Mabon/Autumn Equinox 2011 - Priston, Stonehenge, Glastonbury, Avebury and Local Photos

This page includes reports and photographs from the various events I attended during the season of Mabon/Autumn Equinox in 2011. This celebration at 23 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 for me on 18 September at Priston with the Morris Dancing element of the village's Autumn Festival. On 23 September I undertook a dawn walk and photographed the Calendar Equinox sun as it began to appear. Managed Open Access was occurring at Stonehenge at this time and I'm grateful to Lou Purplefairy for the photos included in this report. Later that day I visited Glastonbury for the Autumn Equinox event at Chalice Well. The following day it was off to Avebury for the Cauldron of Cerridwen and the Free and Open Gorsedd of Caer Abiri. It was back to Avebury the following day for the final event of the season - the Gorsedd of Bards of Caer Abiri. And I photographed the actual Equinox sunset once back at home. The report concludes with some post-Equinox sun photos.

Priston Festival 2011 (18 Sep)

Priston held its 2011 Festival between 16 and 18 September and I looked in on the Sunday afternoon for the Morris Dancing. Five sides were present - the village's own Jubilee Morris, the ladies from nearby Somerset Morris and three other visiting sides - Mr Wilkins' Shilling from Bath, Winterbourn Down Border Morris and Hips & Haws from Chippenham. A manic two-hour session was on offer, with each side doing one dance before handing over to the next. It rained half way through the session but the bad weather failed to dampen the spirits. All the sides joined together for a grand finale.

Festival Montage 1

Festival Montage 2

Priston Jubilee Morris

Priston Jubilee Morris

Priston Jubilee Morris

Priston Jubilee Morris

Priston Jubilee Morris

Priston Jubilee Morris

Priston Jubilee Morris

Priston Jubilee Morris

Somerset Morris

Somerset Morris

Somerset Morris

Somerset Morris

Somerset Morris

Somerset Morris

Somerset Morris

Somerset Morris

Mr Wilkins' Shilling

Mr Wilkins' Shilling

Mr Wilkins' Shilling

Mr Wilkins' Shilling

Mr Wilkins' Shilling

Mr Wilkins' Shilling

Mr Wilkins' Shilling

Mr Wilkins' Shilling

Winterbourn Down Border Morris

Winterbourn Down Border Morris

Winterbourn Down Border Morris

Winterbourn Down Border Morris

Winterbourn Down Border Morris

Winterbourn Down Border Morris

Winterbourn Down Border Morris

Winterbourn Down Border Morris

Hips & Haws

Hips & Haws

Hips & Haws

Hips & Haws

Hips & Haws

Hips & Haws

Hips & Haws

Hips & Haws

The grand finale

The grand finale

The grand finale

The grand finale

Calendar Autumn Equinox Sunrise (23 Sep 2011)

The calendar (astrological) Autumn Equinox took place on Friday 23 September this year. On this day I had 3 min 54 sec less light than the previous day, a loss of 4 hrs 27 min 5 sec on Summer Solstice. The action 'equal night' event was due two nights later.

Managed Open Access at Stonehenge (23 Sep 2011)

Thanks to Lou Purplefairy for the contributed photos.

Photo: Lou Purplefairy

Photo: Lou Purplefairy

Photo: Lou Purplefairy

Photo: Lou Purplefairy

Photo: Lou Purplefairy

Photo: Lou Purplefairy

Chalice Well (23 Sep 2011)

A group assembled around the wellhead at Chalice Well at midday. Following the silent minute Sophie Knock welcomed everyone and talked about the meaning of the season. She then handed over to Karin Schlüter Lonegren who got the group to join hands and establish their balance as individuals. The balance was then taken in to the meditation and Sophie asked everyone to meditate at the midpoint between the dark and the light. The silent meditation lasted for about 15 minutes. Once this was over I gave my Autumn Equinox poem its first outing of the year. A song was contributed next and Sophie returned with a few more words. The group then linked hands again and performed random toning sounds before joining together for three oms. The sounds went into the wellhead and out to the world. Afterwards there was chat and refreshments in front of a fire down on the main lawn.

Montage of the complete event (Photo of Matthew by Christine McBride)

The decorated wellhead

Meeting up around the wellhead

A song following the meditation

At the end of the main gathering

Conversation Cafe on the lower lawn

The fire burns on the lower lawn

An offering at the waterfall in Arthur's Courtyard

Drinking water at the Lion's Head

Looking down on the Conversation Cafe

The Cauldron of Cerridwen Ritual at Avebury (24 Sep 2011)

The Cauldron of Cerridwen Autumn Equinox event took place at Avebury on Saturday 24 September. The group met at the Red Lion and then moved into the Sun Circle to set up. Taran welcomed everyone to the event and Lucara read an introductory text about the season. Sian blessed the altar and Owlswing stepped forward with the sword, before walking around the circle to cast it. The four quarters were then opened by individuals from the circle, starting with Steve the Stag in the East. Oakroot invoked Cerridwen and Tyto invoked Cernunnos. The Charge of the Goddess saw Sian welcoming the Lady, leading to the Charge of the God with Taran welcoming the Lord.

