Monthly Archives: December 2016

Session 10 Winter Solstice Final Ceremony

Blog by Jessie Swinburne

Today was the last day of the project, and winter solstice celebrations sent us out on a high! It started with a bit of anticipation, as we all arrived a little earlier than normal, in the dark, some wrapped in as many layers as they owned, to fend off the cold. We got to the bus clutching our blankets, instruments, song lyrics and cameras and arrived at the stones for sunrise…

Chartwell set up and began playing his mesmerising music, accompanied by drums and percussion. Everyone emerged themselves in the experience and wandered around the stones. We had time alone and then came together to to sing as a group:

Open your heart, lift up your voice
Let us sing together for a while
When we part, tears may flow
But we leave our shadow on the stones

The experience was surreal, it felt completely natural and restorative. Perhaps we were connecting to something beyond us. The stones towering over you remind you of your smallness in this big world, and yet bring you together as part of a wider history with our ancestors. We decided to run around the henge, an unexpected twist, that freed us from the rules imposed on us in the henge and added to the fun, celebratory aspect of our day.

We returned to a feast of bacon and sausage sandwiches and reflected on the sessions. We all had a hot cuppa and defrosted too. To end the day we sat in the huts and watched the fire, we got to taste a bit of bread cooked in the fire…. and there our journey ended…

Photos by Jessie Swinburne and Yvette Staelens

Session 9 Creative Workshop

Blog and photos by Jessie Swinburne

Today the clouds were looming grey and moody, a dramatic atmosphere for the winter solstice  planning session to take place.

Chartwell, played us his native music on his mbira, before discussions for the solstice celebrations began… a list of what we can’t do, didn’t stop us trying to plan something, that we hope will send us off; and celebrate the things explored, and how we’ve connected in the last few weeks together…..

Our favourite songs were sang. Leaves are falling, piggy piggy pig. It was decided that everyone wants to see what evolves during our time in the stones. There will be a short period for different experiences, one for photos, one for being quiet and a one for dancing, or whatever feels right. Overall, being present and still, and letting the experience unfold was agreed on.

We sang a lovely song Chartwell sang in Shona, and Yvette sang a beautiful version in English. The lyrics were speedily written up, and will be posted so people feel comfortable with this, and we may well sing it next week.

Session 8 The Avenue and King Barrow Ridge

Blog by Jessie Swinburne

Today started in good spirits as everyone claimed their pottery and saw how they turned out…¬† We set off on our walk with the pottery in hand, poised and ready to leave the pottery work, wherever fancied in the landscape… after a quick song, many smiles were raised, we set off on the minibus ready to explore…

We arrived at the New Kings Barrow. It’s always interesting to stop and reflect on the meaning of the what we are seeing, the ancestors’ landscape, and just breathing in the fresh air from the trees, and embracing the colours around. We sang together again and then everyone wandered around. A group of drummers and percussionist formed sitting on a fallen tree. All enjoying making sound, and just being in the landscape.

We began walking around the landscape once more, and headed towards the main stone circle. A few people located the avenue for us, we all walked up it. It was breathtaking and beautiful to see the stones from this angle. It also really helped to put the rest of the landscape into context, as we were able to orientate ourselves by seeing and tracing where we have been the previous weeks. People placed their pots in individual locations around the landscape.

We walked back for our tea and lunch end stop, we walked quite far this week and were ready to go back. Excitement is building for the winter solstice, plans were discussed for that and people are looking forward to it!

Photos by Yvette Staelens