Imbolc 2011 - Avebury, Glastonbury, Uffington, Local Photos

This page includes reports , photographs and videos from the various events I attended during the season of Imbolc in 2011. 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 on 29 January with the Free and Open Gorsedd of Caer Abiri at Avebury. The following day it was It was back to Avebury for the Gorsedd of Bards of Caer Abiri. On 1 Feb I visited Glastonbury for Imbolc events at the White Spring and Chalice Well, as well as to collect 135L of drinking water. Later that afternoon I photographed a spectacular sunset. There was then a wait of a few days before the Gorsedd of Rhiannon and The White Horse at Uffington on 6 February. And it was back to Glastonbury on 17 February for a full moon evening at the White Spring.

Update: 19 Feb: Added a short report about the White Spring event.

The Free and Open Gorsedd of Caer Abiri (29 Jan 2011)

The Free and Open Gorsedd of Caer Abiri began at 13:30, with the group processing from the Red Lion 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, Merlin on West and Lou Purplefairy on North. Willth then welcomed in the three worlds and the ancestors. Willth asked 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 stepped in to the centre for a short talk about the season. Robyn y Glas performed a new song and I followed with my Imbolc poem. Terry re-entered the circle to talk about Bridget. Willth then blessed the bottle of mead and loaf of bread and they made their way around the circle.

A healing circle followed. Everyone was invited to talk about people they knew who were in need of healing. The group then linked hands again and toned the Druid Mantra a further three times. Lou Purplefairy read one of her poems and sang a song. She also spoke about saving the forests. Linda came forward to perform her seasonal poem. Ray was on hand to do his invocation to Bridget. And Robyn y Glas returned to perform his Imbolc song. At this point Merlin makes a presentation to Andraste - the Order of the Brick. Really a London Brick - for Andraste being a good brick! After a final call for announcements Willth began to wind things down. The ancestors were thanked and access to the other worlds closed. The quarters were then closed and Willth declared the event to be over.

Montage of the complete event

Processing to the Sun Circle

Willth welcomes everyone on the cold January day

Willth performs the Call For Peace

Kes opens the South Quarter

Willth welcomes in the ancestors

Terry talks about the season

Robyn y Glas performs a new song

Matthew performs his Imbolc poem before his face freezes up (Photo: Dennis Wright)

A good crowd for this cold day

Terry returns to talk about Bridget

Willth blesses the mead

Willth blesses the bread

Andraste talks in the healing circle

Lou Purplefairy performs a poem and sings

Linda performs her poem

Ray reads one of his seasonal works

Robyn y Glas performs his Imbolc song

Merlin makes a presentation to Andraste

Willth begins to wind things down

Terry closes the East Quarter

Willth declares the gorsedd over

The Gorsedd of Bards of Caer Abiri (30 Jan 2011)

The Imbolc ritual of the Gorsedd of Bards of Caer Abiri was held at Avebury on Sunday 30 January. The group formed up at the National Trust Cafe and Morgan welcomed everyone and roles were nominated. The silent procession to the Entrance Stones then began. Pauline 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. Many other people took the opportunity to make an offering. The Guardian granted permission and myself and Ray formed an archway with staffs for everyone to process through to the Ring Stone. Morgan welcomed the now-expanded group. The Round of Amergin was performed, with everyone saying “I Am” and the archetype they represented. 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 all the worlds. The four quarters were then opened, with me taking South.

Morgan talked about the season and its themes and she read a poem. The group linked hands to tone the Awen and perform the Druid Vow three times each. Taliessin then appeared - to bring back the light. The candleholder had been damaged in transit and the winds didn’t make things any easier. The candle eventually lit and Taliessin passed it to the Guardian. Pauline brought it around the circle and allowed everyone to experience the new light. The bread and mead were then blessed and distributed around the circle. A young visitor tasted a fingertip’s worth of mead and seemed to quite like it! Ray performed his invocation to Bridget at this point. And I followed with another performance of my Imbolc poem. We also heard about a Government-sponsored bird cull and more on the sell-off of the forests. It was then time to close the quarters from the North anticlockwise. As is traditional we left our voices in the landscape and Morgan thanked everyone for coming and closed the event. There was some excitement at the end when it was realised the mead bottle was casting a beautiful rainbow on the Ring Stone.

Montage of the complete event

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

Pauline in the role of Avebury Guardian

The group tunes into the site

Morgan asks for permission to enter the stones

Ray makes an offering to the Guardian

Keith makes an offering to the Guardian

The bread and mead is offered to the Guardian for blessing

Setting up around the Ring Stone

Setting up around the Ring Stone

Opening the North Quarter

Morgan reads a poem

Linking hands for the Druid Vow and Awen

Taliessin appears to bring back the light

Local conditions meant the light almost didn't return!

The Guardian allows everyone to experience the new light

The new light is placed on the altar

The Guardian blesses the bread

The mead also gets blessed

A young visitor gets his first taste of mead!

Keith tests out the mead

Ray performs his invocation to Bridget

Words about a cull of birds and a sell-off of forests

Keith closes the West Quarter

Looking at a photo of a rainbow cast by the bottle of mead

Imbolc At The White Spring (1 Feb 2011)

The White Spring opened at 10:00 for and the event began around 10:30. People made their way inside and tea light candles were collected on the way. With everyone inside the building Lisa advised what would happen and then asked for the doors to be closed. All the candles in the building were then extinguished and it was left in complete darkness for some minutes. A knock came on the door and light flooded into the building as it was opened. At the door was young Rosa - in her first year representing the young Bridget. She walked into the building carrying a glowing candle. She walked down to the main pool and several long candles were lit from her flame. These were then used to light everyone’s tea lights. Gill spoke about the season.

