The chapter below is from the sci-fi, triller book Fear is in the Air by Eva Newermann
Summer Solstice Festival
The word “solstice” comes from the words meaning sol (the sun) and stice (to stop). Near the time of the solstice, on June 21, the Sun appears to set and rise in the same position for a couple of days. Sorry to say, but it looks as if we are not going to see the Sun in England today. The weather forecast predicted heavy clouds and some rain.
Considering that we are all dressed in long red raincoats with hoods. Also wearing hoods and robes, in white, are the Druids. The Druids are priests (many study astronomy) and they also claim they are the original builders of Stonehenge.
A couple of weeks ago an amazing crop circle appeared right next to Stonehenge. I had a farmer collect some grains from inside the circle. I have put the grains into six silver buckets. Six Druids will toss the grains over Lilliana and me when we walk up to Stonehenge, much like at a wedding ceremony when the guests throw rice at the bride and groom.
I have even written a chant for the Druids to perform.
People already started to gather at the monument site last night. From our camp we could see the smoke from a large bonfire and hear the distant drumming.
Scientists have studied the sound inside the stone circle. It resembles the sound you get when you take a wine glass and ring it with your finger. The whole place resonates.
The sound passes around the stones and can be heard for some distance. This effect would be even stronger if so many of the stones had not been missing from the circle. If you have a torch and loud music, you can see the flames move in time to the music.
The sound creates waves in the air. We also have waves in our brain, called alpha waves. Under the right circumstances these waves can be affected, this could lead to you going into a trance.
If drums play at a fast speed (160 beats a minute), like a samba and you dance to it, your heart can also beat 160 times a minute. If you now are full of drugs (cannabis has been excavated at the site) we are now replicating an ancient religious rave party here!
Some historians think a priest or a shaman would stand in the middle of the stone circle leading the ritual. People would be chanting, dancing, clapping hands and playing drums. Repetitive trance rhythms would be played in time to the echoes and flames. Bonfires and torches light the whole place. Maybe they were making some animal or human sacrifice too. It must have been a frightening and spectacular sight.
“Spectacular” doesn’t nearly give justice to the sight we see when we arrive at Stonehenge. The time is 4:30 in the morning, and everybody is getting ready for the solstice.
The whole place is engulfed in a cloud of smoke, haze and soap bubbles. Thousands of people are carrying torches and giant scented joss sticks, gongs, drums, whistles and whoops, together with people stamping their feet in unison, all making so much noise it could probably wake the dead.
A torch-lit Brazilian samba parade is passing us. Later on we learn that approximately 22,000 people gathered for the Festival.
Revelers came from all over the world. Costume Fairies, New Age Travelers, Druids, Hare-Krishna’s celebrate in their own way.
There’s a bizarre mix of people with dogs on leashes. Some people are standing drinking out of silver goblets, a few try to climb the stones. The police stop them and escort them offsite.
My guests and the six Druids line up in two rows facing each other. Irene, carrying (wide-eyed) Lilliana, James and I walk between them. The Druids, tossing the grains over our heads, are chanting,
Oh beloved Lillian and Dexter
Souls of the dead
Drifting in glorious Cosmos
Rejoice! Rejoice! Lilliana
On your heavenly journey
Into blissful eternity
By now we reach the stones.
Suddenly, something strange is happening to me. It feels as if I’m receiving small electric shocks in my arms and hands. I look and see some of the grains, the ones the Druids tossed, are still clinging to my hands, and they are glowing!
Instinctively I try brushing them off, but it seems as if they penetrate into my skin.
I glance over at Irene, I see she also got grains on her hands, but they are not glowing. My whole body feels a bit funny, as if I’m wired, or kind of tipsy. I start laughing nervously, and Irene, who thinks I’m just very happy, starts laughing along with me.
With shaky hands I take the urns, the ones that contain Lillian and Dexter’s ashes, I pour the contents around one of the stones. Strange, the ashes smell like cinnamon. Adam’s face flashes through my brain.
“Arrivederci: till we meet again!”
What should have been a glorious sunrise doesn’t happen, instead, fog and heavy clouds happen, soon it starts to rain. Most of the people (oddly enough) are unprepared for the weather and quickly disperse.
I’m glad we have the large tent to go back to.
When I’m no longer close to the stones, my body starts feeling normal again. I have heard that there is a strong magnetic field inside the stones and even with my rubber soles I can feel this strange electricity. Just like the jolts I felt touching Adam Skai the first time we meet.
Inside the tent everything is ready for us. The flickering lights are giving the place nearly a haunted feeling. In the middle, next to the font, a Druid in his white robe is waiting to christen Lilliana. She is asleep when I carry her up to the font. James and Irene are standing next to the priest. Very carefully, the three of us lock hands, with Lilliana resting in our arms.
The priest starts to speak a language I don’t understand, while he is waving his hands over Lilliana’s head. Then he takes the silver bottles containing the water from the ocean in Fort Lauderdale and pours it over Lilliana’s head. She wakes up, she was startled and start to wail. The Druid speaks louder now and in English.
“I hereby give you the name Lilliana. May happiness and prosperity follow you on your journey.”
The Druid looks at James and with a crooked smile he whispers, “May the force be with her.”
James and I give Lilliana to Irene. I take the stunning, two-carat diamond pendant (made from Lillian and Dexter’s ashes) and dangle it in front of Lilliana’s eyes. She stops crying and tries to grasp it. I put it around her neck and tuck it inside her dress, so she will not be able to rip it off.
Suddenly all the lights go out and the tent becomes pitch-black
An orchestra starts playing a beautiful song named “Morning Mood” from the “Peer Gynt” Suite. The writer, Edvard Grieg, was probably Norway’s greatest composer. If you listen to it with your eyes closed you can almost feel the sunrise.
Our eyes, on the other hand, are wide open. Because now – on a 360-degree movie screen – we can watch the marvel of the “Summer Solstice of Stonehenge.”
This made up for the fact that we had not been able to see the sunrise live. Next, the screen shows pictures from Lillian and Dexter’s life.
The music starts to fade away, as the screen shows a film of Lilliana, five minutes old, in her mother’s arms.
The lights come on and everybody is clapping. Yes, this surely was a wonderful and memorable moment.
All the guests are forming a circle, sitting on pillows on the floor. In the middle is Lilliana, Irene, James and me. Lilliana, seven months old, can crawl and sometimes tries to sit up.
They have all brought presents for Lilliana. One by one, they put a package next to her and she rips the paper off, laughing.
After a while there are teddy bears and other stuffed animals, in all colors and sizes, all around her. One person has brought a mini robotic pet, to the great pleasure of us grownups. There are also Barbie and Bratz dolls and some jewelry.
Irene has a big brass christening box and she puts all the knickknacks into it. Red, white and blue balloons are floating down from the ceiling.
After two hours of partying, everybody is exhausted. Lilliana falls asleep and we all go back to our tents for some rest.
At five o’clock in the afternoon we are all gathered at the pit-cooking site. The rain has stopped, but it’s still chilly. We soon feel warmer eating West Coast cheeses, scones and cream, washed down with a local mead – a potent drink of fermented honey and water.
A crane is used to lift the hog and lamb out of the pits. They are put on a large flat stone and the unwrapping starts. The foil looks very black and so do the pig and lamb, but when the chef starts slicing into the meat, we can see it’s pinkish.
I get some sweet potatoes, veggies, two slices of meat and of course, some more mead to drink. I must say this was one of the best meals I’ve ever had.
A local group is dancing and singing and after the meal we all join in.
Nobody really wants to leave when the limos arrive to pick us up.
Like the Chupacabra,
my calling card is death!
– Ewa Lowe