Stonehenge is England’s most iconic ancient site. As a kid, I always wanted to visit the stone circle, but I did not get the chance to nor did I understand at the time what that immense pull or draw to go there was about.
Now as an adult and with an awareness of energy, the healing powers of sacred sites and a greater sense of self, the desire to check out Stonehenge was both amplified and magnetised.
First things first, if you plan on doing Stonehenge without your own set of wheels or want to do it by public transport – think again. Stonehenge is quite literally placed in the middle of the English countryside or Salisbury Plain to be precise. You can get to the site by public transport including train and a cab or bus, but this journey by multiple modes of transport is neither the easiest nor cheapest.
For that reason, I was steered in the direction of taking a tour bus from London. Having fallen off the email list of discount coupon site, Groupon, some years ago, I got the intuitive nudge to reconnect and check out Groupon offers to Stonehenge. Fortunately I found a deal from London with Premium Tours for £39.50 including return coach travel, entrance to Stonehenge and the afternoon in the beautiful town of Bath.
Just a 2-hour coach journey from London, the coach tour was an ideal way to begin my ascent upon the sacred site of Stonehenge. Not usually one for guided tours, I found the tour guide to be interesting and engaging – giving both historical and anecdotal information and delivering it in true British fashion with humour and cheekiness to boot. A winning formula.
Stonehenge stands alone in the vast empty tract of Salisbury Plain – the largest remaining area of chalk grassland in Northwest Europe, home to 2,300 prehistoric sites and also the largest military training area on British soil. The tour guide’s commentary en route to the prehistoric monument was an indication of the ongoing mystery surrounding Stonehenge and how the stones “got there”. There are numerous theories regarding the placement of the stone circle and the guide himself was encouraging passengers to indulge him in their own theories.
In the past, visitors to Stonehenge could get up close and personal with the stones and were able to touch them. That is no longer the case and the pleasure of wandering among the stones is now reserved to only twice a year on Summer Solstice and Winter Solstice, or if you book a special access tour through English Heritage.
Stonehenge resonates with different people on different levels, and with that no two people’s experience of the monument is likely to be the same. What I found having reached the stones after a short journey by shuttle bus from the Stonehenge visitor centre, was a strong sense of peace – both inner peace and outer peace.
That sense of peace increased as I walked around the monument in a 360° direction. The nearest visitors are permitted to get to the stones is about 10 yards, the monument being roped off by a low barrier. This proximity was close enough for me to feel the magnitude of this prehistoric monument. As I leisurely walked around Stonehenge, I could feel a strong protective energy emanating from the stones and a deep feeling of joy and harmony.
At Stonehenge it is easy to take loads of snaps with your camera and while it may appear you’re coming away with copious amounts of the same picture, that’s not the case. I took several of the same frame, and when I looked back at my snaps, each picture looked different – testament to a monument aligned to the movements of the sun. I visited Stonehenge on a hot sunny morning, a few days after the Summer Solstice, and was greeted by the blazing sun who provided me and a portfolio of photos with every inch of joy, light and exposure possible.
There are two types of stone at Stonehenge – the larger sarsen stones and the smaller “bluestones”. The sarsen stones are a type of sandstone, which is found scattered naturally across southern England. On average the sarsens weigh 25 tons, with the largest stone, the Heel Stone, weighing about 30 tons.
“Bluestone” is the term used to refer to the smaller stones at Stonehenge. These are of varied geology but are present in the Preseli Hills in south-west Wales. Although the stones may not appear blue, they have a bluish tinge when freshly broken or when wet.
Every now and then on my stroll around the monument, I would find a seat on the grass, away from the crowds, and perch. On the first stop I made, I sat down and admired the stones from a slight distance, at which point it felt like it was just me and the stones there in that moment in time, and a protective energy hug me in a gentle and tender embrace. On another occasion whilst sat on the grass, it felt like I had travelled to a different plane altogether. It was such moments that hold fondly in my memory most about my first trip to Stonehenge.
When I rejoined the crowds close to the monument, I was still very much present to my own inner peace as well as the outer peace too. Being among crowds of people on a very hot summer’s day can be pressing on nerves and chaotic, but what I was witnessing was actually perfect balance between order and chaos.
While I have travelled to some pretty awesome and far flung places in the world, nowhere has ever quite touched me in the way, on all levels, and as close to home as Stonehenge has, and neither have I ever experienced complete balance externally like I did there at Stonehenge. To some, it’s just stones, to others, it’s more than that, way more than that.
Rosa Medea is Life & Soul Magazine’s Chief @rosamedea