Samhain/Hallowmass 2012 - Avebury, Glastonbury, Stanton Drew and Local Photos

This page includes reports and photographs from the various events I attended during the season of Samhain/Hallowmass in 2012. 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 at Avebury for the Free and Open Gorsedd of Caer Abiri on 27 October. Followed by the Gorsedd of Bards of Caer Abiri the following day. On 31 October it was down to Glastonbury for an event at Chalice Well. On 3 November the Dobunni Grove's public event took place at Stanton Drew. And on 4 November the Gorsedd of Rhiannon and White Horse had been due to take place at Uffington, although it was called off because of snow. The report begins, though, with sun and moon photography done during the Samhain period.

Sun and Moon Photos (From 16 Oct 2012)

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

Sunset on 16 Oct 2012, the day with 3m 49s less light than the previous day, 5h 59m 11s light lost & 2h 47m 5s to lose. 68.25% to the dark

Sunset on 18 Oct 2012, the day with 3m 48s less light than the previous day, 6h 6m 47s light lost & 2h 39m 29s to lose. 69.70% to the dark

Sunset on 20 Oct 2012, the day with 3m 46s less light than the previous day, 6h 14m 20s light lost & 2h 31m 56s to lose. 71.13% to the dark

Sunrise on 27 Oct 2012, my day has 3m 40s less light than the previous day, 6h 40m 21s light lost & 2h 5m 55s to lose. 76.07% to the dark

Sunset on 27 Oct 2012, the day with 3m 40s less light than the previous day, 6h 40m 21s light lost & 2h 5m 55s to lose. 76.07% to the dark

Full Hunters' Moon (29 Oct 2012)

Sunrise on 6 Nov 2012, the day with 3m 25s less light than the previous day, 7h 15m 45s light lost & 1h 30m 31s to lose. 82.80% to the dark

Sunrise on 11 Nov 2012, the day with 3m 15s less light than the previous day, 7h 32m 20s light lost & 1h 13m 56s to lose. 85.95% to the dark

Sunset on 17 Nov 2012, the day with 2m 58s less light than the previous day, 7h 50m 51s light lost & 0h 55m 25s to lose. 89.48% to the dark

Sunrise on 18 Nov 2012, the day with 2m 55s less light than the previous day, 7h 53m 46s light lost & 0h 52m 30s to lose. 90.02% to the dark

Sunset on 18 Nov 2012, the day with 2m 55s less light than the previous day, 7h 53m 46s light lost & 0h 52m 30s to lose. 90.02% to the dark

Sunset on 21 Nov 2012, the day with 2m 44s less light than the previous day, 8h 2m 44s light lost & 0h 44m 7s to lose. 91.62% to the dark

Sunrise on 25 Nov 2012, the day with 2m 29s less light than the previous day, 8h 12m 28s light lost & 0h 33m 48s to lose. 93.58% to the dark

The Free and Open Gorsedd of Caer Abiri (27 Oct 2011)

The Free and Open Gorsedd of Caer Abiri took place on Saturday 27 October. The group met at the Red Lion and processed to the Sun Circle just after 13:30. Willth welcomed everyone to the event and then performed the Call For Peace. He then asked for each of the four quarters to be opened. Terry took East, with Rie on South, me on West and Ghyll on North. Willth connected to the ancestors and the three worlds. The group linked hands and performed the Druid Vow and three tones of the Druid Mantra. Terry followed with the Druid Prayer. He then came into the centre to talk about the season and to visit each quarter to note the power of that particular element. Robyn y Glas played the first of his songs and I went next with the first performance of my Samhain poem. It was then time to pass an apple around the circle for everyone to name someone who has passed over this year. The apple was to be taken to Swallowhead Springs on the night of 31 October.

Gordon was attending his first Free and Open Gorsedd for quite a while and took the opportunity to perform a song. Mark followed by reading one of his poems. Willth blessed the mead and started its circulation around the circle. Angel then did her debut performance of a song at this event. Gary came on to speak about several topics, including the shocking price of blueberries. Joe played a tune on his flute. Terry came on to talk some more about the season. Robyn y Glas did another song and Joe played his classical guitar. It was then time to spare a thought for the risk to ash trees with Caroline, followed by Ghyll delivering a message from Arthur. This was about reduced energies at Avebury and the importance of leaving sacred sites as we find them. Joe then came on briefly to talk about life and death. Willth started to wind things down at this point. He thanked the ancestors and closed down access to the other worlds. There were three cheers for Samhain, the quarters were released and everyone was thanked for coming. Following the gorsedd a small group of us took Ghyll to the Goddess Seat to conduct another healing session on him.

