Beltane 2011 - Avebury, Glastonbury, Priston and Uffington

This page includes reports and photographs from the various events I attended during the season of Beltane in 2011. 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 for me with a trip to Avebury for the Free and Open Gorsedd of Caer Abiri on 30 April. The Glastonbury town Beltane event was also taking place at this time. On 1 May it was an 03:30 rise and then a trip down to Glastonbury Tor with the Glastonbury Order of Druids. Later that day it was a return trip to Avebury for the Gorsedd of Bards of Caer Abiri. The following day was the Bank Holiday Monday and as is now traditional I walked down to the village of Priston for its May Day event. The season ended with the Gorsedd of Rhiannon and The White Horse on 8 May.

The Free and Open Gorsedd of Caer Abiri (30 Apr 2011)

The Free and Open Gorsedd of Caer Abiri took place on Saturday 30 April. The group met at the Red Lion and then processed 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 Kes on South, Ghyll on West and Pagan Chef 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. He then spoke about the season of Beltane. Robyn y Glas performed one of his established songs. I followed with a performance of my Beltane poem. Lou Purplefairy came on next to sing a song. Willth then blessed the bread and mead and began their circulation around the circle.

Willth set up an entrance to summer with a set of incense sticks. He got everyone to hail summer three times. Terry came on a couple of additional times to talk more about the season and Avebury. Jennie came on to perform one of her Beltane songs next, just prior to the bardic challenge. Robyn y Glas and Jennie performed two songs each for the challenge. With excellent performances all round it was decided to make them joint holders of the title of Chaired Bard of Caer Abiri. They were given a task of performing a joint song later in the year. A healing circle followed next and everyone was invited to give names of those in need of healing. 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. Everyone then processed through the entrance to summer.

Montage of the complete event (photo of Matthew by John C)

Meeting up at the Red Lion

Processing to the Sun Circle

Forming up the circle

Willth performs the Call For Peace

Kes opens the South Quarter

Willth welcomes in the ancestors and the three worlds

Terry talks about the season

Robyn y Glas performs one of his established songs

Matthew performs his Beltane poem (Photo: John C)

The centre of the circle

Lou Purplefairy sings a song

Willth blesses the mead

Willth blesses the bread

Jennie performs a song

The two challengers enter the centre

Jennie performs her song for the challenge

Robyn y Glas performs his challenge song and one more

Jennie returns to perform a second song under the challenge

The winner is announced

They will both share the title

Andraste adds someone to the healing circle

Willth begins to wind things down

Terry closes the East Quarter

Everyone passes through the entrance to summer at the end

The Glastonbury Order of Druids on Glastonbury Tor - 1 May 2011

A group of us met in Wellhouse Lane and left for the Tor at about 04:45. Many other people were also climbing the Tor at this time. Once at the top the large group formed a circle around the cauldron. A visitor from Norway called Sonja steadied the cauldron in the strong winds. 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 tasks such as finding a safer alternative to nuclear power and protecting indigenous populations. He then led the group in a seasonal invocation, before handing over to Cas for another. They both then blessed the flowers while the group toned the Druid Mantra. Rollo performed other poems and songs and asked for the group to join in. Lou Purplefairy did a song and Arthur led the group in the Druid Vow. There was also a chance to remember Brian Viziondanz. With the Morris dancing about to begin, Rollo closed the quarters again and thanked everyone for coming. There was then three cheers for Beltane. This had been a windy and cloudy morning but the sun did show for a brief time at the end of the event.

Rollo welcomes everyone to the event

Sonja steadies the flowers

Rollo opens the South Quarter

Rollo leads the group in an invocation

Cas leads the group in an invocation

Rollo and Cas bless the flowers

Rollo reads a poem

Lou Purlefairy sings a song

Rollo closes the South Quarter

Rollo thanks everyone for coming

Three cheers for Beltane

The Cam Valley Morris Men start up

The Cam Valley Morris Men

The Cam Valley Morris Men

The Cam Valley Morris Men

Waiting for the sun

It makes a brief appearance

Additional Beltane in Glastonbury

Glastonbury had many other events going on during the season. Before you will find four videos and some montages that summarise these events.


Beltane Town Event (Video: mikesey)


The Handfasting of Tim Hall and Amber Le Faye Moon (Video: mikesey)


Glastonbury Alternative Fashion Show Part 1 (Video: mikesey)


Glastonbury Alternative Fashion Show Part 2 (Video: mikesey)

Glastonbury Montage 1 of 5. Montage by Matthew and all photos supplied by Ingrid Crawford

Glastonbury Montage 2 of 5. Montage by Matthew and all photos supplied by Ingrid Crawford

Glastonbury Montage 3 of 5. Montage by Matthew and all photos supplied by Ingrid Crawford

Glastonbury Montage 4 of 5. Montage by Matthew and all photos supplied by Ingrid Crawford

Glastonbury Montage 5 of 5. Montage by Matthew and all photos supplied by mikesey

The Gorsedd of Bards of Caer Abiri (1 May 2011)

The Beltane ritual of the Gorsedd of Bards of Caer Abiri was held at Avebury on Sunday 1 May. The group formed up at the National Trust Cafe on this windy 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. Willth stepped forward to ask for permission for the group to enter the site and others followed with offerings. The Guardian granted permission and myself and Willth 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. 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 Kes on North, Ray on East, Dennis on South and Keith on West.

