Each year on the Autumn Equinox Druids and Pagans gather at Stonehenge early in the morning to mark the Equinox and to see the sunrise above the stones.
It's an ad hoc celebration that brings together England's New Age Tribes (neo-druids, neo-pagans, Wiccans) with ordinary families, tourists, travelers - usually about 100 people!
For many the impulse to arrive at Stonehenge in time for the Equinox is a little like all those people drawn to the strange rock in Close Encounters of the Third Kind. It's akin to a spiritual experience. Anyone who has witnessed the crowd become silent as the sky begins to brighten can attest to that. There will only be a handful of people at the Equinox
This is the third of the four ‘sky points’ in our Wheel of the Year and it is when the sun does a perfect balancing act in the heavens. This is the point of the year when once again day and night are equal - 12 hours, as at Ostara, the Equinox. The Latin word for Equinox means 'time of equal days and nights'.
After this celebration the descent into winter brings hours of increasing darkness and chiller temperatures. It is the time of the year when night conquers day.
After the Autumn Equinox the days shorten and nights lengthen. To astrologers this is the date on which the sun enters the sign of Libra, the scales, reflecting appropriately the balanced day and night of the equinox. This was also the time when the farmers brought in their harvested goods to be weighed and sold.
Here in Wiltshire (as with the rest of rural Britain), it was traditional to drink dandelion and burdock cordials at this time as these herbs help to cleanse the blood and are a good tonic for the body after its winter hardships.
The full moon nearest to the Autumn Equinox is called the Harvest Moon and farmers would harvest their crops by then, as part of the second harvest celebration.
Mabon was when livestock would be slaughtered and preserved (salted and smoked) to provide enough food for the winter.
At the South Pole they will be celebrating the first appearance of the sun in six months. However, at the North Pole they will be preparing for six months of darkness.
During Medieval times, the Christian Church replaced Pagan solstices and equinox celebrations with Christianized occasions. The Autumn equinox celebration was Michaelmas, the feast of the Archangel Michael.
The small group 'non-obtrusive' nature of this tour means you can have a real athentic experience, a great photo opportunity and valuable insight into ancient Britain.
Depart central London / Bath at 4.00am
September 22nd 2024
Mini Coach Travel to Stonehenge with guide and spend 2 hours inside the circle and witness the sun rising, Druid Ceremony and festivities.
Back to London / Bath by 12 Noon
*This time may vary depending on the access time granted by English Heritage
This is not like our traditional guided 'Private Access' tour. Although this tour is guided it does not visit other attractions and is not everyone's cup of tea, however those who do participate will never forget it and will surely 'tell the tale' for many years to come...... Please take the time to view our images / video of previous 'Equinox Tours'.
For those of you who have not visited this sacred site, we should mention that the complex is roped off. Visitors observe the stones from a distance and are not permitted within the temple complex.......... our 'Autumn Equinox' tours allow you to be amongst the stones before the site is open to the general public.
N.B. With this exception English Heritage do not allow any other 'private access' tours during this period