Monthly Archives: March 2017

Human Henge on BBC Points West

Watch the feature about Human Henge which appeared on BBC Points West’s evening program on Monday 27th March. 
It includes interviews by Rhiannon Fitzgerald of BBC West with participants Mel and Simon. Rhiannon also interviews our Director Laura Drysdale who manages Human Henge, Professor Tim Darvill, a renowned authority on Stonehenge as a place of healing.
 
The interviews are set in the world famous historic landscape of Stonehenge with the magnificent Stone Circle as a backdrop, and film of Cameroonian musician Alphonse Touna playing the balafon at King Barrows, courtesy of the National Trust.

Elemental Blessing – FAQs

What is an Elemental blessing?

The elemental blessing was created as part of a multi faith ritual, it is the very basic pagan ritual still used today at open meetings and groups. It is designed so non-pagans can participate without fear of offending their own religious beliefs.

What is a Pagan?

A somewhat vague term derived from the Latin word paganus. Pagan is a term which refers to a variety of different religions ranging from Wicca, to that of ancient Egypt and even Hinduism, among many others. Some Pagans are of no specific religion, but rather are eclectic. In general Pagan religions have more than one deity, or many gods, which are aspects of one (an idea similar to that of the Christian trinity). Another quite common feature of Pagan religions are that they tend to be nature oriented. Pagan can also be used as a derogatory word for any non-Judeo/Christian/Islamic religion.

What if I don’t want to take part?

Although it would be nice for all to be involved it is understandable not everyone would want to be involved so there is no need to explain, you can sit and watch from the outside, other activities may be available.

How long does an elemental blessing last?

Elemental blessing only last a few minutes in the case of this one around 10 mins,

Can I have a more involved participation?

Yes, there are 4 roles 3 still available “posh title -Keeper of the quarters servant of ‘element’ see 4 What happens during the blessing?

What happens during the blessing?

1 we form ourselves into a ring circle as the Priest /ess  gives an introduction / meditation of our journey
2 then a sing along with Yvette
3 the group holds hands as Priest /ess chants over the group to create a sacred working space.
4 (at each cardinal point N,S,E,W stands a keeper) first the keeper of the East walks and faces the Priest /ess words are exchanged and hands the keeper object to give to each person who bestows them on members of the circle returning to Priest /ess before returning to their place followed by  Fire, Water then Earth
5 The Priest /ess will draw the blessing to an end and we sing the closing song (Yvette)
6 the end

Keeper of the quarter’s servant of ‘element’

In an attempt to make this more inclusive the roll of Keeper of the quarters servant of ‘element’ has been included:-

Keeper of the quarter’s servant of ‘Air’ East
Keeper of the quarter’s servant of ‘Fire’ South
Keeper of the quarter’s servant of ‘Water’ West
Keeper of the quarter’s servant of ‘Earth’ – North –

Each keeper will in turn walk and face the Priest /ess and State clearly

Keeper –  I am the servant of <element name>
Priest /ess – How do you come?
Keeper – In perfect Love and Perfect trust.

The Priest /ess will had the Servant a symbol of that element (feathers for air, a lighter for fire not to be used in stones, a drink for water and stones for earth)

Starting to the left hand everyone a symbol to keep, once back in front of Priest /ess hand back any remaining symbols the Priest /ess will then hand you a symbol and you move back to you place in the circle.

Then the next element come forward and repeats.

The Elemental Blessing

Positions

Priest /ess stands North east

Keeper of the quarter’s servant of ‘Air’ East
Keeper of the quarter’s servant of ‘Fire’ South
Keeper of the quarter’s servant of ‘Water’ West
Keeper of the quarter’s servant of ‘Earth’ – North

Everyone else completes the circle.

Creating the Sacred Space.

Everyone holds hands as Priest /ess as he /she says :-

I call on AIR for speed.
FIRE to cleanse,
WATER to bless,
EARTH to manifest –
And spirit to seal

The circle is now closed and a sacred space has been created inside a sacred circle. We are so close to the spring equinox or Ostara a day of balance and new beginnings and as a reminder of balance what begins must end.

And this is our final session together and we all are moving on to new things some of our paths will cross again but what we have shared will remain with us for all time.

Song / chant hoof and horn

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Main Section

The keeper of Air will step forward and walk and face the Priest /ess and State clearly

Keeper –  I am the servant of <element name>
Priest /ess – How do you come?
Keeper – In perfect Love and Perfect trust.

