Solstice  at Stonehenge

As a Blue Badge Tourist Guide, I often visit Stonehenge, the world’s most famous neolithic stone circle.  It is not only a tourist attraction but also it has been a sacred place for many for thousands of years.   If you want an authentic  cultural experience  visit around winter or summer solstices. My favourite time is the day after the solstice as it is less busy, and you can always find a druid order celebrating.

Who are the druids ?

Ancient druids came to the British Isles from the East, roughly about 500BC. They were purported to be knowledgeable in things like astrology, astronomy, and numbers.  They were widely believed to be doctors, physicians, teachers, adjudicators, judges and advisors to kings.

Grades of  Druidry

Bards trained in poetry, music, and storytelling. They memorised and told of a tribe’s history and lineage.

Ovates  who earnt about the magical properties of trees and plants, healing and esoteric mind work.

Druids  who were concerned ‘with the laws, adjudications, public speaking and ceremony.’

What is Druidry  about ?

Druidry is about spiritual welfare, psychology, and all sorts of esoteric knowledge. It is also  about honouring the seasons and paths of the planets. It is all about  living in harmony with and within nature.



Winter Solctice Celebration

Yule, or the Winter Solstice, is the longest night and shortest day of the week celebrates the movement of the planet, now at its farthest from the sun, but also a moment of rebirth with the coming of the new sun.

Winter and Sumer solstice celebrations by the druid orders begin at midnight at the barrows southwest of Stonehenge, continue with a dawn observance and ultimately hold a noon ceremony within the monument itself.

They enter the neolithic circle at the eastern entrance because the sun rises in the east, then  walk around the circle stamping the ground, making a magic circle.  There’s a meditation to the surroundings, getting in touch with the four elements; a call for peace; opening and later closing the quarters, east, south, west and north. ‘They invite the guardians – they believe there are spirits of the place .

Other places to celebrate solstices on the British isles are Avebury and Bryn Celli Ddu on Anglesey in Wales. All very different and authentic experiences.



by Ildi Pelikan

London & Wales Blue Badge Tourist Guide