Artemis Gathering 2017: A Hare’s diary

A Hare’s write up of the Artemis Gathering 2017:
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Friday 11th AugustDancing Hare website
The M25 motorway was up to its usual tricks, so as our Sat Nav kept telling us to avoid it, we eventually did as they suggested and went cross-country, getting back on track at the M40. As we had the whole family with us, we took a break at Oxford services, finally arriving at about 3.15. Being gold members, we could go straight in and pitch our tents.
We pitched up in the family zone and then all went off to investigate. I went off to the main marquee, also known as the beer and food tent, but also where people generally congregate. As there wasn’t much going on yet I decided to take a look at the stalls which were still setting up. Steve Frost of Nightstar Flutes were there, and I had a lovely chat with the gentleman who runs it, and he let me play on the flutes. There was one there I fell in love with, and he said if it was still there on Monday morning, he’d let me have it at a discount price since I was a returning customer (I’d bought a drone flute from them at the enchanted market earlier in the year).
Got back to our camp site at 5.45, had some pasta, then we all headed down to the marquee for the music. The first band was a duo called Corvus. They were a very nice band, and I ’d been speaking to them earlier as they were setting up, and they are quite new. They did mostly their own stuff, and one cover. After Corvus was the great Damh the Bard! What can I say, apart from excellent! He was up to his usual standard, even surprised us with a new song from his upcoming album the Mabinogion, possibly called Rhiannon, not sure, and I sang so much I nearly lost my voice! I tried to talk to him after, but he was very busy–and very hyper after playing his home crowd and he didn’t stay long. So spent the evening tasting hubby’s alcoholic creations of flavoured meads and vodkas and chatting to friends and Dagda (C o A security) members. All in all, a very good day.
Saturday 12th
A fairly slow day today. Although there were plenty of talks scheduled, nothing caught my eye until one pm, so I spent the morning getting a henna tattoo of two dragons on my left hand/arm. The very lovely Henna and Hat lady remembered that she had promised me a freebie since she wasn’t available to do my hand fasting henna, so she refused to take my payment! Wandered around the stalls as they were beginning to open, also played on a little bone flute that I had in my bag.
Then at one pm went over to the re-enactment area for the dying, spinning and weaving talk. I have an interest in this, having been a Viking re-enactor myself. They were very knowledgeable. Nothing caught my eye at two pm, so I started some knitting that I had brought with me.
Three o’clock saw me at the bar tent for professor Ronald Hutton’s talk on Village Witchcraft and Magic. Very interesting, as he always is. Nothing again at four
–more knitting! Then back to the re-enactors at five for a workshop on runes by the Ealdfader, aka Pete Jennings.
Back to our campsite for food, we could hear the band from a distance but didn’t go and investigate, instead going to see the fire sculpture before it gets burned. Then back to the marquee for some quiet drinks as most people had gone to see the fire sculpture get burned. Shopping purchases today included some perfume from Domina Luna Apothecary, some butterfly wings (like a very lightweight cloak)in purple, two drawstring pouches, one with a hare design on and another to be collected from Herstmonceux with the longman of Wilminton image placed on it.
Sunday 13th
Hubby is also known as Elmcloud and did a woodland walk as the subject of his talk at 10 am. Very interesting and you wouldn’t know how terrified he was beforehand. He came across as very confident.
After his talk came the second instalment of dying spinning and weaving, so more knitting and retail therapy! My shawl is getting longer, and my wallet is getting lighter by the minute! I bought a lovely holly leaf necklace from Indigo Forge and some tumble stones which I didn’t have in my collection. Also bought a cloak clasp for a friend whose birthday was today. I also picked up a couple of glass items,a necklace and a statement bead from Baked Glass Creations.
There was a talk at 2pm I was interested in, but I had been informed that they weren’t there this weekend so I wasn’t sure if the talk was going ahead or not, so I didn’t go. Three o clock saw me in one of the lodges for a talk by Pete Jennings, then the lovely Nisha Vyas-Myall spoke about the Hindu gods. Both very interesting talks. Had dinner, then quickly got back to the marquee for the raffle at 6.30, where hubby and I both won about three prizes–after having bought five strips of tickets each!
All the stall holders had donated prizes, and I hoped to win the flute, but it wasn’t to be! 7pm saw the start of the firewalk workshop run by Oona McFarlane. I have done this before, but it’s always fun to do, and I decided to walk for two reasons: the first was for our own Carrie, as she is having health issues at the moment, and the other was for myself, as I was made redundant in March and need to get a new job. Part of the workshop can involve breaking an arrow–basically, you put your reason, whether it’s negativity, job loss, a bad relationship, whatever, into the arrow, the blunt end goes against a board which Oona holds, the tip goes against your throat, you tell everyone what will help you break through the negativity, and then take three breaths while everyone chants your chosen phrase (for me, courage), step forward, and the arrow breaks.
By half-past nine the fire is ready to be walked, and I do it twice, once for me, and once for Carrie. Eventually, we go back to the marquee, have a few drinks, but it was quite cold, so I decided to go back to the tents. On my way back I saw a shooting star–hopefully that meant the firewalk will have results, who knows?
Monday 14th
Last day
I have to start packing everything up. No talks running today as the event closes at noon. So we’re up and breakfasted, then down to the marquee to say farewells and make final purchases before all the stalls close. I buy the flute! It sounds better than I remember, and I have his information, so I may try and go on a flute making workshop one day. Then it’s back to our campsite for the sad part of packing everything away. We get packed, are about to drive down to the entrance, then my daughter Coral and I remember that we want to get some coal from last night’s firewalk, so we go and get some while the others drive down and we meet in the bar tent.
Final hugs, chats and farewells are stretched out as long as possible, even though we will probably see them again in seven weeks at Witchfest! Then it’’s back in the car, and set off for the M40 and M25 to take us back to our muggle lives.
One thing I always love about this event can’t really be explained, it has to be experienced. There’s a wonderful feeling of both safety and family here. We as a family have been going for the last fifteen years, and it’s the only place where I know that I can not worry about my children; their safety, their whereabouts, whatever. I can just let them run off, find friends, do what kids do. If they get hurt, there’s always someone around who will help and if needs be to find us.
Also, if something goes missing, it almost always turns up again before you leave. This year we lost a chair from our camp site, but the next day it was back in our tent! Obviously someone had borrowed it, but remembered where they had borrowed it from. I always come back energised, and my faith in people restored.
Many thanks to the organisers Merlyn and Cathbodva- long may they continue their good work. This is only my experience, I can only mention the talks I attended and the stalls I visited. If I didn’t credit you, I apologise, it’s only because I can’t remember everyone! Other stalls were there, selling clothes, incense, masks and many more. Much money was spent!
Debbie Jary
Further details as detailed on poster below and for many more conferences and meets througout the year, you can also join up, next large gathering is Witchfest in Brighton UK

