Posted by: Philip Carr-Gomm | July 9, 2013

Sighthill Stone Circle Campaign Update

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I have posted here previously about the wonderful stone circle in Glasgow city that is currently under threat. It was created by Duncan Lunan; he and his partner Linda have been campaigning to save it from redevelopment due to take place because of the city’s bid for 2018 Youth Olympics. I have just heard from Duncan and Linda that the city’s bid was not successful but that the redevelopment will still go ahead; the hilltop park where the circle is situated will be levelled and remodelled for new housing.

However, there is some possible good news. Here Duncan details the current situation:

Glasgow has not won the bid to host the 2018 Youth Olympics, but it appears that the redevelopment of park Sighthill is going ahead regardless.The planning applications are scheduled to be lodged by the City Council tomorrow and there will be 28 days in which members of the public can record their comments.

However, Linda and I had a meeting this morning with Tom Turley, Assistant Director of Development & Regeneration Services, and Colin Edgar, Head of Communications, also attended by David McGlone who was one of the organisers of the Druid/pagan ritual at the stone circle for the summer solstice. The main points were that funding is now in place for a much bigger redevelopment which will completely change the hill and remove the park, lowering the hilltop so far that the circle can’t survive in its present location or be replaced there afterwards.What is on offer is a new astronomy project to make use of the stones in a new location.

My reply was that if so, rather than just building a new circle with the existing stones, we should look at creating a new structure (still historically authentic) which the stones would be incorporated into.
That’s what I’ve been discussing with various people in the last few days, as a possible fallback position if the circle was to be removed, but it seems to be a serious prospect now.

To publicise the consultation, a folk and acoustic concert is going ahead at the Mitchell Library on Saturday 13th July, from 14:00 hrs to 16:30 hrs,in the Blythswood Room of the Mitchell Library, North Street,Glasgow, with members of the Whistlebinkies, Christie Connor-Vernal, Kenchuto, Ajna Starheart, Stewart Horn and others. The event will be free but there will be a collection for the Save Our Stones campaign. If the weather is good, we may go up to the circle to continue the music afterwards.

To follow that Stuart Braithwaite has organised a pop concert at Platform in Easterhouse on Saturday 27th July, still within the 28 days. Artistes giving their time include Stuart Braithwaite of Mogwai, Aidan Moffat, Eugene Kelly, Emma Pollock, Remember Remember, RM Hubbert, Adele Bethel (DJ) and special guests The Twilight Sad.Tickets are on sale now at £6 and Platform have kindly agreed to donate profits from the pop concert to the campaign.

It’s a great shame about the park and the circle in its present form, but it’s a lot better than I was expecting, and in the circumstances I think we have to accept it and move on. There are some exciting ideas about what we could build to incorporate the stones, and more ideas would be welcome. As always, more news as it happens! Many thanks to everyone for help and support so far.

Linda has informed me that they are hoping to incorporate the moved circle into a labyrinth.  She also sent me an account of the recent summer Solstice Ritual that was held at the stones:

Duncan gave a talk about the circle and the campaign at the Ogilvie Centre of St. Aloysius Church on Thursday 20th June, after which we went up to the circle to see the sunset, which is in virtually the same place for three days either side of the summer solstice.   At the solstice on Friday 21st there was a second talk at the circle itself, followed by a Druid/pagan ritual with over 70 people.   Both evenings were cloudy but nevertheless the events went well.   Many of the participants were in costume and the circle was decorated with ribbons, lanterns, flowers and offering of food and drink, especially fruit. 

 The solstice ritual began with a procession, summoned by a conch shell and led from the east by a drummer, which came into the stone circle and formed a circle of people around the central stone.   The major participants representing Earth  (north), Sky  (east)  Water  (west), and Fire  (south)  moved sunwise (deosil)  around the group, before placing lit cauldrons and a basket of paper ribbons at the central stone.   Earth and Sky took lit cauldrons to stand guard either side of the entrance way on the east, while Water picked up the ribbons and welcomed the people into the circle, handing each a ribbon with the words, “Enter this circle and celebrate the Summer Solstice with us this night”.   Sky and Earth blessed them as they pass between the cauldron fires and when everyone was within, the circle was cast to cut its interior off from the mundane world.

In the pagan part of the ritual, all were welcomed to the circle to celebrate the Summer solstice, as the longest day of the year and the pinnacle of the Sun God’s reign, when the Goddess (mother Earth) is pregnant with agricultural bounty and livestock waiting for their young.

The four Quarters then called upon their respective symbolic creatures:  the Eagle, symbol of freedom of thought and expression, to bring inspiration and creativity to all in the sacred circle;  the Honey Bee, Symbol of community and hard work, to bring this community together in celebration and in their work to Save our Stones, bringing healing to all present;  the Bull, symbol of the wealth of knowledge and potency of spirit that illuminate the city, was asked for advice and aid to save this sacred place for future generations; and the Wolf, symbol of our primal nature, was asked to bring courage and strength to all within the sacred circle.   Each speaker asked for peace in his or her quarter of the world, ending with the words “Blessed Be”.   Ancestors of Blood, Land and Spirit were invoked, then Mother Earth and Father Sun.

In the Druidic part of the ceremony the five main participants formed a pentagram around the centre stone and led a chant known as the AWEN to raise the vibrational energy within the circle.   This was followed by Herb planting and Blessing for the stone circle, passing around a bead of Hematite and asking each person to focus on Saving the Stones and seeing them flourish for Glasgow.   (Hematite absorbs negativity and is used to procure favourable legal decisions. “Hopefully close enough!” said the organiser.)   With bead placed in a pot bottom and covered with soil, a seed was planted and blessed with water.   The paper wishes  (on environmentally friendly rice paper)  were then distributed, each to be imbued with a visualised personal wish and tied when circle was opened to a nearby hawthorn tree, which has grown on the line of midsummer sunset.

The Four Directions and the circle caster were then called to the centre and a simple feast was held, blessing the food and drink and offering some to the Earth as they were passed around.   Then after thanks to the Goddess and God, thanks to the Ancestors, thanks to the Directions and to the Land, the circle was uncast, participants tied ribbons to the wish Tree, and there was general socialising, ended only by the growing darkness and ferocity of the midges!

If you are in the area and can make the concerts, go along and add your support. Updates can be found on the campaign website here


Responses

  1. Thank you for this. Very much appreciated!


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