Litha (Summer Solstice) 2010 - Avebury, Farmborough, Stony Littleton, Glastonbury and Stonehenge

This page includes reports and photographs from the various events I attended during the season of Litha in 2010. Litha is the Summer Solstice (21 June) or Mid-Summer (24 June). The sun is now at its high point and so daylight and warmth decline hereafter until Yule six months later. Litha is the time of high energy, handfastings, outdoor activities, the honey moon and the availability of useful plants. The season started with two events at Avebury on 19 June - the Cauldron of Cerridwen and the Free and Open Gorsedd of Caer Abiri. The next evening it was across to Stony Littleton to watch the sun set exactly behind the long barrow entrance and to look at the recent crop circle. Up early the next morning, I visited Farmborough Common to watch the Summer Solstice sun rise exactly in the north east, shining across the city of Bath. Later that day I travelled to Glastonbury for the Summer Solstice event at Chalice Well and the Jerusalem BIG HUG on Glastonbury Tor. On 24 June it was on to Stonehenge for the Gorsedd of Bards of Cor Gawr at sunrise. On 26 June I captured a few shots of the rising Honey Moon as it appeared above a hedge I can see from the house. The season finished with a return to Stonehenge on 27 June for the Dolmen Grove Mid-Summer event.

Update: 2 Jul 2010 : Added six videos from the Dolmen Grove Summer Solstice event at Stonehenge on 27 Jun.
The Cauldron of Cerridwen Ritual at Avebury (19 Jun 2010)

The Summer Solstice Cauldron of Cerridwen ritual was held at Avebury on Saturday 19 June. The group gathered at the Red Lion and individuals made their way to the Sun Circle at midday. Owlswing started off with a few words and then Taran welcomed everyone to the event. Lucara followed with the introductory text. Sian blessed the altar and asked Saulire to cast the circle with his sword. The quarters were then opened, with me taking South. Kumani entered the centre and recited some seasonal text. Owlswing invoked Cerridwen in Sian and Tyto invoked Cernunnos into Taran. Taran gave a rare personal reading of his “'Right Now' said Smudger” poem, before advising the circle about the forthcoming pantomime - the battle between the Oak King and the Holly King. The Oak King entered the circle and tried to drum up support. The Holly King followed and also tried to get the group on his side. The two squared up to each other and started hurling insults. The Holly King produced a small bucket of water and chased the Oak King before throwing the water at him. The Oak King retaliated with a larger bucket of water. The Holly King returned with a very large bucket that turned out to contain grass cuttings. With this the Oak King was worn out and ducked out of the contest. The Holly King started his reign for the new season and so Sian gave him his crown. Taran blessed the juice and Sian blessed the bread. These were brought around the circle while Robyn y Glas performed a song. Taran then called me to perform my Summer Solstice poetry. Gordon followed with a joke about the first crop circle. There was then an impromptu spiral dance and Steve the Avebury Stag Lord spoke about the season. The four quarters were then released and Saulire called back the circle. Everyone finished by joining hands to recite the Druid Vow three times. With that Tyto sang a short song and the ritual was over, signified by a Merry Meet, Merry Part and Merry Meet Again.

Montage of the complete event

Setting up in the Sun Circle

Owlswing starts things off

Taran welcomes everyone to the event

Lucara reads the introductory text

Sian blesses the altar and asks for the circle to be cast

Saulire casts the circle

Opening the East Quarter

Opening the West Quarter

Kumani recites some seasonal text

Owlswing invokes Cerridwen

Tyto invokes Cernunnos

Taran reads his “'Right Now' said Smudger” poem

The Oak King drums up support

The Holly King drums up support

The Oak and Holly Kings square up to each other

The Holly King employs insults and a small bucket of water

The Oak King retaliates with a larger bucket of water

The Holly King returns with a very large bucket

The Oak King is worn out and so the Holly King reigns for the new season

The Holly King receives his crown

The Holly King performs his acceptance speech

Taran blesses the juice

Sian blesses the bread

Robyn y Glas performs a song

Matthew performs his Summer Solstice poem (Photos: Lori Aberle)

Gordon tells a joke about the first crop circle

An impromptu spiral dance

The Stag Lord speaks about the season

Closing the circle

Closing the East Quarter

Closing the North Quarter

Saulire calls back the circle

Tyto sings a short song

A Merry Meet, Merry Part and Merry Meet Again

The Free and Open Gorsedd of Caer Abiri (19 Jun 2010)

The Free and Open Gorsedd of Caer Abiri followed at about 14:00, 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 me on South, Steve the Stag Lord on West and Pagan Chef on North. Willth then connected to the ancestors and the three worlds, before asking everyone to link hands to perform three recitals of the Druid Vow and three tones of the Druid Mantra. Terry was then invited in to talk about the season. Bardic performances followed and Robyn y Glas started with the first of several numbers. I followed with another performance of my Summer Solstice poem. Steve the Stag Lord then came on to talk about the season. Willth followed by blessing the bread and mead and these made their way around the circle.

