Samhain/Hallowmass 2010 - Avebury, Glastonbury and Uffington

This page includes reports and photographs from the various events I attended during the season of Samhain/Hallowmass in 2010. 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 a spectacular Hunters' Moon (morning and evening) on 23 October. On 30 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 5 November it was off to the White Spring in Glastonbury for their Samhain and new moon event. The final event of the season was the delayed Gorsedd of Rhiannon and White Horse at Uffington.

The Hunters' Moon (23 Oct 2010)

Morning Moon

Morning Moon

Morning Moon

Morning Moon

Morning Moon

Morning Moon

Evening Moon

Evening Moon

Evening Moon

Evening Moon

The Free and Open Gorsedd of Caer Abiri (30 Oct 2010)

The Free and Open Gorsedd of Caer Abiri began at 13:30, 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, Merlin on West and Ghyll 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. He then stepped in to the centre for a short talk about the season and the Walk of the Dead ritual to the Sanctuary and Swallowhead Springs. Robyn y Glas read a personal poem of remembrance. Willth then passed Terry’s apple around the circle. Everyone was invited to take the apple and add thoughts about lost loved ones and friends. Terry would then take the apple to the following night’s ritual. With the apple going around the circle, Willth blessed two horns of mead as well as the bread.

Robyn y Glas performed a song and Terry spoke some more about the season. Linda came on next and took the group through her poem. Lou Purplefairy read one of her poems. Willth then offered seasonal toys to the children in the circle. The bigger ‘children’ were allowed to fight over what was left - including rubber spiders and severed fingers! Istari Greenman entered the centre to offer some words of remembrance. With that the apple was returned and Willth prepared to hand it over to Terry. Robyn y Glas then performed another song. At this point I was asked to perform my Samhain poem. After my performance I was surprised to be asked to return to the centre. Willth noted this was the start of my fourth year. As I had done a bardic performance at every single event I had attended, he announced that I was to be given the title of 'Bard of the Free and Open Gorsedd of Caer Abiri'. This came as a complete surprise and I hadn’t expected anyone else to notice the significance of the day! I was honoured to be the first person to be awarded this title.

There was a time to remember those who had passed over. Names were read out and the the group linked hands to perform another three tones of the Druid Mantra. Following this Willth talked about the petition to prevent the forests from being sold off. Arthur then entered the centre to give a political update. Lou Purplefairy returned to perform her Daily Mail poem and to make an announcement about her forthcoming birthday. And Kes informed the circle about her circumstances :) With that it was time to close the quarters, thank the ancestors and give three cheers for Samhain!

Montage of the complete event

Meeting up at the Red Lion

Processing to the Sun Circle

Forming up the circle

Willth performs the Call For Peace

Kes opens the South Quarter

Willth welcomes in the ancestors

Terry talks about the season

Robyn y Glas reads a personal poem

Willth gets ready to send the apple around the circle

Willth blesses two horns of mead!

Willth blesses the bread

Robyn y Glas performs a song

Terry talks some more about the season

Linda performs her poem

Lou Purplefairy reads one of her poems

Willth offers seasonal toys to the children in the circle

The bigger 'children' fight over what's left

Istari Greenman offers words of remembrance

Willth receives the apple back

Robyn y Glas performs another song

Matthew performs his Samhain poem (Photo: John C)

Willth calls Matthew back into the centre (Photo: John C)

Matthew listens to Willth, Allen looks on (Photo: Gill Ratcliffe)

Matthew is given the title of 'Bard of the Free and Open Gorsedd of Caer Abiri' (Photo: John C)

Willth talks about the petition to prevent the forests from being sold off

Arthur gives a political update

Lou Purplefairy performs her Daily Mail poem

Kes informs the circle about her circumstances

Willth begins to wind things down

Terry closes the East Quarter

Three cheers for Samhain!

The Gorsedd of Bards of Caer Abiri (31 Oct 2010)

The Samhain ritual of the Gorsedd of Bards of Caer Abiri was held at Avebury on Sunday 31 October. A television company from Germany was filming the event on this occasion and they can be seen in a few of the photos. 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. 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 now-expanded group. 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 me taking South.

