Lammas (Lughnasadh) 2012 - Avebury, Glastonbury, Stanton Drew and Uffington

This page includes reports and photographs from the various events I attended during the season of Lammas/Lughnasadh in 2012. 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 visits to Avebury on 28 and 29 July for the Free and Open Gorsedd of Caer Abiri and the Gorsedd of Bards of Caer Abiri. The Avebury Lammas Games ran concurrently with the latter event and is covered here by contributed photos. I visited Glastonbury on 1 August. This was the first day of five of the 17th Goddess Conference, although fringe events had started earlier in the week. For the first time the Goddess Conference gets its own report and is not included in this Lammas report, although it is linked right at the end. I bumped into lots of people from the Conference whilst in town, although my main purpose of being there was for the Lammas events at Chalice Well and the White Spring. On 4 August I visited Stanton Drew for the Dobunni Grove's Lughnasadh event. The next day I had a return visit to Glastonbury for the Goddess Conference procession through the town and fruit feast on Chalice Hill. At the same time the Gorsedd of Rhiannon and The White Horse was taking place at Uffington. I visited Glastonbury once again the following evening for the Goddess Temple Lammas event . The report starts with a small collection of the sun photos from the whole season. These were the only days for that had a visible sunset.

Sun Photos (From 22 Jul 2012)

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

Sunset on 22 Jul 2012, the day with 2min 37sec less light than the previous day, 0hr 45min 34sec light lost & 8hrs 0min 42sec to lose

Sunset on 23 Jul 2012, the day with 2min 41sec less light than the previous day, 0hr 48min 15sec light lost & 7hrs 58min 2sec to lose

Sunset on 24 Jul 2012, the day with 2min 45sec less light than the previous day, 0hr 51min 0sec light lost & 7hrs 55min 16sec to lose

Sunset on 25 Jul 2012, the day with 2min 48sec less light than the previous day, 0hr 53min 48sec light lost & 7hrs 52min 28sec to lose

Sunset on 26 Jul 2012, the day with 2min 51sec less light than the previous day, 0hr 56min 39sec light lost & 7hrs 49min 37sec to lose

Sunset on 27 Jul 2012, the day with 2min 54sec less light than the previous day, 0hr 59min 33sec light lost & 7hrs 46min 43sec to lose

Sunset on 28 Jul 2012, the day with 2min 57sec less light than the previous day, 1hr 2min 30sec light lost & 7hrs 43min 46sec to lose

Sunset on 29 Jul 2012, the day with 3min 0sec less light than the previous day, 1hr 5min 30sec light lost & 7hrs 40min 46sec to lose

Sunset on 10 Aug 2012, the day with 3m 26s less light than the previous day, 1h 44m 26s light lost & 7h 1m 50s to lose. 19.84% to the dark

Sunset on 19 Aug 2012, the day with 3m 38s less light than the previous day, 2h 16m 24s light lost & 6h 29m 52s to lose. 25.92% to the dark

Sunset on 20 Aug 2012, the day with 3m 39s less light than the previous day, 2h 22m 3s light lost & 6h 26m 13s to lose. 26.13% to the dark

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

The Free and Open Gorsedd of Caer Abiri took place on Saturday 28 July. 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 Rie on South, Merlin on West and Pagan Chef on North. Willth then connected to the ancestors and the three worlds. The group linked hands and performed the Druid Vow and three tones of the Druid Mantra. Terry followed with the Druid Prayer. He then came into the centre to talk about the season and the ancient role of the druid. Willth controversially suggested that Lughnasadh was the middle of summer rather than the end of summer. He didn’t get a great deal of support for the idea - indeed I must have been imagining all the leaves I’d been sweeping up in recent weeks!

Robyn y Glas played the first of his songs and I went next with a performance of my Lughnasadh poem. Merlin then came on to talk about the weather and the first harvest. Linda performed one of her works and Gary talked about elixirs and healing. A healing circle was held, with those in need in our thoughts. The group held hands and performed three more tones of the Druid Mantra. Willth blessed the bread and mead and started their circulation around the circle from the East and West. Arthur entered the centre to announce he is standing for Wiltshire Police Commissioner. Ray read his invocation to Lugh and Robyn y Glas performed another song. Joe played a couple of quick tunes on his new clarinet and mouth harp. There was also a period of dancing before Willth began to wind things down. Access to the three worlds was closed and the ancestors thanked. The direction callers then closed their quarters and the gorsedd was declared complete. Afterwards a few of us took Ghyll over to the Moon Cove for a healing session.

