A single recurring theme throughout this blog revolves around the connection between what the late great British social historian E.P. Thompson referred to as ‘Custom Law and Common Right’, in books such ‘Customs in Common‘, and the celebration of Ancient Festival Rights and Folk Moots. This year, the mainstream media, from the Sun, to the Mirror, to the Independent and RT, all covered the annual celebration of the Spring Equinox at Stonehenge. This widespread news coverage is perhaps indicative of a seismic shift in the collective consciousness, or rather collective unconscious; as most of those who read these publications are completely unaware of what these ancient rites actually symbolize; especially when it comes to the true historical and political significance of these traditional customs.
Of further significance, and indeed relevance, is that the link between these ancient festival rights and traditional English Folk Music and Dance is a key factor in how these ancient rights and traditions were passed on from generation to generation in the first place. A fact which is reflected in the eighteenth century writings of William Stukeley, whose some would say fanciful musings were to inspire Charles Hamilton Smith’s early artistic representation of the primordial antecedent of just such a festival actually taking place. All of this is all the more relevant when one considers that, shortly before this year’s Spring Equinox Stonehenge celebration was due to be enacted, at the Full Moon on March 12th, the self styled leader of the Loyal Arthurian Warband began to refer to Stonehenge by its legendary name of ‘The Giants Dance‘.
Stukeley in turn was picking up on clues which had been left in the often obscure writings of Mediaeval chroniclers such as Geoffrey of Monmouth; who first refers to the stone circle at Stonehenge as ‘The Giant’s Dance’ in the Twelfth Century. These traditions were likewise explored by the late Tony Roberts during the nineteen seventies and eighties. Roberts in turn, like his longstanding collaborator Mary Caine, was to make the connection between these self same traditions and the Glastonbury Zodiacal Circle; with its gigantic figures several miles across. In my film on ‘London’s Living Da Vinci Code’, and in a subsequent project, ‘Voices of Albion‘, I attempted to demonstrate how the steps of certain traditional English Folk Dances appear to reflect the turning of the Solar Year. Modern scientifically based Astro-Archaeological Research has proven beyond reasonable doubt that Stonehenge was principally constructed for the purpose of acting as a gigantic astronomical calendar. Thus, as I have previously attempted to show, the ancient mythology and folklore with which Stonehenge has traditionally been associated is linked to such known primordial astronomers as Merlin the Magician.
The Glastonbury Zodiac itself is believed to have been constructed in the image of the New Jerusalem of St. John the Divine. John Michell, in his ‘City of Revelation’, established Stonehenge as a mathematical manifestation of the same phenomenon, whilst his work on the Perpetual Choirs of Britain draws a direct comparison between Britain’s druidical monuments and Glastonbury Abbey. Writing on the Universal Canon of Measure, the hidden code of number and measurement that demonstrates the common origin of all higher ancient civilizations, which appear to have used a similar mathematical system in all of their architectural design, Michell shows how all mathematical knowledge appears to have proceeded from the same ultimate source. According to Bligh Bond, Glastonbury Abbey was laid out using a secret arcane mathematical code similar to the now world famous ‘Da Vinci Code‘ at the heart of the plot line in the novel by Dan Brown. Like artists such as Piero della Francesca, the prodigy of Borgo San Sepulcro, the builders of the Abbey are known to have incorporated a series of geometric designs into the Abbey’s layout and architecture; which were intended to reflect the Cosmological Divine Plan.
The idea of Glastonbury as an earthly manifestation of Heaven above was to draw Rutland Boughton to the town during the opening decades of the twentieth century. Here, this obscure left wing activist and modern classical composer was to found the first ever Glastonbury music festival, a long forgotten social and musical experiment; centred around Boughton’s equally experimental commune. Although the later popularization of Chalice Well and Glastonbury Tor by writers such as Geoffrey Ashe, whose popular best seller on the history of the area was to be a major influence on establishing many of the contemporary New Age communities and businesses in the town, it has been Michael Eavis’s music festival, which has included everyone from the ‘Boomtown Rats’ to ‘Coldplay’ in its annual line ups, above all, that has brought the Glastonbury Tradition into the media mainstream.
As I also attempted to show in my film on ‘London’s Living Da Vinci Code’, many of these customs seem in some way interconnected with the lost megalithic culture that preceded the coming of the Romans to Britain; and the indigenous Druidical paganism that inspired the eighteenth century Bardic Revival of Iolo Morgannwg. Thus, the recent decision by the self styled leader of the Loyal Arthurian War Band to henceforth refer to Stonehenge by its legendary name of the Giants’ Dance, not so very long after the appearance of a related article by myself and an interconnected blogpost on this thread, will perhaps serve to reinvoke these Ancient Bardic Rites in a far wider context than just the current seasonal rituals that have been enabled as a result of the albeit limited contemporary open access to Stonehenge.