On the Salisbury Plain, lies the ancient monument of Stonehenge. Not that very far away at all, in Stoney Wood, Wirksworth, Derbyshire, lies a 21st Century galactic monument that is the StarDisc.
StarDisc is a stone circle and celestial amphitheatre that was the brainchild of Aidan Shingler. Carved into the black granite stone circle is a star chart that mirrors the Northern Hemisphere night sky. Measuring 12 Metres in diameter, the surface of the stone circle is inscribed with the constellations, their names, and a depiction of the Milky Way Galaxy. The perimeter of StarDisc is made from silver granite and contains 12 granite seats that denote the months of the year. StarDisc is illuminated at night and in gloomy weather, by solar power. I discovered this incredible site when one of my reader’s got in contact: He loved my book which opens with a message to all StarSeeds and he thought that I’d love StarDisc, of course Chris was right, and I planned my visit on the Winter Solstice, 20.12.2019.
What Inspired StarDisc?
In Aidan Shingler’s own words:
“Throughout my life I have been enchanted by the mystery and magic of the stars. My interest in the stars lies with our emotional response to them – their power to ignite our imagination and sense of wonder. The inspiration for StarDisc stems from a vision to create environments where people from all walks of life can gather, contemplate, and connect with whatever resides beyond the sphere of our world. I describe StarDisc as a temple without walls.”
Aidan Shingler 2011
StarDisc was officially opened on September 10th 2011, by BBC’s The Sky at Night presenter, Peter Lawrence. It had taken six years from Aidan’s conception to completion. More than a thousand people participated in the opening celebration, which included an outdoor screening of Steven Spielberg’s masterpiece, Close Encounters of the Third Kind.
Supported by world-renowned astronomer and television presenter, Sir Patrick Moore, Sir Patrick was moved to comment:
“StarDisc is intended to inspire, entertain, engage and educate; that too has been my intention during the 55 years I have presented The Sky at Night. To study the stars is to study life.; the more we understand the stars, the more we understand ourselves… Congratulations to all who have made StarDisc a reality.”
Sir Patrick Moore 1923 – 2012
Since it’s opening in 2011, tens of thousands of visitors have flocked to the StarDisc and numerous events have been staged there. It is free to visit and open to anyone, 24 hours a day, all year round.
It is the dream of Aidan Shingler and others to establish a StarDisc Array, of similar monuments all over Britain. This array would form a series of linked visionary, interactive, artistic creations that would encourage public participation and provide social, economic and community benefits to the areas in which they are established. Each StarDisc will celebrate diversity, creativity, promote inclusion, and nurture cohesion in communities.
One of the visions of Aidan Shingler is to create a monument that will both fascinate and intrigue archaeologists in the future as they try to piece together civilisation at the dawn of 21th Century. He sees StarDisc as a torch bearer for the union of art, science and spirituality.
Anna Clyne, fundraiser, puts it this way:
“StarDisc is a special and magical place and I firmly believe that more locations across the UK through the StarDisc Array would be of great benefit to many communities.”
Allied to the creation of a StarDisc Array is the idea of the creation of a Star Seekers Way. This is envisaged as a mapped route, a stellar trail that will help develop astro-tourism, encouraging visitors to embark on a journey of self-discovery to each separate StarDisc.
What an awesome idea? This can be seen as contributing to the nation’s creative and artistic heritage and leaving an enduring cultural legacy for all humanity.
Who is Aidan Shingler?
London born, Aidan, now lives in Derbyshire with his dancer, writer, wife, Tricia Durdey. For almost four decades now he has worked tirelessly as an artist, writer, and activist. He conceived of and organised the Kissit XX Campaign; a series of national protests to expose human rights violations in the psychiatric system. He is the co-author of On the Receiving End, a book that highlights the impacts of psychiatric assault and calls for radical reform in the mental health system. His art is intended to question and challenge the ruling paradigms of thought and culture, inviting participants to “look at the world, anew”.
In one of his many talks Aidan raises the question: Schizophrenia, Insanity or Enlightenment?
