Samhain/Hallowmass 2011 - Uffington, Avebury, Glastonbury + Local Photos

This page includes reports and photographs from the various events I attended during the season of Samhain/Hallowmass in 2011. This celebration - centred on 1 November - sees the sun rising increasingly further towards the south east and only getting to its quarter way point. The days will continue to get shorter until the low point of Winter Solstice. The season is the third of three harvest festivals and is the time of the closest link between the living and dead worlds. Things got underway with the Gorsedd of Rhiannon and White Horse at Uffington on 23 October. On 29 October it was off to Avebury for the Free and Open Gorsedd of Caer Abiri, followed with a return visit the next day for the Gorsedd of Bards of Caer Abiri. On 31 October I visited Glastonbury for the lunchtime Samhain event at Chalice Well. At the end of this report I've included some sun photography undertaken around the Samhain period.

The Gorsedd of Rhiannon and The White Horse - 23 Oct 2011

On Sunday 23 October a small group gathered in the car park of the Uffington White Horse at the Wiltshire, Berkshire, Oxfordshire border for the Samhain Gorsedd of Rhiannon and The White Horse. Just after midday the group processed through the field at the east of the car park, to be within sight of the monument. Rainbow opened the event and asked for offerings to be placed in the centre. She then asked Ghyll to perform the Call For Peace. The quarters were then opened, with me on East, Neil on South, Firevixen on West and Trish on North. The ancestors were invited to join us and the three worlds of land, ocean and sky were accessed through Rainbow’s words. Everyone was asked to express what they found inspiring about one of these worlds.

Rainbow and Ghyll set up the gateway to Winter and then the group stepped through one at a time. Rainbow was on the other side to welcome everyone with cake. The group then took the opportunity to drum in the new season. There was an opportunity for everyone to say some words about the ancestors. Firevixen blessed the bread and Justine blessed the ginger wine. Rainbow read a poem from a book and I followed with my Samhain poem. Trish led the group in a version of the Henry Lee song. With that it was time to thank the ancestors and close the quarters before processing back to the car park.

Montage of the complete event

Getting ready in the car park

Across the fields to the site of the Gorsedd

Across the fields to the site of the Gorsedd

The famous White Horse

Offerings in the centre

Opening the West Quarter

Justine walks into Winter

Drumming in the new season

Firevixen blesses the bread

Justine blesses the ginger wine!

Rainbow reads a poem

Trish leads the group in a song

Closing the West Quarter

Returning to the car park

The Free and Open Gorsedd of Caer Abiri (29 Oct 2011)

The Free and Open Gorsedd of Caer Abiri took place on Saturday 29 October. The group met at the Red Lion and then processed to the Sun Circle. Rollo and Arthur were present for this event as Willth was unwell. Rollo welcomed everyone and performed the Call For Peace. There was no separate opening of the directions. Rollo talked about the Druid Mantra and got the group to have some practice with it. He then read out an invocation, before handing over to Lou Purplefairy for the Oh Mighty Mother text. They both then blessed the cauldron of flowers, with the group toning the Druid Mantra. Rollo then talked about three topics that needed change and got the group to tone the Druid Mantra three times for each of them. The subjects were a request for a new style of economy and preventing the spread of nuclear energy and religious extremism.

Terry performed the Druid Prayer and then talked about the 31 October shadow that is formed at sunset at the Entrance Stones. Arthur got the group to link hands while he performed some words about the ancestors. The group then performed the Druid Vow. Robyn y Glas came on to perform a new seasonal song. Lou Purplefairy came forward next with her Bring Back The Bones song. Next it was my turn to perform my Samhain poem. A visitor to the circle then read out of their works. Rollo blessed the mead and the cakes and set them off around the circle from the East. Jennie had arrived by this time and came on to give a performance of a new song. Robyn y Glas then returned with his Take A Walk With Me song. Terry talked about the season and sent his staff around the circle for everyone to speak about someone who has passed over. The staff would then be taken to Monday night’s Samhain ritual. With things winding down now, a final poetry reading came from another visitor, who was apparently doing his first public performance. With that Rollo did another Call For Peace to the four directions and Arthur had the final word. The gorsedd was now over.

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

Walking over from the Red Lion

Forming up the circle

The cauldron in the centre

Rollo welcomes everyone to the event

Rollo asks for peace in the East

Rollo talks about the Druid Mantra

Rollo reads an invocation

Lou Purplefairy reads the other half of the invocation

Rollo and Lou Purplefairy bless the cauldron of flowers

Using the Druid Mantra to ask for a new economy and preventing the spread of nuclear energy and religious extremism

Terry performs the Druid Prayer

Terry talks about the 31 October shadow at the Entrance Stones

Arthur performs some words about the ancestors

Robyn y Glas performs a new seasonal song

Lou Purplefairy performs her Bring Back The Bones song

Matthew performs his Samhain poem (Photo: Dennis Wright)

A poem performed by a visitor

Rollo blesses the mead

Rollo blesses the cakes

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

Robyn y Glas returns with his Take A Walk With Me song

Terry prepares to send his staff around the circle

Susanna remembers

Another visitors makes his bardic debut

Rollo asks for peace in the South

Arthur has the final word

The Gorsedd of Bards of Caer Abiri (30 Oct 2011)

The Samhain ritual of the Gorsedd of Bards of Caer Abiri was held at Avebury on Sunday 30 October. The event was filmed at distance by students from Warwick University and we had Nicole and Shoshana Boar visiting from Vermont, USA. The group formed up at the National Trust Cafe and Morgan welcomed everyone and roles were nominated. The silent procession to the Entrance Stones then began. Patricia 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 stepped forward to be first to ask for permission for the group to enter the site. Many other people took the opportunity to make an offering. The Guardian granted permission and myself and Phil formed an archway with staffs for everyone to process through to the Ring Stone. Morgan welcomed the now-expanded group. The Round of Amergin was performed, with everyone saying “I Am” and the archetype they represented.