Robyn y Glas performed another number and then we had the debut of Linda with a performance of poetry. Julian Haynes followed with some impromptu philosophy about numbers and the planets. A healing circle was next, with names read out and then three tones of the Druid Mantra performed. Terry also recited the Druid Prayer at this time. Robyn y Glas then offered a third number. Merlin performed a short naming ceremony and Terry talked about some of the Avebury Summer Solstice phenomena. Willth asked the group to call back the sun, which reappeared a few seconds after the group called for it. Pagan Chef talked about his ongoing and expanding quest. It was then time to wind things down. Willth thanked the spirits that had graced the circle and asked for the links to the three worlds and the quarters to be closed. It was then three cheers for the Summer Solstice.

Montage of the complete event

Processing to the Sun Circle

Forming up the circle

Willth welcomes everyone to the event

Willth performs the Call For Peace

Terry opens the East Quarter

Matthew opens the South Quarter (Photo: Lori Aberle)

Steve the Stag Lord opens the West Quarter

Willth welcomes in the three worlds

Terry talks about the season

Robyn y Glas does his first performance

Matthew performs his Summer Solstice poem (Photos: Lori Aberle)

The Stag Lord talks about the season

Willth blesses the mead

Willth blesses the bread

Robyn y Glas performs another number

Linda performs a poem

Some impromptu philosophy about numbers and the planets from Julian Haynes

Robyn y Glas performs another number

Merlin performs a naming ceremony

Terry talks about some of the Avebury Summer Solstice phenomena

Willth asks the group to call back the sun, with considerable success

Pagan Chef talks about his ongoing quest

Willth closes access to the three worlds

Terry closes the East Quarter

Steve the Stag Lord closes the West Quarter

Three cheers for the Summer Solstice

Sunset at Stony Littleton (20 Jun 2010)

On the evening of 20 June I went over to Stony Littleton long barrow. Six months earlier on the morning of 20 December I was alone inside the monument. And I was treated to a spectacular sunrise that lit up the entire chamber. Six months on it was time to watch the sun set exactly behind the entrance, signifying that we are now half way through the solar year. The sunset pictures are shown below and the full set of Winter Solstice photos may be found in my report of that season. While I was at Stony Littleton I had a quick look at the unusual crop circle adjacent to the monument. This was the first circle at this location. It's also believed to be the first time a circle has formed in a crop of broad beans. A few ground photos are shown below and an overhead view is available from Lucy Pringle's website.

Six months previously - the rising sun spectacularly illuminates the chamber

Six months on - the setting sun swings in behind the long barrow

The setting sun swings in behind the long barrow

Energy now running out

Almost gone

The solar year is now half way through (12x optical zoom)

The unusual crop circle adjacent to the long barrow

The unusual crop circle adjacent to the long barrow

The unusual crop circle adjacent to the long barrow

Sunrise Viewed From Farmborough Common (21 Jun 2010)

Approaching Farmborough Common

Looking towards Bath from the top of Farmborough Common

First sign of the sun

Growing in strength

Growing in strength

Lighting up the Bath skyline

Growing in strength

Growing in strength

Just about fully exposed

Cloud now distorts the view of the sun

Cloud now distorts the view of the sun

The sun peeks through the trees during the walk down

The sun peeks through the trees at ground level

The sun struggles against the cloud

The sun struggles against the cloud

A sheep comes over to greet the early morning visitor

Summer Solstice at Chalice Well (21 Jun 2010)

People assembled around the wellhead at Chalice Well at midday. Sophie Knock welcomed everyone to the event and explained how the meditation would work. 20 minutes of silent meditation then followed and there was a great feeling of group connection. Following the meditation there were several contributions from the group, including me doing another performance of my Summer Solstice poem. The group also linked hands to tone three OMs as well as the three letters of the Druid Mantra. Afterwards there was chat and refreshments in front of a small fire down on the main lawn.

