Anglican Samizdat

December 22, 2009

Pagans show up at Stonehenge on the wrong day

Filed under: Paganism — David Jenkins @ 9:25 am

But at least they were early for church:

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It’s one of the oldest celebrations in the world and has drawn visitors to Stonehenge for centuries.

But 300 pagans were left red-faced yesterday after they arrived at the prehistoric monument a day early for the winter solstice.

The crowd had met at the mystical site in Wiltshire to mark the shortest day of the year, normally December 21, but this year the solstice did not become official until the early hours of this morning.

So they were forced to spend a cold night shivering outside in their full-length cloaks.

Rowan Williams wasn’t there – no, really, he wasn’t.

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  1. Please tell me that’s photoshopped….

    Comment by Kate — December 22, 2009 @ 11:42 am

  2. No, not photoshopped, it’s from the BBC when Rowan was inducted as a Druid.

    Comment by David — December 22, 2009 @ 11:48 am

  3. Two things.

    1. Druids don’t strke me as the most intelligent people in this world. So it is little wonder that they have difficulty with modern inventions like calendars.
    2. David, please tell me that you are joking about Rowan being inducted as a Druid. Although I would not be surprised if he was. As per point 1, you get the idea.

    Comment by AMPisAnglican — December 22, 2009 @ 4:21 pm

  4. Amp,

    I was joking about his being at Stonehenge, but not about his being inducted as a Druid. From the BBC:

    The new Archbishop of Canterbury has been inducted as a druid in a centuries-old Celtic ceremony.

    Dr Rowan Williams, the current Archbishop of Wales, said that he had been “saddened” by the misrepresentations about the ceremony, which sparked concern about pagan links.

    “Some people have reached the wrong conclusion about the ceremony,” he said.

    “If people had actually looked at the words of the hymns and text used they would have seen a very Christian service.”


    The actual ceremony started with a trumpet fanfare and the partial sheathing and unsheathing of a 6ft 6ins sword.

    Hymns and poems were said in Welsh before around 50 people were made druids.

    Dr Williams was given the Bardic name of ap Aneuri, which he chose partly after a sixth century Welsh poet and partly after Aneurin Bevan, one of his personal heroes and the architect of the National Health Service.

    Before the ceremony, some Church of England conservative evangelicals expressed concern about whether Dr Williams was doing the right thing.

    Reverend Angus Macleay, who is on the steering committee of the Evangelical Reform Group, told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “This ceremony certainly looks pagan.

    Rowan maintained that it was a “cultural” exercise rather than a pagan one and I’m inclined to think he genuinely believed that, although others disagreed. The author, G. P. Taylor, who has had some experience with the occult, was unconvinced by Rowan’s protestations that it was harmless.

    Comment by David — December 22, 2009 @ 4:32 pm

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