Midsummer madness, all those weird people getting up at some ungodly hour to do what? Worship the Sun???! Totally crazy! Why would anyone want to do that? It’s just another day after all… isn’t it?How to explain this to you without raising the hackles of some and disengaging with others. Challenges, challenges! I think the picture explains it quite well, once you know the characters involved. Mainly it is the Holly King, the one who comes now to claim the day. The daylight begins to shorten in length now until the winter Solstice when the other guy, the Oak king comes back for a rematch.
A simple but effective metaphor for what is going on really. The sun today is at it’s highest point and so it must now begin to sink lower in the skies again, as the Earth/Wheel turns.
In times of Yore (great word, why don’t we use it more?) when things were a little simpler and we marked such events i.e. equinoxes and Solstices etc. They were marked for the simple reason it was important to know where you were in the Wheel of the Year.
The expectation of harvest begins, the preparation for storage of food, the celebration of the hard work to this point the rest and be thankful of the fulcrum of the year – on it’s longest day.
So, what’s with all these weird mad people in the 21st Century crowding round a few blocks of stone scattered here and there throughout Europe? Yes throughout Europe and indeed in other similar places globally. We even have a stone circle in Glasgow, at Sighthill.
For some who are Druids and Pagan (you can be a Druid and Pagan but not necessarily a Pagan and Druid. Pagan is an umbrella term, literal meaning is ‘Country dweller’ possibly why it was chosen to represent those who are Nature/Earth oriented). The stones at the Henge are special on all of these equinoxes / solstices because they mark the Sun’s journey throughout the year. Very big calendar! Important however, as with Aylesbury so many people in the very early pre-historic times travelled to these places to be together in community, celebrating, trading, joining together. Perhaps it was a good place to meet future partners. This is where things get a little sketchy.
Suffice to say, that those whose interest is belief based seek only to connect with the time and the space where all of this occurred and still does for them. The others who spoilt it for us all, making it almost impossible to get near inner circles (which may not be circles at all but spirals and the outer is a horseshoe…) were in a way appropriating a culture for their own selfish ends perhaps believing that anyone who was having a festival there would be up for getting off their faces, littering / trashing the space and jumping on relics. The National Trust supporters and local residents tarred everyone with the same brush and so it became a bone of contention.
People who mark these occasions and are having Nature led beliefs tend to be peaceful on the whole. Yes there are some ardent eco-warriors but there are warrior types in all politically charged events and arenas. Unfortunately a non-religious belief system is not acceptable to more orthodox religious Souls and it becomes political – it became political and then it became polarising. That is what dogma does.
Mayhap the next time you see something going on be it midsummer or midwinter, the vernal or autumnal equinox you could think a little differently – that people are marking the time they are in not the one that comes in 3 months – they are not going around Tesco in June looking for Winter bargains. They are a reminder of a simpler time, when we were present, aware and mindful of each other.
How bad can that be?