Litha (Summer Solstice) - Glastonbury, Avebury and Stonehenge

This page includes reports and photographs from the various events I attended during the season of Litha in 2013. 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 weather was as unpredictable as that experienced in 2012. Managed Open Access took place at Stonehenge on the morning of 21 June. My season started with a trip to Glastonbury for the Summer Solstice event at Chalice Well on the same day, followed by an unplanned session of holding the space in the Goddess Temple. The next day I visited Avebury for the Cauldron of Cerridwen and the Free and Open Gorsedd of Caer Abiri. The Gorsedd of Bards of Cor Gawr took place on 24 June at Stonehenge, with a spectacular sunrise. I returned to Glastonbury on 28 June once again to hold the space in the Goddess Temple and again on 6 and 20 July. The report starts, though, with a large collection of the sun photos from the whole season.
This Summer Solstice report is dedicated to the memory of Ghyll Lionheart (Ricky Brown)

This Summer Solstice report is dedicated to the memory of Ghyll Lionheart (Ricky Brown)

Sun Photos (From 1 Jun 2013)

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

Sunset on 1 Jun 2013, the day with 1m 53s more light than the previous day, 8h 27m 24s light gained & 0h 18m 46s to gain. 96.43% to the light

Sunset on 2 Jun 2013, the day with 1m 49s more light than the previous day, 8h 29m 13s light gained & 0h 16m 57s to gain. 96.78% to the light

Sunset on 3 Jun 2013, the day with 1m 43s more light than the previous day, 8h 30m 56s light gained & 0h 15m 14s to gain. 97.10% to the light

Sunset on 4 Jun 2013, the day with 1m 39s more light than the previous day, 8h 32m 35s light gained & 0h 13m 35s to gain. 97.42% to the light

Sunset on 5 Jun 2013, the day with 1m 33s more light than the previous day, 8h 34m 8s light gained & 0h 12m 2s to gain. 97.71% to the light

Sunset on 6 Jun 2013, the day with 1m 27s more light than the previous day, 8h 35m 35s light gained & 0h 10m 35s to gain. 97.99% to the light

Sunset on 8 Jun 2013, the day with 1m 17s more light than the previous day, 8h 38m 14s light gained & 0h 7m 56s to gain. 98.49% to the light

Sunset on 9 Jun 2013, the day with 1m 12s more light than the previous day, 8h 39m 26s light gained & 0h 6m 44s to gain. 98.72% to the light

Sunset on 18 Jun 2013, the day with 0m 19s more light than the previous day, 8h 45m 49s light gained & 0h 0m 21s to gain. 99.93% to the light

Sunset on 19 Jun 2013, the day with 0m 13s more light than the previous day, 8h 46m 2s light gained & 0h 0m 8s to gain. 99.97% to the light

Midsummer's Day sunrise (24 Jun 2013) with the sun coming up from behind the Heelstone at Stonehenge. My day has 0m 16s less light than the previous day, 0h 0m 30s light lost & 8h 45m 37s to lose. 0.10% to the dark

Sunset on 24 Jun 2013, the day with 0m 16s less light than the previous day, 0h 0m 30s light lost & 8h 45m 37s to lose. 0.10% to the dark

Sunset on 25 Jun 2013, the day with 0m 22s less light than the previous day, 0h 0m 52s light lost & 8h 45m 15s to lose. 0.16% to the dark

Sunset on 4 Jul 2013, the day with 1m 15s less light than the previous day, 0h 8m 37s light lost & 8h 37m 30s to lose. 1.64% to the dark

Sunset on 5 Jul 2013, the day with 1m 20s less light than the previous day, 0h 9m 57s light lost & 8h 36m 10s to lose. 1.89% to the dark

Sunset on 6 Jul 2013, the day with 1m 25s less light than the previous day, 0h 11m 22s light lost & 8h 34m 45s to lose. 2.16% to the dark

Sunset on 7 Jul 2013, the day with 1m 30s less light than the previous day, 0h 12m 52s light lost & 8h 33m 15s to lose. 2.45% to the dark

Sunset on 8 Jul 2013, the day with 1m 36s less light than the previous day, 0h 14m 28s light lost & 8h 31m 39s to lose. 2.75% to the dark

Sunset on 9 Jul 2013, the day with 1m 41s less light than the previous day, 0h 16m 9s light lost & 8h 29m 58s to lose. 3.07% to the dark

Sunset on 10 Jul 2013, the day with 1m 46s less light than the previous day, 0h 17m 55s light lost & 8h 28m 12s to lose. 3.41% to the dark

Sunset on 11 Jul 2013, the day with 1m 50s less light than the previous day, 0h 19m 45s light lost & 8h 26m 22s to lose. 3.75% to the dark

Sunset on 12 Jul 2013, the day with 1m 55s less light than the previous day, 0h 21m 40s light lost & 8h 24m 27s to lose. 4.12% to the dark

