Every now and again, my mind wanders back to the rain-drenched November night in 2007 when I went inside Silbury Hill, and this memory occasionally makes my flesh crawl. I don’t suffer from claustrophobia, but the air was humid and the spaces inside the voids became increasingly confined, to the extent that the crumbling roof eventually hung just a few inches above my back, with darkness all around.
I don’t regret it for a moment, though – far from it. The black voids above the lower galleries that had been hacked out of the innards of this stupendous hill by treasure hunters over the course of centuries were almost literally mesmerising to me, even if they had a faintly ominous air about them. However, when I was given the opportunity, I simply could not resist the temptation to leave the harsh light behind and to crawl inside these gloomy tunnels, especially when I’d learned that only a robot probe, Mark Kirkbride and a few miners had ventured there before me. The work to fill the insides of the hill was due to start the next day, which meant that more men have stood on the surface of the moon than have been where I’d ventured, and while men will almost certainly return to the moon one day, no one will ever be able to clamber through the tunnels inside Silbury Hill again, because they have ceased to exist.
It was impossible to resist the allure of Silbury Hill, and it’s been equally impossible to resist writing about Stonehenge. Every time I’ve contemplated the Druid link with the ruins, the Silures, the level upper surface of the lintels, the apparently enigmatic account by Pytheas of Massilia of a temple of Apollo, the southern entrance to the monument, Gwyn ap Nudd, TANITH, the lost altar stone, Bluestonehenge, Caer Sidi, the Mesolithic pits, Apollo Cunomaglus and many others, I’ve found myself lost for a few hours in the mists of time, using imagination and reason to try to get a fleeting glimpse of Stonehenge through the eyes of our ancestors who performed their ceremonies there.
I particularly enjoy the study of Arthurian tales and the many possibilities open to us through a study of language, but I’m naturally interested by anything that comes along in the form of links and contributions by others. However, there are just so many fascinating avenues to explore that I worry about not doing them justice, because Eternal Idol is and always has been a text-based site.
As it is, I’ve virtually abandoned writing about Stonehenge’s present and its possible future, because there are so many regular news items and developments that I find it impossible to keep up, let alone deal with them and discuss them in a meaningful fashion. As for Stonehenge’s past, I never cease to be amazed at just how much there is to ponder, write about and discuss; now that I’m the proud owner of a copy of Stonehenge In Its Landscape, I’m sure there’ll be even more food for thought, but as far as lengthy new posts are concerned, I plan to take a summer recess.
I don’t intend to go away entirely, but there are getting on for 500 posts on this site, so I intend to revisit some of them over the coming months to refresh my memory and to add to their content in a more leisurely fashion, while the post on Gwyn ap Nudd springs to mind as one that deserves my particular attention. Stonehenge was around for a long time before I was born and it will certainly be there long after I’ve departed to join the ancestors, so it can certainly manage without my scrutiny for a month or two.
In the meantime, thank you to everyone who shares my interest in this mesmerising place, for all the thought-provoking and eye-opening contributions you’ve sent in, and I hope you’ll continue to do so.