Ostara 2011 (Spring/Vernal Equinox) - Stanton Drew, Glastonbury, Avebury and Stonehenge

This page includes reports and photographs from the various events I attended during the season of Ostara (Spring/Vernal Equinox) in 2011. Related to the Christian festival of Easter, Ostara is a much older ceremony celebrating balance, light winning over dark, rebirth and the goddess Eostra. Easter Sunday is calculated as the first Sunday after the first full moon that falls on or after the Spring Equinox. The full moon occurring the day prior to the calendar Spring Equinox made Easter 2011 just about as late as it could be. The 'equal night' of the Spring Equinox actually occurred on 17 March this year. On this evening I went to Stanton Drew to watch the sun set. The following day I was in Glastonbury for 'equal day'. I watched the sun set from the Tor and then immediately headed to the White Spring for a moon event. The next day it was off to Avebury for the Cauldron of Cerridwen and the Free and Open Gorsedd of Caer Abiri. That night I was out walking, chasing the Perigee Moon. The day after that it was the calendar Spring Equinox and back to Avebury for the Gorsedd of Bards of Caer Abiri. And on Monday 21 March it was Managed Open Access at Stonehenge.

'Equal Night' at Stanton Drew (17 Mar 2011)

The 12-hour night occurred on 17 March and I watched a spectacular sunset on my own at Stanton Drew.

The sun sets on the stones of Stanton Drew

The sun sets on the stones of Stanton Drew

The sun sets on the stones of Stanton Drew

The sun sets on the stones of Stanton Drew

The sun sets on the stones of Stanton Drew

The sun sets on the stones of Stanton Drew

The sun sets on the stones of Stanton Drew

The sun sets on the stones of Stanton Drew

The sun sets on the stones of Stanton Drew

The sun sets on the stones of Stanton Drew

Equal Day in Glastonbury (18 Mar 2011)

The 12-hour day occurred on 18 March and I watched a spectacular sunset on Glastonbury Tor. From this day there would be six months more light than dark.

The sun sets on Glastonbury

The sun sets on Glastonbury

The sun sets on Glastonbury

The sun sets on Glastonbury

The sun sets on Glastonbury

The sun sets on Glastonbury

The White Spring (18 Mar 2011)

On Friday 18 March a small group gathered at the White Spring to celebrate the coming full moon. Max welcomed the group and asked everyone to gather in the centre. We linked hands and toned a few Oms to step up the energy. He then described the format of the evening. The first activity was for everyone to find a spot in the building to contemplate on their lives to bring things up for the guided mediation. The building looked and sounded splendid in the darkness, with plenty of candles and the sound of water crashing into the pools. After about quarter of an hour Max made an Om sound to signal the end of the contemplation as the group made its way to the Bridie Bower. We all sat down and Max began the guided meditation. He took the group consciousness up so that things could be released from our lives here on Earth. He brought the group back down again and then asked if there was any feedback. Everyone reassembled back in the centre of the building. I did the first performance of my Spring Equinox poem and Max spoke a bit more about the season. With that the group linked hands again and Max asked everyone to do some more toning. This time the Oms overlapped before turning into other sounds. Max thanked everyone for coming and most people stayed on to chat for a bit before making their way down Wellhouse Lane. I took the opportunity to stock up on water from the White Spring, returning home with 135L.

Inside the White Spring

The near-full moon above the White Spring

The Cauldron of Cerridwen (19 Mar 2011)

The Cauldron of Cerridwen Spring Equinox event took place at Avebury on Saturday 19 March. The group met at the Red Lion and then moved into the Sun Circle to set up. Owlswing welcomed everyone to the event and Sian followed by blessing the altar. Saulire stepped forward to accept the sword, before walking around the circle to cast it. The four quarters were then opened by individuals from the circle, with me taking West. Carricks invoked Cerridwen in Sian and Kumani invoked Cernunnos in Owlswing. The Charge of the Goddess saw Sian welcoming the Lady, leading to the Charge of the God with Owlswing welcoming the Lord.

Two people were asked to step forward - representing the Lord of the Dark (Taran) and the Lord of the Light (Saulire). It was planned for everyone in the circle to visit the Lord of the Dark to deposit any aspect of their life they wanted to get rid of. They would then move on to the Lord of the Light to manifest their wishes. Everyone moved around what was effectively a labyrinth. With guides from the Cauldron of Cerridwen group, it all ran very smoothly. After everyone had visited the two Lords, the Lord of the Dark plunged his sword into the ground and visualised all the negative energy dissipating. The Lord of the Light then came to claim his crown and help everyone achieve their dreams. This was followed by a Dance of Spring.

