Jonathan Cainer's Zodiac Forecasts

Jonathan Cainer's Astro News
Friday June 20th 2003

This week in Astro News:
~ Midsummer Magic ~

You don’t, of course, have to brave the crowds at Stonehenge if you want to greet the Solstice Dawn. Other traditional ‘sacred sites’ throughout the UK include: Callanish, Isle of Lewis; Ring of Brodgar, Orkney; Loanhead of Daviot, Aberdeenshire; The Hill O'Many Stanes, Near Wick; Torhouse Stone Circle, Tourhouseskie; The Devil's Arrows, Boroughbridge; The 12 Apostles, Ilkley Moor; Druid's Circle, Ulverston; Long Meg and her Daughters, Penrith, Cumbria; Arbor Low Henge, Bakewell; Mull Circle, nr Port St Mary, Isle of Man; Arthur's Stone, Maen Ceti Burial Chamber, Swansea; Moel ty Uchaf Stone Circle, Llandrillo, Denbighshire; Rollright Stones, Chipping Norton, Oxon, Wayland's Smithy and Uffington White Horse, Ridgeway, Compton Beauchamp, Berkshire; Glastonbury Tor; Cerne Abbas Giant, Dorset; Men-an-Tol, Madron; The Merry Maidens, Trewoofe; or Boskawen-Un, St Buryan, nr Penzance, Cornwall.

Each year, around June 21, The Sun reaches a turning point in its journey through the sky. We get our longest day and our shortest night. The latest crop of Cancerians start being born. And, for those who still remember the old ways of our land, it becomes time to celebrate Summer Solstice. In the minds of many, this ancient festival is inextricably linked with Stonehenge, a mysterious circle of ancient rocks in deepest Wiltshire.

Once, only a handful of robed druids gathered to greet the dawn. Now, people flock there by the tens of thousands. They stay up partying all night long till it is time to dance, drum, stamp, shout, cheer and chant a welcome to the first rising Sun of the new celestial season. This is thanks to a change of heart at “English Heritage”. During the nineties, they took a very different attitude, getting police in enormous numbers to set up roadblocks on all the approaches. They were determined to keep out the nation’s hippies, astrologers, wanderers, travellers, poets and pagans - all of whom were equally determined to gather beneath their beloved stones. Ugly conflicts sometimes ensued. Recently, though, a truce was declared.

On June 21, 2000, Stonehenge was opened for a few hours in the early morning. Each year since then has passed without incident. This year, though, there are fears that old tensions will resurface. Some in the new age movement feel that, as the Sun won’t rise in the sign of Cancer till Sunday morning, the Stones have been made available on the wrong day. But though the Sun won’t enter Cancer till 8.10pm on Saturday evening, it remains right to celebrate the Sunrise on Saturday morning. Solstice has been celebrated with the Sun still in Gemini on many occasions in the past. The crucial question for our forefathers, was never ‘which sign is the Sun in?’ but ‘On which day will it reach its highest position of the year in the midday sky?”

At Noon tomorrow, the Sun is due to reach 23.4382 degrees of northern latitude above the celestial equator. At noon on Sunday, it will have started to fall once more... and will only get as high as 23.4373 degrees. So if you want to celebrate the solstice in the true spirit of the ancients... get up early on Saturday, Sunrise above Stonehenge will be at around 5am!

Note: Stonehenge car park opens at midnight tonight. Entrance to the Stones is from 2am - noon, Saturday morning. Car park will be cleared by 2pm.

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