Imbolc 2010 - Uffington White Horse, Avebury and Glastonbury

This page includes reports and photographs from the various events I attended during the season of Imbolc in 2010. This sabbat - centred on 1 February - celebrates the renewal of life. By this time the bulbs and snowdrops should be showing through. Bridget is also celebrated at this time - triple goddess of healing, metalwork and poetry. My season started with an early event at Uffington White Horse on 24 January. The largest full moon of 2010 occurred on 29 January. The following day it was the Free and Open Gorsedd of Caer Abiri at Avebury. It was back to Avebury on Sunday 31st for the Gorsedd of Bards of Caer Abiri. And the following day it was down to Glastonbury for three events at the White Spring, Chalice Well and Bride's Mound.

Update: 4 Feb 2010 : Added three videos from outside the White Spring on 1 Feb.
Update: 13 Feb 2010 : Added a video from the White Spring/Chalice Well and another from Bride's Mound, both on 1 Feb.

The Gorsedd of Rhiannon and The White Horse - 24 Jan 2010

On Sunday 24 January a small group gathered in the car park of the Uffington White Horse at the Wiltshire, Berkshire, Oxfordshire border for the Imbolc Gorsedd of Rhiannon and The White Horse. 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 and the Call For Peace was made by Kestrel. Firevixen led the calling of the three worlds of land, ocean and sky. At each point everyone in the group was asked to express what they found inspiring about that world. I started the calling of the ancestors, with everyone following. The sun was then empowered through voice, drums and rattles. Rainbow produced a dish of earth and asked everyone to appreciate its quality. All those present then had the opportunity to specify a project they would like to nurture for the coming year. This was represented by a seed placed in this earth. All the projects were then activated by a lit candle placed on top of the dish. While this was happening Neil debuted a new song with his guitar, with Emily joining in on drums. Ghyll performed a personal rite at this point. The group then linked hands and performed the Druid Vow and three tones of the Awen for Haiti. Another three tones of the Awen were performed to help the group send out its intention. Firevixen then blessed the mead and Rainbow blessed the bread. Emily took the mead around the circle and Rainbow brought the bread around. I gave my Imbolc poem its first performance of the season. Firevixen, Kestrel, Ghyll and Rainbow all followed with works of their own. With that it was time to close the quarters, thank the ancestors and close access to the three worlds. We then began processing back to the car park. The weather had been dry and very cold, with the temperature more bearable when the bright sun was out. I drove through heavy rain a few minutes from the site so we were lucky.

Montage of the complete event

Getting ready in the car park

Getting ready in the car park

Across the fields to the site of the Gorsedd

Across the fields to the site of the Gorsedd

Joining us from the air

Planting seeds to grow projects in the coming year

All the projects are activated with the flame

Neil performs a new song with Emily accompanying on drum

Closing the South Quarter

Processing back

The Imbolc/Wolf Full Moon - 29 Jan 2010

This full moon was expected to be the biggest and brightest of the year, with it coinciding with perigee - when the moon is at the closest point to earth during its elliptical cycle. This period was also the best for two years for viewing Mars. These five photos were taken from my front garden.

The Free and Open Gorsedd of Caer Abiri (30 Jan 2010)

The Free and Open Gorsedd of Caer Abiri took place on 30 January. The group processed from the Red Lion directly to the Sun Circle. Willth welcomed everyone to the event and noted there were lots of bardic performances to get through. He performed the Call For Peace and asked for each of the four quarters to be opened. Terry took East, with Gordon on South, Merlin on West and Pagan Chef on North. He then asked everyone to link hands to perform three recitals of the Druid Vow and three tones of the Druid Mantra. Robyn y Glas led the group in his Imbolc chant. Terry then stepped forward to talk about the season. I performed an updated version of my Superstition poem, the 80-line work that had debuted at Imbolc a year earlier. There was then a healing circle. Everyone linked hands again and names were read out, with three additional tones of the Druid Mantra performed. Terry immediately followed with a recital of the Druid Prayer. Willth then began to get the bread and mead ready and Terry returned to talk about the Pagan view of Valentine’s Day. Gordon followed with the Wicca view. Willth blessed the bread and mead and these made their way around the circle. There was plenty to go around.

