Beltane 2010 - Uffington White Horse, Glastonbury, Avebury and Priston

This page includes reports and photographs from the various events I attended during the season of Beltane in 2010. Beltane occurs on 1 May and is technically the first day of summer, with the sun at the three quarter high point, with the next stop on the wheel being the sun's high point at the Solstice and then the decline down to Yule. Beltane is the time of lighter days, blossom, the flowering hawthorn, animals going out again and maypoles. The season started early with the Gorsedd of Rhiannon and The White Horse on 25 April, followed by a full moon a few days later. On 1 May it was an 03:30 rise and then a trip down to Glastonbury Tor with the Glastonbury Order of Druids. Next it was into Chalice Well for the Beltane Fire. Later that day the Glastonbury Community Beltane event took place, while I was at Avebury for the Free and Open Gorsedd of Caer Abiri. On 2 May it was back to Avebury for the Gorsedd of Bards of Caer Abiri. And on the Bank Holiday Monday it was down to the village of Priston for its traditional May Day event.

Update: 5 May 2010 : Added three videos from the Glastonbury Community Celebration on 1 May.
Update: 5 May 2010 : Added a second montage of the Glastonbury Community Celebration on 1 May.
Update: 5 May 2010 : Added three photos from Chalice Well on 1 May.
Update: 7 May 2010 : Added four photos from the Priston Jubilee Morris and two from the Somerset Morris displays on 3 May.
Update: 8 May 2010 : Added a people montage from Chalice Well on 1May.
Update: 24 May 2010 : Added an additional video from the Glastonbury Community Celebration on 1 May.
The Gorsedd of Rhiannon and The White Horse - 25 Apr 2010

On Sunday 25 April a small group gathered in the car park of the Uffington White Horse at the Wiltshire, Berkshire, Oxfordshire border for the Beltane Gorsedd of Rhiannon and The White Horse. The weather was good for the duration of the event. Just after midday the group processed through the field at the east of the car park, to be within sight of the monument. Rainbow welcomed everyone to the event. Firevixen came around to anoint everyone with apple juice and Kestrel came around the circle to smudge them. The ancestors were welcomed in and Willth performed the Call For Peace. Rainbow accessed the three worlds of land, ocean and sky, each time going around the circle for everyone to say what inspired them about each. The group was also asked to state what the season of Beltane meant to them.

Burning candles marked the entrance point to summer and each of us passed through, accepting a drink of apple juice from Rainbow on the other side. Drums and voices were then used to call in summer. Next came the opportunity for people to step forward for a bardic initiation into the Gorsedd of Rhiannon and The White Horse. Four people took up the offer, moving to the centre, facing outwards with linked hands. Kestrel performed the rite and then asked for the Awen to be toned three times. With the rite complete the new initiates re-joined the main circle. Everyone then joined hands to recite the Druids' Vow. With the energy level high at this point, everyone had the opportunity to say prayers for those in need of healing. Following this it was time to bless the bread and mead. Rainbow brought around the bread and Kestrel the mead. I gave my Beltane poem its first reading of the season. Other contributions included Kestrel, Firevixen, Rainbow and Willth. I also distributed some song sheets and led the group in a version of the Hal An Tow song. With that it was time to thank the ancestors and close the quarters before processing back to the car park.

Montage of the complete event

Getting ready in the car park

The procession begins

Across the fields to the site of the Gorsedd

The famous White Horse

Lighting the candles

Offerings in the centre

Willth performs the Call For Peace

Willth walks into summer

Drumming in the summer

Sharing the mead

Firevixen reads one of her poems

Kestrel reads one of her works

On the way back

Beltane Moon 27 Apr 2010

Something is stirring in the hedge

The moon begins to appear

The moon has now risen above the hedge

Growing in power

On its way across the night sky

The Glastonbury Order of Druids on Glastonbury Tor - 1 May 2010

I met Rollo and Donna outside the White Spring and we walked up the Tor together. Lots of people had already gone up and more were soon following. I carried the cauldron of flowers up and down again. At the top we waited a bit for additional people to arrive. The circle then formed around the cauldron. Rollo welcomed everyone to the event and explained that the Cam Valley Morris Men would be performing at the end of the circle. Rollo carried out his directional peace blessing and then followed with a talk about the meaning of the Druid Mantra. He got the group to practice using the mantra, before using it for three tasks - healing, ending the recession and advancement of green technology. He then led the group in a seasonal invocation, before handing over to Donna for another. They both then blessed the flowers while the group toned the Druid Mantra. Donna performed a poem, Rollo led the group in a song and then handed over to me to perform my Beltane poem. With that the morris dancing began and so Rollo closed the quarters again and thanked everyone for coming. This had been a cloudy start to the day and drummers tried to wake up the sun. But only a few rays showed through while we were there. I made my way down the Tor again with Rollo and Donna and I then headed for Chalice Well.

