Mabon/Autumn Equinox 2008 - Glastonbury, Avebury and Stonehenge

This page includes reports and photographs from the various events I attended during the season of Mabon/Autumn Equinox in 2008. This celebration at 22 September see the sun rising due east but only rising to its half way point. The season is the second of three harvest festivals, sitting between Lammas and Samhain. For the next six months there will be more dark than light, with the light ever declining until Winter Solstice. Mornings and evenings are increasingly dark. The season started early with a full moon on 15 September and a visit to the White Spring. On 20 September it was off to Avebury, returning for two other events the following day. On 22 September it was off to Stonehenge for an event at sunrise.

Harvest Full Moon at the White Spring - 15 Sep 2008

A celebration for the Harvest Moon was held at the White Spring on 15 September 2008. Lynda got members of the group to introduce themselves and then advised that this would be the last full moon celebration with the White Spring in this configuration. At the end of the month the building was due to be knocked into one room. Lynda asked the group to spend 20 minutes exploring the building and connecting to the water with sound - mostly by voice or in my case with a Tibetan bowl. Once the group reformed we shared our thoughts on the White Spring. I talked about the importance of the water to me, as well as reading my expanded White Spring poem. Other people talked about the building and what it meant to them. To finish off the group was asked to walk around the site again, but this time in silence. And with that the evening came to an end and celebrating the full moon will be a different experience here in the future.

Getting ready at the White Spring

Inside the White Spring

The Harvest Full Moon viewed from my garden - 15 Sep 2008

The Harvest Full Moon viewed from my garden - 15 Sep 2008

The Harvest Full Moon viewed from my garden - 15 Sep 2008

The Harvest Full Moon viewed from my garden - 15 Sep 2008

The Harvest Full Moon viewed from my garden - 15 Sep 2008

The Free and Open Gorsedd of Caer Abiri - 20 Sep 2008

The Autumn Equinox ritual of the Free and Open Gorsedd of Caer Abiri was held at Avebury on 20 September. The group gathered at the Red Lion and at 14:00 was asked by Willth to follow him to the steps at the Western Quadrant of the Outer Circle. As with some of the other sabbats here, groups denoted as Gods or Goddesses process to the Entrance Stones, with the Gods getting by far the longest route. Willth led the Gods and Kes led the Goddesses. This time I went with the Goddess party. A Goddess was selected, as well as someone to guard the entrance from the God party. We quickly made our way to the destination and got everything ready for approaching party. They were permitted to enter the stones and Monique made it her job to great everyone from the party as they came down the steps. Willth was first to great the new Goddess and most of the group queued up to pay their respects as well. Those having visited the Goddess started to form a corridor and archway made out of staffs. Each new person passed through and was given seasonal greetings, before adding themselves to the end of the corridor. Once complete, those who had arrived first began to walk through the corridor themselves until it had disappeared again. With that, everyone headed for the remains of the Southern Inner Circle, where some other people were waiting for us.

Willth welcomed everyone to the main circle and started with the Call For Peace, with everyone answering back. This was followed by the opening of the four quarters. Willth then called on Robyn y Glas for the first bardic performance in the form of a song. Terry then came into the centre to talk about the Autumn Equinox and also the fact that this is the end of the Pagan year and so some discussion would be required about the Avebury rituals. We were then informed about a vacancy for a Stagwitch. The circle was then significantly expanded to include the many onlookers. Everyone was invited to offer names of people who needed healing. Holding hands we recited the Druid Vow and toned the ancient Druid Mantra of the West. Terry then read a version of the Druid Prayer. Willth asked if there were any more bardic performances available and I stepped into the centre to perform my Mabon poetry for the first time this year. This was followed by announcements from several different people. To finish off we joined hands again and did two more sessions of toning the ancient Druid Mantra of the West. The quarters were then closed. As at Beltane Kes had opened South/Fire and thought it would be a good idea for me to close it down. Terry went on to perform a handfasting in this field for Nicole and Rob Hider and everyone was invited to watch. I watched a bit of this but soon had several members of the public waiting to see me. Some had questions and one couple (Marcus and his wife) had a special artefact that they requested a blessing for.

A montage summary of the event

Meeting up at the Red Lion

Processing to the edge of the Western Quadrant of the Outer Circle

Processing to the edge of the Western Quadrant of the Outer Circle

The God Walk begins with Willth taking the lead

The shorter Goddess Walk begins with Kes taking the lead

The Goddess Walk is underway

The Goddess Walk is underway

Kes gets things ready at the Goddess Seat

Waiting at the Goddess Seat

Matthew is glad of something to prop him up while he's waiting for the God party (Photo: Amitda)

The God Walk party comes into view

The God Walk party on its way to the Goddess Seat

The God Walk party on its way to the Goddess Seat

The God Walk party on its way to the Goddess Seat

Entry is permitted and everyone is welcomed in

Entry is permitted and everyone is welcomed in

People queue to visit the Goddess

Visiting the Goddess

An archway and corridor form for people who have visited the Goddess

An archway and corridor form for people who have visited the Goddess

An archway and corridor form for people who have visited the Goddess. Justine goes through

