Cylch Blodeuwedd

Druidic Grove in North-West Wales

Gŵyl Gwanwyn/Spring Equinox 2009

by Aethnen - March 22nd, 2009.
Filed under: Past Rituals. Tagged as: , , , , , , .

Overview

The Vernal Equinox in 2009, I think, brought us all much closer together in both mind and spirit. There seemed to be an overpowering sensation of peace, positivity and general pleasure for each person who attended.

This Ritual Day was also particularly refreshing because Sioned led and coordinated the entire day, a feat in itself! And very well she did too! Sioned struck the perfect balance because she allowed enough freedom so the day could unfold as it wanted to, but at the same time, there was enough direction and structure so that the day was also able to flow seamlessly.

We met at Eileen and Ros’ house, which we have been at a couple times before, but each time we all remark again and again on the lovely atmosphere and the beauty of their home. It was an uplifting place and full of Spring and light! Although we were a bit disappointed by the weather, (we’ve had nearly a week of perfect sunshine and warmth, and today has been the first day to turn out grey, foggy and cold), the mist and fog continued to descend down on us from the sea and the mountainsides.

One of the themes for the day was yellow or golden colours. Almost everyone managed to wear at least one item of yellow or gold, and also almost all the food that people brought was yellow or gold! The colour theme was a good idea of Sioned’s and it really perpetuated the harmonious feelings of the day.

People who attended today were Sioned, Sandy, Alison, Jean Lynch, Gareth and Elaine, Eileen and Ros, Gillian and Holger, Dafydd and Jenn, and much to all our delight, Gwyn brought with him his wife Lynn. We hope that she will return again too!

Warming Up

Before things got started, everyone who had brought things placed items that depicted to them this Spring and the Equinox–on a little table as our Altar. There was an abundance of the colour yellow and there were gorgeous spring flowers, mostly daffodils, lots of hare and chicken themes, various Easter eggs, candles and incense, and whatever struck people as embodying balance and renewal.

So the day started with everyone gathering in the sitting room with their teas and hot drinks, as Sioned welcomed us, made apologies for those of you who couldn’t make it, and also she outlined the day for us and briefly talked about the Spring Equinox and what this time of year means to her.

This led into an excellent contemplative meditation which Sioned did with us, using the breath as our focal point, as we allowed our thoughts to consider the past six months through the winter, and also the next six months now through the summer. This exercise did well at the beginning of the day because it focused our minds on NOW, exactly where we are and who we are.

The Ritual

Then in silence, we went out into Eileen and Ros’ beautiful, beautiful garden where all the plants were just starting to bud or poke their heads through the soil, and the grass was beginning to tinge green.

Sioned opened the circle and Holger did the Call for Peace before the directions. Alison welcomed the East and Air, Gareth welcomed the South and Fire and Sun, and Sioned welcomed the West/Water and the North/Earth. Then Jenn greeted the Land, Sea and Sky, before Gillian called the Ancestors of place and blood … and Gwyn recited the Druid’s Prayer in Welsh, which felt so appropriate. We each then personally and silently called to whatever deities or spirits we privately love and work with. We each then went round and said what Spring meant to us, which was insightful as our expressions and feelings often mirrored, complimented or elucidated on one another’s. Also, instead of chanting the Awen like we usually do, we gave three great shouts of joy for Spring!!! YIIIPPPEEEE!!!!! hahaha! Then we had a really lovely fruit cordial courtesy of Sioned’s husband–this was a delicious golden yellow. With the “wine”, we had the “cake” as per usual–but this wasn’t just any cake, but a Venetian Easter Cake (although more of a bread) diligently made by Jenn over a period of 11 hours on the day before! Although it was a huge loaf full of spices, rum and candied orange peeling–the cake quickly disappeared and must have been well-received because everyone kept having seconds and thirds (and in a couple cases, fourths and fifths!–ehem, Dafydd).

Lunch

By this time we were all feeling rather ravenous so we went inside for a homemade soup from Sioned and a yummy seedy bread from Sandy. This time was spent happily chatting away about various things.

Bardic Session

Once we were all satisfied and our bellies full, hot drinks in hand, we made our way back to the sitting room where we’d started out. There we spent a good part of the early afternoon singing songs about Spring and listening/reading Spring-themed poetry. Gillian started us off with a true hymn to Spring that she had written herself and she taught us all the tune. Alison also had brought a song from her childhood about Spring,which was hauntingly beautiful and bittersweet. Gareth sang for us an old traditional in Welsh which kept us laughing and reminded us of the cyclical nature of life, and Sioned also had a Welsh song to the tune of Kum-bah-yah, about Spring. Holger wrote a really upbeat song about “Robin Goch” to the tune of “Robin Hood”–it worked well! Ros shared with us one of her own poems that expressed the feelings of “waking up” and joining into the deeper nature of Life, in Spring. Alison shared some of her poetry which is always good, and these also had us laughing! Lynn shared with us an RS Thomas poem about the Blackbird, and Gwyn read 3 of his poems in true bardic style, about the Earth, the Equinox and also about the Hare. Jenn shared a poem in Welsh/English about the Daffodil. (If I’ve forgotten to mention anyone else’s contributions, please forgive me! There was so many I can’t really remember it all!)

Hare Workshop

After the readings and singing, we all stretched and woke ourselves up before settling down to for Jenn’s “workshop” on the Hare. She read an article she’d written about Hares, various facts and how these tie into mythological and symbolic signficance, especially the Hare as a symbol of the Spring Equinox. Then following this, she led everyone in a guided visualization first involving the five senses before befriending a hare and receiving an actual “egg” of potential from the Easter hare (Jenn had blown hen and duck eggs).

