Friday, June 19, 2009

Unmanned Drones At Stonehenge Solstice Celebration

Summer Solstice (Litha) occurs here in the nation's capital at 1:45 am on Sunday, June 21st. Litha is one of my favorite holidays and one that, I admit, makes me a bit "homesick" for a place I've never been. Long before I knew that I was a witch, the Summer Solstice was firmly associated in my mind with Stonehenge. Pillar of the Sky, which I read in my twenties, is still one of my favorite books. I am sad to see how England plans to police this year's Stonehenge celebration.

A big police operation involving an unmanned drone, horses and drugs sniffer dogs will be launched at Stonehenge tomorrow as huge crowds descend on the ancient site for the summer solstice.

Because the celebrations fall over the weekend and fine weather is predicted, bigger crowds than usual are expected and Wiltshire police have said they will clamp down heavily on antisocial behaviour.

Restrictions are being placed on the amount of alcohol revellers can bring in and police have said they will not tolerate illegal drug taking or unlawful raves.

The force's no-nonsense approach, after a more relaxed feel in recent years, has raised fears that there could be clashes.

Some peace-loving druids have told the Guardian that they will be staying away because they fear the combination of large crowds - possibly more than 30,000 ‑ and the police's stance could lead to trouble.

Can you imagine any religious group other than Pagans that the British government would dare to police on a high holiday with unmanned drones, for the love of the Goddess?

The local police don't have a great history of dealing with those coming to Stonehenge.

Picture found here.


Saje said...

Last year my husband and I got married on the solstice and went to Great Britain for our honeymoon. We were fortunate enough to arrange to be a part of the Druidic gathering inside Stonehenge with the The Gorsedd of Bards of Cor Gawr at dawn on the 24th of June as they celebrated Lithe. It was an incredible experience with fewer than 50 people in attendance and now one of my most precious memories. When we were there though we spoke to several of the locals who had been present during the open celebration on the 21st and were dismayed to learn that they thought it was disgraceful how disrespectful the majority of those attending had been that night. Apparently the numbers were exactly as you have quoted in your post - about 30,000 - and with no one to keep some semblance of order many individuals were climbing all over the tops of the stones, stomping through the grounds with no regard for what they were doing to the vegetation or soil, and even trying to chip off bits of the monument or scrounge rocks from the ground to take home a souvenier. Personally, I was appalled were I heard these tales. I believe that many of the people who attend the solstice gathering at Stonehenge are there for the right reasons, but it sounds like many more have begun making the journey to this famous megalith with the mindset that it is no more than a rave set within the circle of those ancient pillars. For this reason, I actually understand the policing of the event - not as a mechanism with which to keep pagans in line, but as a way to preserve the historical site that lives so fully in so many of our hearts.

Apuleius Platonicus said...

"Can you imagine any religious group other than Pagans that the British government would dare to police on a high holiday with unmanned drones, for the love of the Goddess?"


When the Pope travels people turn out by the hundreds of thousands, and every government on earth falls over themselves accommodating them, and the media fall all over themselves glorifying it.

Apuleius Platonicus said...

This is just so mind boggling. DRONES?!?!?!?

Who do they think we are, anyway? Palestinians???

mark said...

i saw the unmanned drones, not like ordinary helicopters they looked like the flying saucers from WWII testing but with four sets of blades, (quadrocopters) as I was leaving I also saw a hologram of fire being projected in the distance maybe to symbalize burning chariots of fire. Anyone knows what this means from a biblical point of view? Armageddon?

Hecate said...


Litha is considered a fire festival holiday, so maybe that was the symbolism?

Chas S. Clifton said...

And then British Pagans are criticized by half-informed reporters for not doing it right.

But perhaps any publicity is good publicity?