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Friday, 20 June 2014

A Midsummer Night's Delusion

Living encased in glass and concrete, basking in the TV's glow, we can be detached from the cycles of life, the way nature works, where our food comes from. We are disconnected from things that really matter. So there's some depth and sense in the neo-pagan views of nature and the seasons.

Which this article completely fails to convey.

 "A big part of the Druid thinking is there's this cycle called the year, which fundamentally affects everything we do..."

To be fair, a lot of others have this cycle called the year. And even people in cities notice they can drink outside later in the summer, and have to wear coats in winter.

"Summer solstice is when the sun is at its highest point and the longest day of the year. Winter solstice is the opposite – marking the shortest day and the sun being at its lowest on the horizon."

Not exactly. The sun is actually at its lowest on the horizon twice a day - at sunrise and sunset. Unless this chap has his horizon specially lowered at Yule.

"When you do it at Stonehenge, you're in the same place for the same reasons as people 5,000 years ago – in a place they marked out as special that they picked out to meet up and do these observances."

Since the original Beaker Folk left no writings, we actually don't know why or what they did. They could have used that day for  throwing eggs, for burials, for having a giant Moot, for slaughtering dragons and then burning the remains thoroughly so as to leave no traces for future archaeologists. Maybe they were holding giant courts and sentencing murderers to death. We've really no idea. One theory holds, in any case, that Stonehenge was only for midwinter, in which case nobody was there in the summer. We don't know, in short, if their reasons were the same as ours.

And oh, how they danced

It all ends quite nicely, with them surrounded by the power of the sun, gods (why no goddesses?), fairy folk etc. But it gives me pause for thought.

Here we have a restoration religious movement - imaginative, creative, devout  - harking back through the millennia to a more natural, more original religion.

While all around us, Christian churches in attempting (and failing) to be contemporary and relevant, chuck out the old in favour of the modern, the shiny-new, the - when all is said and done - transient.

Well, it makes  you think, dunnit? Who's the ones making it up as they go along, and who's the ones trying - however speculatively - to stay in touch with the source?

See you at sunset.....

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