The mysteries of antiquity are myriad. Only a few on earth remain visible, exposed to the elements. At one time Stonehenge, on the Salisbury plain in South-Central England, was open to all, so any intrepid scholar-seeker-tourist could walk among the monoliths, stroking them in the same fashion as the ape-men in 2001, A Space Odyssey (aping the apes?), receive "vibrations" or take close-up photos. Being young and impressionable, I made the pilgrimage in 1973. I had read the current crop of popular metaphysical books, I was intrigued by Casteneda's Don Juan, I studied "Lay Lines" superimposed upon British Ordnance maps. Of all that "New Age" bluster and hokum, this site alone has made a lasting impression on me. It is, ultimately, unknowable in its entirety. But it is real. It represents more than just an arrangement of shaped rocks. It was not only a cultural artifact of an extinct civilization, but it was arguably the pinnacle of that society. To walk among the stones gave me a thrill, it was almost as if the ancients were present, whispering their secret knowledge in my ear.
After that epiphany, I took the tour bus back to Salisbury, and then the train back to London. My traveling companion, who disdained such foolishness and had abandoned me at the Cathedral, was waiting in the station, learning a bit about modern British culture from a solicitous local "lad" on the make. Another form of psychic initiation, perhaps.
I returned twenty-two years later, with family in tow, and although the monument was still there, the nearest one could approach was about 30 meters. I heard voices that day as well, but they were from the hundreds of tourists all around me. The boys enjoyed it, however, and the Stonehenge T-shirts they got there were worn proudly for years.