070623.Stonehenge, The Devout, Conventional, and Worldly Hengers

June 23, 2007 at 11:18 PM | Posted in Actors in Period Costumes, Architecture, Chisel Marks, Gardens & Parks, Monuments and Memorials, Overcast, people, Ruins, Salisbury, Sculpture, Wiltshire | 7 Comments

Stonehenge Solstice 3/3: [One], [Two], [Three]

So who was there?

It’s hard for me to break down and categorize the individuals at the Hedge, due in large part to the vast diversity present. I’ll rely on my old undergraduate dissertation crutch and conform the myriad of groups into three relatively irrelevant entities: the devout (authentic Druids, New Age-inspired magicians, and the heavily intoxicated, most reverend at these events), the conventionally pious (LARPers, Aging Hippies), and the worldly (flat-out tourists). Since I’ve been out of the liberal arts loop for over a year, my classifications are not up to snuff. For the official, if now outdated, list of terms, check out the various joke guides that all play on the pseudo-scientific classification of subgroups [1] [2] [3], but I’m just breaking down the groups to decide the order to post my photos.

First, a brief word that the “stewards” of Stonehenge, the security detail there that searched bags at the entrance and confiscated any glass bottles really controlled events brilliantly. The only serious incidents that occurred resulted from people accidentally falling from stones and suffering mild concussions. They were all quickly attended to. From my vantage point toward sunrise, I saw the security detail go into overtime and escort numerous people out for various infractions, including perching on higher stones….
Unfortunately, there were many people dressed like stewards who were not in fact stewards or had anything to do with security.
There didn’t appear to be any serious theft at the site, personal property was reasonably secure and there were few, if any, altercations between individuals.

The Devout
Overheard Conversation from this Idio:
“This is a once in a thousand years event! (Even though it’s every year…)”

-Druids [see previous post]
-Possible Druids/ New Agers/ Grieving Family Members Illegally Disposing of Human Remains. Not sure what type of ashes these women were scattering over the crowd, but they got them on hundreds of people, and then proceeded to sprinkle them on the rocks too.
070621.054.WI.Stonehenge
-Musicians in the Sacrificial Mosh Pit
-Industrious People on our former rock who raised a crystal rod to try to catch the sunbeams…sadly, there was no sun.
070621.060.WI.Stonehenge
-the Disabled, this might be a bit un-PC to single them out, but I was shocked and impressed at the number of people there in wheelchairs and with walkers at the site. These people were camping out like the rest of us and I saw them touching the stones, making me wonder if they made this pilgrimage expecting something. That’s intense, especially because I often mistaked their walking canes and gray hair for cheesy wizard costumes.
-Long Distance Tourists/ and the extreme version: long distance tourist families.
-Witches burning basil/other herbs and shoving it into natural holes in the stones. Is it legal? This is a Grade I Ancient Monument – defacing it is a criminal offense.
070620.481.WI.Stonehenge070621.066.WI.Stonehenge

The Conventional
Overheard Conversation from this Idio:
“So what do you think? Yeah, I guess it’s cool, kinda like a rave without electric.”

 

 

-Those surrounding the musicians in the Mosh Pit who cheered and snapped their fingers like they were at a lame poetry reading. I don’t know what they should have been doing, I was nearby and trying to sleep…
-Photographers going to the extra length standing on others shoulders, climbing the large post sarcens for the excellent picture while risking expulsion, bringing your own tripod… (I saw others who climbed great heights just to drink…maybe that’s in devout category, but it’s also stupid, should have brought a camera up there…)
070621.046.WI.Stonehenge070620.486.WI.Stonehenge
070620.456.WI.Salisbury -Artists of various sorts, their paintings and other work might not be spectacular but they can claim they did it from life and up close.
-Families: it takes guts to allow your kids to jump around on crowded slippery wet rocks over five feet high, while among the craziest members of society.
-Roving bands of costumed musicians, or simply the processional possessed.
-Political Message Mongerers, a***oles who brought banners to unfurl in the center of the Hedge at sunrise….they didn’t make it to the core, I think they were driven out in fact. “Save [Something]…” No idea what there message was since it was too packed.
-Stay still, you have Merlin on your neck! The beard here was real. It’s debatable if full beards and pointy hats should be added to the devout, I doubt that he grew it to fit in with this crowd…

The Worldly
Overheard Conversation from this Idio:
“Could all of you just bend your necks to the right, I NEED this photo…”

-Casual photographers, I can’t stand seeing so many people taking pictures with their cell phones. This ticks me off. They’ll claim they don’t have the cash to get a real camera, but then they’ll spend the rest of the day calling international talking about trivial things. These are people who need to have cell phones with them at all time, they need to be in touch at all time. Where’s the fun in camping out at the Henge and not being isolated from modern society. The photos is not going to come out, either, so why do they try?
070621.067.WI.Stonehenge
-Posers, tourists who posed near the costumed folks…like this guy next to a warlock with a dead ferret on a stick.
070621.068.WI.Stonehenge
-Tourists more interested in getting a group photo up close than with anything substantial in the background. A photo isn’t a photo unless it has a good structure somewhere in it. Why don’t these people wrestle back in their suburban homes?
070620.509.WI.Salisbury -There’s nothing better than having reserved great spots and then contently sleeping through sunrise while occupying triple the ground area needed. It was so packed with people trying to get this close, that no one woke any of the multiple sleeping couples up out of spite for the space they continued to take. Who suffered there?
070621.059.WI.Stonehenge
-People who quit the wait around the stones for the allure of the charcoal fire (no questions on how I have a photo of said fire.)

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  1. […] 070622.Stonehenge, Druid Woodstock From Dusk Till Dawn June 22, 2007 at 11:19 pm | In Salisbury, Wiltshire, Actors in Period Costumes, Chisel Marks, Pilgrimage, Gardens & Parks, Architecture, hippies, Sculpture, Supernatural, people | Stonehenge Solstice 2/3: [One], [Two], [Three] […]

  2. It sounds like a remarkable experience, and one I don’t think I’ll ever partake in, thanks to your expose. I’m on dialup at home, and it takes longer for your site than any other I visit, for some reason. And this time in particular dialup is not happy with your photos. I’ll try to get back and check them all out at work next week.

  3. LOVE the pics and all your adventures at the Henge. Hope I get to see it one of these days, though I doubt I’ll be so fortunate to see it at solstice…

  4. p.s. – It’s interesting that people can touch and walk around (and on?) the rocks. You’d think they’d have the whole thing roped off by now.

  5. Ruth, sorry, I’ve been meaning to limit the site view to five posts…and the photos….I need to excercise some self-control.

    Steve, They do! But for the Solstice they let people wander around….
    If you want to go on non-solstice and walk about the rocks, go to Avesbury….(not as cool tho, but still a World Heritage site!)

  6. I’m still fascinated. Again- thanks for sharing.

    …GEEZ that sounds trite.

    But seriously- your writing (despite being “out of the liberal arts loop for [over???] a year”) is excellent, and it’s a unique and coveted experience.

    (I’ll even forgive the fact that even individual posts [forget your homepage] take forever to load. Nyah.)

  7. Well those that live in the area find this sort of activity quite a laugth – you always come on mass on the one day of the year that it is cloudy and raining; you do not ssem to visit on the other season festivals though the calander that you catholics go on do not cowenside with the waining of the moon! – Yes there is Avesbury but please leave this to those that care for the environment and do not leave the site with litter and the flowers and mosses intact! – Thanks for the pictures I am glad that I was not there!


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