A myth was then acted out - the annual battle of winter and summer. Creudylad was fought over by Gwythur ap Greidawl and Gwyn ap Nudd and it took the appearance of King Arthur to allow summer to proceed as normal. Willth discovered an old sheet with the words of the Cuckoo song and Morgan and Ray had a go at singing it. There was another opportunity for people to receive the Awen and join the Gorsedd. Eight people stepped into the centre and the rest of the group closed in around them. Morgan read through the script and the group toned the Awen three times around them. The new initiates then took their place back in the circle. The group linked hands to perform the Druid Vow. Then it was time to bless the bread and wine and distribute them around the circle. Drumming took place while this was going on. Morgan then asked me to perform my Beltane poem and Ray followed with his words of Amergin. Phil had several local stories to tell. 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 (photo of Matthew by Dennis Wright)

Meeting up at the National Trust Cafe

Processing to the Entrance Stones

Processing to the Entrance Stones

Processing to the Entrance Stones

Processing to the Entrance Stones

Drumming at the Goddess Seat

Drumming at the Goddess Seat

Willth asks permission for the group to enter the stones

Morgan makes an offering to the Avebury Guardian

Offerings to the Avebury Guardian

The Avebury Guardian grants the group access to the stones

Forming up around the Ring Stone

The central altar

Morgan welcomes everyone

Ray opens the East Quarter

Creudylad and the story of the summer/winter battle

Creudylad and the story of the summer/winter battle - Gwythur ap Greidawl appears

Creudylad and the story of the summer/winter battle - Gwyn ap Nudd appears

Creudylad and the story of the summer/winter battle - Gwyn ap Nudd gives chase

Creudylad and the story of the summer/winter battle - Gwyn ap Nudd fights

Creudylad and the story of the summer/winter battle - now King Arthur gets involved

Creudylad and Summer are saved!

Words to the old cuckoo song appear

New people receive the Awen and entry to the Gorsedd

Blessing the mead

Blessing the bread

Drumming during the distribution of the bread and mead

Matthew performs his Beltane poem (Photo: Dennis Wright)

Ray talks Amergin

Closing the West Quarter

Preparing to leave our voices in the landscape

Priston May Day Celebrations - 2 May 2011

Priston held its traditional May Day event on 2 May. This was very well organised and provided displays from the Priston Jubilee Morris and Somerset Morris sides, as well as Maypole dancing, music from the Midsomer Norton and Radstock Silver Band, food stalls, games and races. There was even a visit from the local MP - Jacob Rees-Mogg. Below are two montages that summarise the event, as well as eight pictures each of the two Morris sides and three more of the maypole dancing.

Montage 1

Montage 2

Priston Jubilee Morris

Priston Jubilee Morris (and willing volunteers!)

Priston Jubilee Morris

Priston Jubilee Morris

Priston Jubilee Morris

Priston Jubilee Morris

Priston Jubilee Morris

Priston Jubilee Morris

Dancing around the Maypole

Dancing around the Maypole

Dancing around the Maypole

Somerset Morris

Somerset Morris

Somerset Morris

Somerset Morris

Somerset Morris

Somerset Morris

Somerset Morris

Somerset Morris

The Gorsedd of Rhiannon and The White Horse - 8 May 2011

Sunday 8 May saw a small group gathering 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 with the incense and that proved quite a handful on this occasion. Rainbow then asked Firevixen to help her cast the circle. The ancestors were welcomed in and Willth performed the Call For Peace. There was no quarter calling on this occasion. 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. Hands were linked and the Awen toned three times, with Willth then leading the group in the Druid Vow.

The wind made it impossible for candles to stay lit and so the entrance to summer was marked with two parts of an ornament. Each of us passed through and announced our arrival into summer. Drums and rattles were then used to mark the season of summer. There was then an opportunity to say prayers for those in need of healing. Following this it was time to bless the bread and mead. Justine blessed the bread and Ghyll the mead. I gave my Beltane poem its final reading of the season. This was a slightly different version, with added references to Rhiannon. Other contributions came from Firevixen and Willth. As in the previous year 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, close access to the three worlds and open the circle before processing back to the car park for a picnic.

Montage of the complete event

Getting ready in the car park

Across the fields to the site of the Gorsedd

The famous White Horse

Offerings in the centre

Firevixen brings around the incense

Willth performs the Call For Peace

Rainbow brings around the green

Rainbow walks into summer

Drumming in the summer

Ghyll blesses the mead and Justine blesses the bread

Willth shares some words

Returning to the car park

The event ends with a picnic


Training | Treatment | About Reiki | About Matthew | Practitioner Info | Get in Touch | Shop | Event Photos | Home

Page last updated: 08 May 2012