Updated: Aug 29, 2020
Salisbury Plain in the south of England is home to many prehistoric monuments: long barrows, round barrows, Woodhenge, Durrington Walls, and its most famous Stonehenge. Excavation occurred in stages that spanned centuries, from Approximately 1100 to 2800 BCE (New studies have realigned this date). The earliest structures completed were teh ditch, its bank, and the Heel Stone.
The Neolithic people of the time were farrmers with small numbers of domesticated animals. Small groups of immigrants, called Beaker People because of their pottery arrived in eastern and southern Britain sometime after 2500 BCE. They settled and merged with the natives, the two groups becoming a successful community whose efforts likely added to the grandeur of Stonehenge. Construction and remodelling would continue until 1100 BCE. with the extension of the Avenue. Over the centuriesits origins long forgotten, the awesome monument would inspire many tales. As with other stone circles, some of these stories probide food for thought and may carry some truths, while others are fantastic beyond belief. In any event, they are all entertaining.
It has been argued that Stonehenge was once considered the Ompahalos, the symbolic "navel" of Britian, the point from which all creation spread and teh site where the energies from heaven, earth and the underworld melded together. This is the stream of life, flowing through the World Tree from its pole star heights to the depths of tis roots in the underworld. (Academia calls such places the Axis Mundi). Thus, the presence of Stonehenge represents an arrival at a point in one's development in which previously fragmented energies unite. (You can research Gobekli Tepe in Turkey). This emancipation brings a sense of completion and affords a new lease on life. The circle of stones reminds us of life's circular nature. The Universe card marks the end of the Major Arcana, but with new optimism we find we have come full circle to rest with the hope and vitality of the Fool card (but at a different level brought by experience - thus the spiraling effect). The mystery which hanges about Stonehenge echoes the mysterious quality of the Universe card; it always contains and element of the unknown.
As one might expect, Merlin is associated with the stones. This is quite plausible as a person in his position would surely be familiar with the famous site, whether involved in its construction or not. It was said that Merlin used the temple to track the stars while Geoffrey of Monmouth went so far as to claim it to be of Merlin's construction.
King Vortigern and his council had been invited by the Saxon leader Hengist to a conference. Hengist claimed he had treaty proposals he wished to discuss. Once teh two sides sat down to negotiate, however, the saxon guards pulled out the daggers they had hidden in their boots and massacred teh 460 nobles. They were later buried in a mass grve on Salisbury Plain. Years alter, when Ambrosius had resttored relative peace to the country, he decided that the victims of the treachery should have a fitting memorial. When his own workmen failed the task, he summoned Merlin. The sage advised Ambrosius that if he wished for a monumnet that would stand forever he must send for teh Giants' Ring, a megalithic ring of stones which stood on Mount Killaraus in Ireland. The stones were said to have healing powers; illness and wounds were cured by water that had washed over the stones. Ambroisus was not entirely convinced; but eventually agreed to the endeavor, sending Merlin, uther, and his men to Ireland. The massive stones were dismantled, ferried across the wtares and hauled to Salisbury Plain where Merlin would raise them again. It was only because of Merlin's extraordinary arts (engineering skills) that the feat was ever accomplished. Ambrosius was moved beyond words as he stood beneath the towering stones. Three days of ceremonies followed the erection of the monument, and the grateful Ambrosius then crowned Merlin for his achievements. He ahd indeed give Ambroisus his everlasting monument as even today the giants still dance on Salisbury Plain.
From Ferguson, Anna-Marie. Keeper of Words. 1995 Llewellyn Publications. St. Paul, Minnesota. (114-115)