Jim The Bard entered the centre to perform a seasonal song. Lou Purplefairy came on to read out two Bridget-inspired works from her favourite poets. Ray followed next with an invocation to Bridget. Mark was attending his first gorsedd and he stepped forward to read two of his short seasonal works. And Robyn y Glas returned with one of his seasonal songs. Willth then moved the gorsedd into the announcements phase. Gordon talked about a night walk that would be starting out from his house. Terry talked about a night Imbolc event the following week. Jim The Bard revealed early details of a Haiti benefit gig that would be happening in Avebury - bardic performers required. And Em talked had a series of messages from Arthur about the Stonehenge bones protest, the Stonehenge Drove protest and his standing for Parliament in Salisbury. It was now time to wind down. Willth thanked the spirits that had graced the circle. It was then time to close the quarters once again and for Willth to declare the event over. It had been a cold afternoon at Avebury but the sun made it all the more bearable.

Montage of the complete event

Processing to the Sun Circle

Forming up the circle

Willth performs the Call For Peace

Terry opens the East Quarter

Gordon opens the South Quarter

Merlin opens the West Quarter

Pagan Chef opens the North Quarter

Robyn y Glas leads the group in his Imbolc seasonal chant

Terry talks about the season

Matthew performs the 2010 version of the Superstition poem (Photos: Em Churchill)

The Bread and Mead are about to be used

Terry returns to talk about Valentine's Day

Gordon talks about the Wicca view

Willth blesses the bread

Willth blesses the mead

Jim the Bard sings a seasonal song

Lou Purplefairy reads out two Bridgit works from her favourite poets

Ray reads an invocation to Bridgit

Mark reads two of his poems

Robyn y Glas returns to perform a seasonal song

Gordon talks about a night walk starting from his house

Terry talks about a night Imbolc event the following week

Em updates everyone on Arthur and Stonehenge

Willth thanks the spirits for being present

Terry closes the East Quarter

Gordon closes the South Quarter

Merlin closes the West Quarter

Pagan Chef closes the North Quarter

Willth declares the event to be over

The Gorsedd of Bards of Caer Abiri (31 Jan 2010)

The Imbolc ritual of the Gorsedd of Bards of Caer Abiri was held at Avebury on Sunday 31 January. The group formed up at the National Trust Cafe. 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 then stepped forward to be first to ask for permission for the group to enter the site. Morgan then made an offering and everyone else followed. The Guardian granted permission and myself and Ray formed an archway with staffs for everyone to process through to the Ring Stone. As is tradition the circle opened with the Round of Amergin, where everyone says “I Am” and the archetype they represent. Willth 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 me taking South.

Morgan talked about the season and its themes. The group linked hands to perform the Druid Vow and tone the Awen three times each. Morgan then poured some Chalice Well water into a container and brought this around the circle, allowing everyone to anoint themselves with the water. Three people then stepped forward to represent the worlds of land, sea and air and emphasised what they stood for in this season. Everyone was then invited to come to the centre to take some energy from a candle that was burning in a jar. It was then time for bread and mead. Phil blessed the bread and broke it into quarters to distribute around the circle. Ray blessed the mead and took this around the circle himself. It was then time for the bardic performances. A didgeridoo was used to step up the energies. I then performed my Imbolc poem. We also had a tale from the Lammas Games, a seasonal song from Robyn y Glas, poems from Mark and an invocation to Bridget from Ray. Robyn y Glas returned to lead the group in his Imbolc chant. With that the quarters were closed anti-clockwise from North. Morgan asked everyone to add their voice to the Avebury landscape. And the event concluded with three cheers - two for the season and one for Morgan herself.

Montage of the complete event

Meeting up at the National Trust Cafe

Morgan announcing Patricia as the Avebury Guardian

Processing to the Entrance Stones

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

Tuning in to the environment

Willth asks permission for the group to enter the stones

Morgan makes an offering to the Avebury Guardian

Robyn y Glas makes an offering to the Avebury Guardian

Phil makes an offering to the Avebury Guardian

Ray makes an offering to the Avebury Guardian

The Avebury Guardian gives permission for the group to enter the stones

The Avebury Guardian leads the way to the Ring Stone

Forming up around the Ring Stone

Forming up around the Ring Stone

Willth and Morgan perform the Call For Peace

Opening the North Quarter

Opening the East Quarter

Opening the West Quarter

Pouring Chalice Well water

The water is brought around the circle

Words from the world of 'land'

Words from the world of 'air'

Words from the world of 'sea'

