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