An archway and corridor form for people who have visited the Goddess. Johnc makes an entrance

An archway and corridor form for people who have visited the Goddess. Kes goes through

An archway and corridor form as people have visited the Goddess

The archway and corridor start to break up

The archway and corridor start to break up

The main circle forms up in the remains of Southern Inner Circle

This was a very large circle (Photo: Amitda)

Willth runs the event today

The quarters are opened

Willth calls Robyn y Glas for the first bardic performance

Robyn y Glas performs his new song

Matthew enters the circle to perform his poetry (Photo: Amitda)

Terry talks about the occasion and how effectively this is the end of year meeting

It's time for the Stagwitch to hand over to someone else

An announcement about a peace event later in the month

Closing the quarters again

Willth did a great job of running the event (Photo: Amitda)

Terry conducts a handfasting after the main event for Nicole and Rob

Terry conducts a handfasting after the main event for Nicole and Rob

Terry conducts a handfasting after the main event for Nicole and Rob

Terry conducts a handfasting after the main event for Nicole and Rob

The Gorsedd of Bards of Caer Abiri - 21 Sep 2008

The Mabon ritual of the Gorsedd of Bards of Caer Abiri, led by Morgan Rhys Adams, was held at Avebury on Sunday 21 September. The group formed up outside the National Trust Cafe. Morgan welcomed everyone and asked for a silent procession to the stones of the South Entrance. Rebecca was the Goddess today and she was in the Goddess Seat upon arrival. Morgan led around five minutes of drumming to allow everyone to tune into the site. Willth then asked permission of the Goddess for the group to enter the stones and this was soon granted. Offerings were made to the Goddess and her blessings were offered in return. An archway made out of staffs marked the way out of this area, with everyone then heading to form a circle around the Ring Stone.

In the circle Morgan welcomed everyone again as the group had now grown in size. As usual everyone was asked to say “I Am” and the archetype they represent. Bill and Morgan performed the Call For Peace in English and Welsh respectively. And the four quarters were called, with Morgan appearing behind each caller. I was asked to call the South quarter. Morgan herself called to the three worlds of Land, Sea and Air. She talked about the added significance of the occasion - being Peace One Day. She said it showed what a state we are in - only humans could require a day for cease-fires! Morgan also talked about the wonder of water and then revealed some mixed water from the red and white springs of Glastonbury. This was brought around the circle and everyone was invited to splash some on themselves. Several of us drummed while this was going on. The remaining water was placed on the Ring Stone and everyone was asked to place their intention on it for world peace. The water was to be returned to Glastonbury and poured into the River Brue.

Representations of Cerridwen and Cernunnos then continually walked around the circle of linked hands, stirring the imaginary cauldron as they went. Everyone was asked to shout out bad things that should be banished to the cauldron - hatred, poverty etc. They continually pushed the boundaries of the cauldron until everyone’s arms were horizontal. And with that the cauldron burst - a perfect example of a world out of balance. It was then time for the group to tone the Awen, which it did with real gusto. Avebury was very noisy this afternoon with loud motorbikes, cars and farm vehicles passing, as well as a variety of aircraft. And just when it looked as though it would be quiet, a steam engine started crawling up the road! The offerings were then gathered together - the bread broken and the apples cut into small segments. Kes blessed the mead and started to take it around the circle, with Morgan following with the food. Then it was time for the bardic section, with Robyn y Glas performing the first song. I then gave my Mabon poem its second outing of the season. Pauline followed with a peace song she had learnt many years previously. Robyn y Glas followed with another song. Keeper of the Stones Terry then entered the circle to talk about the season and Avebury. The Goddess then entered the circle to thank everyone for their attendance. The quarters were then closed and the final activity was for each member of the group to make any sound that came to them - leaving our voice energy in the landscape.

Montage of the complete event

Planning the event at the National Trust Cafe

Willth and Kes get ready

Processing to the Goddess Seat

Processing to the Goddess Seat

Processing to the Goddess Seat

Processing to the Goddess Seat

Processing to the Goddess Seat

The Goddess is in position

Five minutes of drumming begins the ritual

Willth asks permission for the group to enter the stones today

Permission to use the site is granted

Offerings are made to the Goddess

Offerings are made to the Goddess

Moving on to the Ring Stone

Setting up at the Ring Stone

The Call For Peace

Opening the North quarter

A steam engine passes behind Nick and Lynda!

Morgan takes mixed red and white Glastonbury water around the circle

Preparing apples and bread

Preparing apples and bread

Blessing the mead

The mead, apples and bread are taken around the circle by Morgan and Kes

Robyn y Glas does the first bardic performance

Pauline follows Matthew's poem with an old song about peace

Robyn y Glas does another song

Terry Dobney joins the circle to talk about the season and Avebury activities

The Goddess thanks everyone for coming to the event

The West quarter is closed

The East quarter is closed

The Cauldron of Cerridwen Ritual - Avebury, 21 Sep 2008

It was then a quick dash across the field to be just in time for the Cauldron of Cerridwen event. While I had been finishing off in the previous circle, this group had been taught a special drumbeat that would be used later in the ritual. Taran welcomed everyone to the event and Sian followed by blessing the altar. She then set up the casting of the circle and Woodoak stepped forward to accept the sword, before walking around the circle. The four quarters were then opened by individuals from the circle. Lucara followed by reading the poem Ode To Autumn by J Keates. Taran and Sian then performed the Invocation for the Lord and Lady for Cernunnos and Cerridwen. They both then led the Charge of the Goddess, with Sian welcoming the Lady. Then it was on to the Charge of the God with Taran welcoming the Lord.