Once this had concluded, Owlswing blessed the ale and Sian blessed the bread and their distribution commenced. I was asked to perform my Spring Equinox poem. Robyn y Glas followed with a song. Taran stepped forward to read one of his whimsical seasonal poems. Robyn y Glas then performed another song and Steve the Stag took the group through a chant. Following distribution of the bread and ale, the God and Goddess were thanked, the four quarters were released and Saulire collected the sword so he could release the circle once again. The event concluded with a Merry Meet, Merry Part and Merry Meet again.

Montage of the complete event

Owlswing welcomes everyone to the event

Sian blesses the altar

Saulire casts the circle

Opening the North Quarter

Carricks invokes Cerridwen in Sian

Charge of the Goddess

Charge of the God

Taran steps forward as the Lord of the Dark

Saulire steps forward as the Lord of the Light

The labyrinth process is explained

The circle begins to unwind as people appear before the Lords of Dark and Light

The Lord of the Dark plunges his sword into the ground...

...to release all the negative energy

The Lord of Light appears...

... to claim his crown

The Lord of the Light prepares to help everyone achieve their goals

The Spring Dance ensues

Owlswing blesses the ale

Sian blesses the bread

Matthew performs his Spring Equinox poem (Photo: John C)

Robyn y Glas performs a song

Taran reads one of his old poems

Robyn y Glas performs another song

Steve the Stag takes the group through a chant

Thanking the God

Thanking the Goddess

Closing the South Quarter

Saulire calls back the circle

A Merry Meet, Merry Part and Merry Meet Again

The Free and Open Gorsedd of Caer Abiri (19 Mar 2011)

The Free and Open Gorsedd of Caer Abiri began at 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 Kes on South, me on West and Pagan Chef on North. Willth then welcomed in the three worlds and the ancestors. Willth asked everyone to link hands to perform three recitals of the Druid Vow and three tones of the Druid Mantra. Terry immediately followed this with a recital of the Druid Prayer. Willth then led the group in hailing the sun. Terry stepped in to the centre for a short talk about the season. Robyn y Glas talked about it being the end of another year of him as Bard of Avebury and asked if there were any challengers for the new year starting at Beltane. There were no challenges and so it was agreed that he could carry on as he is, without being given a task for the new year. He performed a new song at this stage and I followed with a performance of my Spring Equinox poem.

A healing circle followed. Everyone was invited to talk about people they knew who were in need of healing. The group then linked hands again and toned the Druid Mantra a further three times. Willth then blessed the bottle of mead and loaf of bread and they made their way around the circle. Jennie stepped forward and created an impromptu song. She also made a late challenge for the Bard of Avebury title. It was agreed for starters that she should come up with a new work to perform at Beltane. Robyn y Glas returned to perform a song. Terry spoke some more about the season and there were some details about a meditation that could be done for the situation in Japan. After a final call for announcements Willth began to wind things down. The ancestors were thanked and access to the other worlds closed. The quarters were then closed and Willth declared the event to be over.

Montage of the complete event

Processing to the Sun Circle

Willth welcomes everyone to the event

A large group is present

A large group is present

Willth performs the Call For Peace

Kes opens the South Quarter

Willth welcomes in the ancestors

All Hail The Sun!

Terry talks about the season

Robyn y Glas performs a new song

Matthew performs his Spring Equinox poem (Photo: Trish Conniffe)

Willth blesses the mead

Willth blesses the bread

Jennie creates an impromptu song

Discussions about the Bard of Avebury role

Robyn y Glas performs another song

Terry talks some more about the season

A meditation for Japan

Willth begins to wind things down

Terry closes the East Quarter

Willth declares the gorsedd over

Spring Equinox Perigee Full Moon (19 Mar 2011)

The perigee full moon received a lot of media coverage for its expected size and brightness. For me it started out red and progressed through shades of orange until it was a brilliant white.