Montage of the complete event (Photo of Matthew by Trish Conniffe)

Meeting up at the Red Lion

Processing to the Sun Circle

Willth welcomes everyone to the event

Willth calls for peace in the East

Ghyll opens the North Quarter

Willth accesses the three worlds

Linking hands for the Druid Vow and Druid Mantra

Terry talks about aspects of the season

Robyn y Glas plays the first of his songs

Matthew performs his Samhain poem (Photo: Trish Conniffe)

Passing the apple around the circle

Gordon performs a song

Mark reads a poem

Willth blesses the mead

Angel performs a song

Gary talks about the price of blueberries

Joe plays a tune on his flute

Terry talks some more about the season

Robyn y Glas plays another song

Joe plays classical guitar

Sparing a thought for the ash trees

Ghyll has a message from Arthur about leaving sites as we find them

Joe talks about life and death

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

Terry closes the East Quarter

Three cheers for Samhain

Willth declares the event over

Ghyll comes round from a quick healing session in the Goddess Seat. This took place directly following the Gorsedd

The Gorsedd of Bards of Caer Abiri (28 Oct 2012)

The Samhain ritual of the Gorsedd of Bards of Caer Abiri was held at Avebury on Sunday 28 October. 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. Pauline 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 to the Guardian. She granted permission and Ray and Keith formed an archway with staffs for everyone to process through to the Ring Stone. Morgan welcomed the group again. The Round of Amergin was performed, with everyone saying “I Am” and the archetype they represented. 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 Les on North, me taking South and Keith on West.

Rainbow placed a candle in the centre for the ancestors and then walked around the circle with an offering. Morgan talked about the season, its themes and the story of Taliessin, getting various members of the circle to play the parts - with Robyn y Glas playing to Cerridwen. The group linked hands to tone the Awen and perform the Druid Vow three times each. Pauline blessed the mead and Morgan blessed the bread and both of them distributed their items around the circle. I performed my Samhain poem at this point and was followed by an energetic song from Geoff Smiles. Robyn y Glas returned for another song and Ray recited the Druid Prayer. It was then time to close the quarters from the North anticlockwise. And the group left its voice in the landscape before assembling for a group photo.

Montage of the complete event (Matthew Photo: Celtic Inspiration. Group Photo: Denyse Shorrocks)

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

Looking down on the group at the Goddess Seat (Photo: Ste Carr)

Pauline in the role of Avebury Guardian

Morgan asks for permission to enter the stones

Offerings are made to the Avebury Guardian

The Avebury Guardian grants access to the stones

Leaving under the staff arch (Photo: Celtic Inspiration)

Femke heads under the staff arch

Setting up around the Ring Stone

Les opens the North Quarter

Rainbow places a candle in the centre for the ancestors

Rainbow walks around the circle with an offering

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

Robyn y Glas plays to Cerridwen

Blessing the bread and mead

The bread and mead are taken around the circle

Matthew performs his Samhain poem (Photo: Celtic Inspiration)

A song from Geoff Smiles

Robyn y Glas returns for another song

Ray recites the Druid Prayer

Keith closes the West Quarter

Leaving voices in the landscape

The group at the end of the event (Photo: Denyse Shorrocks)

Chalice Well (31 Oct 2012)

The Chalice Well meditation was held at midday on 31 October. The group gathered around the wellhead. Following the bell for the silent minute, everyone was welcomed by Natasha. She spoke about the season and then let the group meditate in silence for about 15 minutes. Once this had concluded Natasha sang one of her songs, I did a few verses of poetry and there were a few other contributions. Everyone then moved down to the main lawn for the fire and Conversation Cafe.

Montage of the complete event

Dobunni Grove at Stanton Drew (3 Nov 2012)

On this day the Dobunni Grove and friends gathered at the North East Circle at Stanton Drew. At around 11:00 the group was called to the nearby old tree for an introduction to the event and the season by Ronald. Everyone then got in a line and processed through the adjacent avenue and back into the circle, with individuals stopping to honour the sun. Once the circle was formed up, Jim and Nina welcomed everyone and asked for the Call For Peace to be made at the quarters. Each of the quarters was then opened, with me taking East.

The quarters were then given a list of the ancestral characteristics and everyone was asked to join one of them. The characteristics for my East/Air quarter were Language, Words, Ideas and Communication. Suggested roles included Poets, Storytellers, Mythmakers, Singers, Teachers, Mathematicians, Scientists, Historians, Electricians and Postmen. Each group then planned a series of displays that would show off the attributes of that quarter. As part of my group’s activity I performed the first eighth of my 160-line Misnomers 1/2 poem. This was a fun exercise and it was interesting to see the approach taken by each group. After this the circle reconvened and we linked hands to perform the Druid Vow. With a chill in the air and rain threatening, it was then time to close the quarters. People began to retreat and others stayed behind to enjoy some mead.

Ronald gives an introduction to the season

A large group came out on this day, despite the poor weather forecast

People of the North act out the attributes of their ancestors

The Gorsedd of Rhiannon and The White Horse (4 Nov 2012)

The event was called off due to snow.


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Page last updated: 19 Dec 2012