Sacred Sites: Stonehenge and Avebury

I had a very special day, with a delightful group of people, exploring some of the sacred sites in Wiltshire.  We walked in the footsteps of our ancestors, following the paths they trod , thinking about their rituals and knowledge of the earth, the sun and the moon, the seasons and the cycles of them all.  The trip was planned to be close to the Autumn Equinox, a time when day and night are equal in length.  We talked about the concept of setting intentions, of letting go of that which no longer serves us, to make space for new ideas and ways of being.

Equinox Affirmation

Light both a white and a black candle, and repeat:

A balance of night and day, a balance of light and dark

Tonight I seek balance in my life as it is found in the Universe.

A black candle for darkness and pain and things I can let go from my life.

A white candle for the light, and for joy and all the abundance I wish to bring forth.

At the time of the equinox, there is harmony and balance in the Universe, and so there shall be in our lives.

We started at Stonehenge, which is one of the most spiritually powerful places on the earth.  We were very lucky to be granted permission to go in amongst the ancient stones.  Only 30 people were allowed to go so I felt very lucky to be included. We arrived before sunrise and walked around this ancient monument in silence, many of us barefoot, feeling the energy and wisdom of the stone circle.

I opted to walk barefooted, to ground myself and connect to the earth.

IMG_1359I sat quietly and watched the sunrise.

We were not allowed to touch the stones but were able to go very close and walk amongst them.  IMG_1368IMG_1350IMG_1352I can see a face in this one and later in the day, many others too.IMG_1381Clare led us in a Pawnee, a dance of life.  The pawnee is a cleansing dance to help us cast away and release that which weighs us down and holds us back and to reconnect us to the cycles of life to keep energy move healthily through us.

We had time to meditate and contemplate our intentions.IMG_1382Before we left we sang a song called The Earth is our Mother

IMG_1384Sunrise was very special in this spiritual place.IMG_1383Towards the end of our visit, rain started in the distance but it was sunny at Stonehenge which meant we experienced a rainbow which was very special.IMG_1386IMG_1390That was awesome.IMG_1396We headed back to the hostel we had stayed in the previous night for a hearty breakfast.IMG_1397Our next stop was Woodhenge, a Neolithic site close to Stonehenge. It was probably built about 2300 BC and it was originally believed to be the remains of a large burial mound.  The site of each wooden post has been marked by short concrete posts.IMG_1399We walked to the centre of Woodhenge and as we returned to the edge, we scattered seeds, to feed birds, animals, the land and our intentions.IMG_1401We stopped at The Sanctuary where we lit 2 candles, a pilgrimage flame in honour of our ancestors that walked before us from the Sanctuary down West Kennet Avenue towards Avebury.

I have never been to Avebury before and now I have been, I will go back.  I absolutely loved it. Avebury contains the largest stone circle in Britain – originally of about 100 stones – which in turn encloses two smaller stone circles.  Avebury was built between 2850 BC and 2200 BC.  Avebury is part of an extraordinary set of Neolithic and Bronze Age ceremonial sites that formed a vast sacred landscape.

You are not allowed to touch the stones at Stonehenge but you can at Avebury.  So can the sheep!

We walked to the wishing tree, where we sat among the roots to root our intentions and tie our hopes and dreams to its branches with ribbon offerings.

Then we waked along to the portal.  Clare and Debbie lit sage and smudged us as we walked through the portal,  to release any final tethers and obstacles.  I had an intense experience here and was very aware of the energy of this incredible place.

IMG_1435IMG_1432I see a huge face in this stone and felt compelled to stand very close, touch and lean against this stone.IMG_1436

After all that it was time for lunch in Avebury and a much needed sit down and rest.

Plus a little bit of shopping.  IMG_1440I bought a book about Avebury as I want to learn more about it.  I also bought two stones; aren’t they beautiful?

After a sit down in the Autumn sunshine, we walked 2 miles to West Kennet Long Barrow, a neolithic burial mound.IMG_1451From West Kennet we had a good view of Silbury Hill, which was man-made, thousands of years ago.IMG_1458As well as being a place to bury the dead, Long barrows also embodied meanings for the living.  The barrow-form is thought to represent the human body.  Placing the dead in the different chambers in the barrow might have been seen as a symbolic way of returning people to the womb, thereby completing the cycle of life.  The long barrows may also have been territorial markers to identify communities and link the dead to the living.  It is also thought that the barrows were opened at auspicious times of the year, when the boundaries between the worlds of the living and the dead were understood to be at their most permeable – to work with and honour the energy of the ancestors.IMG_1453IMG_1456IMG_1455You are able to walk in to the barrow.IMG_1457IMG_1459IMG_1460Once we were all seated in the centre, Mike led us all on a shamanic journey to invoke Dragon Heart energy, to focus on our intentions and plant our dream seeds.  We ended by extinguishing the flame we carried all this way (thank you Ross and others who carried the heavy lantern), chanting/singing together and responding to the immense energy within the barrow.

We walked back to Avebury and it was time to end our wonderful experience together.  I had an amazing experience with a wonderful and interesting group of people.  Huge thanks to Clare, Debbie and Mike for teaching and guiding us through the sacred sites.  Thank you to everyone for making it such a special event and for all your interesting conversations.  In addition, thank you to Jo for joining me on the driving parts of the journey, thank you to Jilly for the insights in to gluten and the thyroid connection and thank you to Mary-Jane for tapping me through the field of bulls.  I hope to meet you all again at another experience in the future.

The day was organised by Clare and Debbie and you can find out about their next events at:

http://www.yogaholidaysandretreats.com/home

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

About Lose Weight and Gain Health

Hi! My name is Zoe and I live in Hastings, East Sussex, with my son Harvey and dog, Milton. I have been fighting the fat for years but this time I am serious. I want to lose weight and gain health. This blog is about how I am changing my lifestyle so I can lose weight but not by just "being on a diet" but by making small changes to our lives so that as I lose weight, I gain health. I want my family to be healthy too and never have to struggle with their weight like I have. In common with many large people, I have gained and lost weight many times over the years. This time, I want to lose it and maintain a healthy low weight. I am interested in eating food that is nutrient dense and delicious and that appeals to children and adults. I do not eat animal products so follow a vegan diet. I try to use locally produced food supplemented with what I can grow myself. I support and try to use local farmers markets and farm shops. Another objective is to add more exercise to our days. It sounds so simple when I write it down :-)
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