Montage of the complete event

Forming up the circle on the Tor

Rollo welcomes everyone to the event

Rollo opens the East Quarter

Rollo opens the West Quarter

Rollo talks the group through using the Druid Mantra

Rollo leads the group in an invocation

Donna leads the group in an invocation

Rollo and Donna bless the flowers

Donna performs a poem

Rollo closes the East Quarter

Rollo closes the South Quarter

The Cam Valley Morris Men start up

The Cam Valley Morris Men pose for a photo

Drumming the sun up

Faint signs of the sun appear

Beltane at Chalice Well (1 May 2010)

It was then straight into Chalice Well for their traditional Beltane event. As with the previous year the fire didn’t get lit until well into the proceedings and I ran out of time. I long for the days when the fire was lit when it was still dark! As well as the main fire the event there would have had couples jumping over a small fire followed by dancing around a maypole on the lower lawn.

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Montage of the event

Meeting up at Chalice Well

Cam Valley Morris Men perform on the lower lawn

Natasha welcomes everyone to the event

Natasha welcomes everyone to the event

Everyone is asked to step in closer

The group spirals into the fire

The group spirals out again

The fire is finally lit

The fire is now alight

The fire is now alight

Drumming around the fire

Ark makes the fire burner better with some dry wood (Photo: Mikesey)

The Beltane Fire now burns brighter (Photo: Mikesey)

Jumping the smaller fire (Photo: Mikesey)

Beltane People at Chalice Well (Photos: Mikesey, Montage: Matthew)

The Vesica Pool

The decorated Well Head

Glastonbury Community Beltane Celebration (1 May 2010)

In days gone by Beltane was the premier seasonal event. These days Summer Solstice gets all the headlines, even though it marks the start of six months of decline of the sun, ending with the dreaded XMAS! For years now Beltane has been very important in Glastonbury and it seems to get more so every year. The videos and montage below shows some of the other activities that were going on:

Montage of some of the events (Photos: Mikesey, Montage: Matthew)

Montage of some of the events (Photos: Mikesey, Montage: Matthew)


Celebrations at Market Cross (Video: mikesey)


Celebrations at Market Cross (Video: mikesey)


Celebrations at Market Cross (Video: mikesey) [New]


Processing up the High Street (Video: mikesey)

The Free and Open Gorsedd of Caer Abiri (1 May 2010)

It was then on to Avebury for the Free and Open Gorsedd of Caer Abiri. The God and Goddess Walks were performed for the first time in a year. The group processed from the Red Lion to a point near the NT Cafe. Splitting into the two groups, Ghyll led the God party the long way around. Young Skye was appointed as Avebury Guardian and therefore leader of the Goddess party. Arriving at the Entrance Stones, the Goddess party waited for the Gods to arrive. As they walked down the steps, the way was blocked by Willth. Ghyll had to obtain permission to proceed. With permission granted, Ghyll approached Skye and asked for permission to enter the complex. Other people had the chance to make offerings to the Avebury Guardian. Ghyll helped me to form a staff archway and everyone then processed through to the Sun Circle. Willth welcomed everyone to the event and immediately performed the Call For Peace. He then asked for each of the four quarters to be opened. Terry took East, with me on South, Em on West and Ghyll on North. Willth then connected to the ancestors and the three worlds, before asking everyone to link hands to perform three recitals of the Druid Vow and three tones of the Druid Mantra. Terry immediately followed this with a recital of the Druid Prayer.

This was the start of a new term for Robyn y Glas and he debuted the first of the new pieces he had been challenged to produce. Terry then stepped in to talk about the season and then I was called to perform my Beltane poem. Steve introduced himself as the new Stag Lord and revealed how he came to find himself in the role. A healing circle was next, with names read out and then three tones of the Druid Mantra performed. Lou Purplefairy read out a poem while Willth set up an entrance to summer with two sets of incense sticks. He talked about the Summer Solstice sunrise and then performed a small rite to welcome in the summer, prior to asking for people to dance in the summer. Robyn y Glas performed one of his established works. And he got more than he bargained for when revealing that his guitar needed a new G string! Willth led the group in a short chant and the group walked around in a circle to another chant. Willth blessed the bread and mead. He broke the bread into four and handed one to each of the quarter callers and took the mead around the circle himself. Ray apologised for being late (he should have led the God party as the previous year’s King For A Day). It was now time to nominate a new one - and the honour went to Verge. Willth started to wind the event down at this point. He thanked the spirits that had graced the circle and asked for the quarters to be closed. It was then three cheers for Beltane.

Montage of the complete event

Meeting up at the Red Lion

Matthew with Terry and his lady (Photo: John C)

Processing to the NT Cafe

Waiting for the party to form

Waiting for the party to form

Ghyll leads the God Party

Skye is nominated as the Avebury Guardian for the Goddess Party

The Goddess Party processes to the Goddess Seat

The Goddess Party processes to the Goddess Seat

The God Party appear at the top of the steps

Ghyll asks permission for the God Party to enter the stones

Ghyll approaches the Avebury Guardian

Matthew approaches the Avebury Guardian (Photo: Sandy Cowan)

The new Stag Lord approaches the Avebury Guardian

Skye in her role as Avebury Guardian

Matthew and Ghyll start off the exit archway (Photo: Chris Wormald)

