Monday, June 23, 2008

Solstice weekend Avebury

Settle down, grab a cuppa and make yourself comfy.... this may take some time!!

My Solstice weekend started on Friday, going to get my two man tent out the shed to discover it, along with some other kit, had been nicked. Pretty sure I know who it was.... Karmna will catch up with him soon ;)

Lack of tent notwithstanding, off we headed to Avebury, met up with a friend, whom I had bought a bigger tent off of, transferred the tent and accesories she had kindly included, into our car, then everyone dissapeared off. bear in mind my freinds were in a camper van, and the local plod were being a little over zealous, and were giving grief, despite friends having a blue badge.... lets just say that words will be had when I go in to the office this week. Not happy at all about it.

Headed off to pub, greeted by the darlin' Bill the Bard, a truly lovely man, a druid of several orders, who was among the first to welcome me to the pagan community.A quick drink, or so followed, well it was solstice hehehe. As the evening wore on, more and more of the community arrived, it was fantastic to see so many friends again, to meet with people that I had previously only chatted to online, meeting total strangers and becoming instant friends... In between times I was popping off to do quick circuits with a bag and a litter picker to collect the rubbish that certain eejits discard.

Darkness started to fall, and we headed into the circle, to perform the sundown ceremony, led by Teryy the Arch Druid of Avebury and Keeper of the Stones. We were incredibly priviliged to be visited by The Kings Drummers, see the Musical Monday below for the video, and yes before anyone (Dan) points it out yes the video was shot at Stonehenge, but its the same performance they did at Avebury. It was so kind of eerie and beautiful to stand in the gathering darkness, lit by flaming torches, watching this very talented group of people, drumming, dancing, performing. Brilliant!!! If you ever have an oppurtunity to see them, make sure you don't miss them, they really are worth the effort!!

Shortly after that, midnight arrived, and we headed off to another section of the stones, to assist with a handfasting or pagan wedding. I was greatly honoured to be asked to 'call a quarter', all went well, with the usual minor glitches courtesy of the F*** Up Fairy hehe, but the couple got wed, the ceremony went well, and everyone was happy :D Slightly disconcerting to discover post ceremony that the camera that had been pointed at us, was not as we all thought, just a very good wedding video comapny, it was in fact Channel 4 eeeeek, they had been following the Bride and Groom, will let you know if it ends up on TV

Finally about 2.30am I took my sleeping bag and curled up on a bench in the smoking shelter of the pub, no sleep to be had, as got chatting to my fellow smoking shelter refugees. Then we got invaded by a gang of silly girls from Marlbrough, who were so dim it was gobsmacking and so desperate to get off with the men in the shelter it was hysterical. Particuarly as the men were all older and looked at them aghast! Two kept pointing out that they had kids older than them, but the girlies were not giving up easily. Finaly after an hour or more they got the message and tottered off on their high heels to try elsewhere. Was offered a variety of drugs by one wanderer, which were declined politely. Then 4.15am still having had no sleep I rolled up by sleeping bag and headed off to the stones again, for the dawn ceremony.

Once again we were filmed, this time by an internet tv company (wtf is one of them when its at home?) and photographed by half a dozen hardy souls. There are pictures of me available on t'interweb, but I am not telling you where! You get a mars bar if you find them though :D

Dawn ceremony was beautiful, though it was a bit too cloudy to actually see the sun, nonetheless guided by Terry, we knew when it was risen!! Healing and peace vibes were sent out, particualry peace for the innocent victims of the wars around the world.

Ceremony over, a group of the Avebury Guardians including myself, headed off armed with our trusty bin bags and litter pickers and attempted to clear some of the detrius of the night. It totally astounds me, these people come to Avebury, allegedly to celebrate the spirtiual festival of Solstice. Yet they treat the sacred, historical and precious site, with utter contempt and total disrespect. Abandoning beer cans, bottles and varied sweet wrappers and other food related waste, in the middle of the stones... why? would they treat St Pauls Cathedral in the same way? Or a mosque? Would they treat their own homes like that? It is so wrong. utterly disgusting behaviour end of. Saying that, many many of the visitors did treat the place respectfully, whilst wandering along, came across a young man wrapped in a sleeping bag, guarding the belongings of him and his mates, he saw our bin bags and asked if we would tell him where he could dump their rubbish, they had, bless them, collected all their rubbish during the evening and night into a carrier bag. we naturally took the bag and disposed of it for them!!!

6am, rubbish duties over, I was soaked to the skin, despite four layers, my fellow druids all buggered off to various houses and tents so I rang a cab and sloped off home!! Fortunatly found three other people who wanted to head back to Swindon, so we split the cab fare, got home, rang Gary from the doorstep to let me in, and headed straight for the bath! I was so wet that even the base layer of four, (tshirt, jumper, coat and cloak) was so wet I had to wring it out hehe, a hot bath, a hot coffee (thankyou oh wonderful, beloved, darling hubs!!) and I crawled into a warm comfy bed for a few hours zzz's.

Crawled out about 11ish, found dry clothes and headed back to Avebury, this time with Gary and the kids, where we enjoyed an afternoon of singing and dancing, courtesy of the Gorsedd, well handled by Bill the Bard at short notice, who kept his cool despite some annoying behaviour from a couple of drunken idiots!! ( A certain lady Druid, not me, was very good at dealing with one of them, pinning him to her side with an iron grip on his wrist;) )Skye and Garin particuarly enjoyed themselves, clapping and dancing along! Once again I managed to end up calling a quarter, which was all good.

All in all, a fantastic, beautiful weekend, full of happy memories, new experiences, unforgettable moments and lots of fun. I have come home with new friendships formed, ready to take up the fight on new issues (Disabled access for solstice is the first ;) )

I think the only thing I find a little sad, is how many people turn up for solstice, yet don't bother for the other 7 sacred ceremonies of the year. Why turn up just for that one? Hmmm will have to ponder that one.....

Solstice blessings to you all on this the final day of Solstice having just watched the sun sink again. Tommorow we start the slow but sure plod towards winter, isn't that a cheery thought rofl


Posh Totty said...

Awww fab, sounds like a wonderful weekend, Iv blogged about my solstice on my blog too, but it dosnt sound as exciting as yours.

Talking of celebrations, we have talked and agreed Avebury is a must for the Autumn Equinox, we would like to experince things the way you all do it, so if we are still invited, we would love to take you up on the offer :o)

English Druid in Maine said...

Solstice blessings to you and your family. Your time at Avebury sounds like a lot of fun. I celebrated with my Grove here in Maine. We built a green man to keep watch over the gardens during the summer. A symbol of potentiality for us all.