Discussions and Business

After this everyone needed a bit of stirring up so we had more hot drinks while we began the Seed/Plant Swap that Gillian had instigated back at Imbolc with planting our spiritual gardens.

Then we gathered again to discuss business like Charities. Should Cylch Bloduwedd support a charity, and if so–which one? for how long or how often? and other various questions. It was suggested by Jenn that we adopt one charity a year and that at the end of the year, we can decide if we want to keep that charity or support another one. Some people voiced a liking of this idea. But if you have any other ideas, we will be voicing our opinions and voting/choosing at the Beltaine ritual next. You will find the list of charities on our “Links” page, by the way.

Another thing that was agreed was that every full member of the Grove will be sent a list of everyone else’s emails, or in some cases, where permitted, addresses and phone numbers. This is to aid ease of communication and community between Grove Members! If you for any reason don’t want your email address sharing, just ask and it will be removed from the “list”. We also agreed though that this information must be guarded carefully so that members are not infringed upon–if there is someone new to the group, we must agree to give them our personal details, and it is not automatic.

Following on from the Midsummer ritual that Gareth and Elaine had done, it had been suggested by various Members that we have a kind of “guide book” of information for Cylch Blodeuwedd. Gillian and Jenn have now worked hard to produce something like this in its elementary form (to be added to and evolved over time) which includes guidelines for Ritual Days (very useful if you are leading a Ritual Day yourself) and what will be expected of you when you attend our rituals, as well as a section of FAQ’s (Frequently Asked Questions) about the Grove, which would be useful to give to other people who aren’t familiar with what we do or who are interested in coming to one of our events. There is also a section on the Wheel of the Year and each of the Festivals with customs, associations, etc to give people a bit of inspiration when planning personal and group rituals, ritual days, altars, etc.

Sioned and Jenn also announced that there is now a Cylch Blodeuwedd group on Facebook for those of us who have a Facebook account. It is by invite only and kept private, so if you’d like to join, please let Jenn know.

We also arranged the next ritual (for Beltaine), which will be at Alison’s house (of course), the date yet to be confirmed. Jenn has a number of ideas for the day on the theme of ‘anam cara’ or soul friends. If you have any ideas or contributions along those lines or that you think are appropriate for Beltaine, let Jenn know.

Closing Ritual

After all this work we’d all worked up an appetite!!! But we went outside first to close the ritual, this time in reverse of the way how we’d opened it. Nature had a surprise for us though outside. By the time we got out into the early evening dusk, the clouds and mist had all cleared. We could see Tre’r Ceiri on its mountaintop and a brilliant sunset streaked across the sky setting over the western sea. Everyone felt that the day had embodied the very nature of the Equinox .. as a doorway between Winter (the cold, grey morning) and Spring (the mild, glorious evening).

Feasting and Farewells

Once we’d paid our respects, there was a happy rush indoors to set out the laden table with a huge feast of golden and yellow foods. Everything was particularly delicious this time, although the men were rather disappointed because Wales last to Ireland in the rugby match for the Triple Crown. Fair play to Ireland though who haven’t won in a very long time–and at least we can be grateful it was a Celtic country that won the title!

Delicious food after delicious food came out and we each had a very full plate. Conversation was as varied as the people present. Finally before people started going, a few more seeds/plants were exchanged. Gill had brought her “Druid” see potatoes, and Dafydd had brought St John’s Wort and Comfrey.  Alison had also brought seed potatoes and some various other vegetable seeds. Eileen, Ros and Jenn all had various flower seeds that they were offering … and I’m not sure if anyone brought anything else? Sioned also had some alfalfa seeds–yummy in salads those.

Eileen also kindly gave any of us who wanted some goose eggs from their geese.

By the time everyone was packing up to go, the general mood was a happy although tired one, and I think we are each looking forward to the next Ritual Day when we can all meet again.

Thank Yous

A particular thank you then to Sioned for being so brave to take on the whole Ritual Day, and also a big thank you and hug to Eileen and Ros for opening their home to us and being such gracious and generous hostesses.

Thank you to everyone who was present today. Without your particular personal energies, the day would have not been like it was and it was a very GOOD day, the kind of goodness that I think is rare to find in groups of people. We’re very lucky–and I wonder, do we know it?

3 Responses to Gŵyl Gwanwyn/Spring Equinox 2009

  1. My strong preference for a charity would be the Freshfields Rescue in Nebo;it is local,we know it is genuine and truly hands-on and all know someone who has had beloved animals from there.In the current financial climate more and more animals are being abandoned…we know that all the donations are going straight to the cause;what do other members think?
    I think it would good to support a charity a year.

  2. Must admit that up to now this particular festival didn’t really ‘speak’ to me. But last Saturday seems to have changed that completely. The day after I had my first real bardic inspiration, a little tune with a couple of words that just sprang to mind, seemingly out of nowhere, and now I have got a song that’s entirely the result of my own Awen.
    As for charities, Freshfields would be a good choice. But I also wonder whether we should have at least the links to some of the may other charities on a links page. That way, everyone has a chance to find out about them and to make an informed choice as to whom they might want to support.

  3. Yes, I really like the idea of Freshfields. Or perhaps we could do one local and one more global?

    Also, Holger, all the links I handed out at the ritual are up under the Links page 😉 … but if anyone has any more charity or other links PLEASE send them to me!

Leave a Reply

This blog is kept spam free by WP-SpamFree.