Beltane 2012 - Avebury, Glastonbury and Uffington

This page includes reports and photographs from the various events I attended during the season of Beltane in 2012. 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. Just prior to Beltane getting underway, Glastonbury had its 2012: A Celebration of Harmony and Healing event. On 28 April I travelled to Avebury for the Free and Open Gorsedd of Caer Abiri. Normally I would have returned the following day for the Gorsedd of Bards of Caer Abiri. Unfortunately this was called because of illness and the forecast for torrential rain for the whole day. A smaller event was run by those already in the Avebury area. On 1 May I travelled down to Glastonbury for the lunchtime event at Chalice Well. The Glastonbury Community Beltane Event was also getting underway at this time. The season ended with the Gorsedd of Rhiannon and The White Horse at Uffington on 6 May. The report starts, though, with a small collection of all the sun photos from the season.

Sun and Moon Photos (From 20 Apr 2012)

The following photos were taken in my village in the days before and following Beltane. The sun timings are for the nearby city of Bristol. The weather was pretty awful for much of the time and so there are fewer images than normal.

Sunset on 20 Apr 2012, the day with 3min 45sec more light than the previous day, 6hr 21min 16sec light gained & 2hrs 24min 57sec to gain

Sunset on 21 Apr 2012, the day with 3min 44sec more light than the previous day, 6hr 25min 0sec light gained & 2hrs 21min 13sec to gain

Sunrise on 22 Apr 2012, the day with 3min 43sec more light than the previous day, 6hr 28min 43sec light gained & 2hrs 17min 30sec to gain

Beltane sunset 01 May 2012, the day with 3min 30sec more light than the previous day, 7hr 1min 6sec light gained & 1hrs 45min 7sec to gain

Sunset on 12 May 2012, the day with 3min 7sec more light than the previous day, 7hr 37min 28sec light gained & 1hrs 8min 45sec to gain

Sunset on 13 May 2012, the day with 3min 4sec more light than the previous day, 7hr 40min 32sec light gained & 1hrs 5min 41sec to gain

Sunset on 15 May 2012, the day with 2min 59sec more light than the previous day, 7hr 46min 32sec light gained & 0hrs 59min 41sec to gain

Sunset on 16 May 2012, the day with 2min 56sec more light than the previous day, 7hr 49min 28sec light gained & 0hrs 56min 45sec to gain

Sunset on 21 May 2012, the day with 2min 39sec more light than the previous day, 8hr 3min 17sec light gained & 0hrs 42min 56sec to gain

Sunset on 22 May 2012, the day with 2min 35sec more light than the previous day, 8hr 5min 52sec light gained & 0hrs 40min 21sec to gain

Sunset on 23 May 2012, the day with 2min 31sec more light than the previous day, 8hr 8min 23sec light gained & 0hrs 37min 50sec to gain

Sunset on 24 May 2012, the day with 2min 28sec more light than the previous day, 8hr 10min 51sec light gained & 0hrs 35min 22sec to gain

Sunset on 25 May 2012, the day with 2min 24sec more light than the previous day, 8hr 13min 15sec light gained & 0hrs 32min 58sec to gain

Sunset on 26 May 2012, the day with 2min 19sec more light than the previous day, 8hr 15min 34sec light gained & 0hrs 30min 39sec to gain

Sunset on 28 May 2012, the day with 2min 11sec more light than the previous day, 8hr 20min 0sec light gained & 0hrs 26min 13sec to gain

Sunset on 29 May 2012, the day with 2min 6sec more light than the previous day, 8hr 22min 6sec light gained & 0hrs 24min 7sec to gain

Glastonbury 2012: A Celebration of Harmony and Healing (21 Apr 2012)

2012 is a special year for many people and yet it’s a down year for the Glastonbury Festival. To fill the gap, Glastonbury Mayor Bill Knight worked with the Pilgrim Reception Centre (PRC) to create this one-off event to unite faiths and beliefs. The Glastonbury Candle was taken throughout the town during the day, finishing at this combined gathering at Chalice Well. More than 50 faiths were thought to be represented at the gathering. Everyone representing one of the faiths had been invited to collect a small blue bottle and candle from the PRC prior to the event. The bottle would be for them to bring water to the event, with the candle being used to obtain a light from the Glastonbury Candle. An important and powerful event. Seven montages and a video are included below:


Video: mikesey

Montage by Matthew. Photos supplied by mikesey

Montage by Matthew. Photos supplied by Jan Billings

Montage by Matthew. Photos supplied by Tristian Doe

Montage by Matthew. Photos supplied by Tristian Doe

Montage by Matthew. Photos supplied by Tristian Doe

Montage by Matthew. Photos supplied by Tristian Doe

Montage by Matthew. Photos supplied by Tristian Doe

The Free and Open Gorsedd of Caer Abiri (28 Apr 2012)

The Free and Open Gorsedd of Caer Abiri took place on Saturday 28 April. The group met at the Red Lion and processed to the Sun Circle. Willth welcomed everyone to the event and asked Mungo to perform the Call For Peace. He then asked for each of the four quarters to be opened. Terry took East, with Trish on South, Ghyll on West and Joe on North. Willth then connected to the ancestors and the three worlds. The group linked hands and performed three tones of the Druid Mantra, followed by the Druid Vow. Terry followed with the Druid Prayer. Terry spoke aspects of the season and came around the circle to hear about new life in the form of babies that had been born in recent months. Robyn y Glas played the first of his songs and I went next with a performance of my Beltane poem. Steve Andrews was at his first Avebury gorsedd for eight years. He came forward to perform his amazing Kingfisher song. He followed this with a cover of Stand By Me and asked people to do just that.

