Lammas (Lughnasadh) 2009 - Uffington, Glastonbury and Avebury

This page includes reports and photographs from the various events I attended during the season of Lammas/Lughnasadh in 2009. This celebration at 1 August sees the sun heading to its quarter down point, halfway between mid-summer and the autumn equinox. The land is very warm and so the days are still hot even though the sun is in decline. But the decrease in light is already noticeable at the beginning and end of each day. This is the first of three harvest festivals, a time for school and work holidays and of baking bread from the first wheat. The season started with the Gorsedd of Rhiannon and The White Horse at Uffington on 26 July. Two days later it was down to Glastonbury for the Goddess Temple's Lammas celebration in the Goddess Hall. On 1 August it was the Free and Open Gorsedd of Caer Abiri at Avebury followed by a trip to Glastonbury for a Lughnasadh event at the White Spring. It was back to Glastonbury the following morning to view a spectacular sunrise on the Tor. At Avebury it was the Gorsedd of Bards of Caer Abiri and back in Glastonbury the annual Goddess Conference procession to the Tor took place.

Update 4 Aug 2009: One additional montage added to the Goddess Conference Procession and Fruit Feast section.
Update 5 Aug 2009: Seven photos of the rising full moon added at end.
Update 26 Oct 2009: Four videos added to the Goddess Conference Procession and Fruit Feast section.

The Gorsedd of Rhiannon and The White Horse (26 July 2009)

On Sunday 26 July a small group gathered in the car park of the Uffington White Horse at the Wiltshire, Berkshire, Oxfordshire border for the Lughnasadh Gorsedd of Rhiannon and The White Horse. At around 12:15 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 to peace was made by Willth. Kestrel cast the circle and Fire Vixen anointed everyone with water. The ancestors were then invited in, followed by 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, as well as the season of Lammas. Those of us with drums began drumming as a representation of John Barleycorn was made in the centre out of wheat, with a loaf of bread for his head. We then sang the Ballad of John Barleycorn, before Kestrel broke up the image on the ground using a mead horn. There was then an opportunity to say prayers for those who have passed over or who were in need of healing. Again I asked for a blessing for the incredibly sad loss of Elaine Cottell a few months previously. Following this it was time to bless the bread and mead. While these were coming around I gave my Lughnasadh poem its first reading of the season. This was followed with other contributions of word and song. We enjoyed these as we sat in the field with the weather being relatively kind. With that it was time to close the circle, thank the ancestors and close access to the three worlds. We left the field as we had found it and began processing back to the car park.

Montage of the complete event

Getting ready

Processing

Processing

Processing

The nearby White Horse

Processing

Emily flies her kite after the event

Processing back

Packing up

Lammas at the Goddess Hall, Glastonbury (28 July 2009)

The Lammas ritual at the Glastonbury Goddess Hall was held on the eve of the Goddess Conference. The colour for this season is yellow and many of those attending had made the effort to observe this. Normally this sabbat is celebrated outside but wisely the event was held indoors – it rained heavily during the event. Although the Goddess Hall gives considerably more space for ritual than the Goddess Temple in the centre of town, this event was absolutely packed! Following a brief welcome it was straight into the eight directional blessings of the Invocation of Britannia's Wheel of Goddesses - Banbha, Danu, Domnu, Artha, Ker, Bride, Kerridwen, Rhiannon and ending with a call to the Lady of Avalon. Everyone then made their own toning sound before they all came together in one incredible united voice. Sally Pullinger was Ker in the centre and came alive at this point, welcoming everyone to this celebration of the season. She called for offerings of poetry and song and a seemingly never-ending stream followed. Rose did one of her excellent poems. There was also the Mother Chant, the Blessed Be The Corn song, the Lady of Avalon anthem, the Golden Mother chant and the Abundance Song, followed with a collection for the Goddess Hall and Temple. Beans from the first harvest were distributed to everyone. The eight point wheel was then closed down again, a similar toning sound was made and then people began to make their way home. A colourful and high energy event.