Morgan and the Guardian then cast the circle by drumming inside and outside as they made their way around. 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 all the worlds. The four quarters were then opened, with me taking South. Morgan talked about the season, its themes and the story of Taliessin, getting various members of the circle to play the parts. Following this everyone had the opportunity to name somebody that had either passed over or who was in need of healing. The group linked hands to tone the Awen and perform the Druid Vow three times each. The Guardian then set up a healing spell, with all illness and things to be disposed of carried off by a bird. Ray blessed the mead and Morgan blessed the bread. These were then distributed, with Rainbow taking the bread for Morgan. I performed my Samhain poem at this point, followed by a song from new contributor Fay Brotherhood. Rainbow did a reading from a book and Rosina read a poem. It was then time to close the quarters from the North anticlockwise. And the group left it’s voice in the landscape before assembling for a group photo.

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

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

Patricia in the role of Avebury Guardian

Morgan asks for permission to enter the stones

Matthew offers some information to the Guardian (Photo of Matthew by Dennis Wright)

Offerings are made to the Avebury Guardian

Setting up around the Ring Stone

Setting up around the Ring Stone

Morgan welcomes everyone

Morgan and the Avebury Guardian cast the circle by drumming

Opening the North Quarter

Telling the story of Taliessin

Telling the story of Taliessin

Telling the story of Taliessin

Telling the story of Taliessin

Telling the story of Taliessin

Telling the story of Taliessin

The Guardian sets up a healing spell

Ray blesses the mead

Morgan blesses the bread

The bread and mead are taken around the circle

Matthew performs has Samhain poem (Photo: Dennis Wright)

A song from Fay Brotherhood

Rainbow does a reading

Rosina reads a poem

Closing the West Quarter

Leaving voices in the landscape

Chalice Well (31 Oct 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. It was then time for the group to meditate and this lasted around 10 minutes. Once this was over I gave my Samhain poem its final outing of the year, with the inimitable Lisa Clark arriving at the wellhead as I was performing! This was followed with a few more words from Sophie. The group then linked hands again for three Oms into the well. Afterwards there was chat and refreshments in front of a fire down on the main lawn.

Montage of the complete event

The dressed wellhead

Conversation cafe on the lower lawn

Local Sun Photos (20 Oct-20 Nov 2011)

Here are some sunrise and sunset images from the days around Samhain. Bad weather meant no pictures on 31 October or on some of the other days I was available. A moon photo has also been added.

Sunset on 20 Oct 2011, the day with 6hrs 11min 27sec light lost and 2hrs 34min 41sec to lose

Sunrise on 22 Oct 2011, the day with 6hrs 18min 58sec light lost and 2hrs 27min 10sec to lose

Sunrise on 23 Oct 2011, the day with 6hrs 22min 43sec light lost and 2hrs 23min 25sec to lose

Sunset on 23 Oct 2011, the day with 6hrs 22min 43sec light lost and 2hrs 23min 25sec to lose

Sunset on 26 Oct 2011, the day with 6hrs 33min 52sec light lost and 2hrs 12min 16sec to lose

Sunset on 28 Oct 2011, the day with 6hrs 41min 12sec light lost and 2hrs 4min 56sec to lose

Sunset on 1 Nov 2011, the day with 6hrs 55min 39sec light lost and 1hr 50min 29sec to lose

Sunrise on 2 Nov 2011, the day with 6hrs 59min 12sec light lost and 1hr 46min 56sec to lose

Sunset on 3 Nov 2011, the day with 7hrs 2min 44sec light lost and 1hr 43min 24sec to lose

Sunrise on 4 Nov 2011, the day with 7hrs 6min 14sec light lost and 1hr 39min 54sec to lose

Sunset on 5 Nov 2011, the day with 7hrs 9min 42sec light lost and 1hr 36min 26sec to lose

Sunrise on 6 Nov 2011, the day with 7hrs 13min 8sec light lost and 1hr 33min 0sec to lose

Sunset on 6 Nov 2011, the day with 7hrs 13min 8sec light lost and 1hr 33min 0sec to lose

Sunset on 12 Nov 2011, the day with 7hrs 33min 2sec light lost and 1hr 13min 6sec to lose

Sunrise on 13 Nov 2011, the day with 7hrs 36min 13sec light lost and 1hr 9min 55sec to lose

Sunset on 15 Nov 2011, the day with 7hrs 42min 27sec light lost and 1hr 3min 41sec to lose

Sunset on 17 Nov 2011, the day with 7hrs 48min 30sec light lost and 57min 38sec to lose

Sunset on 18 Nov 2011, the day with 7hrs 51min 27sec light lost and 54min 41sec to lose

Sunrise on 19 Nov 2011, the day with 7hrs 54min 21sec light lost and 51min 47sec to lose

Sunset on 19 Nov 2011, the day with 7hrs 54min 21sec light lost and 51min 47sec to lose

Sunset on 20 Nov 2011, the day with 7hrs 57min 11sec light lost and 48min 57sec to lose

Sunrise on 26 Nov 2011, the day with 8hrs 12min 57sec light lost and 33min 11sec to lose


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Page last updated: 17 Dec 2011