The oft repeated quote ‘History repeats itself, first as tragedy, second as farce’ generally attributed to Karl Marx, may well have been the original antecedent to that likewise attributed to George Santayana, “Those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it.” Which, according to some sources at least, originally read ‘Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.’move in contemporary Pagan circles, in particular those of a Druidical persuasion, the clear disunity that appears to manifest itself constantly in relation to matters such as whether or not to accept having to pay money to English Heritage to use the car park in order to attend the Solstice Celebrations at Winter and Summer Solstice, is something that appears to those of us who attempt to remain impartial in such situations to be reminiscent of some of the ancient feuds recounted by the Ninth Century chronicler Nennius: whose ‘Annales Cambriae’, or Welsh Annals, is itself one of the most important primary sources for scholars interested in the Arthurian Period. Among its pages is evidence that the real reason for the British collapse that ultimately led to the foundation of the Early English Kingdoms in Northumbria, Wessex, Mercia and elsewhere, was the fact that the native Britons were so preoccupied with fighting amongst themselves that they failed to contain the Anglian and Saxon invaders to whom much of their strife ridden patrimony ultimately fell.
As well as some of the earliest references to the historical, as opposed to the mythological King Arthur, who are, to all intents and purposes completely different people, the ‘Annales Cambriae‘ contain much detailed information about the Sixth Century North British Chieftain Urien of Rheged and his campaigns against the English of Bernicia; during the course of which, in the words of this near contemporary commentator, he was assassinated by one of his supposed allies on account of his superior skill in military leadership and tactics. Whether the assassination is in a physical sense, as it clearly was with Urien of Rheged, or, as in the case of one of the foremost campaigners for free and open access to Stonehenge at certain key points in the Druidical Calendar, the back stabbing and the in fighting, now as then, are pretty much all one and the same.
Interestingly enough, at a far earlier juncture, as the Neolithic Period gradually began to give way to the Bronze Age via the so called ‘Copper Age’, Stonehenge itself appears to have been at the centre of what appear to have been a series of religious and cultural disputes which not only seriously impacted the architecture and layout of Stonehenge itself, but also that of nearby Durrington Walls; where a series of recent archaeological excavations have found evidence of a massive wooden structure described as an actual rival of Stonehenge of ‘gigantic proportions’. And, interestingly enough, not long after these apparent disputes appear to have taken place, another influx of people, in this instance the culture generally referred to as ‘The Beaker Folk‘, who colonized the Maritime Seaboard of Western Europe from an original cultural heartland possibly located in what is now modern Portugal.
Whilst all this was happening the nearby Stone Circle at Avebury was also undergoing extensive realignment and changes in its overall design, which is perhaps indicative of the first stirrings of the gradual change of religious ritual practices from those previously adhered to in the Age of Taurus to those which were to prevail during the Age of Aries. Michael Dames in his two books ‘The Avebury Cycle’ and ‘The Silbury Treasure’, originally published by Thames and Hudson some forty years ago, was one of the principal exponents of the theory that Avebury and Silbury were part of a vast ritual landscape originally dedicated to the worship of aspects of the primordial Mother Goddess by the Stone Age peoples of Britain. An idea that was in sharp contrast to that of his seventeenth and eighteenth century predecessors, the Antiquarian William Stukeley and the Royal Topographer John Aubrey. Both believed a local tradition that Silbury in particular was the burial place of an Ancient British King named Sil or Zeal; a legend likewise referred to in the writings of the Stuart diarist, Samuel Pepys.
Vintage Photograph of Silbury Hill with inset diagram of Meridian Sections of the Prehistoric Monument.
Thus, the original goddess to whom this ancient ritual landscape was itself formerly dedicated, who manifests in legend as Sul, the patron deity of what was later to become the Roman settlement of Aquae Sulis, or Bath, a one time ritual centre of her people, the Silures of Avon and South Wales, was to be superseded by Aubrey and Stukeley’s King Sil. The new Solar religion of the Martial Age of Aries having succeeded that of the Lunar goddess worship of the Venusian Taurean Age that had preceded it. Proof of this can be found at nearby Woodhenge, a site associated by John Michell and Robin Heath in their book ‘The Measure of Albion’ (Bluestone Press 2004) with a landscape alignment to St. Michael’s Chapel on Gare Hill some twenty four Greek Miles or 20.4 Statute Miles away. Gare Hill in turn is located on an alignment that runs directly from Glastonbury to Stonehenge, and was undoubtedly a major spiritual centre long before the construction of the Mediaeval Chapel of Ease that stood there before the present, now deconsecrated, ecclesiastical structure was built.
So, on the basis of this evidence it is safe to conclude that the Druidical religion that was to dominate the Age of Aries in Britain, and which appears to have been based almost entirely on a system of poetical Triads, in terms of its esoteric oral literature at least, as well as its eight fold ritual calendar year, seems to have evolved into its highest ceremonial form in the wake of this apparent realignment of all of these sacred sites. Three and eight are both multiples of twenty four, and the Ancient Numerical Canon employed by Plato in his writings on the Mystical Dimensions of the Perfect City, which forms the basis for measurements such as the Greek Mile, has been demonstrated by Michell in his ‘City of Revelation’ and elsewhere to have have been intrinsically linked to the dimensions of Stonehenge ‘and of the whole World as therein symbolized’.
The lesson to be learned here is that the attempts by English Heritage to systematically interfere with the geomantic resonance of Stonehenge, by the creation of the Visitors’ Centre and the digging of the much publicized tunnel, are part of an attempt to transform what is to all intents and purposes a spiritual temple into a temple to mammon. And, whilst everyone is fighting and squabbling about whether or not to pay to use a car park this entire process is likely to continue unchallenged.