The Summerland Stone Circle, 2002-2007

This sacred Nemeton was constructed during the winter of 2001-2002 and was first used for public ritual on February 2 for the Feast of Imbolc.

Click on any photo below to see a larger version.

Arlene asperses the foudations

The foundations were started in November, 2001. Due to the weight of the 12 standing stones, which ranged from 3500 to 7000 pounds each, a massive, concrete foundation was required.

The Grove held a Purification ritual after the metal reinforcing rods had been placed in the foundation trenches but before the concrete was poured. Grove Bard Arlene Davis aspersed the area while walking through the foundations deosil, while I, as Grove Liturgist, salted the area while walking widdershins. See photos to left and right.

salting the circle
Stones hoisted into place Finally, the day in January arrived when the large stones would be set in place. A crane was used to place the standing stones and to bring in the altar stone. As each stone went into place, everyone could feel energy building. Finally the last stone went into position and a rush of energy sent shivers down the backs of everyone present. Even the workmen felt it.  

The Stone Circle was consecrated on the night before Imbolc in 2002. There were six of us present at the time: Senior Druid David Foster, Arlene Davis, Don Davis, Michele Briere, Steve Sampson and myself. I wrote a special ritual for the occasion and the date was chosen so that the Circle would be ready for our first big, public ritual for Imbolc the following evening. That ritual was even more special. As the Gates were opened, the sun came out from behind the clouds, illuminating the Rincon Mountains with a huge rainbow appearing over the Circle as birds flew clockwise around us.

The Circle in Feb. 2002
Main Altar The Nemeton continued to grow. A glazed, terracotta image of the triple spiral from Newgrange was placed in front of the main altar (left), replacing the one of Rhiannon that had originally gone there. A new altar to Rhiannon, complete with rampant bronze horses on either side (found in the UK), was built to honor my first Patron (right). Rhiannon Altar
Cernunnos Altar Shrines to Cernunnos (left) and Brigit (right) were built, with glazed images of the God and Goddess. Cernunnos' altar had a small pool and fountain in front of it, symbolizing the cauldrons of the Otherworlds. Another shrine, depicting Taranis, was built as the result of a vow. Other images with altars include those to the Morrigan, Manannan mac Lir and Lugh. The Lugh altar had a circular opening at the top and the Midsummer sunrise occured in this opening as seen from the center of the Henge. Altars to the Ancestors (in the shape of a Barrow) and to the Nature Spirits were also built.

Brigit's shrine
Altar to Lugh
Morrigan Altar
Altar to Manannan mac Lir
Taranis Altar
Altar to Lugh
Morrigan Altar
Altar to Manannan
Taranis Altar
Ancestors Altar
Ancestors Altar
Ancestors Altar
Ancestors Altar
Nature Spirits Altar
Nature Spirits Altar - Top
Nature Spirits Altar - Bottom
Nature Spirits Altar Back
Nature Spirits Altar
Top of Nature Altar
Bottom of Nature Altar
Back of Nature Altar

There was also an altar with an image of the Druid Sigil above it. This altar was used for all those Deities who didn't have their own altars. And there were also four altars along a wall without images above them. These were for future expansion. The Nemeton was also turfed over in the center, and sleeves for holding Druid staves, as well as one for a Maypole in the center of the circle, were constructed.

Pillars at Entry to Sacred Precinct

There is a Procession Way from the main house which comes up to the entrance to the circle.

At the top of the hill is the altar to the Outdwellers (right). During ritual, ale is poured on the black, basalt stone which makes up the bulk of the altar. This stone was found on the side of a dirt road in northern Arizona. Just beyond that are two granite pillars (left) marking the entrance to the Sacred Precinct.

Further down the Procession Way is the entrance to the Henge proper. This entrance is flanked by two large stones (below left).