Montage of the complete event (Photo of Matthew by Natalle Gould)

Meeting up at the Red Lion

Matthew with the other Matthew (Pagan Chef) (Photo: Natallie Gould)

Talking to Arthur about internet issues (Photo: Rosaline Wheaton)

Processing to the Sun Circle

Sharing the Sun Circle with the Avebury sheep (Photo: Rosaline Wheaton)

Willth welcomes everyone to the event

Ghyll calls for peace in the North

Rie opens the South Quarter

Willth accesses the three worlds

Terry performs the Druid Prayer

Terry talks about aspects of the season

Willth suggests we are only at the mid-summer point

Robyn y Glas plays the first of his songs

Merlin talks about the seasons

Linda performs one of her works

Gary talks about elixirs and healing

Willth blesses the mead

Willth blesses the bread

Arthur announces he is to stand for Wiltshire Police Commissioner

Ray reads an invocation to Lugh

Robyn y Glas plays another song

Joe plays Clarinet

Joe plays the mouth harp

Linda dances

Willth thanks the ancestors and closes down access to the other worlds

Pagan Chef closes the North Quarter

Willth declares the event over

Ghyll receiving healing from Matthew, Rie, Linda and Idril (Photo: Lee Faos Knight)

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

The Lughnasadh ritual of the Gorsedd of Bards of Caer Abiri was held at Avebury on Sunday 29 July. The group formed up at the National Trust Cafe and Morgan welcomed everyone and roles were nominated. It was raining at this point and so the group gathered under a nearby tree to drum the rain away. The silent procession to the Entrance Stones began once it was felt to be dry enough. 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. 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 Ray and Steve the Stag formed an archway with staffs for everyone to process through to the Ring Stone. All the offerings were placed on the stone. Before welcoming the group again, Morgan used a shiny surface to reflect the sun on to everyone. By now the group was much larger and it took a few goes to make and maintain a proper circle. 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 the three worlds. The four quarters were then opened, with Ray on North, Lisa on East, me on South and Anne on West.

Morgan spoke about the season and introduced the components that would go into building the Corn King. Everyone was then invited into the centre to build part of him. Morgan, Pauline and Anne gathered around the completed Corn King to praise him and then to say how sad they were that he was going to have to die. Morgan then took out her athame and stabbed him, removing his heart. Everyone was invited to take a piece of the Corn King and redistribute him around the land. Morgan paraded his heart around the circle, with seeds dropping on the land. With that, Les entered the centre as the new Corn King and there was much drumming and celebration. There was then an opportunity for new members to join the Gorsedd. Volunteers moved to the centre and formed a circle facing outwards. The rest of the people closed in around them to perform three tones of the Awen, with Morgan reading out text to empower the new members. They were welcomed by everyone as they rejoined the circle. At this point everyone held hands to perform the Druid Vow. It was then time to bless the bread and mead and distribute them around the circle. I performed my Lughnasadh poem at this stage and I was followed by other people performing poetry and music. Two fire performers entered the circle and walked around as the bardic contributions continued. Ray did his Invocation to Lugh and Linda did her debut performance of poetry. To be followed by Linda Moonbow and another of her performances. Patricia as Avebury Guardian spoke to the group as the end of the event neared. 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 (Photo of Matthew by Amanda Earthwren)

Meeting up at the National Trust Cafe

Attempting to drum away the rain

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

Morgan asks permission for the group to enter the stones

Making offerings to the Avebury Guardian

The Avebury Guardian grants the group access to the stones

Heading to the Ring Stone

Setting up the central altar

Forming up around the Ring Stone

Forming up around the Ring Stone (Photo: Frank Peters)

Morgan shines the light on everyone

Reshaping the circle

Lisa opens the East Quarter

Morgan talks about the season

Building the Corn King

The Corn King is complete

Praising the Corn King

Must the Corn King die?

Morgan kills the Corn King

Morgan retrieves the Corn King's heart

Everyone grabs a piece of the Corn King

The Corn King's heart is emptied on the land

The new Corn King lives!

Celebrating the new Corn King

Celebrating the new Corn King

New members join the Gorsedd

New members join the Gorsedd

Blessing the bread

Blessing the mead

Distribution of the bread

Distribution of the mead

Matthew performs his Lughnasadh poetry (Photo: Amanda Earthwren)

Another poem

Music and poetry

Music and poetry and fire

A performance of fire

A performance of fire

Ray reads an Invocation to Lugh

Linda reads her first gorsedd poem

The other Linda arrives to perform one of her works

The Avebury Guardian speaks near the end of the event

Ray closes the North Quarter

Leaving our voices in the landscape

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

The Avebury Lammas Games (29 Jul 2012)

The Avebury Lammas Games took place in the North East quadrant on 29 Jul 2012, running alongside the Gorsedd of Bards. A selection of activities for adults and children was on offer, with Gareth eventually winning the title of Lammas Champion 2012. Thanks to Dennis Wright for the photos I used for the three montages below.