Sian then came into the centre to talk about the next phase - a version of the TV show Red or Black. Everyone had a free choice of a red or black ticket. A random person not taking part then chose one of two bags. It contained a black balloon and so all the red ticket holders were eliminated. The red ticket holders moved to the centre. In the next phase everyone had their choice made by their neighbour and a further elimination took place. Then there was a choice of envelopes on the ground and then a choice of chairs. It ended up with two people in a doughnut eating competition. Tony was the winner and he was presented with a basket of fruit and vegetables. But how much of this was by chance? Was he always destined to win? He really wanted chocolate!

With the main activity complete, Taran then blessed the juice and Sian blessed the bread and their distribution commenced with Lucara and Raveness. Taran asked me to perform my Autumn Equinox poem at this point. Owlswing followed with one of his jokes. Steve the Stag came next with a talk about the Equinox and West Kennet long barrow. Other words of wisdom followed. The God and Goddess were then thanked, the four quarters were released and Owlswing returned with the sword to release the circle once again. The Druid Vow was performed and the event concluded with a short singing session from Tyto. Steve the Stag made another basket of fruit available for everyone to share.

Montage of the complete event (Photo of Matthew by Dennis Wright)

Setting up in the Sun Circle

Lucara starts things off

Sian blesses the altar

Asking for the circle to be cast

Owlswing prepares to cast the circle

Steve the Stag opens the East Quarter

Invoking Cerridwen and Cernunnos

Invoking Cerridwen and Cernunnos

Invoking Cerridwen and Cernunnos

Invoking Cerridwen and Cernunnos

Sian explains about the next phase

Red balloon or black?

The first round winners move into the centre

Each person's neighbour chooses their card

Choosing an envelope from the line-up

Musical chairs with one being the losing chair

A doughnut eating competition to end with

Winner Tony receives a basket of fruit and vegetables

Taran blesses the juice

Sian blesses the bread

Matthew gets ready to perform his Autumn Equinox poem (Photo: Dennis Wright)

Owlswing tells a joke

The bread and juice are brought around the circle by Lucara and Raveness

More words of wisdom

Steve the Stag talks about the Equinox and West Kennet long barrow

Closing the circle

Allen closes the South Quarter

Owlswing calls back the circle

Performing the Druid Vow

A smaller basket of fruit to share

The Free and Open Gorsedd of Caer Abiri (24 Sep 2011)

The Free and Open Gorsedd of Caer Abiri took place on Saturday 24 September. The group met at the Red Lion and then processed 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 Allen on South, Merlin on West and Neil on North. Willth then connected to the ancestors and the three worlds. Terry came into the centre to talk about the season. Willth asked everyone to link hands to perform three recitals of the Druid Vow and three tones of the Druid Mantra. Terry followed with the Druid Prayer. Jennie performed a new song with husband Steve holding the still warm script. I went on next and gave a longer performance of my Autumn Equinox poem. Linda followed with a new poem.

Willth blessed the bread and mead and began their circulation around the circle. Ray performed some seasonal text and I followed with a reading of the I Am poem. Buffy had found this in a drawer earlier in the year and heard my voice in her head as she read it. So naturally I had to read it in circle one day. Following this we had some words from Spike and then an energised plea from Geoff Smiles for male and female energies to work together for the good of our children. Dav came on to talk about his spiritual journey and how this would be his last Avebury weekend, as he was moving abroad.

In the announcements section Ray came on to talk about the plight of the Essex traveller camp. Terry also talked about his Equinox observance and asked for people to come and talk to him on the Monday to help pass the 12 hour day. A healing circle was next and everyone had the chance to nominate people for healing. This was followed with three more tones of the Druid Mantra. Willth then began to wind the event down. He thanked the spirits that had graced the circle and asked for the quarters to be closed. The gorsedd was now over.

Montage of the complete event (Photo of Matthew by Cliff Sawdy)

Walking over from the Red Lion

Willth welcomes everyone to the event

Willth performs the Call For Peace

Allen opens the South Quarter

Willth welcomes in the three worlds and ancestors

Terry talks about aspects of the season

Jennie performs a new song with Steve holding the newly-written words

Matthew performs his Autumn Equinox poem (Photo: Cliff Sawdy)

Linda performs one of her poems

Willth blesses the bread

Willth blesses the mead

Ray performs one of his texts

Matthew reads Buffy's poem (Photo: Dennis Wright)

Words of wisdom from Spike

An energised request from Geoff Smiles

Words from Dav - at his final Free and Open Gorsedd at Avebury

Terry talks about his Equinox observance

Requests for the healing circle

Willth begins to wind things down

Terry closes the East Quarter

Willth declares the event over

The Gorsedd of Bards of Caer Abiri (25 Sep 2011)

The Autumn Equinox ritual of the Gorsedd of Bards of Caer Abiri was held at Avebury on Sunday 25 September. The group formed up at the National Trust Cafe from midday. Morgan welcomed everyone and roles were nominated. The silent procession to the Entrance Stones then began. Unusually Morgan took on the role of Avebury Guardian on this occasion. Pauline led the group, ending with Morgan sitting in the Goddess Seat. Pauline led a few minutes of drumming to allow everyone to tune into the site. Les stepped forward to ask for permission for the group to enter the site and others followed with offerings. The Guardian granted permission and myself and Ray formed a portal archway with staffs for everyone to process through to the Ring Stone. Morgan and Dreow attempted to raise the vibrations by swinging a device in the air, although the sound was somewhat weakened by the strengthening winds. As per tradition the circle opened with the Round of Amergin, where everyone says “I Am” and the archetype they represent. Dreow 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 Pauline on North, Ray on East, Me on South and Keith on West.

