Dawn of Summer Solstice Celebrated Among Andromeda’s Standing Stones 

A great conical mound topped with standing stones and named after the Andromeda galaxy was today the site of a 4am Sunrise Ceremony to celebrate the dawning of the summer solstice. 

Image credit – Mike Bolam

The gathering, at Crawick Multiverse (in Upper Nithsdale on the Ayrshire and Dumfries and Galloway border) brought together the public, scientists, academics and storytellers at the 55-acre artland which is inspired by astronomy and the wonders of the cosmos. 

Dozens of visitors attended including Crawick Multiverse Trust Patron Richard, Duke of Buccleuch. 

The ceremony which included poetry from different cultures and eras was led by Open University Professor of Religious Studies, Graham Harvey, Dr Luidmila Nikanorova and professional storyteller, Gordon MacLellan.  

Gordon said: “Our Solstice Sunrise Ceremony drew on midsummer traditions from around the northern hemisphere, bringing together ancient British poetry with Scandinavian stories and more.  
“Spiritual without being religious, we wanted to encourage visitors to pause and reflect upon their relationship with the world around them and appreciate this morning, this sunrise, one of the turning points of the year.” 
Gillian Khosla, Chair of The Crawick Multiverse Trust, added: “There’s a real sense of magic and wonder when the sun rises over Crawick Multiverse on the Summer Solstice – with its great mounds inspired by the Milky Way and Andromeda and its avenues of standing stones.” 

It was the start of a day of family-friendly activities which culminated in a Tilt Ceremony from 3.15pm to 4.15pm – the moment when sun reaches its annual zenith and the year turned. 

Activities included music by international harpist Wendy Stewart, drumming by children from Kelloholm and Sanquahar primary schools, science talks, guided tours, storytelling, yoga, dance and Tai Chi. 

Crawick Multiverse has worked in partnership with The Open University (OU) in Scotland to co-host a week of solstice events from 18-24 June that blend art, science, mystery, music and entertainment. 

Crawick Multiverse is becoming increasingly well known as one of the best places in Scotland to mark the summer solstice – having held a series of celebratory events in recent years. 

The beautiful visitor attraction (designed by the late Charles Jencks) is rich with conical mounds representing colliding galaxies, avenues of standing stones and other impressive features inspired by the sun, stars, and cosmic wonders.  

The week will conclude on Saturday with a Midsummer’s Day Family Picnic complete with more entertainment and a pop-up exhibition.  

Saturday’s Visitors will also be able to explore the site and browse the Baron Thyssen Centre Exhibition – a small photo exhibition of objects connected with ancient summer festivals. Visitors can also participate in storytelling and crafts and enjoy an informal afternoon of midsummer entertainment from performers including the local community choir, Claudia Wood – Soprano, Colin Thomas Bryce – The Tartan Tenor, Young Burnsian of Scotland and Winners of the National Burns Competition as well as Sanquhar and District Silver Band.   

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