Stonehenge Pictures Guide, England
Not many visitors to Stonehenge at that time. Very early perhaps? Photo by Davis Crochet.
Summer Solstice at Stonehenge
The sun rising over Stonehenge on the morning of the Summer Solstice (21st June), watched by a crowd of around 15, 000 people. The photo was taken by Paul Dunn a couple of minutes after sunrise and a little to the right of the solar alignment line.
Regulations and access (but no guarantees they’ll be the same any other summer)
The summer solstice occurs around 5. 00am on June 21st. The car park opens at 8pm on June 20th and is free, as is entry to Stonehenge, opening at 10pm. Car park admission closes at 8am on June 21st and the site closes at 9am June 21st.
No backpacks, sleeping bags or other large bags are allowed onto the site, nor are large amounts of alcohol. Personal use quantities only!
Also no glass (i. e. bottles of booze. Plastic is OK), dogs, cycles, camping equipment, chairs, fireworks, fire making equipment or amplified musical instruments are permitted on the site, though kids in push chairs are OK.
Special car parks, ambient lighting, heated braziers, drinking water, toilet facilities, meeting points, stewards, first aid, emergency services and refreshment areas and local camp sites are organised by English Heritage. Weather guarantees are not, and so it rains.
Public buses run from Salisbury Railway and Bus Stations to Stonehenge from the evening of June 20th to early morning of June 21st. Return runs go from about 6. 00am until 9. 00am June 21st.
Visitors are permitted to touch the stones but not the climb, stand or lean on them.
Druids performing pagan rituals at Stonehenge. Photo by SandyRaidy.
The Stonehenge circle is aligned to midsummer sunrise and midwinter sunset in addition to some special moon phases, but this astronomical alignment probably had more to do with the timing of pagan rituals than determining optimum agricultural timing, i. e. when to sow seed or when to harvest.
Ancient peoples living in very close contact with nature had a powerful belief in the Earth Mother and Sky Father, thus the heavily female symbolism of Stonehenge’s concentric stone arrangements – resembling a womb and vulva. To guarantee fertility of crops, animals and families the Sky Father needed to penetrate the Earth Mother, and this is clearly visible about 5am from 18-24th June when the sun is bright (visible from the roadside through the fence).
The shadow from the phallic Heel Stone enters the vulva arch to touch the Womb (or Cult) Stone (pictured above, though not at sunrise! ).
n.b. the Druidic cult arose well after the stone circle was constructed so they have no claim to an ancient relationship.