If we consider the altered states of those who have achieved states of Enlightenment through meditation such as Buddhists, Hindu’s, New Agers (Ekhert Toll) trance mediums, to mention but a few, it is clear that in order to achieve higher levels of insight it is necessary to by bass the Ego, and that is to say, to vault over all the many limiting beliefs and constructs to reach altered states of consciousness. Society is quick to label people with a different experience of life, and the knee jerk reaction is to shame and silence them. Yet, consider this; we are societies who fail to value the Earth that gives us nourishment and often lose the thread of the kindness, and compassion that connects us to the soul that is at ONE with the Universal Mind. So perhaps they are simply more sensitive and have greater access to more profound truths?
Aidan discusses this in his beautiful book, “Psyche,” published by Thorntree where he mentions receiving information via an auditory transmission about a future encounter with Star People. Later he opened a chocolate Kinder Egg which contained a small figurine Asterix, which means star!
Do visit the StarDisc Website and check out how to get there and all the news:
StarDisc and 9/11:
What is the link between StarDisc and the worst terrorist act on American soil, in history, you may ask?
Well, when all of those planes were ordered out of the air following the attacks on the twin towers on 9/11/2001, they had to go somewhere and many of them ended up in the small Newfoundland town of Gander, in Canada. This small town opened up its hearts to the 6,700 passengers and crew from 96 countries who suddenly ended up on their doorsteps. Wirksworth resident, Chris Spencer, bound for New York on a Lufthansa flight was one of those 6,700 passengers who ended up in Gander.
Chris always wanted to find a way to thank the people of Gander for their warmth and compassion on that horrible day and when he suggested to Aidan Shingler that he would like to raise funds to gift the town of Gander, a StarDisc, Aidan was thrilled to jump on board.
Chris has said:
“I am just one of the many who received and witnessed the compassion and generosity of the islanders. Although I am agnostic, this extraordinary experience made me understand why people have faith in God, and I now know for sure the existence of angels… they are the gracious people of Gander, Newfoundland, who welcomed us with open arms and provided shelter from the storm… for this, I and fellow stranded passengers and crew have reason to thank our lucky stars and remain forever grateful.”
Chris aims to raise £200,000, which will be used to:
Commission, ship, construct and launch a StarDisc in Gander for 9/11/2021 (the 20th Anniversary of 9/11)
- Give thanks to the town and recognise the incredible compassionate humanity of its citizens.
- Establish a permanent memorial of 9/11
- Enrich the town’s cultural activities.
- Support the local economy.
- Celebrate universal inclusion.
The hope is to raise enough for a full-scale 40ft StarDisc but if funding falls short, either a 21ft, 14ft, or 7ft Micro StarDisc will be sent. A site has already been set aside, by the local council, in Cobb’s Pond Rotary Park.
My Visit to StarDisc:
As I mentioned earlier, I went to visit Aidan and StarDisc on 20th December 2019 in celebration of the Winter Solstice. I went up the steep narrow road leaving the village far behind, where Aidan and his tri-pawed, hound dog Benny were waiting for me at the top. The spectacular site is through the silver “Gateway to the Stars” next to a quarry with a wooden viewing gallery and a sign saying “Where Earth meets Sky”. Aidan explained more about the star constellations and I was, as ever, drawn to Sirius (the Dog Star) and was intrigued to see the alignment between Cannis Major. It was fitting that Benny hopped over and had a paw on that one! The Disc itself is magnificent, and Aidan was a most gracious host. He has an incredible knowledge about star systems and constellations in our Northern Hemisphere, and as a StarSeed myself, I was delighted to learn how well his plans were progressing. Aidan appreciated the roses that I had brought as a thank you; both person and place have a wonderful calm and benevolent energy – I urge you to visit. After all, where else can you walk on the stars as opposed to looking at them?
Following on from my visit to StarDisc I was inspired to go to London’s West End to watch the musical “Come From Away,’’ which tells the story of the diverse mix of 9/11 ‘refugees’ both humans and the animals in the plane’s holds, who ended up in Gander – Chris was one of course – and it features a prayer:
“Make us a channel of your peace. Where there’s despair in life let me bring hope. Where there is darkness, only light. And where there is sadness, ever joy.’’
Indeed, and this amazing play honours – what was lost, but also we commemorate what was ‘found’……………
‘Somewhere, in the middle of nowhere, you found your heart but left a part of you behind.’
An incredible sentiment in these dark and troubled times, and I can think of no finer tribute to this than a StarDisc for Gander, so please help Aidan and Chris deliver this. Please find a moment to be moved and to contribute to something that is bigger and overarching, and of noble emotions, actions and deeds which unite humanity.
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