While bestowing the gifts the Priest /ess will say :-

“We bring the blessings of AIR
May the air blow troubles from your door,
May each breath you take restore your health,
May a soft breeze blow through your mind and clear away any negativity,”

Air will step back and fire will step forward and face the Priest /ess and State clearly

Keeper –  I am the servant of <element name>
Priest /ess – How do you come?
Keeper – In perfect Love and Perfect trust.

While bestowing the gifts the Priest /ess will say :-

“bring you the blessings of FIRE.
In deepest darkness may you always find the light,
May all your negativities burn away
And may your passions and inspirations be ignited”

Fire will step back and water will step forward and face the Priest /ess and State clearly

Keeper –  I am the servant of <element name>
Priest /ess – How do you come?
Keeper – In perfect Love and Perfect trust.

While bestowing the gifts the Priest /ess will say :-

“We bring you the blessings of Water
May your body and mind be purified
May negative feeling wash away
And may your emotions be as pure as a crystal clear stream”

Water will step back and Earth will step forward and face the Priest /ess and State clearly

Keeper –  I am the servant of <element name>
Priest /ess – How do you come?
Keeper – In perfect Love and Perfect trust.

While bestowing the gifts the Priest /ess will say :-

“We I bring you the blessings of Earth
So you will always have a safe and stable place to stand,
May you have the strength of stone when difficulties arise,
May your hidden treasure shine so all may see how special you are.”

Earth will step back and the Priest says

Each of us are connect by the air we share, the water we drink, the sun that shines on us and the ground we walk not just each other, but the land its history and its future.

Take a moment to thinks of your journey of how we got here today

End

A closing chant will end the blessing

Chant is

May the circle be open but forever unbroken
May the love of the Goddess
Be ever in your heart
Merry meet,
And, merry part,
And merry meet again (min 3 rounds)

 

Authors Resource
Name Mr BPD
Website http://www.my-dark-lyrics.uk
About Author I have Borderline Personality Disorder and as a writer and poet I explore my madness through the creative arts. I have a personal belief that even in darkness light exists and it is a personal responsibility to always seek the light and I find the light in creating something.

Session 10: Spring Equinox

Merry Part, Merry Meet again

Our final session as a group and the one session that made all that walking, singing of the piggy pig dog song, the wind and the rain worth it. Although this course had many highlights and created wonderful memories the unique experience of having access to the stone circle will remain with me and I will assume everyone else also.

The day started at silly o’clock being that we needed to be at Stonehenge for 7:30am as we had access to the stones circle from 8am till 9pm. We arrived at the education centre and grabbed a coffee and prepared ourselves with a nice harmonising mantra lead by Yvette.

We then jumped on the bus to the stones, Professor Tim Darvill was our guide he lead us to the Heal stone and removed the barrier, and let us on to the grass so we could see things that your average tourist does not. We could see where the old road was, the Stonehenge hole (Aubrey Hole). We then walked the remaining part of the avenue and into the stone circle.

The first impression I got as I walked between the stones and into the circle was how small it was inside. The tall stones tower above enclosing the space and shielding you from the weather its almost womb like.

In last weeks instalment The Penultimate Instalment we found out we had an infestation of pagans yes you know those peaceful people that worship the ground you walk on.

But enough giggles as well as writing blogs and poetry I am also a pagan priest and a few weeks back in discussion with Danny and Yvette I adapted a pagan blessing which was put to the group last week to see if they would like to take part. There was also an option for people to take an active part which they did. A copy of the blessings with notes is available here.

The basic premise of the blessing was to reinforce the unity of the group and share a common moment and connect to the healing aspects of the elements. Each element is given as a spoken blessing with a representational gift of the element. Normally these gifts would be a feather or incense, a lite candle, a sip of water or a shell and a crystal or stone. But adaptations needed to be made, due to what could be taken in to the circle so we had a feather for air, a disposable lighter with place and date on one side and the symbol for fire, Chinese symbol for fire and a good luck rune or Sigel for good luck or protection for fire, a swimming award from Chris for water and some blue stone from Yvette for earth. The nice part about the rite was that it took on a life of its own each person gave his or her own personal blessing as the main part went on.

It has been more than a few years since I have done a public rite, but the support and interest and acceptance from the group helped keep me focused and relaxed.

After the blessing we all went off and did our own things, some people made music, some sang, while others walked silently around the stones. No matter what peopled did they now have a unique happy memory.

Professor Tim Darvill was around to explain and answer questions on the stones and their history and many took up the chance to widen their knowledge and understanding of the archaeology.