Countless Stones, Little Kit’s Coty and Kit’s Coty. Megalith survivors from the Medway valley.

Mentioned in the Dancing Hare song ‘Coldrum Stones’ which I composed in 2014 (on the forst Dancing Hare album), this is the first in  little set of articles focusing on my personal journies tothe Medway Megaliths, which extend from Addington neolithic sites up to the North Downs.  The name Kit’s Coty is derived from old English “Tomb in the forest”.

Firstly to Little Kit’s Coty, under one mile from Kit’s Coty (not the same site, two seperate ones).

These stones are rather elusive to locate, as they are inset from a generous hedgerow, P1070964with the brown background ancient monument site often overgrown. I wouldn’t recommend parking directly by them, as the road is quite fast and busy, with enough curves and small blind corners.

My preference was to park in Aylesford village centre (very well signposted) and there are two ‘free for 23 hours’ car parks on your left and right, just after going over the railway level crossing and curving around to go over the river Medway. The car parks are just before the sharp left hand turn that invites driving through the main village. Parking is recommended before here, as it is well worth a visit to the neighbouring priory and that is worthy of a separate visit too, along the narrow streets of the village centre.

Walking through the narrow pavements you will then find a turn rightward for the Rochester Road and on your left, you will find wonderful old buildings connected to the priory and the path of a stream and then the pathways give way as the road becomes more narrow as the rise of the North Downs becomes apparent in full view. There are some that use the road Pratling Street as a marker for getting close, but ignore the first turning on your right, as it’s a horseshoe road and its second entrance, closer to the Countless Stones, is much further up.