Willth blessed the bread and mead and started their circulation around the circle from the East. It was then over to Robyn y Glas to announce the bardic challenge. There were two contenders. Joe played a classical guitar piece, followed by some drumming. Robyn y Glas then performed his new song. Willth collected opinions from around the circle and then announced that Robyn y Glas would have another year as the Chaired Bard of Caer Abiri. A healing circle was next and everyone had the chance to nominate people for healing. This was followed by linked hands and three tones of the Druid Mantra. Prior to this Ghyll stepped forward to thank everyone for the healing and support he has received.

It was then time to pass on the King For A Day And Fool For A Year hat. Two years had been missed so Ray had been the holder for three years. He returned the hat to Willth and he nominated Neil to be the new holder. Neil declined on the basis he had won it before. Neil nominated me for the roll and I accepted. This will see me doing a second performance of list poetry at future events. Willth then began to wind the event down on this cool afternoon. He thanked the spirits that had graced the circle and asked for the quarters to be closed. The gorsedd was now over.

Montage of the complete event (Photo of Matthew by Trish Conniffe)

Processing to the Sun Circle

Willth welcomes everyone to the event

Mungo performs the Call For Peace

Terry opens the East Quarter

Terry talks about aspects of the season

Late arrival Ray returns the King For A Day hat

Terry goes around the circle to hear about new life

Robyn y Glas plays the first of his songs

Matthew performs his Beltane poem (Photo: Trish Conniffe)

Steve Andrews and the Kingfisher song

Steve follows with a rendition of Stand By Me and asks everyone to do just that

Willth blesses the mead

Willth blesses the bread

The bread and mead make their way around the circle

Robyn y Glas announces the bardic challenge

Joe plays his classical guitar piece

Robyn y Glas performs his new song

Robyn y Glas wins another year

Ghyll thanks everyone for the healing and support he has received

Time to nominate the King For A Day And Fool For A Year

Neil is nominated but is the only person to know of a rule that you can't win twice!

So to Matthew the title goes

Willth thanks the ancestors and closes down the other worlds

Terry closes the East Quarter

Willth declares the event over

The Gorsedd of Bards of Caer Abiri (29 Apr 2012)

This event was cancelled the previous evening because of the forecast for day-long torrential rain and because some members were unwell. On the day Keith, Ray and Joe had a small ceremony at the Guardian stone, with bread and mead provided by Ray.

Chalice Well (1 May 2012)

The Chalice Well meditation was held at midday on 1 May. A small group gathered around the wellhead. Following the silent minute Natasha stood up and welcomed everyone. She spoke about Chalice Well as a sacred place and also about the nature of the season. A 15 minute meditation then took place and Natasha spoke at the end to bring people back to the present. She then asked if there were any contributions. I started with another performance of my Beltane poem. Other contributions of word followed and Natasha rounded off with a performance of her Peace song. The event continued down on the main lawn with refreshments and the Conversation Cafe.

Montage of the complete event

Glastonbury Community Beltane Event (1 May 2012)

This event has been running for several years now and this seemed to be the best yet. It was clear a lot of planning had gone into it. On the day itself people started gathering at Market Cross at around 11:30. At midday the May Queen, Summer King, Winter King, green men and women and fairy cavalcade were all present. At 13:00 the group processed up the High Street, past Chalice Well and on to the White Spring for the blessing of the maypole. Then it was on to Bushey Coombe for the sacred marriage, maypole dancing and sharing. Three videos and five montages are shown below:


At Market Cross and then processing (Video: mikesey)


Out in the fields with the maypole (Video: mikesey)


Beltane Bits & Pieces (Video: mikesey)

Montage by Matthew. Photos supplied by mikesey

Montage by Matthew. Photos supplied by Marisa Picardo

Montage by Matthew. Photos supplied by Marisa Picardo

Montage by Matthew. Photos supplied by mikesey

Montage by Matthew. Photos supplied by mikesey

The Gorsedd of Rhiannon and The White Horse (6 May 2012)

Sunday 6 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. It was relatively cool but the sun was out for much of the time we were there. Things eventually got underway at 12:30 and 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 and asked for them to place their offerings in the centre. She then asked Firevixen to help her cast the circle. Kes and Neil did the Call For Peace in Welsh and English. Trish welcomed in the ancestors and I called in Rhiannon. 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, followed by the Druid Vow.

Some people had a chance to tie a ribbon on to the silver birch stick. Others tied knots in the ones already there. Everyone had the chance to say what inspired them about Beltane. Wilf brought the stick around and the ribbons looked spectacular in the breeze. Gordon lit the lanterns while this was going on and then the group drummed in the season of summer. The lanterns marked the gateway to summer and each of us passed through to the other side. Back in the circle there was an opportunity to say prayers for those in need of healing. Following this it was time to bless the bread and mead. Rainbow blessed the bread and Kes blessed the mead. I gave my Beltane poem its final performance of the season. Firevixen followed by reading one of her poems. As in previous years 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 Rhiannon, close access to the three worlds and close the circle before processing back to the car park.

Montage of the complete event

Getting ready in the car park

Across the fields to the site of the Gorsedd

Offerings in the centre

Calling for Peace in the West

Trish welcomes in the ancestors

Attaching the Beltane ribbons

The ribbons in the strong breeze

Drumming in the summer

Kes enters summer

Emily and Sabastian enter summer

Back in the circle

Kes blesses the mead

Rainbow blesses the bread

Firevixen reads one of her poems

Uncasting the circle

Returning to the car park


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Page last updated: 27 May 2013