Montage of the complete event

The Free and Open Gorsedd of Caer Abiri (1 Aug 2009)

People met up at the Red Lion on this wet afternoon and the group processed to the Sun Circle at 14:00. Willth welcomed everyone and asked for volunteers to call the quarters. He then did the call for peace before asking for the quarters to be opened. The group then linked hands to recite the Druid Vow three times, followed by three tones of the Druid Mantra. Robyn y Glas was then called in to lead the group in his new Lammas chant. In heavy rain it was my turn and I debuted the new 80-line Life Observations 2 poem. I did consider cutting it short but the rain eased towards the end. Willth then blessed the mead and bread at the same time Terry was explaining why he was late to the circle - rain having made his decent of Silbury Hill very tricky. Robyn y Glas re-entered the circle to perform his Silbury Hill song. And Ray followed with an invocation to Lugh. There was then an opportunity for people to ask for distance healing and the group linked hands to perform three more tones of the Druid Mantra. Terry followed by reciting the Druids’ Prayer. Frank stepped forward to talk about the ongoing protest about the removal of bones at Stonehenge as well as some language research he had been doing recently. He then got the group to continually tone the Druid Mantra while he did an invocation. He also introduced a ‘Viking’ drumming friend who proceeded to drum the group around the four quarters. With that it was time to close down the quarters and process back to the Red Lion. It rained for much of the event but this didn’t dampen spirits at all.

Montage of the complete event

Meeting up at the Red Lion

Processing to the Sun Circle (in the rain!)

Processing to the Sun Circle (in the rain!)

Willth welcomes everyone to the event

Forming up the circle

Forming up the circle

Willth performs the call for peace

Opening the South Quarter

Robyn y Glas takes the group through his Lammas chant

Matthew performs the Life Observations 2 poem (Photos: Lori Aberle, Em Churchill and Trish Conniffe)

Willth blesses the two bottles of mead

Willth waits to bless the bread while Terry talks

Robyn y Glas returns with his Silbury Hill song

Ray performs an invocation

Frank talks about the removal of bones at Stonehenge

Terry talks about the difficulty of climbing down Silbury Hill in the rain

A 'Viking' drummer livens things up

Dancing and chanting to the quarters

An almost worn-out Willth prepares to close things down

The East Quarter is closed

Willth thanks everyone for coming to the event

Lughnasadh at the White Spring (1 Aug 2009)

The White Spring held its Lughnasadh event on the evening of 1 August. Turnout was much higher than normal, no doubt boosted by the number of people in town for the Goddess Conference. There was plenty of time to wander around the building and tune into the surroundings. Max kept people up to date on when things would be getting underway. When it was time the group gathered near the front and Gill, Lisa, Max and Zena opened the quarters in a unique way. There was a bit more time to tune into the location and then drumming and chanting began at the front of the building, along with use of an impressive gong that took two people to hold up. This was all very energising and the gong sounded unbelievable in the unique acoustics of the building. Those that wanted to do a guided meditation with Gill were asked to go to the back corner. There were so many people that extra seating had to be supplied and still quite a few people had to stand. Following the meditation people were asked to shout out what they were grateful for at this time of the year. Gathering around the altar there was additional drumming and chanting before the bread of the harvest was distributed. Back at the front I entered the centre of the circle and read my Lughnasadh poem. With that the quarters were closed again and everyone was thanked for coming. An excellent event that was probably quite an experience for the new visitors that night! The new video below shows past and present images of the White Spring, as well as some of the phenomena associated with the site!


(Video: mikesey)

Meeting up at the White Spring

The Lammas altar

The white paint has been stripped from the walls and most of the internal features discarded

The white paint has been stripped from the walls and most of the internal features discarded

The white paint has been stripped from the walls and most of the internal features discarded

Lughnasadh Sunrise on Glastonbury Tor (2 Aug 2009)

I returned to Glastonbury early on 2 August to witness what looked like being a clear sunrise. I had the Tor to myself and saw not one person in my whole time in Glastonbury that morning! I had plenty of water in hand at home and only collected 20 litres from the White Spring while I was there. The sunrise was indeed excellent, although it was delayed for a few minutes until it was able to burn through the small amount of low cloud. It was soon shining through the doorway of St. Michael’s Tower, as I had witnessed in previous years at this time. The rapidly growing energy also dramatically added to the mists of Avalon.

