Tag Archives: Guided Journey

The White Spring – Imbolc 2012 part III – The celebration

Tuesday was spent at The White Spring; setting the space, moving rocks, cleaning candlesticks and removing wax. G, the Founder of the Temple would be having the evening for a private booking so I wanted to place to be clear and ready well in advance before I went home to prepare myself to hold the ceremony.

At home, I went over my words, and devised a way to keep time in my head so I did not have to look at a watch. There would be a period of darkness and I had no other way to keep time. I sang a song over three times. I knew that would be approximately nine minutes altogether.

One of our helpers had their car break down on the evening prior to Imbolc and had to stay at our house so he got to witness the crazy, getting the family up and children ready for the day, morning madness that ensues. After the children left for school we quickly organised our things and left for the White Spring.

When we arrived I found that the seasonal altar had been changed a little, the altar cloth had been pushed back, crushing the swan feathers I had left there. I cleared the altar immediately and reset it, this time without the cloth. Some new snowdrops had turned up, so I assumed that G had left them there and either didn’t like the altar cloth, or did not notice that I had already begun to set the altar. I struggle for a moment with slight annoyance, then let it go. Nevertheless, the altar was reset along with more beautiful fresh snowdrops.

We checked that there were no light sources coming in to the building. All the skylights had been covered, and even the keyhole and cracks under the doors. I set the helpers to lighting candles and went outside to greet some of the early visitors. There were not as many people as in previous years. Though the first person to arrive had come all the way from Australia!

I went inside again to light some incense and found myself visiting each shrine with a song. I went last to the central chamber at the back of The White Spring, turned to face the wall and sang to the spirit of the Spring. When I turned around again, I found that the building had filled up and there was quite a crowd watching me. I suddenly felt a little shy, but managed to not show it whilst I went outside for a moment. I could sense that the visitors were waiting for things to start, so we started right on time.

I was so happy to have Merlin with us to lead the chanting and singing. I knew I could count on him to come in at the right time and get everyone singing along. After welcoming everyone, I talked a little about the White Spring, and said a few words about Imbolc. Then we went into the darkness and silence.

What potency awaits in the quiet dark of the cave. This was my first time leading this ceremony, and although I was aware of the feeling of complete darkness inside the spring, I had not been prepared for the feelings whilst holding that space and being responsible for it.

Blackness, and just the sound of the water rushing through the building, my head was swimming as I sang the songs in my head that lasted 3 minutes each – just to help me keep time. It was silent, though I was sure my heart would beat right out of my chest. My mind wandered. The air seems to stir with pregnant possibility. You know that if you reach out you will touch the person stood next to you, yet you feel totally alone in the darkness. There were around 100 people all stood in the blackness for just long enough. And then I gave the signal by tapping on the door gently. Then three loud knocks from outside.

Opening the door, the light streams in as Young Bridie walks through carrying her lantern. The door closes and the single flame is carried to the centre of the building. ‘The light shines in the darkness .. and the darkness shall not overcome it!’ The light is passed from person to person and all of the candles are lit. Then we sing.

Bridie, Brigida, Sula, Sheena, Anun, Anna, Danu, Dana

This year marked the 7 year anniversary of the lighting of the Brigid flame here in Glastonbury. One of the people who lit the flame in 2005 told us all of its significance. Then we all gathered outside to share inspiration and song.

I introduced G as the founder of the Temple and she talked about Brigid and her inspiration. The red and white waters were mixed and those gathered were splashed with the waters with purifying intent before offering to the land with our wish that the waters flow together forever.

It was cold. The winter had been so mild up until this week, and now it had just turned icy cold. Young Bridie was wrapped up warm and we drummed and danced to keep our feet warm. Max told his seasonal story, a journey if you like, taking us to the otherworld. I offered a guided meditation, to create powerful intent and send it out into the universe along with Brigid’s guiding light.