Taking care to swap sides on the road to keep your self in view of oncoming traffic, there is a bridle path on private land that the owner has kindly given permission for walking in parallel for about just over a third of the distance in the gentle incline. When this path runs out, it’s back to the road and listening out for oncoming traffic and just checking you are safe when you can hear traffic that is going to pass in both directions at your current walking point. Just take care to swap over some of the little blind spots, where it is better to not face oncoming traffic. There are also a few recesses in standing just inside a couple of yards of the beginning of private drives to farm land or houses.

The first stone you will see is a mysterious special one, in that it has been agreed by some historians to have been located from one of the lost barrows in the cluster of the Medway Megaliths, due to ploughing and lack of care for their antiquity. On the left hand side, you will see this single stone, at Tottington Farm entrance, which appears to have been relocated, possibly from the private land cluster of small fallen stones, known as the Coffin Stones.P1070959

Other stones lost or destroyed around here that were recorded by antiquarians in previous centuries include an accumulation of pointers towards various accounts of more stones than we sadly do not get to see today. Work is still ongoing and the Kent Archaeology group have featured some of the potential lost stones in this pdf article: Kent Archaeology-lost stones and possible sites.




After viewing this ancient stone, the second entrance to Pratling Street is viewed on your right. At this point you can see the traffic line that is part of the major road climbing Bluebell Hill.


The enterance to Little Kit’s Coty / Countless stones is on your right, just before you reach the pylon wires and it’s definitely before the pylon support, in the smallest of openings. If you were to drive up and down the road, it would be easy to miss this enterance. The brown sign is nestled in sometimes overgrown hedges.



The small opening  leads you to the stones after just a few footsteps.




Why the Countless stones? In this fallen chamber, the stones have overlapped one another and of various different sizes and depending on how you count them down to the smallest, it is easy to see how this could be a point of discussion over many decades.




It is unfortunate that we have a pylon wire going overhead close by, which is surprising that it couldn’t have been placed in a slightly different route, not so close to this ancient monument. The stones have been dated to about 2500-3000 B.C. and we are fortunate that they have not suffered the same fate (as famously with Avebury and it’s lost stones for building material) of being ploughed away or used for roads and/or building repair.

Close by, it has been recorded the removal and loss of a couple of recorded tombs until recent times, which were Smythe’s monument recorded in 1823 (recovered urn and similar but removed cluster to Little Kit’s Coty) , the destruction of an Aylesford Megalith and the Lower White Horse stone, which cannot be checked as it’s site is now under the dual carriageway and completely lost.

There’s more information on some of the lost barrows and ancient springs at the superb and extensive Megalithic Portal , which includes ancient springs and many other ancient markers.

From this point onwards, it’s then easy to walk from Little Kit’s Coty to the more complete dolmen site, where the more complete orthostats and capstone have remained intact and in the more complete ‘H’ shape.

As the Rochester road becomes a larger road and becomes part of the T junction at the top, you will see the Pilgrims Way road to your left and the Rochester then carries on rightward.




Just crossed safely over the busy junction look back down towards the direction I have walked up, I’m standing right at the start of the climbing path to Kits Koty.



Safely cross over taking account of blind corners on the turn (keep safe) and then crossover completely in the north direction. There will be a wooden sign for the North Downs Way walks, ignore the left posted Westward one and enter the north path which has tree arches covering the path in a steep but mostly cleared walking track.



I did have to walk around a couple of fallen trees and just walk around the field perimeter until back on the path, but these may be cleared sometime after writing this, as they are well frequented by many ramblers and enthusiasts to the general Bluebell Hill area that Kit’s Coty is part of.

The path will take you up steeply for about 10 minutes and then there will be the smallest of clearings, keep looking to your left as the path loses it’s steeper gradient.



A few footsteps and marked by a sign and you are there. The first thing you will notice is that the burial chamber was one of the first ancient sites to be protected and railings are around it. Although this may be slightly annoying for some, it has protected the stones. The view is breathtaking and you can see why this chamber was constructed here. You can view a whole large section of the Medway valley and the North Downs continuation and it’s exposed chalk. There’s plentiful clusters of ancient flint stone and what a view it must have been to the Neolithic ancestors, when the Medway valley into the Kent and Sussex Weald was still heavily forested.



