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Stanton Drew

46 47 riTuAl AT The SToneS who knows what went on Although not widely discussed in learned volumes there are other possible interpretations of sites like Stanton Drew, and from dim records of ancient customs it seems quite possible that human sacrifices or rituals of a sexual nature may have taken place there with the purpose of evoking a symbolic union, either between life and death, or man and woman. Again unmentionable in the hallowed halls of academia is the high likelihood that those taking part in such rituals may have been in an altered state of consciousness. Ergot, deadly nightshade, henbane, flyagaric and liberty cap mushrooms, marijuana and opiates were all available to our Neolithic ancestors and significant deposits of midaltering substances have been found in British burial mounds. It is therefore not unreasonable to conclude that initiates may have been high at ceremonies. The contemporary equivalent is a popular festival. Chanting, drumming and the wailing of pipes would provide the musical element and mindexpanding substances would leaven the spiritual brew. It is possible that drugs, with all of the enhanced perceptions they can bring, may have been as much part of the lifestyle of 4,000 BC as they are today. Perhaps the hippy dream of enlightenment and turning on had its inception way back then. Echoes survive today at nearby Priddy with its folk fairs and ample supply of magic mushroomsa popular rendezvous for those who gather in our own age.
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