Complete montage from Chalice Well that day

Setting up around the wellhead

A group on the lower lawn

Another group near the yew trees

The Jerusalem BIG HUG on Glastonbury Tor (21 Jun 2010)

Later that day a group gathered on Glastonbury Tor to renew the spiritual link between Jerusalem and the Isle of Avalon. This was timed to coincide with crystal bowls sounding and thousands of people linking hands around the old city of Jerusalem, hugging it to promote a lasting peace in the Middle East. On the Tor Crystal bowls were played from 16:00 and a large group of people linked hands all around the top of the Tor. I took along my 20-inch crystal bowl and sounded it for a full hour. At 16:30 the group closed in around the St. Michael’s Tower and recited William Blake’s Jerusalem. Drumming and further bowl playing continued for the remainder of the event. Three videos and a selection of photos are included below:


The Jerusalem BIG HUG Part 1 (Video: mikesey)


The Jerusalem BIG HUG Part 2 (Video: mikesey)


The Jerusalem BIG HUG Part 3 (Video: mikesey)

Montage of the complete event

Setting up on the Tor

Lisa checks out Matthew's bowl (Photo: mikesey)

The event begins

Matthew plays his 20-inch crystal bowl (Photo: mikesey)

Matthew plays his 20-inch crystal bowl (Photo: mikesey)

A gong, drums and other bowls (Photo: mikesey)

Linking hands around the Tor

Linking hands around the Tor

Linking hands around the Tor

Linking hands around the Tor

Dancing on top of the Tor (Photo: mikesey)

Sampling the wine

Johanna invites everyone to close in

The group gathers around St. Michael's Tower

The group gathers around St. Michael's Tower

Matthew waits for the crystal bowl to stop vibrating after an hour of continuous playing (Photo: mikesey)

Ash The Bard talks to Thomas Daffern afterwards

Isma and Stephen afterwards (Photo: mikesey)

The Gorsedd of Bards of Cor Gawr for Alban Hefin (24 Jun 2010)

This Gorsedd occurs at Stonehenge twice a year - at mid-summer sunrise (Alban Hefin) and mid-winter sunset (Alban Arthan). This year the summer event was held at dawn on 24 June - the traditional date for mid-summer. The group of 60 or so members and friends of the Druid Network met in the Stonehenge car park and processed into the site at 04:30. Stopping just before the monument, people entered the stones one-by-one after pausing to reflect on the day and to be anointed with water by Rainbow. Those waiting to enter had the chance to see the red dawn sky building in power behind the Heelstone. Once the circle had formed up, Firevixen welcomed everyone to the event. She then asked Morgan and I to perform the Call For Peace in Welsh and English. The quarters were then opened and the three worlds and ancestors welcomed in. The group joined hands and recited the Druid Vow. There was also the chance to remember anyone who had passed over this year or anyone who was in need of healing or help.

Everyone then turned to honour the sun, as it started to move above the horizon and up behind the Heelstone. The circle re-formed and Lisa asked anyone with any offerings to bring them to the central stone. Four people then entered the centre to represent the four elements. Martin appeared as a 'fool' and ran around madly. He began to show an interest in the Earth Wreath and eventually took this on. One by one he went on to obtain the Cloak of Air, the Staff of Fire and the Vessel of Water. He was then transformed and the 'fool' was crowned as the Sun King! And from where I was standing the rising sun moved out from behind one of the stones and started shining down on him. He went on to talk about the energy of the sun and asked people what they wanted to achieve with it.

Volunteers were then asked to step forward to be initiated into The Gorsedd of Bards of Cor Gawr. More than a dozen accepted and they formed an outward facing circle, with everyone else closing in around them. They had to recite an initiation text before the rest of the group did three wonderful tones of the Awen around them. They then rejoined the rest of the circle as the newest bards of Cor Gawr. The mead and bread were then blessed. Whilst the mead horns and bread were being taken around the circle, the floor was opened for bardic performances. I took the first spot, performing my Summer Solstice poem. I was followed by a performance from harpist Monika Stadler. Once the bread and mead had completed their circulation, Firevixen talked about using the energy of the season in our own projects. With that the quarters were closed, the ancestors thanked and access to the three worlds closed. Firevixen declared the gorsedd to be over. Around 10 minutes of the two-hour access were left for us to be within the stones and we used this to catch up with new friends and old. Another excellent event and well worth the 03:00 ring of the alarm clock!

Montage of the complete event

The dawn sky in front of Stonehenge

Forming up inside the stones

Forming up inside the stones

Matthew and Morgan perform the Call For Peace in English and Welsh (Photo: Jane Easton)

Opening the East Quarter

Opening the North Quarter

Obtaining access to the Three Worlds

Calling in the ancestors

Stopping to watch the sun rise above the Heelstone

Stopping to watch the sun rise above the Heelstone

Lisa asks for any offerings to be placed in the centre

Offerings are placed in the centre

The four elements are represented in the centre

A 'fool' enters the circle

The 'fool' obtains the Earth Wreath

The 'fool' obtains the Cloak of Air

The 'fool' obtains the Staff of Fire

The 'fool' obtains a Vessel of Water

The 'fool' becomes the Sun King!