Steve the Stag talked about the season and the Avebury landscape. He also got everyone to link hands and perform the Hoof and Horn chant. This was followed with the Druid Vow and three tones of the Awen. Les and Pauline were the Green Man and Cerridwen respectively. Cerridwen spent some time convincing the Green Man that it was time to retire for the season. He eventually agreed and took to a blanket on the ground. With that everyone covered him in leaves. Then it was time to bless the bread, wine and apples. This was carried out by Dreow, Rainbow and Morgan respectively. They went on to distribute these items around the circle. Drumming took place while this was going on and Les was allowed to rejoin the circle. Jennie gave her new seasonal song another airing and I followed with another version of my Autumn Equinox poem. Ray followed with his seasonal words and Dav did another farewell to Avebury. With that the quarters were closed anti-clockwise from North. Everyone was asked to add their voice to the Avebury landscape. Morgan then thanked everyone for coming and asked them to form up for a group photo.

Montage of the complete event

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

Processing to the Entrance Stones

Processing to the Entrance Stones

Morgan takes on the role of Avebury Guardian

Gathering around the Goddess Seat

Les asks for permission for the group to enter the complex

Making offerings to the Avebury Guardian

The Avebury Guardian considers whether to grant the group access

Forming up around the Ring Stone

Pauline talks about the Round of Amergin

Whipping up some vibrations

Whipping up some vibrations

Morgan and Dreow perform the Call For Peace

Ray opens the East Quarter

Morgan welcomes everyone

Steve the Stag talks about the season and landscape

Les as the Green Man is buried under autumn leaves

Les gets to rest for 20 minutes

Blessing of the bread, mead and apples

Rainbow distributes the bread

Dreow distributes the mead and Morgan the apple slices

The Green Man is allowed to rejoin the circle

Jennie gives her new song another airing

Ray returns with his seasonal words

Dav says final words in an Avebury circle

Closing the East Quarter

Leaving our voices in the Avebury landscape

Morgan thanks everyone for attending

Autumn Equinox Sunset (25 Sep 2011)

For me the sun set exactly in the West at 19:03 on Sunday 25 Sep 2011. It rose again exactly in the East at 07:02 the following morning. The closest to a 12 hour night (equal night - equinox) in this half of the year. A loss of 3min 54sec on the previous day and a total loss since Summer Solstice of 4hrs 34min 53sec.

Additional Sun Photos (30 Sep-19 Oct 2011)

Following another disappointing summer, it was nice to get a few days of 'Indian Summer' at the end of September 2011. Here are some solar photos taken during this record-breaking period.

Sunset on 30 Sep 2011, the day with 4hrs 54min 23sec light lost and 3hrs 51min 45sec to lose

Sunrise on 1 Oct 2011, the day with 4hrs 58min 17sec light lost and 3hrs 47min 51sec to lose

Sunset on 1 Oct 2011, the day with 4hrs 58min 17sec light lost and 3hrs 47min 51sec to lose

Sunrise on 2 Oct 2011, the day with 5hrs 2min 11sec light lost and 3hrs 43min 57sec to lose

Sunset on 2 Oct 2011, the day with 5hrs 2min 11sec light lost and 3hrs 43min 57sec to lose

Glastonbury Tor sunset on 7 Oct 2011, the day with 5hrs 21min 37sec light lost and 3hrs 24min 34sec to lose

Glastonbury Tor sunset on 7 Oct 2011, the day with 5hrs 21min 37sec light lost and 3hrs 24min 34sec to lose

Glastonbury Tor sunset on 7 Oct 2011, the day with 5hrs 21min 37sec light lost and 3hrs 24min 34sec to lose

Glastonbury Tor sunset on 7 Oct 2011, the day with 5hrs 21min 37sec light lost and 3hrs 24min 34sec to lose

Sunrise on 15 Oct 2011, the day with 5hrs 52min 26sec light lost and 2hrs 53min 42sec to lose

Sunset on 15 Oct 2011, the day with 5hrs 52min 26sec light lost and 2hrs 53min 42sec to lose

Sunset on 16 Oct 2011, the day with 5hrs 56min 15sec light lost and 2hrs 49min 53sec to lose

Sunset on 18 Oct 2011, the day with 6hrs 3min 52sec light lost and 2hrs 42min 16sec to lose

Sunset on 19 Oct 2011, the day with 6hrs 7min 40sec light lost and 2hrs 38min 28sec to lose


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Page last updated: 19 Dec 2011