Sunset on 13 Jul 2013, the day with 2m 0s less light than the previous day, 0h 23m 40s light lost & 8h 22m 27s to lose. 4.50% to the dark

Sunset on 14 Jul 2013, the day with 2m 5s less light than the previous day, 0h 25m 45s light lost & 8h 20m 22s to lose. 4.89% to the dark

Sunset on 15 Jul 2013, the day with 2m 9s less light than the previous day, 0h 27m 54s light lost & 8h 18m 13s to lose. 5.30% to the dark

Sunset on 16 Jul 2013, the day with 2m 13s less light than the previous day, 0h 30m 7s light lost & 8h 16m 0s to lose. 5.72% to the dark

Sunset on 17 Jul 2013, the day with 2m 18s less light than the previous day, 0h 32m 25s light lost & 8h 13m 42s to lose. 6.16% to the dark

Sunset on 18 Jul 2013, the day with 2m 22s less light than the previous day, 0h 34m 47s light lost & 8h 11m 20s to lose. 6.61% to the dark

Sunset on 19 Jul 2013, the day with 2m 26s less light than the previous day, 0h 37m 13s light lost & 8h 8m 54s to lose. 7.07% to the dark

Summer Solstice at Chalice Well (21 Jun 2013)

The Chalice Well meditation was held at midday on 21 June. A very large group gathered around the wellhead. Following the silent minute Sophie stepped forward and welcomed everyone to the gathering. She spoke about aspects of the season before handing over to Muriel to talk about the start of a new flower essence project. The group meditation then followed for about 10 minutes. Afterwards Sophie asked me to perform my Summer Solstice poem and others then followed with their own words and songs. We finished by toning three Oms around the wellhead. The event continued down on the main lawn with refreshments and the Conversation Cafe.

Montage of the complete event

Gathering around the wellhead

Gathering around the wellhead

Sophie welcomes everyone

Muriel talks about flower essences

Public contributions

Public contributions

Public contributions

Public contributions

Toning the Om

Down in the gardens

Down in the gardens

Down in the gardens

Holding Space at the Goddess Temple (21 & 28 Jun + 6 & 20 Jul 2013))

After Chalice Well I visited the Goddess Temple to check the diary. Due to illness there was an immediate need for someone to hold the space that afternoon. I was happy to step in on what was a very busy session. I returned a week laster for a much gentler session. The Temple is dressed in blue for the Summer Solstice season. On 5 July an amazing new sculpture of the Lady of Avalon was added to the Temple. I was one of the first to see it when I did the first Temple session on 6 July, returning again on 20 July.

The Goddess Temple dressed for Summer Solstice

The new Sylvia Steiger Lady of Avalon statue on display from 5 Jul 2013 after her journey from Austria

The Cauldron of Cerridwen Ritual at Avebury (22 Jun 2013)

The Cauldron of Cerridwen Summer Solstice event took place at Avebury on Saturday 22 June. The group met at the Red Lion and then moved into the Sun Circle to set up. Afon began by reading her first poem written in English. Tyto followed by blessing the central stave and Owlswing stepped forward with the sword, before walking around the circle to cast it. The four quarters were then opened, with Carricks on East, me on South, Sian on West and Gitta on North. The direction callers were given items to place in the middle. Dennis entered the centre as Lugh the Sun God and talked about his reign. Steve then entered as Herne and shared banter with Lugh. Realising his time was up, Lugh left the centre. Herne then told the group that a world of light must also have an equal period of dark for balance. He then led members of the circle on a dance to the sound of drums. Taran blessed the juice and Tyto blessed the cake and their distribution commenced. I performed my Summer Solstice poem and I was followed by Dennis who spoke about the previous day's unveiling of the Doreen Valiente plaque in Brighton. Owlswing followed with a religious gag that only he could get away with. The God and Goddess were then thanked, the four quarters closed and Owlswing called the circle back. Everyone then linked hands to perform the Druid Vow and Tyto concluded the event. Not quite so many photos as usual due to rain at the start of the event.

Montage of the complete event

Afon reads her first poem in English

Owlswing casts the circle

Opening the West Quarter

Dennis appears as Lugh the Sun God

Lugh brings a gift of fire

Steve enters the circle as Herne

Lugh and Herne trade banter

Lugh realises his work is done

Herne talks about a realm with balance of light and dark

Dancing with Herne

Dancing with Herne

Taran blesses the juice

Tyto blesses the cake

Owlswing distributes the cake

Matthew performs his Summer Solstice poem (Photo: Dennis Wright)

Dennis talks about the previous day's unveiling of the Doreen Valiente plaque in Brighton

Owlswing tells a gag only he could get away with

Closing the North Quarter

Beginning to close things down

Owlswing calls back the circle

The event is now over

The Free and Open Gorsedd of Caer Abiri (22 Jun 2013)

The Free and Open Gorsedd of Caer Abiri took place on Saturday 22 June. The group met at the Red Lion and processed to the Sun Circle. Willth welcomed everyone to the event and advised of Ghyll’s sad passing. He started with the Call For Peace and then asked for each of the four quarters to be opened. Terry took East, with Rie on South, me on West and Idril 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. Terry then spoke about aspects of the season. Jim did the first bardic performance by reading a poem. I followed with a special performance dedicated to Ghyll of my Rhiannon poem joined to my Summer Solstice poem, making exactly 100 lines.