Montage by Matthew. All photos by Dennis Wright

Montage by Matthew. All photos by Dennis Wright

Montage by Matthew. All photos by Dennis Wright

Chalice Well (1 Aug 2012)

The Chalice Well meditation was held at midday on 1 August. The group gathered around the wellhead. Following the bell for the silent minute, everyone was welcomed by Natasha. She spoke about the season and how people around the world would be celebrating on this day. The silent meditation lasted for about 15 minutes. The group then linked hands to share the energy present. This was then thrown up and out to the world. There was just time for a visitor to play some bowls and other instruments on this rainy day. Everyone then moved down to the main lawn for the fire and Conversation Cafe.

Montage of the complete event

The White Spring (1 Aug 2012)

The White Spring Lammas event was held at 14:00 on 1 August. I only heard about it from a man in a car park! The event was underway by the time I arrived. There was a gathering in the courtyard and Max was part way through a meditation and story involving the group travelling to see Lugh and Merlin. Following this I was welcomed into the centre to do another performance of my seasonal poem. There were some other contributions before the group moved inside. It was then time to bless our tools (hands). These were placed around the edge of the large pool. Once blessed it was time flick water across to the other side! Bread and mead were available to end the celebration. People then gathered back in the courtyard to talk.

Arriving at the White Spring

Max in full flow with Lugh and Merlin in a meditation

Dobunni Grove at Stanton Drew (4 Aug 2012)

On this day a group gathered at the North East Circle at Stanton Drew. At around 11:15 the group was called to the nearby old tree for an introduction to the event and the season. Everyone then got in a line and processed through the adjacent avenue and back into the circle, with individuals stopping to honour the sun. Once the circle was formed up, Anne welcomed everyone and asked for the Call For Peace to be made at the quarters. Each of the quarters was then opened. Everyone was asked to find a partner, someone they had not spoken with before. They were then to discuss which tribe they felt they belonged to. I met with someone from Sweden. He said his tribe was ‘family’ but not blood family. I felt my tribe was the alternative spiritual community. The group then linked hands and we went around one by one with people saying their name, where they were from and the tribe they felt they belonged to. After this we had to join one of four tribes, represented by the four quarters. This would lead into some Lammas Games with an Olympic theme. Each group had to come up with a name for itself and a statement about its mission/strengths. And each was given a coloured hoop with ribbons for its members to wear as armbands.

Each group had to nominate people for four activities. The first was trying to get as many balls in our neighbour’s hoop in a two minute period. Unfortunately the neighbour was allowed to move their hoop around. The second event was an egg and spoon race done to the Chariots of Fire theme, with extra points for slow motion running. The third was a ribbon weaving competition, with marks for quality and length of weave. The final challenge was to sing a song with ‘Love’ in the title. Each group was eliminated once they had no more songs to offer. Ronald was the impartial judge for all events. Prizes were uncovered from the centre and included bread, ale and cider. Once these were blessed and distribution underway, I was called into the centre to perform my Lughnasadh poetry. After this the circle reconvened and we linked hands to perform the Druid Vow. It was then time to close the quarters, before clearing up and beginning the journey home or heading to the Druid’s Arms.

Walking down to the North East Circle

Getting the introduction

The weaving competition

The singing competition

Sharing the bread and ale

The Gorsedd of Rhiannon and The White Horse (5 Aug 2012)

The Lughnasadh ritual of the Gorsedd of Rhiannon and The White Horse took placed at Uffington on 5 August. I was in Glastonbury at the time and created this montage for the record from photos kindly taken by Christine Cleere.

Montage of the complete event (Photos by Christine Cleere)

Lammas at the Goddess Temple (6 Aug 2012)

The Glastonbury Goddess Temple's Lammas event was held in the Goddess Hall after the Conference on 6 August. The colour for this season is yellow, which was also the colour of the Conference this year. Normally this event is celebrated outside but after the rain during the procession the previous day, I’m glad it was held inside! Georgina welcomed everyone and reminded them of the Japanese tsunami and the benefit concert that had been held in the Town Hall. She then read out some very moving letters from children in Japan. She asked everyone present to think about their own abundance, even if it was not always immediately obvious. It was then into the eight directional blessings of the Invocation of Britannia's Wheel of Goddesses - Ker, Banbha, Cerridwen, Danu, Bridget, Artha, Rhiannon, Domnu and ending with a call to the Lady of Avalon and Britannia. Everyone then made their own toning sound for a short period before sitting down. Katie read a goddess story adapted from the works of Susun Weed. There was also the Mother Chant, with Caroline as the Great Mother. She spoke about her role, the season and abundance. Marion asked for everyone to state things they were grateful for. There was drumming and various other chants, including Blessed Be The Corn and two of the chants that had been used on the previous day's procession. The Wheel was then closed down again, completing with a call to the Lady of Avalon and Britannia. Seeds from the first harvest were distributed to everyone as they left and there was a collection for the Temple.

Lammas altar at the Goddess Hall

Glastonbury Goddess Conference (1-5 Aug 2012)

For the first time the Goddess Conference has its own report.


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Page last updated: 21 Aug 2012