“The sky was awash with stars as I walked my dog on a snow-covered village green in County Durham. I looked to the heavens with wonder and voiced a request; an invitation to the Star People, the beings that we describe as extraterrestrials:
‘If you would like to reveal yourselves, I would be very happy to receive you.’
Returning to my house, dog at my side, I looked eastwards beyond the main street, and there passing slowly and silently through space, leaving a trail of golden light in its wake was a huge radiant green sphere; a luminous emerald orb, which descended to Earth and appeared to land in pastures a few hundred yards from me.
Overflowing with gratitude, two words passed my lips … ‘Thank you.”
In 2005, responding to my encounter on the village green, I sketched onto paper an idea I called StarDisc; a 21st century stone circle.
The name emulates the oldest known accurate picture of the night sky in history, the Nebra Star Disc, a Bronze Age plate inlaid with gold about the size of a vinyl LP, discovered in Germany in 1999, which archaeologists believe to be an astronomical instrument with religious significance dated to around 1600 BC.
My objective was to create a 40ft diameter illuminated star chart carved into black granite; a Celestial Amphitheatre that would inspire and instil wonderment. In 2008, having identified the ideal site in my hometown Wirksworth in the Derbyshire Dales, I intensified efforts to bring StarDisc into the world and set about gaining the necessary permissions, harnessing support, seeking partners and developing a fundraising campaign.
In 2011 with Arts Council England and Lottery funding, plus additional contributions from family, friends, colleagues and supporters, StarDisc was actualised. During construction my brothers and I scattered our mother’s ashes into the foundations.
The launch celebration was accompanied by an under the stars screening of Steven Spielberg’s classic film Close Encounters of the Third Kind.
StarDisc draws on our ancient lineage, crossing cultural boundaries it combines sacred space and futuristic vision, inviting people from all walks of life to gather, contemplate and connect with whatever resides beyond the sphere of our planet.
Science is serious about the search for Extraterrestrial life. SETI [acronym: Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence], is an organisation that was established to do precisely this. SETI was founded in 1984 with U.S. government backing. The mission of the SETI Institute is to explore, understand and explain the origin, nature and prevalence of life in the Universe.
One of its many activities is to analyse radio signals that might Indicate signs of life beyond Earth.
From the outset my intention was that StarDisc would share these aims; that it would facilitate transmission/reception based on the premise that each and every one of us transmits and receives as matter of course and that we need only focus our minds and project our thoughts into deep space to connect with the infinite. It has been said that thought travels faster than the speed of light – the wings on which prayers and wishes are carried. One can think of StarDisc as a radio telescope dish but broadcasting brainwaves rather than radio waves.
In addition, I wanted StarDisc to be used as a platform from which to interact with UFOs and occupants, [what we now call ‘UAP’ – Unidentified Aerial Phenomena].
Since its launch, I have attempted to establish new StarDiscs, and while my efforts, and those of my collaborators, have not yet yielded further commissions, we continue to innovate creative ways to manifest our shared vision, an earth-bound constellation of StarDiscs.
At the heart of this endeavour is a threefold ethos:
■ Champion the unification of art, science and spirituality.
■ Celebrate diversity, common humanity and shared cultural heritage.
■ Cherish our home planet, the gift of life and our place amongst the stars..
In a world of conflict, chaos and confusion, there is an imperative to embrace those opportunities which unite people. StarDisc offers a non-religiously or politically divisive meeting place that accepts everyone and excludes no one. A Temple Without Walls roofed by the sky, where religion and secularism are equally and simultaneously relevant and irrelevant, where what unites us is our individuality, diversity and shared humanity, where we can speculate about the great unknown, be open to the unexpected, and just perhaps, encounter the extraordinary.