On the Sunday, we made our way to Avebury via the Barge Inn at Pewsey, famous for its crop circle theme. It’s a lovely pub right on the Kennet Canal, with barges drifting past. One of the bars is devoted to crop circles, so prevalent in this area, with an amazing ceiling painted with symbols and icons. After lunch we moved on to Avebury, managing to park in the village itself rather than pay the extortionate amount charged in the NT car park. Avebury was very busy, many people obviously taking advantage of the fine weather for a trip out. There was a ritual taking place amongst the stones, with people dressed in robes and an altar set up. At first we thought this was a hand-fasting, but found out after it was an Autumn Equinox celebration.
We visited John and Esther in The Henge Shop, and I signed their stock of Stonewylde. They sell a great deal of the series and are always very welcoming. John was delighted with his Stonewylde T-shirt! He’s a bit of a Villager himself, pressing his own cider, rearing pigs and keeping bees and chickens too. I hope to be doing another book-signing event at The Henge Shop next year when the fourth book Shadows at Stonewylde is published.
We sat for a long and peaceful time with our backs against one of the huge stones in the main village green part. It was so hot and absolutely wonderful. Every time I go to Avebury I have a different experience, and this Equinox it was a time of tranquillity and calm, just soaking up the atmosphere of such a magical and ancient place. I felt particularly special as I was wearing a beautiful necklace made for me by a very talented jeweller, Claire. She has her own business and makes one off pieces from silver, many set with stones. She’d designed this piece just for me and it is stunning, with a silver acorn, oak leaf and hare. The acorn is the symbol of the Equinox in Stonewylde, and is my birth symbol as I’m a September person. The oak leaf is the symbol of the Summer Solstice, and the hare of the Spring Equinox. The hare is my special totem, partly because I adore them (and have a wonderful collection of them added to this birthday by Mr B!) and also because it was an encounter with a hare that first set me on my path. The oak leaf was a tiny real one from a sapling that she’d grown herself from an acorn, and covered in silver. The necklace also contains a tiny sapphire for the hare’s eye (sapphire being the birthstone of September) and a moonstone buy phentermine memphis tn which is something also very precious to me, being a moongazy person. I was more touched than I can say by this unique gift. The photo above of the acorn doesn’t do the necklace justice at all, but gives you an idea anyway. Take a look at Claire’s work on http://www.wherethewildrosesgrow.co.uk/ and see just how talented she is.
After a peaceful hour or so by the stones, we then had a cup of tea in the NT cafe (the pub was packed to the gunnels and too busy for us) and walked around the rest of the stones. We had to visit my favourite Avebury spot – the wishing trees. These are a group of large beech trees where the atmosphere is incredible. Even if you’re not into tree energy and magic, you must be able to feel the special aura that surrounds these beauties. There’s a river of twisted roots cascading down the bank, and at this time of year when all the foliage is still out, it’s a green canopy of dancing leaves and sunlight. Many folk come here to tie a ribbon to a branch, hence the wishing tree title. Although of course it’s not just wishes – some just give thanks, others want to mark their presence. The ribbons are beautiful, hundreds of them fluttering from the umbrella of branches and enhancing the trees’ auras. I didn’t make a wish as such, but I did connect with the people who’ve visited that magical spot and left a little of themselves there. The wishing trees of Avebury are one of my favourite places on this earth.
On the way home we stopped at the Sanctuary. We decided not to visit the Long Barrow at West Kennet because there were many cars parked so it would have been very busy up there. I love this place – a real womb rather than tomb to me – and have spent lots of time there over the past few years. In fact the photo of the goddess in the landscape featured on the cover of Magus of Stonewylde was taken at this spot! But it’s the kind of place where you want to be private and reflective, or at least be with a group in tune to the atmosphere, and we didn’t want to visit when it was so busy with sight-seers.
The Sanctuary however was deserted, and this was my best visit here yet. Usually when I visit it’s freezing cold with a whipping wind (the spot is high up and completely exposed and seems to catch any cold winds going) but this time is was warm and calm. Seeing the enormous amount of postholes that formed this very early wooden henge, which it’s believed pre-dated the stones at Avebury, you get a strong sense of history and endeavour. It was Mr B’s first time here and he was fascinated by the scope of the place, and the views of Silbury Hill and the Procession leading to Avebury itself.
This was one of my best Autumn Equinoxes ever, not least because of the precious gift I was wearing. I hope everyone reading this also had a special time at this Fire Festival where all is in balance and harmony.