Well it's taken a year, but finally our stone circle is now complete.
On Friday, June 18th, I supervised the placement of 4 new Quarter stones, kindly donated from the local quarry. The stone I've chose for the North is about 3 feet wide at its base by 1.5 feet approx, rising to a point about 5 feet high. I had spent about 15 minutes walking and touching the other stones before deciding their position. They are approximately 3 ft high 2ft base and 1 ft depth. One had a side marked in colours of orange and red so I chose this for our South quarter. One had white crystalline deposits around a couple of its top edges, so i chose it for East, and the final stone had a slighly curved side which I thought could resemble a wave for the West.
They had brought 5 stones because they thought I wanted one for our central stone (altar), but I felt that our 4x4 sandstone block that is now weathered to a greenish grey had been in use for our meetings and rituals since May 2009 and it deserved to hold its place (besides it has a handy hole in its southern side for the incense sticks). The prison will find a suitable spot to place the 5th stone, so it won't be wasted.
Of course none of these stones could be moved by hand, so a fork lift truck was brought up and carefully picked up the North stone and brought it to our circle. I pointed to the small existing North stone explaining that it was carefully aligned to True North and we must not lose that, whatever happens. So a 4ft trench was dug behind this stone and we positioned the large boulder so that its centre matched the small stone. And that was when the fun started.
After digging the trench, the forklift moved forward with the stone positioned to come off the forks and into the trench. I was given the nod and I carefully sprinkled rock salt into the trench and said a few words of blessing and offering. The stone tipped but the weight caused it to slide over the lip of the trench and the forklift could not put enough leverage to tilt it upright. So, they tried again, and again, and again. By this time the trench was flattened and had to be re-dug, but miraculously our small north stone remained in-situ. They tried all ways but nothing worked. So they went and got the JCB which managed to position the large stone correctly, but as it was being tilted it stubbornly refused to sit properly. Next, they brought heavy chains, and with the JCB lifted the stone above the trench. It nearly went in but at the last moment decided to swing off centre. So once again the stone was laid down and a lot of head scratching went on. They tried again using the fork lift truck with the chains, but that was even worse. So they decided to use the "mouth" of the JCB and lifted the stone with the shovel and brought the "teeth" down to hold it firm, then lifted the huge stone upright and very slowly moved forward until it was hovering above the trench. At last the stone was lowered carefully and it sat in the trench. With a nudge to centralise it the JCB moved its shovel to cause the rock to sit upright and in position!
By this time it was gone 2.30 p.m. and our Pagans had joined us in time to see the forklift truck bring the other stones, one by one, and place them in their allotted positions after I had again placed offerings and said a few words. Under the East is a swan feather, under the West is a seashell that I had brought back from the Middle East about 18 years ago, and under the South I placed a piece of crystal to represent the fire of the earth (magma). The machines were driven away and my Pagan group stood in awe at the majesty of these large stones. Already we could feel the power of those stones radiating around us. It was a magic time.
I had taken my drum with me that day, and we did an impromtu welcome ceremony for our new Quarter Stones, with me drumming around each one as the lads chanted a blessing. I guess from the outside we looked like nutters on a day out! We also discovered the our new West Quarter stone has a small flat top which can hold our water chalice nicely. Afterwards, we walked away from our Stone Circle and when we looked back saw the North stone standing proud in the waning sunlight among the green trees. The Pagan Stone Circle is now permanent.