The whole area was noted for the first signs of early farming, with excavations in this area of grain pits and various fire related smelting and early pottery. It is no surprise that such a viewpoint would be home to early settlements and the reverie of it produce these ancient places of final rest of the ancestors. The river Medway and many ancient wells and springs are noted, perfect for life on and descending into he valley from the downs Kit’s Coty resides on.

I see the whole area with the same fascination of the wider settlements beyond a key set of stones (such as how Avebury is in relation to West Kennett long barrow and Silbury Hill and the recent discovery of the super henge, in addition to Woodhenge, Stonehenge and the vast area of barrows and springs).




It is sad that in the passing of the centuries, that we have lost some key Dolmens and standing stones of various kinds, including potential avenue markers to ploughing and road developments. To many, over the years, they have been a ‘pile of rocks’ and often, when fallen over into the soil, have then been seen as a hinderance to more modern ploughing methods, to be removed, resited or broken up for building stone or road repairs in earlier centuries.


There is a reference to some fallen stones now lost further down the valley where the Medway reaches Tonbridge and it’s interesting to note that in the neighboring Edenbridge, some of the earliest production of iron smelting in the U.K. has been found in various excavations. The Medway emerges out into the Thames estuary and so it is easy to see how this part of the county of Kent played it’s part in our earliest history and our pagan ancestors.

In the 5th century, the Battle of Aylesford was recorded where legend has it that Horsa (brother Hengist) was either laid to rest, buried or banner laid upon the nearby White Horse stone.

Myths, ancestors, legends and sacred places, the Medway has some remaining jewels in our early history. I have shown you my walk, which is in no way definitive of how you wish to approach your journey to the two Kit’s Coty sites. I hope this overview is of interest from afar, or if you also get the opportunity to get to visit these stones, without missing them, compared to more obvious sacred sites such as Stonehenge and Avebury.

The next article (I’ll link these pages together so they jump from one site to another on this blog) will be a personal view of the Coldrum Stones and Addington Longbarrow in the coming weeks.


Matt Lyons with Calsita the Chihuahua

April 2017













Gigs and new songs 2017

We are under full way with performances this year, go and see our facebook page for events listing or the main website at

There is a new two sets of albums happening at the same time with composing of melodies already starting to Debbie’s bardic journies.

Gods & Goddesses will encompass many key ancient and influential powers of them in our early and more recent pagan and druid evolution and paths.

A title yet to emerge will be for the five elements and as with the ‘Gods’ album, there will be room for more songs not directly related so we maintain diversity for you on each album. Recording will start in early summer, we are already up to 12 of 20 songs appoximately spanning the two albums. Which one will be out first, the creative process will decide and we’ll keep you posted.

It’s really great ot now be out as a trio playing more than ever, wether it be at a local moot or a larger staged event, camp or festival. Give us a ring or drop us a line, we’d love to hear from you.

Dancing hare studio

Happy Solstice, thank you and new music

Dancing Hare wish you a great solstice, yule and prosperous new year.

Best wishes for 2017 from Debbie, Carrie and Matt


Thanks to all of you that gave a huge thumbs up for the Yule video. At the time of writing of this it had gone up to 18,000 Facebook video plays! Please do have a look the whole album and our back catalogue, which you can jump to from the shop button on our   or direct at (CD and digital).

As a relatively new music group, we also wish to give thanks to Damh the Bard, Dave Smith, for sharing our To Be Pagan track on his druidcast episode no.117,(via for all 117 episode to date, great radio shows)  which this time comes from the Order of Bards Ovates and Druids (OBOD) winter gathering in Glastonbury.

‘To be pagan’ has also just gone up to 4000 plays. The tracks have not been promoted on our you tube site and have lower plays but do have a look there, as they are in better quality.

We saw Damh play on the huge stage at Witchfest 2016, the first time in Brighton and the sound system, performance and lighting was all excellent, plus all those amazing other groups and lectures.

The third album PAGAN has now been released and with two videos and now a very exciting announcement.pagan-album-front-with-text


We are recording the first album again, with Debbie taking over the vocals and Matt has completely rescored the parts, each track will sound quite different.