And the sun shines through on him!

Those to be initiated into the Gorsedd enter the centre

Blessing of the bread and mead

Matthew performs his Summer Solstice poetry (Photo: Jane Easton)

The next performance comes from harpist Monika Stadler

Firevixen talks about using the energy of the season

Closing the North Quarter

Closing the West Quarter

Thanking the ancestors

Closing access to the three worlds

Firevixen declares the gorsedd to be over

The Honey Moon (26 Jun 2010)

A few shots of the Honey Moon rising above my local hedge. Several events were happening around this period, including a lunar eclipse and an unusual planetary alignment.

The Dolmen Grove Mid-Summer at Stonehenge (27 Jun 2010)

The final scheduled event of the season was the Dolmen Grove Mid-Summer gathering at Stonehenge. The group assembled in a private area of the overflow car park and started to form up for the procession just before midday. To the sound of plenty of drumming the group began to make its way through the crowds, down to the turnstiles, through the tunnel and into the monument field. Heading straight into the stones, the group made its way around the inside of the stones before forming up the circle. Taloch welcomed everyone and drummed the ‘Not I, Nor Thee’ with people from the circle calling in Air, Fire, Water and Earth. Taloch then called me forward to do the first poetry performance - the final outing for the Summer Solstice poem in 2010. Talisman followed with one of his works. There were no other offers of poetry and so a group song was performed next. At this point Taloch suggested that everyone should sit down because of the hot weather.

Taloch drummed the seated group through a healing spell. Everyone joining in with light OM sounds. The children were then called into the centre for the traditional blessing for those representing us in the future. Additional OM sounds were created for them. It was then time to remember Steve Baker, who sadly died of a brain tumour in 1997. His wife Marina and her two daughters Sukie and Rosie stepped forward. It would have been Steve’s 55th birthday on this day. Next up was the Talking Stick. Taloch took a staff around the circle and everyone was encouraged to say something. I spoke about Managed Open Access and the monument site. With the group standing again, a handfasting was conducted for Danny Preen and Simone Preen, with the happy couple leaping over a broom at the end. With that it was time to re-form the procession and head back through the crowds to the car park. A superb event and the weather could not have been better. Six videos and a collection of photos are shown below:


Dolmen Grove Stonehenge Summer Solstice 2010 Part 1: The walk to the stones (Video: mikesey)


Dolmen Grove Stonehenge Summer Solstice 2010 Part 2: Welcome, poetry and songs (Video: mikesey)


Dolmen Grove Stonehenge Summer Solstice 2010 Part 3: The young people are blessed (Video: mikesey)


Dolmen Grove Stonehenge Summer Solstice 2010 Part 4: Passing the Talking Stick (Video: mikesey)


Dolmen Grove Stonehenge Summer Solstice 2010 Part 5: The Handfasting Ceremony (Video: mikesey)


Dolmen Grove Stonehenge Summer Solstice 2010 Part 6: Exiting the stones (Video: mikesey)

The procession forms up in the overflow car park

The procession begins to move

Approaching the ticket barriers

Approaching the tunnel

Emerging from the tunnel

Entering the monument field

Approaching the stones

Entering the stones

Spiralling within the stones

Forming up the circle

Taloch drums the "Not I, Nor Thee"

Matthew performs his Summer Solstice poem with author Kit Berry looking on (Photo: Lori Aberle)

The sun following a predictable swinging arc in the poetry (Photo: Lori Aberle)

Talisman reads one of his poems

A song from a quartet

Taloch suggests that everyone sits down because of the hot weather

Seated within Stonehenge

Taloch drums through a healing spell

The children enter the centre for a blessing

Remembering Steve Baker - a tribute from his wife Marina and her two daughters Sukie and Rosie

The Talking Stick arrives with Kit Berry

Matthew talks about the problems of Managed Open Access (Photo: Lori Aberle)

Back standing again

A handfasting for Danny Preen and Simone Preen

A handfasting for Danny Preen and Simone Preen (Photo: Lori Aberle)

The couple jump the broomstick

Author Kit Berry and some of her friends from the Stonewylde Forum

Preparing to leave the stones

The group processes back to the car park

The group processes back to the car park

Heading for the tunnel

Back in the overflow car park

The procession ends


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Page last updated: 18 Jul 2011