Taking a little energy from the flame

Phil blesses the bread

Ray blesses the mead

The bread is passed around the circle

Ray brings the mead around the circle

Warming up the didgeridoo

A tale from the Lammas Games

Robyn y Glas performs a seasonal song

Mark does another poetry performance

Ray reads an invocation to Bridget

Robyn y Glas leads the group in his Imbolc chant

Closing the North Quarter

Closing the West Quarter

Closing the East Quarter

Morgan asks everyone to leave their voice in the landscape

The group at the end of the event

Imbolc at the White Spring and Chalice Well - 1 Feb 2010

The White Spring opened at 10:00 for an 11:00 ceremony. When the time came the group gathered inside and tealight candles were collected on the way in. Max and Lisa welcomed everyone to the event and Gill talked about the season. All the candles in the building were then extinguished and it was left in complete darkness for a few minutes. A loud knock came on the door and light flooded into the building as it was opened. At the door was Bethany - in her third, and I believe final, year representing the young Bridget. She walked into the building carrying a glowing candle. Additional candles were lit from this one and everyone had the chance to light their candles from those. All the candles were then placed around the building to light it up again. Everyone was asked to move to a place within the building where they could connect with the water. Various songs and chants were then performed. With that it was time to process out into the street. The road was claimed for around 20 minutes as a circle formed between the White Spring and Chalice Well. Lisa introduced this part of the event and then called me into the centre to perform my Imbolc poetry. Other performers then followed, including a dream recollection, poems, chants and an excellent song from Tim Hall. Water from the two springs was also mixed and allowed to flow down the centre of the road.

It was now time to join Chalice Well for their midday event. Ark, head gardener at Chalice Well, opened Monk’s Gate and the group entered the site and processed to the wellhead. Natasha was already there and a now larger group formed up. Following the sounding of the bell at midday, Natasha welcomed everyone to the event and talked about the significance of the occasion. The group then went into a 10-minute period of silence. Following this Natasha asked for contributions from those present. We received a selection of poems, thoughts and songs during this period. Sophie thanked everyone for their contributions and the group began to leave the wellhead area to the sound of the final song being sung. Everyone met up again on the lower lawn where a small fire was burning and refreshments were being served. Three videos are included below.

Montage of the two events


Outside the White Spring - includes Lisa talking, the mixing of the waters, Matthew poetry, Max story etc. (Video: mikesey)


Additional performances outside the White Spring, including from Tim Hall (Video: mikesey)


Additional performances outside the White Spring, including singing and a dream recall (Video: mikesey)


An overview of both the White Spring and Chalice Well aspects of the event. (Video: Eriko Kawanishi)

Pilgrimage to Bride's Mound - 1 Feb 2010

The traditional Bride’s Mound pilgrimage left the Chalice Well car park just after 13:00. The group processed down Chilkwell Street, the High Street, Benedict Street and out through the industrial areas to the Levels. On the bridge everyone let go of a natural item that had been collected on the way. The river carrying this away signified the removal of something that we wanted to give up. Entering the field we then followed the river. Various talks were given along the route. Jaine was present to smudge everyone before proceeding. Loné and Steve Best mixed water and poured it on the land. Loné also anointed everyone as they headed towards the destination. The group stopped again to hear about how the water used to flow in this area. It was then one final push to get to Bride’s Mound. Some people were already there and a smoky fire was burning. A circle formed up and Loné welcomed everyone and talked a bit more about the location. With all that has been happening, Serena suggested that it would be a good idea to sing the Bridie Peace Song. Everyone then had the chance to state their name and a goal for the coming year. Loné called me into the centre to perform some more Imbolc poetry. Serena came forward to talk about the finance required for the Bride’s Mound project. Jaine distributed some drinking water in a small vessel and Loné brought around some lovely iced heart-shaped biscuits. Mead was also available. The event concluded at this point and everyone was welcome to stay around to chat and indeed to visit at any time.


An overview of the Bride's Mound Pilgrimage. (Video: Eriko Kawanishi)

Montage of the complete event

Processing down Chilkwell Street

Processing down Chilkwell Street

Processing behind the High Street

Processing down the High Street

Processing down Benedict Street

Processing through the industrial areas

Processing through the industrial areas

Heading out on the Somerset Levels

Releasing issues into the river

Following the river

A talk from Loné

Jaine smudges everyone as they proceed

Loné and Steve Best mix the water

Loné anoints everyone as they enter the final stretch

Loné talks about the water flows

The last few steps up to Bride's Mound

Forming up the circle

Loné welcomes everyone

Serena talks about Bride's Mound finances

Loné distributes the delicious biscuits

Meeting up afterwards


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Page last updated: 13 Feb 2010