Imbolc 2012 - Avebury and Glastonbury

This page includes reports and photographs from the various events I attended during the season of Imbolc in 2012. 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 28 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 February I visited Glastonbury for Imbolc events at the White Spring and Chalice Well, as well as to collect 195L of drinking water. Later that afternoon I photographed a spectacular sunset as well as the following day's sunrise and sunset. Indeed the report starts with a collection of all the sun and moon photos from the season.

Sun and Moon Photos (From 5 Jan 2012)

The following photos were taken in my village in the days before and following Imbolc. The sun timings are for the nearby city of Bristol.

Sunset on 5 Jan 2012, the day with 1min 26sec more light than the previous day, 10min 45sec light gained & 8hrs 35min 28sec to gain

Sunset on 7 Jan 2012, the day with 1min 37sec more light than the previous day, 13min 53sec light gained & 8hrs 32min 20sec to gain

Sunset on 12 Jan 2012, the day with 2min 4sec more light than the previous day, 23min 22sec light gained & 8hrs 22min 51sec to gain

Sunset on 13 Jan 2012, the day with 2min 9sec more light than the previous day, 25min 31sec light gained & 8hrs 20min 42sec to gain

Sunrise on 14 Jan 2012, the day with 2min 13sec more light than the previous day, 27min 44sec light gained & 8hrs 18min 29sec to gain

Sunset on 14 Jan 2012, the day with 2min 13sec more light than the previous day, 27min 44sec light gained & 8hrs 18min 29sec to gain

Sunset on 15 Jan 2012, the day with 2min 18sec more light than the previous day, 30min 2sec light gained & 8hrs 16min 11sec to gain

Sunset on 17 Jan 2012, the day with 2min 27sec more light than the previous day, 34min 52sec light gained & 8hrs 11min 21sec to gain

Sunset on 22 Jan 2012, the day with 2min 47sec more light than the previous day, 48min 9sec light gained & 7hrs 58min 4sec to gain

Imbolc Sunset on 1 Feb 2012, the day with 3min 17sec more light than the previous day, 1hr 18min 58sec light gained & 7hrs 27min 15sec to gain

Post-Imbolc sunrise on 2 Feb 2012, the day with 3min 20sec more light than the previous day, 1hr 22min 18sec light gained & 7hrs 23min 55sec to gainsec to gain

Sunset on 2 Feb 2012, the day with 3min 20sec more light than the previous day, 1hr 22min 18sec light gained & 7hrs 23min 55sec to gain

Sunset on 3 Feb 2012, the day with 3min 22sec more light than the previous day, 1hr 25min 40sec light gained & 7hrs 20min 33sec to gain

Sunrise on 4 Feb 2012, the day with 3min 24sec more light than the previous day, 1hr 29min 4sec light gained & 7hrs 17min 9sec to gain

Sunset on 5 Feb 2012, the day with 3min 26sec more light than the previous day, 1hr 32min 30sec light gained & 7hrs 13min 43sec to gain

Waxing Moon at 97% illumination on 6 Feb 2012

Full Moon on 7 Feb 2012

Sunrise on 11 Feb 2012, the day with 3min 37sec more light than the previous day, 1hr 53min 46sec light gained & 6hrs 52min 27sec to gain

Sunset on 11 Feb 2012, the day with 3min 37sec more light than the previous day, 1hr 53min 46sec light gained & 6hrs 52min 27sec to gain

Sunset on 18 Feb 2012, the day with 3min 46sec more light than the previous day, 2hr 19min 43sec light gained & 6hrs 26min 30sec to gain

Sunrise on 19 Feb 2012, the day with 3min 47sec more light than the previous day, 2hr 23min 30sec light gained & 6hrs 22min 43sec to gain

Sunset on 19 Feb 2012, the day with 3min 47sec more light than the previous day, 2hr 23min 30sec light gained & 6hrs 22min 43sec to gain

Sunset on 25 Feb 2012, the day with 3min 52sec more light than the previous day, 2hr 46min 29sec light gained & 5hrs 59min 44sec to gain

Sunrise on 26 Feb 2012, the day with 3min 52sec more light than the previous day, 2hr 50min 21sec light gained & 5hrs 55min 52sec to gain

Sunset on 29 Feb 2012, the day with 3min 54sec more light than the previous day, 3hr 2min 1sec light gained & 5hrs 44min 12sec to gain

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

The Free and Open Gorsedd of Caer Abiri took place on Saturday 28 January. The group met at the Red Lion and processed to the Sun Circle. Willth welcomed everyone to the event and asked Ghyll to perform the Call For Peace. He then asked for each of the four quarters to be opened. Terry took East, with Gary on South, Merlin on West and Hawky Hawklord 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. Willth got the group to repeat his words to call in the goddess Bridget. Robyn y Glas played the first of two songs and Terry followed with a talk about the feminine nature of the season. I went next with a performance of my main Imbolc poem. Merlin then came into the centre to talk about solar time.

