triumphant spectacle to behold.

However, let’s be sincere, that is not at all times the case throughout the British summer time. After weeks of dry and sunny climate, the forecast for Tuesday evening and Wednesday morning is a bit iffy.

It is time to pray to the solar king.

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