The Gorsedd of Bards of Caer Abiri (20 Mar 2011)

The Spring Equinox ritual of the Gorsedd of Bards of Caer Abiri was held at Avebury on Sunday 20 March. The group formed up at the National Trust Cafe. Morgan welcomed everyone and roles were nominated. The silent procession to the Entrance Stones then began. Lynda 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 asked for permission for the group to enter the site. Morgan made an offering and other people followed. The Guardian granted permission and myself and Ray formed an archway with staffs for everyone to process through to the Ring Stone. As is tradition the circle opened with the Round of Amergin, where everyone says “I Am” and the archetype they represent. 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 me taking West.

Morgan started to read a seasonal work. Pauline was then asked to wake up the Green Man. More effort was required and so Lynda joined in. Then Lynda, Pauline and Morgan sang a song. Others joined in the task until the Green Man started to stir. Once he was awake he stood up and offered his seasonal blessing. He then energised the altar with his didgeridoo. There was also a Dance of Spring to build up the energy. For the first time in quite a while the opportunity was given for people to receive the Awen and join the Gorsedd. Quite a few people stepped into the centre and the rest of the group closed in around them. Morgan read through the script and the group toned the Awen three times around them. It was then time to bless the bread and mead and distribute them around the circle. Ray read some Wordsworth and I followed with my Spring Equinox poem. Mark made a welcome return and performed two of his works. And the Green Man returned to have another go on his didgeridoo. The group then linked hands to perform the Druid Vow. With that the quarters were closed anti-clockwise from North. Morgan asked everyone to add their voice to the Avebury landscape before leaving.

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

Drumming at the Goddess Seat

Drumming at the Goddess Seat

Morgan asks permission for the group to enter the stones

Making an offering to the Avebury Guardian

Making an offering to the Avebury Guardian

The Avebury Guardian grants the group access to the stones

The Avebury Guardian leads the group to the towards the archway

Forming up around the Ring Stone

Forming up around the Ring Stone

The central altar

Opening the South Quarter

Morgan reads a seasonal work

Pauline attempts to wake up the Green Man

Pauline and Lynda attempt to wake up the Green Man

A song is used in an attempt to wake the Green Man

Others attempt to wake him up

The Green Man awakes!

The Green Man offers his seasonal blessings

The Green Man plays his didgeridoo

A Dance of Spring

New people receive the Awen and entry to the Gorsedd

Blessing the bread

Blessing the mead

Distribution of the bread and mead

Ray performs some Wordsworth

Mark returns to perform two of his works

The Green Man returns with his didgeridoo

Closing the East Quarter

Preparing to leave our voices in the landscape

Managed Open Access at Stonehenge (21 Mar 2011)

A crowd gathered on the Drove at dawn and processed into the Stonehenge car park when the gate was opened at around 05:30. Once the signal was given the group made its way through the tunnel and into the monument field. A group of about 300 people formed up inside the stones. Rollo welcomed everyone to Stonehenge and proceeded to open the four quarters. He then explained about the Druid Mantra and got the group to perform several practice tones, ready for later. Rollo performed a seasonal invocation, with the group repeating it back. Cas stepped forward to perform another invocation, again with the group replying. She also helped Rollo to bless the cauldron of flowers.

Several sets of tones were then performed for different situations around the world - Japan, Libya and the world’s use of nuclear energy. Arthur came forward next, to talk about his work at Stonehenge to have burial remains returned. Arthur and Cas then renewed their commitment to that work. Linda performed her poem and chant next and I followed with a half of my Spring Equinox poem. Emerald performed another poem and Lou Purplefairy offered some words to the group. Jennie then stepped forward with guitar and drum to perform one of her older works. With that the quarters were closed again and there were three cheers for the Spring Equinox. Plenty of personal and group time was available in what remained of this 2.5 hour session. Raisings, handfasting and photocalls were all going on around the site.

Montage of the complete event

Waiting to enter the site

Going through the tunnel

Approaching the stones in the mist

The group enters the stones

Setting up inside the stones

Setting up inside the stones

Rollo welcomes everyone to the event

Rollo opens the East Quarter

Cas performs an invocation

Rollo and Cas bless the flowers

Rollo talks about how the Druid Mantra relates to the sunrise

Arthur and Cas renew their commitment to have burial remains returned to Stonehenge

Linda performs her poem and chant

Emerald performs a poem

Lou Purplefairy offers some words

Jennie performs one of her older works

Closing the West Quarter

Three cheers for the Spring Equinox

In amongst the stones

Ian models the Green Man mask

In amongst the stones

In amongst the stones

In amongst the stones


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Page last updated: 21 Mar 2011