The Sacred Stone Circles of Stanton Drew
The village of Stanton Drew in north Somerset is host to a remarkable group of ancient monuments which together comprise the third largest collection of standing stones in England. The Great Circle, the largest of its three stone circles, encloses an area of 2000 square metres, exceeding the dimensions of Stonehenge. It was once approached by an avenue of standing stones, now lost. A smaller Southwest circle is aligned to The Quoit and The Cove nearby. Recent archaeology has revealed evidence of a substantial woodhenge at Stanton Drew, underlining its importance as a major ritual centre of the Neolithic age.
Gordon Strong, author of Stanton Drew and its Ancient Stone Circles and a regular lecturer on the subject, has spent many years exploring this fascinating site on multiple levels. In this book he presents the available archaeological detail along with local folklore and the testimonies of various commentators, from 18th century antiquarians to modern dowsing surveys, discussing ritual, mediumship, earth energies and mythology. He also gives his own observations and insights gleaned from his “long love-affair” with the site, interpreted through the Western esoteric tradition and British Mysteries. Most importantly, he offers the visitor some clues for making their own inner connection to this unique monument which still vibrates with ancient magic.
The Rollright Ritual
William G. Gray
In the early 1970s the redoubtable old occultist William G. Gray bicycled from his Gloucestershire home to the Rollright stone circle in Oxfordshire on a clear and full-mooned summer night. The visionary experiences he encountered on that night and in other similar visits resulted in the writing of this book, originally published by Helios Books in 1975 and now a classic among pagan and craft traditions. The text of the ritual is given in full, along with a discussion of its pattern and purpose.
The Rollright Ritual is a powerful initiatory rite for attuning oneself to a personal and communal path of spiritual growth, presented here with an explanatory text and a discussion of the spiritual lives and practices of the stone circle builders of Great Britain.
“Somehow, we ought to get away from ideas that a Standing Stone is only an outworn sign of our past, and see it as an upraised Finger of Fate beckoning us ahead toward our future. The Stone is not merely a memorial of bygone beliefs, but a pointer that should raise our highest hopes of finding faith in all the Life that lies ahead of us.”
William G. Gray is a well established author of many books on Qabalah and ritual magic. He also worked with many practitioners of magic and witchcraft including Gareth Knight, R.J. Stewart, Marian Green, Doreen Valiente, Pat Crowther and Robert Cochrane, in whose memory The Rollright Ritual was written.
Awen: the Quest of the Celtic Mysteries
It was the Celtic bards who laid down the foundation of inner wisdom that has come down to us as Arthurian legend, passing their traditions to the Arthurian romancers of the 12th and 13th centuries. Thus the Celts provide an immediate bridge that leads to a very ancient world. Focusing on the Brythonic Celtic material and the “Taliesin” cult whose lineage preserved the mysteries through the Mabinogion and other texts, Awen: the Quest of the Celtic Mysteries reveals the sources of the British sacred tradition right back to the Neolithic and Bronze Ages, and, as some believe, further back still to even more ancient sources.
Awen is a Welsh word often translated as “inspiration”. However, in its fullness it has a much deeper meaning, an irradiation of the soul from paradisal origins. In the context of the Celtic folk-soul it casts the paradisal pattern by which the people and the land were harmonised. Through the aligned symbolism of the goddess, the sacred king and the stars, a compelling picture is built of a thriving mystery tradition which marries the constellations to the landscape, exploring as an example the interwoven five-fold and seven-fold stellar geometry of Moel ty Uchaf stone circle in North Wales, and the stellar alignments on the landscape of Cadair Idris.
Mike Harris is a well-established authority on the Welsh mystery traditions, having lived for many years in the area of Gwynedd where the Mabinogi and Taliesin myths arose, where he developed an acute sense of the Celtic and pre-Celtic mystery cults and their relationship with the landscape. He is the author of Merlin’s Chess, co-author of Polarity Magic, and founder of the Company of Avalon.
The Curve of the Land
Set in 1980s Britain against the backdrop of ecological crisis, The Curve of the Land is a circumspect novel about our modern relationship with the Earth, which in this case is represented by the landscapes of western Britain. Jessica, an ardent but unfulfilled journalist, joins a tour of megalithic sites hoping to find renewal from relationship burn-out and a sterile work environment. The characters on the tour are a good cross-section of the way ‘new age’, occult and mystical threads got grafted on to the more intellectual or ‘respectable’ British stock, throwing up eccentric cameos of people and comic situations. The mysterious atmosphere of the stones and her growing attraction for the charismatic tour leader builds to a final shamanic climax in the wilds of West Penwith, Cornwall.
Author of The Return of King Arthur: Completing the Quest for Wholeness, Diana Durham explores eco-shamanism, sex magic, goddess and ‘Gaia’ consciousness, as well as emerging archaeological and scientiﬁc ﬁndings pertaining to the sacred sites of Britain. The Curve of the Land follows the journey of a woman in contemporary society seeking to reconnect to an ancient land and share in its spiritual topography.
The Tree of Visions
The Tree of Visions is a historical overview of western esotericism, exploring its prehistoric and historical origins. It traces its beginnings in the shamanism of the paleolithic and neolithic ages, and follows its development in the sacred-magical traditions of ancient Mesopotamia, Egypt and Greece to the present day. It is based on the thesis that primordial shamanic beliefs and practices involving visionary journeying, shapeshifting, use of spirit-helpers, asceticism, initiation ordeals, divination, astro-ceremonialism, use of magical rituals and paraphernalia, etc have remarkable parallels with the magical-religious practices of the ancient Mediterranean and European cultures. Written by visual artist, astrologer and ritual magician David Nez, the book presents the theory that shamanism forms the deepest stratum of human culture, myths and spiritual practices worldwide, accounting for the many similarities. Nez illustrates how these ancient beliefs and practices are still alive, albeit in new forms, in contemporary magic, neopaganism and neoshamanism, bolstering his thesis through excerpts from authorities in the fields of history, archaeology, ethnology, neuropsychology, psychology, comparative mythology and other fields.