So... Avebury was good.
We got there on time, around 12pm, but the place was already heaving full of people (left) there for the solstice experience. I was quite surprised with the group of people who were there. I'm quite used to the OBOD-type druidic events, where the people are quite ordinary (!), intellectuals and artist types, but Avebury and general Pagan events tend to attract the real hippies and hairies and general bizarre peeps.
Most of the people when we got to the pub were already pissed and rambling about whatever it was they were rambling about (one was talking about waiting to be taken back to the mothership...). There were people placing their hands on concrete posts, attuning to the energies. It was quite surreal.
Even though we got there in good time, parking was awful (as predicted), but Will Rathouse managed to get the National Trust to get the police to allow us to park the minibus locally (as the NT had height barriers in place) and so we were able to wander around without worrying about Will needing to walk a good couple of miles from the other car park.
We were then supposed to join in the open ritual of the Gorsedd of the Bards of Caer Abiri, but they were nowhere to be found (and we looked around the stones and at the usual meeting place!) so we ended up sitting within the main area of the stones and drank sparkling rosé and ate strawberries (and, as an aside, we cleared up. The same can't be said for the majority of the peeps there - bloody pagans!) while we listened to Will telling us the Tale of the Physicians of Myddfai (right). It was quite a wonderful experience. It's quite a feeling to be within this temple once used by our ancestors. I wondered, whilst there, if this place was used for the purpose the priestly caste being earthly psychopomps. Many of the sites around here seem to have some focus on death or burial (West Kennet Long Barrow, maybe Silbury Hill etc.) and it does, in a way, have that Graveyard kinda feel - that detached peaceful sensation.
After our brief luncheon, we set off to visit the town a little - we went to cafés, raided the souvenir shop (I bought *laods* of books and a celtic knotwork ring for Kay) before setting off for some of the places such as Overton Hills and The Sanctuary. The former appear to be small versions of Silbury Hill and The Santuary is thought to be a (former) wood-henge where preliminary rites would be performed before traversing the Avenue to Avebury. Liz seemed to be taken by The Sanctuary.
Finally we ended up at the Long Barrow, passing Silbury Hill on the way. I plucked a piece of Elder on the way and, with some local chalk, peeled the bark off before turning it white intended as an offering when I got there.
However, when we got there, we saw a smashing crop circle!
The Barrow was interesting. Now, with burial places (mostly dolmens and certain graveyards), I tend to get an uneasy feeling of something/one not wanting me there but with the Long Barrow, I had that same feeling I got in the Avebury circle; of detached peacefulness. It was lovely. There were people inside meditating, candles had been lit, gifts given over (bunches of cereals and flowers) - and some birds were nesting inside!
Again, it was lovely. Such a nice place. We pretty much went home after that. Will dropped me off in Llanelli (really nice thing to do, tbh...) and they al lwent back to Lampeter.
So yes, Avebury was lovely; a nice way to spend the Solstice, if not surreal.
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