As our time with the stones was coming to an end  we all gathered and raised those ugly umbrellas from our time in Fargo woods (For a flash back We sang in woods and rain) and sang a few songs and left for the bus.

Many of the group decided to walk back and yes I was on the bus well there’s a reason they provide a bus; it’s a long way back to the education centre.

The final part of the session was an informal affair we had Alphonse on the Balafon dress in a bright Dashiki their where singing bowls and people milling about having polite conversations.

There was fruit and biscuits and bacon rolls, and vegetarian rolls the only thing missing was waiters carrying trays of champagne it became a real social affair interspersed with a gender battle of the piggy pig dog song.

As the session came to an end there were many hugs of friendship and many kind words of thanks for all involved.

Next week we meet the first group to share our experiences so there may be more to come…     

Further information

Aubrey Hole  http://www.the-stonehenge-enigma.info/2012/07/stonehenge-mike-parker-pearson.html

Professor Tim Darvill https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timothy_Darvill

Authors Resource

Name Mr BPD

Website http://www.my-dark-lyrics.uk

About Author I have Borderline Personality Disorder and as a writer and poet I explore my madness through the creative arts. I have a personal belief that even in darkness light exists and it is a personal responsibility to always seek the light and I find the light in creating something.

 

Session 9: Creative workshop

The Penultimate Instalment

Next week will be our final week and with all finales all the really good stuff happens. And yes we have a great ending planned and there is talk of future groups and future locations. There will also be a catch up session planned, a picnic for both groups to meet and share, an exhibition and few conferences as well as some more creative projects, a short story and a saga poem etc.

This week for myself and I will assume that I was not alone,  today was tinged with a sense of sadness and regret. Projects like this one can add structure to a person’s life and bring many benefits. Fridays at Stonehenge became a thing! a real thing with a life of it’s own! and so next Friday nothing! it’s back to the void. (BTW Final session is on Wednesday not Friday next week) Fridays will be melancholy days for the next few weeks but we have pictures to look at, music from Alphonse to listen to, and some wonderful memories to remind us that we did it! Not just Stonehenge and the group but we managed to push ourselves past the points of giving up and made it each week.

So back to this week after grabbing a coffee and exploring the pots that we made had been fired we discovered that we have a mystery artist along with the pots were tiny replicas of the Venus of Willendorf. The original Venus was made between about 28,000 and 25,000 BCE and proves one thing there are pagans in this group…

After settling down it was planning for next week’s session and our time in the circle. Yes there were some rules to be informed of such as no climbing on stones, no eating or drinking etc and we went over a few things that have been planned for next week just a clue there will be bacon rolls and that’s all I am sharing.

We then moved all the tables to one side and Alphonse set up 5 balafon and there were also a selection of drums and Yvette got us in a musical mood with a quick sing a long.

 

With the assistance of Alphonse we managed to bang out a beat then a tune we then all moved around and picked up a new instrument and started again. Although the music was very nice and very loud and I was enjoying myself, the problem with BPD pleasure can turn poisonous very quickly happy crumbles into confused thinking and wanting to pull your skin off and run away leading to anger and frustration and yes I got those feelings.

So I stepped outside to get some air do a bit of mindfulness but I forgot my coat and locked myself outside so I had to walk around to the main entrance and grab my coat .

I stood outside the main door wrapped up against the wind the music from the group was at a volume I could handle and I could see what was going on so I was happy.

After the music had stopped we moved the tables back and everyone wrote down their memories for each week, which will be used in part to build the saga poem and the short story, which we will hear, more of in future updates.

COMING IN NEXT WEEKS INSTALMENT

What’s up with the bacon roll and will there be a vegetarian option? …

Will our group find the interdimensional portal that opens to the alien world of the true builders of Stonehenge? …

Will Alphonse’s balafon along with the group sing raise the ancient dead? ..

Tune in same time next weeks to get all your questions answered

More Information

Venus of Willendorf https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Venus_of_Willendorf

About the project – http://humanhenge.org/

English Heritage & Stonehenge http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/visit/places/stonehenge/

 

Authors Resource

Name Mr BPD

Website http://www.my-dark-lyrics.uk

About Author I have Borderline Personality Disorder and as a writer and poet I explore my madness through the creative arts. I have a personal belief that even in darkness light exists and it is a personal responsibility to always seek the light and I find the light in creating something.

