Thursday, May 12, 2016

Doctor Who, Stonehenge, and Paganism


Green underlay
Stonehenge stones (gray felt)
Yellow felt Sun
Blue Felt Tardis
Science Symbol
Pagan Symbol

Spread out the green underlay in front of you

Hm, I wonder what this could be?

Start to set out the gray stones.

Someplace green … maybe it’s grass.

But what are these gray things?

[Kids may guess, or not.]

This is Stonehenge.  Stonehenge is a great circle of really big standing stones in a wide open field.  The stones line up so that at the Winter and Summer Solstices, you can see the sunset and the sunrise perfectly framed by the stones.

Put the sun at one end of the circle, then the other.

Stonehenge is in England.  England and other countries in Northern Europe is where a lot of my ancestors came from, a long time ago.

But Stonehenge was built much longer ago than that, probably starting about 5000 years ago.

I wonder what life was like then?

I wonder why people built this?

I wonder HOW people built this?

I wonder how we could find out the answers to the questions we have about this great mystery?

Bring out the Tardis.

One way we could find out is by time travelling.  There’s a very famous TV show called Doctor Who.  In it, The Doctor is a Time Lord.  [let kids tell you about The Doctor if they want to]  He can travel to wherever and whenever he wants.  And when he gets where he is going, he likes to find out answers to questions like, why did people build Stonehenge?  How did they do it?  Why was it important and what did they do there?


If we could do that?!?!?

But we can’t.  We don’t have a Tardis or any other kind of time machine.

Scientists try to answer these kinds of questions, too.

Bring out the science symbol

They dig up the ground and they radio-carbon date things and they examine the stones and they figure stuff out, like where the rocks in Stonehenge came from.  Some of them probably came from over 150 miles away.  Which means that people moved these HUGE stones on foot about as far as from here to Washington DC.  Which is AMAZING.

But they can’t really tell us why.  Science can’t tell us what the people who did these amazing things were thinking or feeling.  We can only guess.

So we guess.  And we guess that Stonehenge was used for religious ceremonies of some sort.  Pagan religious ceremonies.

Bring out the pagan symbol

A lot of religions have holy books or scriptures that tell the people who belong to that religion how the religion started, what to believe and how to worship.  Paganism doesn’t have that.

What Paganism has is a lot of stories and myths and rituals.  Some Pagans now go to Stonehenge and hold rituals and tell stories that are their best guesses about what the people who built it would have done there.  They take everything that the scientists know or guess, and they take fragments of stories that have been passed down through the generations, and they make something that means something to them out of it.

Are they right about what Stonehenge was for?  We don’t know.  They have no way to know, for sure, either.  But what matters to them is that the rituals they perform and the stories they tell make them feel more connected to each other and the natural world and the spirit world, more whole, happier. 

Please feel free to use this story anywhere you'd like with attribution to Dawn Star Sarahs-Borchelt 2016.

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