Heading for the Sun Circle

Forming up in circle

Willth welcomes everyone to the event

Willth performs the Call For Peace

Terry opens the East Quarter

Em opens the West Quarter

Ghyll opens the North Quarter

Willth welcomes in the ancestors and the three worlds

Robyn y Glas starts his new bardic year with a new performance

Terry talks about the season

Matthew performs his Beltane poem (Photo: John C)

Steve introduces himself as the new Stag Lord

Lou Purplefairy reads a poem

Willth talks about the Summer Solstice sunrise

Willth lights the entrance to summer

Robyn y Glas performs one of his established works

Dancing in the summer

Dancing in the summer

Robyn y Glas gets a surprise when his guitar needs a new G string

Willth leads the group in a chant

Walking around the circle performing another chant

Willth blesses the bread

Ray nominates Verge as this year's King For A Day

Terry closes the East Quarter

Em closes the West Quarter

Ghyll closes the North Quarter

Three cheers for Beltane

The Gorsedd of Bards of Caer Abiri (2 May 2010)

The Beltane ritual of the Gorsedd of Bards of Caer Abiri was held at Avebury on Sunday 2 May. The group formed up at the National Trust Cafe on this cold and wet afternoon. Morgan welcomed everyone and roles were nominated. The silent procession to the Entrance Stones then began. Patricia took on the role of Avebury Guardian and led the group, ending by sitting in the Goddess Seat. Morgan led a few minutes of drumming to allow everyone to tune into the site. She then stepped forward to be first to ask for permission for the group to enter the site and others followed. The Guardian granted permission and Gordon and Gary formed an archway with staffs for everyone to process through to the Ring Stone. As per tradition the circle opened with the Round of Amergin, where everyone says “I Am” and the archetype they represent. Due to the size of the group and the nature of the weather, everyone did this at the same time. I joined Morgan for the Call For Peace in English and Welsh from North clockwise, with the rest of the group confirming. Finishing with a call to the three worlds. The four quarters were then opened, with Phil on North, Kat on East, me on South and Ray on West.

Ray was nominated as Winter King Gwyn ap Nudd and he grabbed the Summer Maiden for himself. But Gary as the King of Summer and his supporters had other ideas and the two battled each other with Wooden sticks. Phil as ‘King Arthur’ advised them that their battle was futile, but they carried on regardless. No one can win the battle and so the Summer Maiden was free to pass her energy around the circle. Patricia and Todd then entered the centre for their handfasting. Morgan conducted the ceremony, ending with their hands being tied together. They also went on to bless the bread and mead, with Patricia taking the bread around the circle and Todd taking the mead. Visiting drummers joined the circle at this point and performed several chants. Gordon then sang a song and Mark performed one of his poems. The group linked hands to perform the Druid Vow and tone the Awen three times each. With that the quarters were closed anti-clockwise from North. Morgan asked everyone to add their voice to the Avebury landscape and then form up for the group photo.

Montage of the complete event

Meeting up

Processing to the Entrance Stones

Processing to the Entrance Stones

Processing to the Entrance Stones

Processing to the Entrance Stones

Forming up around the Goddess Seat

Drumming at the Goddess Seat

Drumming at the Goddess Seat

Morgan asks permission for the group to enter the stones

Ray makes an offering to the Avebury Guardian

The Stag Lord makes an offering to the Avebury Guardian

Gordon and Gary make the exit archway

Forming up around the Ring Stone

Morgan welcomes everyone to the event

Opening the East Quarter

Ray grabs the Summer Maiden

The Winter and Summer Kings fight it out

Phil as 'King Arthur' tells the two Kings to stop fighting

But the fighting continues

The Summer Queen sends her energy around the circle

Patricia and Todd prepare to get handfasted

Their hands are tied together

Patricia and Todd bless the bread and mead

Patricia takes the bread around the circle

Todd takes the mead around the circle

Visiting drummers join the circle

Gordon sings a song

Mark performs one of his poems

Closing the West Quarter

Leaving our voices in the landscape

The group at the end of the event

Priston May Day Celebrations - 3 May 2010

The village of Priston held its traditional May Day celebrations on 3 May. The photos below show a montage of the lambs encountered on the walk to Priston, a complete montage of the Priston event and then detailed photos from the amazing Priston Jubille Morris and Somerset Morris displays as well as the maypole dancing.

The lambs encountered on the way to Priston

Montage of the Priston event

Priston Jubilee Morris

Priston Jubilee Morris [New]

Priston Jubilee Morris

Priston Jubilee Morris

Priston Jubilee Morris

Priston Jubilee Morris

Priston Jubilee Morris

Priston Jubilee Morris

Priston Jubilee Morris [New]

Priston Jubilee Morris

Priston Jubilee Morris [New]

Priston Jubilee Morris [New]

Somerset Morris

Somerset Morris

Somerset Morris

Somerset Morris

Somerset Morris

Somerset Morris

Somerset Morris [New]

Somerset Morris

Somerset Morris [New]

Somerset Morris

Somerset Morris

Maypole dancing

Maypole dancing

Maypole dancing

Maypole dancing


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Page last updated: 24 May 2010