We listened to the first album reviews and there were some that said they would like a higher voice and then of course, we were so happy when Debbie joined us on the recent album.

The other request was for a LIVE sound rather than the usual track layers in a standard recording. We are going to record the debut album and this time, have a couple of live videos, location ones and this album will be just like we are playing in a venue, a live studio album,without multitrack or extra instrument parts.

“Three hares: LIVE! coming soon!three_hares_by_carriephlyons

Recording will be done in stages and the working title of “Three hares” and this will give a completely new line up and feel to the original first songs we did. Keep watching for updates on the Facebook page. We are now getting ready to play out there far more and gigs will be happening from March 2017. If you like what you have heard from us, please do contact us directly if you would like us to be at a moot, gathering, festival, conference or similar. Contact us directly as we do not use an agent and say hello!




Pagan album, it’s nearly here

Wow!  I am now officially a singer/songwriter!

I always wanted to be a singer but never had the confidence to go for it or the opportunity to do anything about it.  I guess it must have been meant to be,  since everything fell into place without me even trying.

It is such a weird feeling knowing that in a short time, an album of songs that I wrote,  and with me singing on them,  will be available for anyone to buy, and soon the songs that have only ever been in my head will soon be in other peoples heads as they listen to it.

I am very excited about this,  as it’s my first album,  even though it’s Dancing Hare’s third. The weirdest thing will be the first time I hear someone singing or humming one of my songs.

I think that is when it will sink in that my songs are actually out there, and people are buying them. All I can say is,  I hope you enjoy them as much as I have enjoyed creating and singing them.

Blessed be.

Debbie Jary

September 2016



Album three closer to release


I’m laying down all the final versions of the guitar parts this week and then Carrie is adding violin early into the next one. We have all the lyrics, melodies, instrumentals finalised on every song. Ten tracks which have very catchy melodies we hope you will join with us, not just on the album but live too.

We’ve also got a new powerful PA system and for album three, the drums, bass and other instruments are already recorded. Debbie will then join us to sing over all the prepared melodies she’s formed already and so once the vocals are added, there will just be so work on any remaining fills and harmonies from the instruments where appropriate.

On this album, it’s quite different from the last two, as we can technically widen our instrumental backing live and recorded too, as the whole dynamics and part change as a trio. The first album had a little from history such as the lost land that joined Albion to Europe only a few millenia ago, a song about a hare, a raven, two sacred sites, two campaign songs, mystery lights and a heart lifting song  for the darkest winter days. The second album was a musical sketchbook of the well-loved and not so famous places in Glastonbury and surrounding areas. We did a light bit of live footage amongst images for the title track ‘Avalon’ and one of the Tor which you can find on You Tube via our video page on the

Album three has more songs about the seasons and celebrates more in our pagan and druid ways, including an anthem ‘To be pagan’ and a different take on the John Barleycorn ballad.

We’ll let you know more about the songs in early September and some previews 🙂




Three hares on their way

Dancing Hare at Longman 31st July Copyright Valentina Barnardi

photograph used by kind permission of Valentina Bernardi

We have been busy working on chords and backings throughout July into August for Debbie’s songs in addition to preparation rehearsing the current repertoire, including our songs from the Debut album and the Avalon album.

Five songs now have full structure and finalised melodies to them and we also gave a one song performance of Debbie’s John Barleycorn song. Carrie and Matt were stuck in traffic and then took a wrong turn and couldn’t get to the Long Man of Wilmington in time but made it to the circle in time before Dave Smith (Damh the Bard) closed the circle and there was a suggestion to go and play the song down at the pub as a three-piece, after Debbie had sung unaccompanied at the Andereida pagan meet for Lughnasadh (Lammas). It was a fantastic day and we had the best weather that day, as it was not sunny anymore 24 hours later.

The fields leading up to the Longman were abundant with harvest corn and we saw harvesting lower down and it was great to be surrounded by the ripe but uncut fields so close to the circle. We have fallen in love with this place, it has a special peace and calm and no surprise in how Damh and Cerri have found this the perfect place for not just celebrations throughout the year, but many choose to be handfasted there and other special life moments.

