Imbolc 2013 - Glastonbury and Avebury

This page includes reports and photographs from the various events I attended during the season of Imbolc in 2013. This celebration - centred on 1 February - celebrates the renewal of life. By this time the bulbs and snowdrops should be showing through. Bridget is also celebrated at this time - triple goddess of healing, metalwork and poetry. My season started on 1 February with a trip to Glastonbury for Imbolc events at the White Spring and Chalice Well. The next day I visited Avebury for the Free and Open Gorsedd of Caer Abiri. Returning the next day for the Gorsedd of Bards of Caer Abiri. The report starts, though, with a small collection of sun and moon photos from the season.

Sun and Moon Photos (From 26 Jan 2013)

The following photos were taken in my village in the days before and following Imbolc 2013. The sun timings are for the nearby city of Bristol. As with other recent reports, opportunities to photograph the sun and moon have been very limited because of poor weather.

Sunrise on 26 Jan 2013, the day with 3m 3s more light than the previous day, 1h 2m 12s light gained & 7h 43m 58s to gain. 11.82% to the light

Post-Full Wolf Moon 27 Jan 2013

Sunrise on 2 Feb 2013, the day with 3m 22s more light than the previous day, 1h 24m 51s light gained & 7h 21m 19s to gain. 16.13% to the light

The Gorsedd of Rhiannon and The White Horse (28 Jan 2013)

The bad weather receded just in time for this event to run. Alas I had work commitments and seemingly no one else took any photos.

Imbolc at the White Spring (1 Feb 2013)

People began to gather at the White Spring at 9:30 and the event got underway inside just after 10:00. Everyone was given a tea light candle on the way in. Lisa welcomed everyone and advised on the format of the morning. She then asked for the doors to be closed and for everyone to connect with the water. All the candles in the building were extinguished and it was left in complete darkness for around 10 minutes. A knock came on the door and light flooded into the building as it was opened. At the door was Rosa - in her third year representing the young Bridget. She walked into the building carrying a glowing candle. She walked down to the main pool to be greeted by Gill. A light was taken from the Bridget flame and everyone’s candles were then lit, as minstrels Daygan and Simon played. This was followed by some chants before the group made its way out into Wellhouse Lane, forming a circle between the White Spring and Monks’ Gate into Chalice Well.

Lisa continued with the event outside. Gill spoke about Bridget and then public contributions were invited. Ash performed one of his Bridget works and I followed with my Imbolc poem. Max did a story and Graell offered some Goddess text. There were also contributions from first-time visitors, as well as those from lands far away. Lisa had some water from the White Spring and she flicked this over the group as a blessing. Monks’ Gate was then opened and the young Bridget led the group with the light to the wellhead. The light was left for the Chalice Well event.

Montage of the complete event

Imbolc at Chalice Well (1 Feb 2013)

Chalice Well’s usual meditation took place at midday at the wellhead. Natasha welcomed everyone and spoke for a short time about the meaning of the season. She then let everyone meditate for about 10 minutes before singing one of her songs. Following this she asked if there were any contributions and there were a few offerings of poetry and song. She finished off the event by getting everyone to link hands and tone three Om sounds. Conversations continued down by the fire on the lower lawn, where refreshments were being served. A group processing to Bride’s Mound met outside the White Spring at 13:00.

Montage of the complete event

The Free and Open Gorsedd of Caer Abiri (2 Feb 2013)

The Free and Open Gorsedd of Caer Abiri took place on Saturday 2 February. The group met at the Red Lion and processed to the Sun Circle just after 13:30. Willth welcomed everyone to the event and asked Ghyll to perform 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 Arthur 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. Robyn y Glas played the first of his songs and I went next with another performance of my Imbolc poem. Willth then led the group in a call to Bridget, with Rie answering the call.

Spike told a story about an early poetry competition and Terry came into the centre to talk about aspects of the season. Jim played one of his songs and Mark followed by reading his new Bridget poem. The bread and mead were then blessed and their circulation started around the circle. Robyn y Glas led an updated version of the Rentaghost theme for Matthew Gould (Pagan Chef). Arthur spoke about the change now needed in the country and Gary spoke about several things, including the price of food. There was a short group drumming session and a visitor came in to talk about mushrooms. Ruthless commercial opportunism followed, with a variety of activities being promoted. The group linked hands again for another three tones of the Druid Mantra. It was now time to close things down. Willth thanked the ancestors and closed down access to the other worlds. 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

Meeting up at the Red Lion

Processing to the Sun Circle

Willth welcomes everyone to the event

Ghyll calls for peace in the South

Terry opens the East Quarter

Willth accesses the three worlds

Linking hands for the Druid Vow and Druid Mantra

Robyn y Glas plays the first of his songs

Willth calls to Bridget

Rie takes on the role of Bridget and answers the call

Spike tells a story about an early poetry competition

Terry talks about aspects of the season

Jim plays one of his songs

Mark reads a new Bridget poem

Blessing the bread and mead

An ode to Matthew Gould to the theme of Rentaghost

Arthur speaks about the change needed in Britain

Gary talks about food prices

A group drumming session

A tale of mushrooms

Linking hands again for three more tones of the Druid Mantra

Arthur closes the North Quarter

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 (3 Feb 2013)

The Imbolc ritual of the Gorsedd of Bards of Caer Abiri was held at Avebury on Sunday 3 February. 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. A detour was required this time because of a locked gate. A police helicopter was also present on this afternoon. 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 complex. Many other people took the opportunity to make an offering. The Guardian granted permission and myself and Ray 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 Rainbow on North, Jack on East, Pauline on South and Les on West. The people representing the quarters then stepped forward to pick up their corresponding element. Everyone in the group had a chance to visit each quarter and connect with that element (Earth in North, Air in East, Fire in South and Water in the West). This was followed by a short drumming session, before the group linked hands to tone the Awen and perform the Druid Vow three times each. Michaela blessed the biscuits and Ray blessed the mead and they both made their way around the circle with their items. I performed my Imbolc poem for the last time in 2013. Mark performed another of his works and Michaela followed with one of hers. Ray then did his invocation to Bridget and Jack talked about sharing the land. It was now time to close the quarters - from the North anticlockwise. As per tradition we left our voices in the landscape and Morgan thanked everyone for coming and closed the event, on what had been a bitterly cold afternoon.

Montage of the complete event

Meeting up at the National Trust Cafe

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

Offerings are made to the Avebury Guardian

Waiting for the Avebury Guardian to grant permission to enter the site

Setting up around the Ring Stone

Rainbow opens the North Quarter

The four quarters set up with their respective elements

Everyone connects with each of the four elements

Drumming prior to the next stage

Linking hands for the Druid Vow and toning the Awen

Michaela blesses the biscuits and Ray blesses the mead

Mark performs a poem

Michaela reads one of her poems

Ray reads an invocation to Bridget

Jack talks about sharing the land

Rainbow closes the North Quarter

Morgan declares the event over

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Page last updated: 05 Feb 2013