Not quite as good as visiting these awesome places, but we can at least keep you up to date on what's happening.

Ignoring Stonehenge

The Guardian Online has an excellent opinion piece titled "The final insult", which asks a very good question - why is Stonehenge not treated by officials as being on a par with other great ancient sites such as the Giza pyramids?

The first view of Stonehenge as you approach from Salisbury is a clutter of what looks like scrap metal. It reminded me of a rural junk yard, but on closer inspection this turns out to be the Stonehenge car park. You can see why English Heritage feels the need to apologise to visitors before they even reach the turnstile; plaques acknowledge the unsatisfactory state of Stonehenge and describe, with beautiful diagrams of an underground museum and visitors' centre, the utopian near-future. None of this is now going to happen.

I was lucky enough to visit Stonehenge at first light on a Spring morning (some ten years ago to the day). The morning mist slowly cleared to reveal stark, grassy terrain and a monument that, quite simply, encapsulated the word "ancient". It was a wonderful space to be in, and I can only hope that more people in future get to experience it - whether at Stonehenge, or other wonderful 'sacred sites' in the United Kingdom.

In the writer's words, "Stonehenge has been talked down by the experts. And now the philistines have an excuse to treat it as if it was nothing special." That truly would be a crime.

Newgrange Solstice - Live!

A nifty little meeting of ancient and modern: this year's Winter Solstice at Newgrange will be webcast live, to celebrate the 40th Anniversary of the re-discovery of the Winter Solstice Phenomenon at Newgrange by Professor O’Kelly in 1967:

Newgrange (co. Meath, Ireland) is best known for the illumination of its passage and chamber by the winter solstice sun. Above the entrance to the passage at Newgrange there is a opening called a roof-box. Its purpose is to allow sunlight to penetrate the chamber on the shortest days of the year, around December 21, the winter solstice. At dawn, from December 19th to 23rd, a narrow beam of light penetrates the roof-box and reaches the floor of the chamber, gradually extending to the rear of the passage. As the sun rises higher, the beam widens within the chamber so that the whole room becomes dramatically illuminated. This event lasts for 17 minutes, beginning around 9am.

For the first time ever, the 2007 Winter Solstice illumination of the passage and chamber at Newgrange will be streamed live on the internet...The Winter Solstice event from inside the chamber at Newgrange will be broadcast on the mornings of Friday 21st and Saturday 22nd December 2007. If conditions are good the rising sun will illuminate the passage and chamber between 8:58am and 9:15am GMT (Greenwich Mean Time).

The webcast will be available on the Heritage Ireland website. Let's hope they're on good terms with Huey...

The Great Pyramid -- new revelations

The Giza Pyramids, and specifically the famous one with the shafts, will be the centre of controversy again. The very spry 80-something-year-old Zecharia Sitchin has released a new book about a secret chamber in the Great Pyramid -- and he has explosive claims of photographs to prove it. Journeys to the Mythical Past (Amazon US or UK) is available early October. He's very tight-lipped about his source, so we may have to wait for the book. Gnostic adventurer Philip Gardiner also has a new book, Gateways to the Other World (Amazon). Philip writes about a growing number of disgruntled academics and eminent Egyptologists who disagree with the tomb theory enforced by the supreme rulers of the Giza Plateau. Incidentally, there's still no word from Zahi Hawass when the next robot expedition into the shafts of the Great Pyramid will be televised live on FOX. So the timing of Sitchin and Gardiner's latest books will make things very interesting.

This is classic Daily Grail, I feel young again!

The Egypt Code, by our old mate Robert Bauval, deserves a plug too (Amazon UK only unfortunately). Greg wrote a review for TDG and he also interviewed Rob for Sub Rosa #6. It's a book that deserves serious academic interest, not ridicule and silence.

Fortean Wonders

The Charles Fort Institute, with a little help from Fortean Times, are looking for nominations for their list of the 'Seven Fortean Wonders of the World':

Earlier this year the publicly voted New Seven Wonders of the World were announced, which put an idea into the collective head of The Charles Fort Institute. They want to establish the Seven Fortean Wonders of the World - the places and artefacts that are most steeped in mystery - and they need your suggestions!

They will draw up a shortlist from the ideas that are sent in, and to get the ball rolling we have put together a selection below of likely candidates. (Note: these are not our choices - just suggestions). You have until the end of September 2007 to get your vote in.

I'm sure, between us all, we could assemble a fair list of 'wonders' worth voting on. Email your thoughts to the CFI, or post a comment here and I'll see that the CFI receives it.

Field Guide Review

I've posted a review to the site of The Field Guide: The Art, History and Philosophy of Crop Circle Making, by Rob Irving and John Lundberg (edited by Mark Pilkington). The Field Guide is the first crop circle book which gives the story from the side of the 'circlemakers', so it's a necessary read for anyone interested in the 'phenomenon'. You can find out more about the book at the Strange Attractor website, including a few sample pages from the book. Sure to be controversial this one.

CoSM Press

Eli Morgan, Creative Director of Alex Grey's Chapel of Sacred Mirrors, writes:

I am very happy to announce that after 3 years of work CoSM Press has launched. Our web site is up www.cosmpress.com and will continue to be updated. "Damanhur. Temples of Humankind" is our first major publication. This amazing art book is dripping with color and mystical information. The Sacred Mirrors Box set, is a unique way to view and meditate with Alex's art. There is also a replica frame to go with them. And the 4th issue of CoSM Journal of Visionary Culture is not to be missed.

For some visual and mental inspiration, check out the offerings mentioned by Eli - absolutely beautiful.

Swirled 2006 Summary

Crop circle website Swirled News awakes from its slumber with another burst of updates to mark the end of the 2006 season. New articles include a review of this year's glyphs, a look at this year's Glastonbury Symposium, and a review of Daniel Pinchbeck's 2012: The Return of Quetzalcoatl. Head to the website for the full rundown and links to each article.

Confessions of a Crop Circle Maker

Star Stream research has an interesting interview with well-known 'circle-maker' John Lundberg, titled "Confessions of a Crop-Circle Maker". Lundberg and co-author Rob Irving have just released The Field Guide: The Art, History and Philosophy of Crop Circle Making, which gives an inside look at the creation of the glyphs. As always, I feel a bit torn on this subject - as someone interested in getting the truth behind paranormal phenomena, I empathise with anyone who has devoted long hours to investigating 'hoaxes'; on the other, I do understand the creative and emotional aspects to what is essentially a new style of art.

Field Guide to Crop Circles

This looks interesting. Strange Attractor's Mark Pilkington has joined forces with Jon Lundberg and Rob Irving of The Circlemakers to create The Field Guide: The Art, History and Philosophy of Crop Circle Making:

Three decades ago, two men in their fifties began flattening circles into the fields of Hampshire and Wiltshire. Little did they know that their Friday night antics would seed an international phenomenon that continues to change people's lives to this day.

Now, in the first book of its kind - part history and part how-to guide - the secrets of the crop circle world are revealed, by the people behind the modern era's most astounding artform.

Sure to cause a stir in the crop circle community, so well worth taking a look at. The website has a PDF press release and also samples of the inside of the book, for those interested. As an aside, there is also an article about the Circlemakers on the Greenpeace website which gives some topical background.

2006 Glastonbury Symposium

The 2006 Glastonbury Symposium kicks off this weekend. Speakers include Alan Alford, Andy Thomas and Graham Hancock - the event is pretty much a sell-out, but if you're in the area and interested, there may be tickets at the door for individual lectures. Hopefully there'll be some audio or at least an article about it after the event, for us poor people stuck half way around the globe.