Dancing Hare at Longman July 2016

So off we go to the pub and after a discreet word with the landlady, we played the Barleycorn together informally and in a lovely laid back atmosphere and so we did get to play it after all after all the traffic delays earlier on in the day. Our first song as a trio and friend of ours took a picture. It was also great to play to Damh, as he’s a direct influence and inspiration for our footsteps into pagan music, bardic approaches to songwriting and through his working and playing with other musicians over many years. We were very inspired by a gig he did in Glastonbury in 2013 which also lead to joining the Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids.

In the South and South East, we did often see that people were prepared to travel quite a considerable distance to meet at the Longman, whether it be at a celebration, as part of a Gorsedd or just simply to walk amongst the abundant powdery chalk footsteps made into paths of the South Downs that are part of this special place.

So on we go towards this new album, we’re all very excited by the way they are all forming and all will start to show themselves as we head closer to the Autumn.

Lets raise a glass of mead to those that inspire, new friends and new paths and directions.

Our best wishes to you  and wishing a glorious transition from harvest time to the ripening of the berries as we head towards the Autumn Equinox.


from Dancing Hare.





Debbie Jary: Our new lead vocalist!


Hi, Debbie here. I am the new vocalist for Dancing Hare. I have been following the pagan pathways for the last 13 years, starting off in Wicca, then migrating over to druidry for the last 4 or 5 years. I am studying the OBOD course, but have not yet taken my bardic grade – life always seems to get in the way! – but when one of my eisteddfod entries at our Anderida gorsedd was voted best, I became chief bard of anderida for the year. That gave me the confidence to apply for the position of vocalist when I saw one advertised on Facebook – the rest is history!

My background in music is with woodwind, studying the flute up to Grade 7 and getting to a level where I was comfortable to be able to play pretty much what I wanted. The singing side has always been just me singing in the car to Damh the Bard or Heather Alexander, but Matt and Carrie seem to like what they hear, so I hope you do, too.

Matt writes ” We had a very good first practice and have already started working on the existing set list and also Debbie will be contributing her songs to the third album. Able to sing some of our favorite pagan artists with ease, Debbie has perfect pitch and can sing back new melodies and hear her own tunes from  within her own bardic skills. I am also over the moon with being able to increase my guitar dexterity to live accompianment and power up more with Carrie in the backing side and exchanging instrumental lines.

We’ll also be doing live recordings of songs from the first two albums so that they can be heard in a totally new way on stage and with Debbies new take on all the songs from “Avalon” and “Dancing Hare” recordings.

Carrie is delighted with Debbie’s flute skills and pagan interests, which means that Dancing Hare can now add these sounds to the group, in addition to piano, guitars, bass, percussion and both of them play a different set of tribal flutes too.

We’ll let you know when the first gig is going to be as a trio, but it will not be long as Debbie is already working on our current set list.

Welcome aboard Debbie and this exciting new direction of Dancing Hare!


After gaining limited open access at the turn of the millennium, it has been disappointing to see that English Heritage have banned alcohol and also introduced a parking charge which effectively means that at the summer solstice two brand new restrictions are in force (and perhaps others parts of the year to follow, once the precedent is set by attempt?). Very little mention is made of the fact that in any case, body searches were carried out to ensure that a four can maximum of beer or similar drinkwas not exceeded. Nothing but vagueness has come out of asking for specific restrictions on ceremonial mead and here’s the irony-English Heritage sell both wine and mead in their gift shop (at the time of writing).

No one seems to realise that by banning alcohol, it will increase the danger of people drinking before they get to the stones, or excessively downing drinks very quickly, to make effects ‘topped up’ in an attempt to make their ‘buzz’ last as long as possible.

There will be some that will find ways to get other substances past the barriers and checks and even with the most thorough or random checks, plenty will get through. Plus the added bonus of some attendees being fully aware of these checks and getting completely overwhelmed by rapid consumption. The big losers in all of this situation are those that just want to attend the solstice and have the choice of a drink or not.