 

Session 8: The Avenue and King Barrow Ridge

We were the hiking hippies on the Stonehenge trail

Hello everyone back again by popular request and I will keep telling myself that. Well it was a another week where we had to walk and we all know how much I like a good walk…

But as with every week I give 100% or at least as much as I can, but this week the BBC wanted to film us. I would of love to have been strong enough to be filmed but paranoia, self-doubt, negative self-image all rose up like a choir and drowned out any logical thought.

But my personal philosophy is to find the light in the darkness, I am going to share with you my journey with the Human Henge project to King Barrow and that long assed walk and a day that ended doing something so normal it made the whole project a success for me.

On week one I met C who has happily picked me up each week and drove to the Human Henge and this week we where on time if not a little early.

After coffee we jumped on the bus and drove to King Barrow ridge. The king’s barrows are graves from 4000-3000BC. They are situated on a prominent ridge to the east of Stonehenge. They include several round burial mounds (barrows) built in the Early Bronze Age and a Neolithic long barrow.

Normally I would walk around the barrows due to my COPD but I didn’t this time I climbed to the top like everyone else. As we reached the top we could see below was a man playing what looked like a glockenspiel.

The sound filled the space and Yvette introduced her friend Alphonse from Cameroon playing the Balafon. We all gathered around to listen to Alphonse.

We joined hands and formed a circle and we moved “deosil” and “widdershins” we danced and sang, we spent time thinking of our history and our the history of the world and how each of us are connected to each other while the BBC watched on taking a few shots.

Then we walk the processional way AKA the Avenue. We started off from the King’s Barrow across the field towards the Avenue. The horizon was obscured due to the mist but as it cleared or as we got closer the stones became clearer.

As we walked up the Avenue towards the Heel stone you could taste the magic and mystery of the stones in the air. Every time I see Stonehenge my soul lifts a little and I feel recharged.

Once everyone had caught up we walked to the bus stop and caught the bus back to the education centre for coffee and wind down.

It had been a really good Friday on the way home the sun was shining and I mention that I really fancied a pint and C agreed. So off to the pub we went, for a quick pint and a few games of pool. Doing something so normal can be very difficult for me; but not only did I manage it I enjoyed myself. So looking forward to next week.

About:
Alphonse Daudet Touna talks about his music heritage and Hélélé, the band he set up in Cameroon and then continued in Bristol, UK.

Further Information

Stonehenge Avenue https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stonehenge_Avenue

Heel Stone https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heel_Stone

King’s Barrow Ridge http://services.english-heritage.org.uk/ResearchReportsPdfs/83_2011_WEB.pdf

About the project – http://humanhenge.org/

English Heritage & Stonehenge http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/visit/places/stonehenge/

 

Authors Resource

Name Mr BPD

Website http://www.my-dark-lyrics.uk

About Author I have Borderline Personality Disorder and as a writer and poet I explore my madness through the creative arts. I have a personal belief that even in darkness light exists and it is a personal responsibility to always seek the light and I find the light in creating something.

 

Pottery workshop gallery

Photos by Yvette Staelens

Session 7: Reflection and making pots

Blog, photos and artwork by Mel


Hi this week we were inside for most of our time. We met a lady from the National Trust.
Apparently they only have one ranger for the whole of Stonehenge so they are always looking for volunteers we may get an opportunity to meet him next week. We also met a lady who is part of the Restoration Trust they are part of the project that we are involved with.   We met a gentleman today who took us down the road of the Neolithic. Also the person who would use the forge. He probably wouldn’t have done the menial tasks and he would keep his skills secret. They would use clay to make pots and when it was put on a very high heat, copper would dribble down the sides. They then used it for making  jewellery, knives, swords, etc.

They also used animals skins for shoes. Antlers were used as tools. We also saw a selection of animal skulls which were a lot more interesting than I first thought. Antlers were used a lot as they grow back every year.

Then for the fun part. We were able to try our hand at making pots like they would have made all those years ago. It was quite difficult as the clay cracked quite easy. We used no water and you had to be really gentle as the pot would crack a bit and you would just smooth the clay over. Then we used replica tools to put on decoration. It was a lot harder than we thought. We all managed to produce something. Not sure mine would have won any prizes.

After, we went outside, past the visitors centre and huts from last week. The gentleman had put up a tent. He used a big pot which had a type of face on it. He then used two bellows which were what a person would have used to keep the fire going. He was then able to put three pots at a time in the fire. They would need to be dried inside and out  which he said would probably take him till approx five o’clock and he started about a quarter to one. He could only do three small pots at a time. He was also dressed as they would have been all those years ago.

It was an interesting morning with a lot of fun and singing.