Willth blessed the bread and mead and started their circulation around the circle from the East. Robyn y Glas returned for a second song and Linda came on next to read one of her poems. Mark was back at the gorsedd and performed another of his poems. 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. Ray came on after this to read his invocation to Bridget. Terry then spoke some more about the season. Keith also came forward to talk about over-development in Devizes and the risk to the water table under the Avebury landscape. The issue was covered in a Guardian article around this time. Additional final contributions came form those in the circle. 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

Walking over from the Red Lion

Processing to the Sun Circle

Willth welcomes everyone to the event

Ghyll performs the Call For Peace

Gary opens the South Quarter

Willth welcomes in the three worlds and ancestors

Robyn y Glas plays the first of two songs

Terry talks about aspects of the season

Merlin talks about solar time

Willth blesses the mead

Willth blesses the bread

Gary brings the bread around the mead makes its own way around

Robyn y Glas returns for his second song

Linda reads her latest poem

Mark makes another appearance and performs a poem

Ray reads his invocation to Bridget

Terry talks some more about the season

More seasonal words

Keith talks about over-development in Devizes and a risk to the local water table

Words about Persephone from Chris

Willth begins to wind things down

Terry closes the East Quarter

Willth declares the event over

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

The Imbolc ritual of the Gorsedd of Bards of Caer Abiri was held at Avebury on Sunday 29 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. Lynda 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 complex. Many other people took the opportunity to make an offering. The Guardian granted permission and myself and Steve the Stag formed an archway with staffs for everyone to process through to the Ring Stone. Morgan welcomed the group again. The Round of Amergin was performed, with everyone saying “I Am” and the archetype they represented. Rainbow 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 Kes on North, Peter on East, me on South and Ray on West. Morgan read some seasonal text and Phil unveiled a new wand, to be activated on this day. Steve the Stag called in the ancestors and Morgan, Pauline and Les called to the three worlds.

Everyone stepped forward to take a bit of the Ring Stone flame into their hearts. Morgan and Lynda then led the group in a short chant to the goddess. This was followed by Pauline visiting everyone in the circle to give them two seeds to plant for the coming growing season. The group linked hands to tone the Awen and perform the Druid Vow three times each. Kes blessed the mead and Rainbow blessed the bread, before distributing them around the circle. I performed my Imbolc poem and Ray followed with his invocation to Bridget. Steve the Stag passed a piece of Silbury chalk around the circle and told the story of how he came by it. 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. The group then assembled for a photo.

Montage of the complete event Group photo by Denyse Shorrocks)

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

Processing to the Entrance Stones

Processing to the Entrance Stones

Lynda in the role of Avebury Guardian

Morgan asks for permission to enter the stones

Offerings are made to the Avebury Guardian

The Guardian grants permission to enter

Listening to the Guardian

Setting up around the Ring Stone

Setting up around the Ring Stone

Morgan welcomes everyone

Kes hands over to Phil in the Round of Amergin

Morgan and Rainbow perform the Call For Peace

Phil unveils the new wand

Peter opens the East Quarter

Steve the Stag calls in the ancestors

Morgan reads seasonal words

Opening the three worlds

Everyone takes a bit of the flame into their hearts

A chant to the goddess

Distributing seeds

Kes blesses the mead and Rainbow blesses the bread

Distributing the bread and mead

Ray reads his invocation to Bridget

Steve the Stag passes his Silbury chalk around the circle

Closing the West Quarter

Leaving voices in the landscape

Morgan declares the event over

The group at the end of the afternoon (Photo: Denyse Shorrocks)

Imbolc at the White Spring and Chalice Well (1 Feb 2012)

People began to gather at the White Spring at 9:30 and the event got underway inside at 10:00. Everyone was given a tea light candle on the way in and they were greeted by minstrel Merlin performing a chant. Lisa welcomed everyone and advised on the format of the morning. She then asked for the doors to be closed. All the candles in the building were extinguished and it was left in complete darkness for around 10 minutes. A knock came on the door and light flooded into the building as it was opened. At the door was Rosa - in her second year representing the young Bridget. She walked into the building carrying a glowing candle. She walked down to the main pool to be greeted by Gill. A light was taken from the Bridget flame and everyone’s candles were then lit. Merlin performed two songs and then the group made its way out into Wellhouse Lane, forming a circle between the White Spring and Monks’ Gate into Chalice Well.

Lisa continued with the event and asked for the red and white waters to be brought forward. These were mixed in a bowl and then droplets were thrown over all present. Gill stepped forward to talk about the season and Bridget. Lisa then invited people to step forward for contributions. I started things off with a version of my main Imbolc poem. Max went next with one of his stories and Amanda followed with two of her poems. Merlin performed another song and other poems and words followed, as well as a dance to Bridget. Ark the gardener in Chalice Well then opened Monks’ Gate. Young Bridget led the group with the light and mixed water to the wellhead. The light was then left for the Chalice Well event.

In the meantime people gathered on the lower lawn for refreshments and warmth from the fire. Chalice Well’s usual meditation took place at midday at the wellhead. 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 lots of people stepped forward to offer songs, poems and other words. Following this Sophie finished off the event by getting everyone to link hands and tone three Om sounds. Conversations continued back at the fire on the lower lawn. A group processing to Bride’s Mound met outside the White Spring at 13:00.

Montage of the complete event

Emerging from the darkness of the White Spring

Lisa begins once everyone is assembled in Wellhouse Lane

Adding the White Spring Spring water

Adding the Chalice Well water

Mixing the two types of water

Lisa splashes the water over everyone present

Gill talks about Bridget

Max tells a seasonal story

Amada reads a couple of her poems

The dance of Bridget

Another poem

Merlin performs another of his seasonal songs

Monks' Gate is opened for the group to process into Chalice Well

Processing to the wellhead

Dropping off the Bridget's flame from the White Spring

Back down on main lawn

Back down on main lawn

Assembling at the wellhead for the midday meditation

Sophie talks about the season of Imbolc


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Page last updated: 29 Feb 2012