Now it gets even worse. Despite only having four clear days where the ropes are taken down and you are not put through the English Heritage tourism process, (for which they have made in excess of £ 20,000,000 per year ) the small concession to make the parking free on the adjacent field next to the stones has a new £15 charge for vehicles and larger ones at £50. The aim is to make people pay by using public transport but since the selling off of the national bus companies and railways, English Heritage seem to be living in the past by not realising that rail and bus fares have rocketed upwards way beyond the national inflation rate, as measured by goods, petrol, commodities over the last 20 years.

For example, a train taken from London with a return (with rail services not running to suit attenders) I got a price just below £100 and a bus tour was quoting direct at £90. London is relatively close, but if you are taking the train to Salisbury, you then have to transfer to a bus service for £10 return to add-on to this fare. In addition to this, to stop people parking and refusing the new parking charge this year, none of the conditions of this rural area (by the main A303) trunk road to the South West have any of the previous years restrictions relaxed. This means that English Heritage have effectively tried to ensure there is charged monopoly on parking. Even disabled drivers spaces are subjected to the same charge.

The same cost in petrol from London would be £40 and of course, friends can share the cost to make this lower, you cannot do this on public transport except for some rail discount cards.

Up until the mid 1980’s there had been free festivals there but whatever you’re opinion on whether they could have continued (and yes there were a minority making it difficult for the vast majority of peaceful attendees), when these were not happening for the vast majority of the rest of the year, anyone could just go up to the stones and spend some time with them. Instead, the Stones are now roped off for 361 days a year and pre booking time visits are very much the norm, although some spiritual groups can pre arrange private access, this is outside of the exact times of the traditionally agreed dates for the two equinoxes and solstices.

Even if Stonehenge is not for you, perhaps preferring a local sacred site of little grove or altar, perhaps you may even go to other larger barrows or stones with easy or challenging access or even missing the exact dates of the solstices to avoid the larger numbers, I hope you may join me in the campaign to defend what is rightfully ours and just for only four times a year, not be restricted or charged. English Heritage have made the site a lot more famous, including advertising via leaflets to people’s homes and advertising in London for coach trips. The footfall has increased dramatically and this includes the general marketing of the four quarters celebrated, but this is very much projected in such a way that it becomes a place not for its historical significance, but almost like a music prohibited festival and something to simply put on the ‘bucket list’.

There is still a vibrant campaign to get a free festival established in proximity of Stonehenge and most people who cherish the site as a place to return to would like to see English Heritage keep their cash from the visitor centre interest for the ‘one off’ tourists, but it should never have got to the stage where you are forced to use their car park and go through their visitor centre. When Cecil Chubb gave Stonehenge to the nation, I am absolutely certain he would be livid and be at the front of the queue of protesters and probably launching a legal challenge to get the stones back, in order that it could be given to some sort of independent body which did not allow such an aggressive and insatiable grip in its monopoly of the stones. You can see the stones afar but not get much closer to them than the roped off circle around them by taking your car down some ancient roads (droves) but most are highly unaware of them.

So why do I care?

If they take Stonehenge away from the spiritual reverie and freedom to attend in the way I have mentioned above, then other sites could also follow. English Heritage have already been instructed that they will get reductions as a management body  to look after monuments and other less old historical places. Stonehenge and Dover castle attract a high revenue and income, but lesser sites are now being given the tourist treatment. For example, a carving of Merlin’s face was commisioned by them as a way to get tourist numbers to increase at the legendary caste of Tintagel, with its links to Arthurian legends. They then installed a transparency effect statue of an assumed Arthur of artistic interpretation shortly afterwards and tis was expressed as an idea to get ‘tourist numbers up’.

Please consider joining the growing concerns against these terrible changes happening and for further information, please go to the following links: -The home page of King Arthur Pendragon (Arthur Uther Pendragon on Facebook)

Facebook, search box, type in FREESTONEHENGE and also SECULAR ORDER OF DRUIDS.

Dancing Hare has produced a song titles Stonehenge, another one regarding the returning of the ancestors remains to their intended burial sites (Hallowed Ground) and if you google Stonehenge Freedom Song, a solo song by Matt puts all the current and historic concerns about what is happening at this sacred place into the meting pot. They are all on You Tube.

As a final irony, it is rather inappropriate to cite worry about damage to Stonehenge when you have a tourist organisation that will not think twice about carving directly into the rocks at another location and erect statues inappropriate and highly tourist orientated.