The appearance of the sun is delayed for a few minutes because of low cloud

The sun begins to show

12x Optical Zoom at full resolution

Growing in power and boosting the mists of Avalon

Growing in power and boosting the mists of Avalon

12x Optical Zoom at full resolution

Growing in power and boosting the mists of Avalon

12x Optical Zoom at full resolution

Now fully visible

Now fully visible

12x Optical Zoom at half resolution

The sun shines directly through the doorway of St. Michael's Tower

The mists of Avalon rapidly grow in intensity

The sun shines directly through the doorway of St. Michael's Tower

The ever growing power is obvious during the descent

The Gorsedd of Bards of Caer Abiri (2 Aug 2009)

The Lughnasadh ritual of the Gorsedd of Bards of Caer Abiri was held at Avebury on Sunday 2 August. The group formed up at the National Trust Cafe. Despite the nice weather, people were slow arriving and the event was considerably late in starting. Morgan welcomed everyone and roles were nominated. The silent procession to the entrance stones then began. Pea took on the role of Avebury Guardian and led the procession, ending by sitting in the goddess seat. Morgan led a few minutes of drumming to allow everyone to tune into the site, before asking permission of the Avebury Guardian for the group to enter the stones. Other people then had the opportunity to offer gifts and words to the Guardian. With permission granted, myself and Ray formed an archway with our two staffs. Everyone then processed through the archway to the Ring Stone. This was used as an altar for the bread and other materials that would be used later. Morgan welcomed the now-larger group and asked everyone to say “I Am” and the archetype they represent. I performed the Call For Peace with Morgan. Walking to each direction from North clockwise, with Morgan saying the Welsh and me saying the English and the rest of the group confirming. And finishing with a call for peace to the three worlds of Land, Ocean and Air. The four quarters were then opened, with me taking South.

Morgan talked about the season before asking Ray to step forward to perform his invocation to Lugh. It was then time to create the Corn King on the ground, using materials from the early harvest. The best Corn King for years was soon present in front of us. Morgan told the group why the Corn King had to die, before whipping out a knife and stabbing him! Everyone was invited in to take their piece of the Corn King. Morgan took his heart around the circle to show everyone that he really was dead. She then cut it open and scattered seeds around for the new growing year. Then, the new Corn King appeared! Long live the Corn King! Everyone was invited to dance to celebrate his arrival. It was then time to bless the bread and mead and take it around the circle. Bardic performances occur at this time and so I stepped forward to give my Lughnasadh poem its final reading of the year. Jenny stepped forward next and made up a seasonal song on the spot! And a visitor borrowed her guitar and did an excellent performance of his own. The group linked hands to perform the Druid Vow as well as to tone the Awen three times. The event was now drawing to an end and so the quarters were closed anti-clockwise from North and we moved into announcements. Philip talked about a Celtic moon observance that he does at this time of year. There was also a note about the Sacred Union project happening at Avebury later in the month. Morgan asked everyone to add their voice to the Avebury landscape. And it just remained for the area to be cleaned up before people started to make their way home.

Montage of the complete event

Meeting up at the National Trust Cafe

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

Pea acts as the Avebury Guardian

Drumming to attune to the location

Offerings are made to the Avebury Guardian

Offerings are made to the Avebury Guardian

Offerings are made to the Avebury Guardian

Forming up around the Ring Stone

Forming up around the Ring Stone

Opening the East Quarter

Ray performs an invocation

Creating the Corn King

The Corn King in all his glory!

Morgan prepares to kill the Corn King

Everyone has a piece of the Corn King!

The Corn King is no more!

The Corn King's heart is shown as evidence of his death

The new Corn King is alive!

Everyone celebrates the arrival of the new Corn King

Blessing the mead

Blessing the bread

Taking the bread and mead around the circle

Jenny makes up a song on the spot!

A visitor borrows Jenny's guitar for an inpromptu performance

Closing the West Quarter

Philip makes an announcement

Clearing up after the event

Goddess Conference Procession and Fruit Feast (2 Aug 2009)

The traditional procession set off at 10:00 from the Town Hall, stopping off at Chalice Well and the White Spring before ascending the Tor for the traditional fruit feast. Below are four videos and five photo montages which summarise these aspects of the climax to the Goddess Conference.


Procession from the Town Hall to Chalice Well (Video: mikesey)


Continuing the celebrations at Chalice Well (Video: mikesey)


Still at Chalice Well and moving to Glastonbury Tor (Video: mikesey)


On Glastonbury Tor, leading up to the fruit feast (Video: mikesey)

Processing to Chalice Well (Photos: mikesey. Montage: Matthew). Link for source photos

Climbing the Tor for the fruit feat (Photos: mikesey. Montage: Matthew). Link for source photos

Celebrating the divine feminine on the Tor (Photos: mikesey. Montage: Matthew). Link for source photos

Processing to Chalice Well (Photos: Gillian Brown. Montage: Matthew)

Climbing the Tor for the fruit feat (Photos: Gillian Brown. Montage: Matthew)

Lughnasadh Full Moon Rising (5 Aug 2009)


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Page last updated: 26 Oct 2009