Outdwellers Altar
Entrance to circle Outdwellers Altar Close-up
  There is a boundary ditch dug all around the Circle (right), making this a true henge. A small arroyo drains down to the Circle and around it during the rainy season. There are three bridges crossing this ditch on the east, south and west sides of the Circle. The world tree (a Southern Live Oak) has been planted on the north side. boundary ditch
Plan of Circle

This plan, which can be viewed in a larger size by clicking on it, shows the locations of the stones. North is to the top. The Circle is aligned with Equinox East, based on sightings of the sunrise on both the Autumnal Equinox of 2001 and the Spring Equinox of 2002. The nearby house is aligned on magnetic east, and there is quite a variation.

Each stone on this plan is numbered. Before the Circle was built, owners Steve and I went on a trip to Ireland, England, Cornwall and Wales to collect small stones from Neolithic and other sacred, mythic and historic sites for this Circle. When the stones, altars, Well and Fire were built, a small stone from these special places was put in each hole or foundation. The numbers on the plan correspond to the following list of the origins of the small stones:

  1. Stonehenge, Wiltshire, England. The standing stone weighs 7000 lbs. (3182 kilos).
  2. Tintagel (the reputed birthplace of Arthur), Cornwall. The standing stone weighs 4000 lbs. (1818 kilos).
  3. Windmill Hill - a neolithic sacred enclosure near Avebury in Wiltshire, England. Kirk & Steve held a personal Lughnassadh rite here. The standing stone weighs 3500 lbs. (1591 kilos).
  4. Glastonbury Tor - while there is no evidence of this ever being a sacred place, it is difficult to imagine how so imposing a place on the landscape could not have been sacred. Somerset, England. The standing stone weighs 6000 lbs. (2727 kilos).
  5. Woodhenge. This may have been a ritual site. Wiltshire, England. The standing stone weighs 4800 lbs. (2182 kilos).
  6. East Entrance to Avebury Stone Circle, Wiltshire, England. The standing stone weighs 3900 lbs. (1773 kilos).
  7. The Hill of Tara (seat of the High Kings of Ireland), Co Meath, Ireland. The standing stone weighs 4200 lbs. (1909 kilos).
  8. Knowth (neolithic tomb), Co. Meath, Ireland. The standing stone weighs 5000 lbs. (2273 kilos).
  9. West Kennet Long Barrow (neolithic tomb used in ancestor cult in association with Windmill Hill), near Avebury, Wiltshire, England.
  10. Drombeg Stone Circle, Co. Cork, Ireland. The standing stone weighs 4000 lbs. (1818 kilos).
  11. The Sanctuary (at the opposite end of the great Procession Way starting at the Avebury Stone Circle), Wiltshire, England. The standing stone weighs 3800 lbs. (1727 kilos).
  12. Penrhos Feilw, standing stones on the Isle of Anglesey, Wales. The standing stone weighs 5500 lbs. (2500 kilos).
  13. The Cove, Avebury Stone Circle (probably a place of sacrifice), Wiltshire, England. The altar stone weighs 7000 lbs. (3182 kilos).
  14. Holy Well, Dunowen, Co. Cork, Ireland.
  15. New Grange, neolithic tomb where the sun lights the end of the passageway only at sunrise on the Winter Solstice, Co. Meath, Ireland.
  16. Dinas Gynfor (translates as "Hells Mouth"), a rugged, forbidding site on the north coast of Anglesey, Wales. A local Welsh witch told Kirk and Steve that tradition held that this was the site of the last stand of the Druids against the Romans. When Kirk and Steve went there, it was easy to see how defensible a site it was. However, they have not been able to corroborate any of the witch's claims. This altar has now been moved outside the west side of the Sacred Precinct.
  17. Under the World Tree was buried a stone from Cadbury Castle, an old hill fort in Somerset, England, which is a reputed site for the original Camelot.
  18. Within the shrine to Brigit is a stone and soil from the site of Brigit's Fire Temple in Kildare, Ireland.
  19. Under the Ancestor's Altar are a stone from New Grange (see no. 15 above) and a jade disk.
  20. Under the Nature Spirits' Altar are a stone from Glastonbury Tor (see no. 4 above) and an acorn from an oak tree in the mountains above Flagstaff, AZ.