If the same conditions were applied to a lot of the revered cathedrals and churches in this country and they were run the same way as Stonehenge is currently, there would be an uproar. We should not have to pay to worship at the stones, even more so on the most important four points of the pagan, druid calendar and other faiths that also follow these pinnacle points in the wheel of the year and the seasons. How many would tolerate seeing their own local vicar being charged car parking, graves dug up to attract visitor numbers and then charge not only the congregation, but the vicar, organist and choir an entrance fee and then apply paint to the regular Sunday services notice and say “Services only allowed on Christmas Day and Easter”?  “You must park in our car park down this lane with double yellow ‘no parking lines’ installed along its whole length. You must visit the church gift shop before gaining access (entry £10) to the inside of the church. Private services will be by arrangement. Please consider buying our organic blessed wine, but please note, communion is strictly banned from this year, as we caught a couple of people in the graveyard to the rear of the church that were sleeping off some alcohol that aren’t spiritual at all. “,

Not all that find Stonehenge a spiritual place are robed pagans and druids, there are the quiet single pilgrims, Hare Krishna, those that revere its astrology , ley lines or powerful energy, history or geometry. It’s archaeology and the fact that it encompasses a sacred site that is far more than the initial appeal of the iconic stones that draw you to the landscape in the first instance. The barrows and burial grounds, the other henges below the top soil rediscovered and the nearby Woodhenge, whilst Avebury also beckons in the distance. There are those that just love the landscape and peace and those that travel from place to place and the spirit of Stonehneg as a meeting point for celebration, sharing time with friends before moving on to another sacfed site is of equal importance.

We have to stop this special and ancient place being just a highly controlled and theme park operated experience, where a short visit is then photographed, ticked off the ‘to do’ list and start seeing it as one of the most enduring ancient temples of the world, to be kept open, accessible, affordable for pilgrims from all directions and beliefs.




Beltane and beyond

matt at high rocks.We played our first gig at the recent 8thBeltane Wild Warrior event in Hadleigh, Essex and it was great to get the songs out of the rehearsal room and recording studio and finally go live. Our PA system did well and we would like to thank Denny and Steve Bottley for the opportunity to perform. We are going to do a full set next, with a local event. Both albums are on live stream on International Pagan Radio and also Ravengrove Radio, plus local radio interest.

I uploaded three guitar solos on You Tube to show another side to us, with a traditional guitar solo arrangement of O, The Oak and the Ash and two original instrumental tracks, A Galliard for King Arthur, composed in the style of a lute piece and a Mabinogion inspired extended tune, based on the story of the Lady and the Fountain.

A song has also recently been uploaded based on the ongoing problems with parking charges and access at Stonehenge, already restricted to the two equinox and solstice times as the only short durations you can enter the inner circle (except for private paid access).

Although it is good to write songs on places, spritual, magic and legends, we will also turn our attention to pagan and druid causes or injustices, such as fracking, oppresion or ignorance of pagan beliefs and freedoms.

The Glastonbury Beltane song got some great footage donated to help make it into a full video and we always wanted to share our amazement of the day in 2012-3 , when we were on holiday there and …well, play the video and you’ll see why 🙂 Whilst on our channel, do subscribe and you’ll then get an alert when we upload a new song.

We will be finishing the Avalon video so that we have moving footage to joing the title track from our album of the same name.

Album number three? The debut album had a very diverse songwriting arena, from sacred stones to strange lights, lost lands and legendary birds. This was a deliberate Pot Pourri to show what was going to follow in the future and expand further. The second album painted a sound portrait of Glastonbury and the Isle of Avalon and it has been well received and got a whole radio show spotlighting the album and stories behind the places. We were a little apprehensive, as this was a whole CD based on one specific location. We are glad we took in the whole area, as some people thanked us as they hadn;t heard of Gog and Magog (the ancient trees at the foot of the Tor) or Brides Mound, where many travellers landed from a boat journey when Avalon was still an island.

Album three will be spiritual journey that drives pagans and druids the world over.

The next blog will see the first song emerge, although there is a clue in the first album.

Next update after the passing of the Solstice at the end of June. See you then and of course, there will be news and updates via our website at and /DancingHareMusic