Songs and chants were then performed before the group processed out into the street. The road was claimed for around half an hour, with a circle forming between the White Spring and Chalice Well. Gill spoke again about the season. Water from the White Spring and Chalice Well was mixed. Lisa flicked some of this over the group as a blessing, saving some to use afterwards in Chalice Well. She then invited people to step forward for contributions. I started by debuting my Bridget poem. Other words and prayers followed, including news about the new Bridget Forge and how a sword could be made for the White Spring. A special whistle was also blown three times. Chanting then followed as the group waited for Ark in Chalice Well to find the combination for Monk’s Gate. Young Bridget then led the group with the light and mixed water to the wellhead. Two videos from this event are embedded below:


White Spring Part 1 (Video: mikesey)


White Spring Part 2 (Video: mikesey)

Montage of the complete event

The group begins to enter the building (Photo: Mikesey)

The group begins to enter the building (image via Youtube)

Young Bridie gets ready outside the spring (Photo: Mikesey)

Young Bridie waits outside while the group is in the darkness (Photo: Mikesey)

Max gets ready for Bridie to light the darkness inside the building (Photo: Mikesey)

Emerging from the building

Gill talks about the season and Bridget

The red and white waters are mixed (image via Youtube)

Matthew debuts his Bridget poem (image via Youtube)

Max tells a story

Max tells a story

Listening to the story from Max

A note about a local forge

Young Bridie takes the light to the wellhead in Chalice Well

Talking down on the lower lawn

Imbolc at Chalice Well (1 Feb 2011)

Chalice Well’s event was held at midday. Sophie welcomed everyone and spoke for a short time about the meaning of the season. She then let everyone meditate for about 10 minutes. Following this she asked if there were any contributions and so I performed my normal Imbolc poem. Other contributions followed, including a couple of songs in other languages. Following this Sophie finished off the event by getting everyone to link hands and tone three ohms. Conversations then continued on the lower lawn, where a small fire was burning and refreshments were being served. As is traditional, a group met in the car park at 13:00 ready to process to Bride's Mound on the other side of town.

Montage of the complete event

The wellhead

Sophie talks about the season

Sophie talks about the season

Sophie talks about the season

Down on the lower lawn

Down on the lower lawn

Down on the lower lawn

Down on the lower lawn

Waiting outside for the walk to Bride's Mound

The procession to Bride's Mound begins

Imbolc Sunset (1 Feb 2011)

The sun disappeared from view a few minutes early because of low cloud and aircraft trails.

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The Gorsedd of Rhiannon and The White Horse (6 Feb 2011)

On Sunday 6 February 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 asked for offerings to be placed in the centre. I brought in some snowdrops from my garden. The call for peace was made by Willth. The other Wilf 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. Gordon followed with the call to the ancestors. The four quarters were then opened by people in the circle.

Rainbow distributed seeds to each person in the group. She then asked them to think of one word to represent a project to be seeded at this time. She brought a dish of earth around and asked everyone to place their seed inside whilst stating the word they had thought of. Some drumming then took place to bring in the energy of spring. The candle was lit next. This proved rather tricky because it was a very windy day. The group then linked hands and performed the Druid Vow and three tones of the Awen. A healing circle was held next, with everyone invited to state people in need of healing or blessing. Wilf blessed the mead and Justine blessed her own spelt bread. They then distributed the items around the circle. I performed an 84-line seasonal work, which was a combination of my standard Imbolc poem and the Bridget poem performed at the White Spring. Firevixen and Rainbow followed with readings 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.

Montage of the complete event

Getting ready in the car park

Getting ready in the car park

Leaving the car park for the site of the Gorsedd

Across the fields to the site of the Gorsedd

Across the fields to the site of the Gorsedd

Offerings in the centre of the circle

Willth performs the Call For Peace

Wilf accesses the world of air

Opening the East Quarter

Planting seeds to grow projects in the coming year

Drumming in some spring energy

Lighting the candle in the strong wind

The candle burns adjacent to the planted seeds

Wilf blessed the mead

Justine distributes her spelt bread

Firevixen reads a seasonal text

Neil closes the South Quarter

Sebastian was ready for a fight all afternoon!

Clearing up at the end

The Full Moon at the White Spring (17 Feb 2011)

On Thursday 17 February a small group gathered at the White Spring to celebrate the full moon. Max welcomed the group and asked everyone to gather in the centre. The group linked hands and did half a dozen Oms to step up the energy. He then described the format of the evening. The first activity was for everyone to find a spot in the building to contemplate on their lives to bring things up for the guided mediation. The building looked and sounded splendid in the darkness, with plenty of candles and the sound of water crashing into the pools. After about quarter of an hour Max made an Om sound to signal the end of the contemplation. I played one of my bowls as the group made its way to the Bridie Bower. We all sat down and I continued playing until Max began the guided meditation. He took the group consciousness up so that things could be released from our lives here on Earth. He brought the group back down again and then asked if there was any feedback. Everyone reassembled back in the centre of the building and some new people joined in. I performed a poem - my standard Imbolc one but with added moon references. Amanda followed and performing one of her Avalon works and her friend played her whistle. With that the group linked hands again and Max asked everyone to do some more toning. This time the Oms overlapped before turning into other sounds. Max thanked everyone for coming and most people stayed on to chat for a bit before making their way down Wellhouse Lane. I took the opportunity to stock up on Water from the White Spring, returning home with 125L.

The rising moon near Glastonbury Abbey

The moon in a tree in Chilkwell Street

The moon viewed later from my garden


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Page last updated: 19 Mar 2011