This year we didn’t get down to Glastonbury until Friday evening, which only just gave us time for a swift half at the George and Pilgrim, and a plate of curry and chips at Knights before they closed. As a result we didn’t get to see much of folks, especially as we were also too late to get the banner put up.
On the Saturday morning the Order assembled at the Town Hall. We had a lovely surprise as there was a harpist playing as the Assembly began. After the usual introductions from Philip and Damh we split into the three Groves. The Druids ascended to our usual meeting room, the Council chamber on the top floor. This year there were a few more of us which was great, we almost had two deep circle of Druids!
The theme for the Assembly this year was carrying on from the work we did at the Gorsedd – but using the five senses as a basis for exploring connections. Each Grade was to produce a gift based on our discoveries at the Tor ceremony in the afternoon. We had a wonderful guided meditation exploring the senses which was interesting as a lot of us seemed to pick up the same sort of images and feelings, particularly in the area of taste.
There was a rehearsal for those people with parts in the ceremony in the early afternoon and then we had the Ceremony on top of the Tor at four o’clock. It had been a lovely sunny day until about three thirty when the clouds began to gather ominously. As I was walking up the Tor you could see the rain across the levels.
Mr Stoatie had made his own way up the Tor which left me to struggle up by myself. I always say it, but the climb seems to get worse every year, and I had to stop several times to ‘admire the view’ – I wasn’t the only one! We are officially supposed to meet up at the bottom to process up the Tor together, it does look a wonderful sight with everyone walking up in line but until I am fit enough to maintain a good pace I am going to join the others in the same boat by coming up earlier and going slow!
I had a small non speaking part in the Ceremony, helping to present the Druid gift and so this year I was stood in the place of the Druid’s, which is in the East. As the Ceremony began the rain started to fall, fortunately it was just a slight drizzle but it carried on for a little while. When the circle was blessed with the four elements/senses, the water bearer caused a ripple of laughter as he blessed us with the power of thunderstorms and rain, and this was echoed by the somewhat ironic blessing of the Western Gate ‘ Let the Heart of Love open this Western Gate and imbue us with the element of Water.’
Having the four elemental bearers was a great touch in the ceremony – traditionally the circle is usually blessed just by fire and water. The air bearer brought the scent of sage, the fire bearer the sight of the eternal flame, the water bearer the touch of cleansing chalice well water and the earth bearer the sound of gentle earth falling. Fortunately the rain faded away, although it was very dark, then just as Merlin was raising his staff to meet the blade held aloft by the Lord and Lady to create the bridge between heaven and earth, there was small rainbow in the north.
The closing of the Ceremony was marked by a spontaneous group hug which must have been ten people deep!
One advantage of the overcast weather was that once it began to rain there was no wind on top of the Tor. I think it was the first time I have been up there that there hasn’t been a howling gale making it hard to pick up the rite. As a result you could hear every word of the Ceremony, to the wonderful soaring background singing of skylarks. One other effect was that there seemed to be less people up there, which meant the circle seemed to be smaller and more cosy.
Mr Stoatie has taken some photos of the Ceremony – mostly candids this year rather than a chronological record. I have to ‘fess up though, as I unintentionally altered the setting on the camera which means that the photos have all come out very small in size ( so you can’t really enlarge them) and slightly blurry. We didn’t discover it until we got back yesterday worse luck. Anyway rather than giving them a tab of their own I shall just stick them all in another post.