The Monk’s gate into Chalice Well was opened for us to go into the garden. Yound Bridie led us up to the wellhead of Chalice Well and we left the flame there before going to the fire that had been lit on the lower lawn. R and her mum got a hot chocolate, and after chatting to a few folk, Max and I went back to the Spring. We had a keeper ready to open for the day, so after the procession to Brides Mound had left, we went to have some lunch.

At sunset I went to Bride’s Mound myself, to honour the flame that I keep at the temple and in my home. K, another keeper of the flame had arranged to have a fire puja; a prayer and offering of ourselves in support of that prayer. It was a beautiful gathering. Someone had created a beautiful icon of Brigid which stood in the footprint of the chapel that had been built there so many years ago. We lit candles from the Brigid flame, all around the chapel and honoured the place where the Mary Magdalene altar had been. Then we surrounded the fire to share songs.

At the end I had so many well wishers thanking me for the ceremony at The White Spring and telling me how much it meant to them to come to Glastonbury and feel so welcome at the sacred ceremonies here. I took their praise gracefully and gave it back to the earth.

Later, I left the mound in the darkness filled with the glow of the flame, the warmth of the community that I am a part of, and the knowledge that so many people had found something special on that day. The season of Imbolc, the power of the land, and the Celtic Goddess Brigid was honoured here.




Filed under Awakening, Festivals, Fire, Glastonbury, Guided Journey, Inspired, Living Mythology, Ritual, The White Spring, Transformation

Come with Merlin over the Great Lake

Max Goodwin takes us on a journey through living mythology into the season of Imbolc.

We are traveling across the great lake to the island, with a large woodland covered hill in the center. Now, together we move under the canopy and into the darkness of the wood. We find ourselves, just inside the woodland, at the foot of the hill in front of immense doors that are set into the very hillside.

Here we meet an old man dressed in bright white robes. His grey hair denotes an ancient wisdom and the staff he holds in his hand shines with the light of Divine Magic. Merlin, for that is his name, tells us, “If it is your wish, you may enter the gateway and I will guide you.” We do so now.

Down into the dark tunnels we travel together, turning this way and that, past great caverns and grand halls, until we find ourselves in front of another set of doors. These wooden doors are inlaid with precious metals and magical symbols. Two tall stoic elves, clad in the armour of light open the great doors.

We enter an awe inspiring hall. The ceiling is so high, it is lost in the darkness of space and with columns and arches that seem to go on for ever. This seeming impossible place is dominated by the two awesome figures who are enthroned at the end of the hall.

The Winter king, great consort, robed in snow, crowned with bone and ice. Ancient wisdom; ageless beauty.
Beside him, his Queen, The Dark Goddess. She sleeps. She dreams of spring.

In her dreaming, the forest is warm and the young maiden gently moves through the deep paths. Where her foot touches snowdrops spring to life, and where her hand brushes against the branches, catkins burst forth. She leaves in her wake the scent of spring and the promise of summer.

Elsewhere in the great forest another moves carefully and silently. The Prince of light hunts!  Dressed as the wild man of the woods, in the hide and horns of the stag, he catches the scent of early spring and follows deep into the woodland.
He approaches a grove of birch and hazel and there in the center, with her back to him, surrounded by snowdrops, sits the maiden. Her long golden hair shines like the sun and his heart is captured in an instant. His breath comes quick as his pulse races. Pushing past the trees, he enters the grove, the sound of hide on bark. The maiden turns her head…..

The dark goddess on her throne awakens in the great hall, beside her consort. She turns to us with a knowing smile on her lips and the first stirrings are felt deep inside her and all across the land.

Merlin motions for us to depart. Through the doors and past the guardians, together we follow his sure steps. He leads us back along the passages to the vast doors in the hillside and out into the light of the day. As we travel through the woods, we notice the deep green shoots of the snowdrops and the light green of the catkins. Soon we are traveling back across the water leaving the island behind us, back from whence we came.

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Filed under Featured from Wizard Newspaper, Glastonbury, Guided Journey, Inspired, Living Mythology, Transformation