Morgan talked about the season and its themes. Terry briefly joined the circle and asked if his apple from the previous day could be passed around. This travelled the circle and people added their thoughts about deceased loved ones. Terry then took the apple away, ready for that night’s Walk of the Dead ritual. The group linked hands to tone the Awen and perform the Druid Vow three times each. Morgan talked about 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 cake, apples and mead were then blessed and taken around the circle. I performed my Samhain seasonal poem at this point. Phil followed with a short song in Spanish. He decided to do this for the group of South American visitors that were present in the circle. Steve the Stag Lord offered a few words and there was drumming from Keith and Alasdair. It was then time to close the quarters from the North anticlockwise. Morgan thanked everyone for coming and closed the event.

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

Pauline in the role of Avebury Guardian

The group tunes into the site

The group tunes into the site

Morgan asks for permission to enter the stones

Various people make offerings to the Guardian

The Guardian leads the way through the arch and on to the Ring Stone

Setting up around the Ring Stone

Setting up around the Ring Stone

Opening the West Quarter

Terry talks about the Walk of the Dead and asks if his apple can be passed around the circle

Telling the story of Taliessin

Cake and apples on the Ring Stone

Blessing the offerings

Blessing the offerings

Matthew performs his Samhain poem (Photo: Dennis Wright)

Phil sings a few words in Spanish for the South American visitors

A few words from Steve the Stag Lord

Drumming from Keith and Alasdair

Closing the North Quarter

Morgan thanks everyone for coming

Samhain at the Glastonbury White Spring (5 Nov 2010)

On 6 November an event was held at the Glastonbury White Spring to celebrate Samhain and the new moon. A procession set off from Market Cross, mainly made up of members of Avalon Crow Morris (complete with a giant crow lantern) and the Drummers Of Avalon. The walking group came as a bit of a surprise to anyone driving up the High Street or Chilkwell Street that night! Once at the White Spring Lisa welcomed everyone and invited Avalon Crow Morris to perform their dance. Max then lit the fire in the courtyard and told a seasonal story, with Gill following with some words about the ancestors. The fire began to gain strength and Max invited people to add wood to it. Lisa then asked me to perform my poem. I stood up on the low wall and performed it to the large crowd. With that it was time to enter the White Spring building for the rest of the ritual. The four quarters were opened and Lisa took the group through an ancestral meditation. The fire continued to burn outside but heavy rain started to set in. Inside Phil played his collection of crystal bowls and a variety of musical acts came on to perform, including Daygan with his mandolin. Food was available and the building was open until sunrise. All for the love of it!

The Avalon Crow Morris/Drummers of Avalon procession ends at the White Spring

Avalon Crow Morris perform outside the White Spring

Max lights the fire

The Gorsedd of Rhiannon and White Horse (7 Nov 2010)

On Sunday 7 November 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 Willth to perform the Call For Peace. The quarters were then opened, with me on North, Ghyll on East, Wilf on South and Neil on West. 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 these worlds. During this part some late arrivals turned up, including Antoinette and Abdullah. Rainbow lit a second candle and there was an opportunity to say prayers for those who had passed over. Everyone was then given an apple and asked to say some words about their ancestors. Willth had brought two of his own apples to pass over two of his friends who had sadly died in recent days. Rainbow asked the group to tone the Awen three times and to follow it with the Druid Vow. Everyone was also asked to say one word that represented the season. Following this it was time to bless the cake and juice and distribute them around the circle. At this point I gave my Samhain poem its final performance of the season. Neil read a poem, Rainbow read some verses from a book and Wilf read text from a printed sheet. With that it was time to thank the ancestors and close the quarters before processing back to the car park. An emotional but enjoyable event.

Montage of the complete event

Meeting up in the Uffington car park



Opening the South Quarter

The centre of the circle

Antoinette and Abdullah join the circle

The candle is lit during prayers

Blessing the juice and cake

Rainbow reads some verses

Wilf reads some seasonal text

Closing the East Quarter

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Page last updated: 08 Nov 2010