Traveling with Purpose: Stonehenge
“Stonehenge is still here to remind us to be grounded and present, to use the past as information and not a place to emotionally revisit over and over again.”
I have an obsession with this ring of stones. I’ve been there four times, two times at sunset and two times at sunrise. Each time holds its own unique magic and experience. Before I get into how amazing this place is let me share with you how this journey began with me. For as long as I can remember I dreamed of this stone circle, even before I knew of its existence. My Father likes to tell the story of how one morning when I was four or five years old (he can’t remember), I sat down at the breakfast table, grabbed a piece of toast and promptly said to him “I dreamed about a stone circle last night, big tall stones with hats and they live across the ocean on an Island!”My Father, being the man he is, smiled and said, “well, that must have been something to see.” We chatted about the stones some more and the day went on as usual. This scene played out several more times over the years until finally my Father got down the Encyclopedia – opened up to a picture –- to Stonehenge and asked me if this is the circle with hats I keep dreaming about. I nodded and read the description: “Stonehenge is a prehistoric monument located in Wiltshire, England, about 2 miles (3 km) west of Amesbury and 8 miles (13 km) north of Salisbury.” – I looked at my Father and said, “I am going there one day”.
Many people ask how many stones make up the actual circle. The consensus is there are five Sarsen Trilithons which gives fifteen large Sarsen stones. The outer ring of Sarsens was planned to contain thirty uprights and thirty lintels, so that is 75 worked Sarsens in total. There are four Sarsens outside the center: two Station Stones, the Slaughter Stone, and the Heel Stone. There are stone holes for other stones matching these, another two station stones, a matching Slaughter Stone, and a paired hole to the Heel Stone. There is the Altar Stone, origin unknown, and many bluestones and bluestone holes. There are 29 bluestones that are still visible, but the original number is estimated to be around 80. They have been shuffled around the holes so it is hard to be sure, but it is a reasonable estimate. So, Stonehenge may have had up to 165 stones originally.
Over the years, I read and studied and discovered that this circle is astrologically aligned to the Solstice, Equinox, and Lunar cycles. The more I read the more I felt a pull to go – so one year a friend and I went with a travel group to Glastonbury – we chose this group specifically because they promised we could have an hour to ourselves inside the circle. I remember as we drove from the airport – all of us asleep on the bus exhausted from travel, then suddenly we all were awake all at the same time. This “waking up” happened as soon as the tour bus came near Stonehenge. You could feel the energy so intensely – I remember 22 faces pressed against the glass in awe and wonder.
A few days later when the tour made its way to Stonehenge it was after dinner – we had a sunset time slot. Today motorways run next to the stones and I was wondering would that take away from the experience – the noise and traffic. As you approach these magnificent stones – you notice that the traffic noise starts to disappear, in fact, it seems to be the entire motorway simply veiled itself as you got closer to the stones. Everyone’s experience is different. For me, I started to hear deep male voices chanting in harmony. Black birds started coming, sitting on the top of the stones as the group approached, the voices got louder, and all the hair on my arms and neck started to stand up. The chanting I heard made me breathe in rhythm with what I was hearing, walking in tempo.
The circle draws you in – you feel like you are coming into a spiral of energy as it pulls you closer. Peaceful and Powerful are the two words that came to me. The energy is intense, but if you simply get into the flow. It’s an incredible adventure. I think if my cat had been allowed to go with me she would have found a nice place right in the middle of the stones, rolled around in the grass, maybe have a conversation with the Druids, chase the Fairies and then settle in for a nice long nap on one of the fallen rocks, heated in the sunshine.
Although there are several theories about its origins – truth be told no one truly knows and maybe that mystery is the greatest gift the stones give us. Stonehenge, to me, is a place for respite and healing. Stonehenge is still here to remind us to be grounded and present, to use the past as information and not a place to emotionally revisit over and over again. These stones are the gateway to anything you want to imagine them to be. Take the journey.