It was now time for some fun. Lucara walked the circle looking for two “Nutters” and she had no trouble at all finding two excellent candidates! They stepped forward and were crowned in their new roles, before walking around the circle themselves and passing everyone a walnut. During a stop/start performance of a whimsical poem, Taran got everyone in the group to continually pass the walnuts to their left to the drumbeat. This quickly became hilarious - at one point I seemed to have six walnuts! When things were eventually resolved and everyone had a single walnut, we were advised they were ours to take away.

Willow followed this exercise with the Harvest Poem by Ena. In the absence of this group’s normal bard Gyfu, Robyn y Glas was called upon to perform the first of two songs. It was then time for the bread and juice to be blessed before being taken around the circle. Luke made his Avebury bardic debut at this point and I followed with the third reading this year of my Mabon poem. Chuck then came back with a performance of the infamous F*** Up Fairy song. Sian and Taran gave thanks to Cerridwen and Cernunnos. The four quarters were then released and Woodoak collected the sword again so he could release the circle. The event concluded with three readings of the Druid Vow and a Merry Meet, Merry Part and Merry Meet again.

Montage of the complete event

Forming up the circle

Sian with a very pleased-looking Taran

Woodoak begins to cast the circle

Opening the West quarter

Lucara reads Ode To Autumn by J Keates

Sian performs the Invocation of Cernunnos

The search for two "Nutters" in the Cauldron of Cerridwen!

The two "Nutters" are crowned

The two "Nutters" are given their task

Nuts for all, young and old

Passing the nuts to the left...

Passing the nuts to the left...

Passing the nuts to the left...

Willow reads the Harvest Poem by Ena

Robyn y Glas does the first bardic performance

Sian prepares to cut the lovely walnut bread

Luke makes his bardic debut at Avebury

After my poem Robyn y Glas performs the infamous F*** UP Fairy song

Closing the West quarter

Woodoak gets ready to close the circle

Woodoak closes the circle

Applause at the end of the ritual

Managed Open Access At Stonehenge (22 Sep 2008)

A group began to form on the Drove at Stonehenge from before 06:00 on 22 September. After milling around in the cold and dark we were allowed into the main car park. The signal was then given for us to process into the site. Not everyone had arrived by this time and so we waited for a few minutes in the stones before starting. Taloch drummed his way into the stones and performed the traditional Dolmen ‘Not I Nor Thee’ for the four directions. Rollo Maughfling then welcomed everyone to the stones and conducted the Call For Peace to the four directions. He then immediately got things moving by getting the group to perform three tones of the ancient Druid Mantra of the West. He then talked about the importance of the occasion before asking Arthur Pendragon to step forward with Kazz to conduct a handfasting. Frank then stepped forward to conduct a baby naming, before asking other children to come through for a blessing. Taloch then asked for the Awen to be toned three times for all children of the world.

Rollo asked if there were any contributions or announcements and so I gave the fourth reading of my Mabon poem this season. Arthur then talked about some of the Stonehenge issues before asking everyone to link hands as far as possible and recite the Druid Vow three times. Frank updated everyone on the situation with ancestor bones being removed from Stonehenge. I reminded everyone about the petition on the Downing Street website. Rollo then got the group to do several more tones of the Druid Mantra to ensure the issues surrounding Stonehenge are resolved. With that he performed the Call For Peace again to the four directions and then declared the event to be over. We had another half an hour or so for making music and talking to old friends and new within the stones. The cloudy sky meant we had the weakest of visible sunrises on this day, which was a shame considering how nice the preceding days had been.

Montage of the complete event

The weak dawn sky at Stonehenge

Taloch drums into the stones

Taloch performs the Dolmen 'Not I Nor Thee'

Rollo Maughfling welcomes everyone to Stonehenge for the Autumn Equinox

Rollo Maughfling welcomes everyone to Stonehenge for the Autumn Equinox

Lots of people packed into Stonehenge for this event

Arthur Pendragon and Kazz conduct a handfasting

Frank performs a baby naming...

...before inviting other children in for a blessing

Taloch asks for a further blessing for all children in the world

Arthur talks about the current Stonehenge issues

Frank gives the latest information on the removal and return of ancestor bones

Everyone listens to the current news

Rollo gets the group to do a final tone of the ancient Druid Mantra of the West

Jill and Emerald compare costumes

Rollo and Arthur pose with a group of tourists

Impromptu music at the end

Arthur surveys Stonehenge

Donna and Rollo talk to a friend

The weak equinox sunrise viewed from Stonehenge

Time to leave Stonehenge


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Page last updated: 10 Jan 2009