Mark performed a new work of poetry and Joe followed with a performance on classical guitar. With the sun absent on this afternoon Willth got the group to turn to the south to hail it. Fay came on next to perform her White Horses song. And Spike followed by coming on to tell a short story. Jim returned to perform a song and then it was time for Willth to bless the bread. There was enough bread for a large piece to be placed at each quarter for circulation. There was no mead on this occasion. At this point Gary came on to talk about animal species that had recently become extinct. Willth then began to wind things down. He thanked the spirits that had graced the circle and asked for the quarters to be closed. The gorsedd was now over and people headed back to the Red Lion.

Montage of the complete event

Meeting up at the Red Lion

Processing to the Sun Circle

Willth welcomes everyone to the event

Willth calls for peace in the North

Rie opens the South Quarter

Willth welcomes in the ancestors

Terry talks about aspects of the season

Jim reads a poem

Mark performs a new work

Joe plays classical guitar

All Hail The Sun!

Fay performs her White Horses song

Spike tells a story

Jim performs a song

Willth blesses the bread

Gary talks about animal species that had recently become extinct

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

Terry closes the East Quarter

Willth declares the event over

The Gorsedd of Bards of Cor Gawr at Stonehenge (24 Jun 2013)

This Gorsedd occurs at Stonehenge twice a year - at mid-summer sunrise (Alban Hefin) and mid-winter sunset (Alban Arthan). As usual the summer event was held at dawn on 24 June - the traditional date for mid-summer. The group of 90 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 temple, people entered the stones one-by-one after pausing to reflect. Once the circle had formed up, Firevixen welcomed everyone to the event. The Call For Peace was performed in Welsh and English by Kes and Wilf. The quarters were opened by people within the circle. There was then a pause for us to watch the sun rise up behind the Heelstone. We were treated to a spectacular sunrise. So often this day has a much better visible sunrise than that experienced on the Solstice a few days previously.

Offerings were placed in the centre and then it was time to open access to the three worlds. Wilf, Rainbow and Gordon then did the call to the ancestors. Everyone had a chance to remember someone who had passed over or who was in need of healing. Rie stepped forward to remember Ghyll and to talk about her collection in his memory. Gyhll would feature several more times during the event. The Cor Gawr team then put on a celebration of summer. This involved music, songs and chants, with the words having being mailed out with the tickets. This ended with a spiral dance with everyone being encouraged to take part. Wilf asked for people to step forward with ideas for things they wanted to manifest. Many people did their eisteddfod performances of poetry, song and music at this stage. The group joined hands and recited the Druid Vow. Volunteers were then asked to step forward to be initiated into The Gorsedd of Bards of Cor Gawr. The volunteers 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 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 blessed and the remaining bardic performances were done. I went first with another performance dedicated to Ghyll of my Rhiannon and Summer Solstice poems joined together. Susan followed with her own Rhiannon words. The group then turned with Lisa to honour the sun. Time was moving on and so the event began to wind down at this point. The ancestors were thanked, access to the three worlds was closed, as was access to each quarter. The gorsedd was then declared over. There was just a few minutes remaining in the stones as people began to return to the car park.

Montage 1 of 2 of the complete event

Montage 2 of 2 of the complete event

Meeting in the car park at dawn

Processing through the tunnel (probably for the last time)

Waiting to enter the temple

Forming up the circle

Kes and Wilf perform the Call For Peace

Opening the West Quarter

Waiting for the Midsummer sun to rise

Waiting for the Midsummer sun to rise

The sun appears above the Heelstone

The sun appears above the Heelstone

The sun appears above the Heelstone

The sun appears above the Heelstone

Offerings are placed in the centre of the site

Accessing the three worlds

Calling to the Ancestors

Remembering Ghyll

A celebration of summer

A spiral dance

A spiral dance

Wilf asks the group to step forward with things to manifest

Words, music and song

Words, music and song

Words, music and song

Those to be initiated into the Gorsedd enter the centre

Blessing of the bread and mead

Matthew performs his Rhiannon and Summer Solstice poems in memory of Ghyll (Photo: Marnie Burden)

Rhiannon words from Susan

Turning to honour the sun

Wilf says farewell to the ancestors

Closing access to the three worlds

Closing the North Quarter

The event is now over


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Page last updated: 27 Jul 2013