This year we ended 2010 and begun 2011 with a water ceremony followed by three fire ceremonies at Samhain Sacred Sites in Ireland on Friday the 5th of November 2010. The Dru� of the Dark Moon Grove gathered at the Druid's Well on the south slopes of the Hill of the Bard - we know this hill as the Hill of Tlachtga, the Earth Goddess. The image below show this ancient immersion well. It has survived renaming by the church and retains its early designation as a Well of the Druids.
As we do every year we had our ceremony to Water where we add the waters from other wells as we send healing wishes to the Well of Tlachtga. A foot ball that had found its way into the well was removed by an agile young man before we offered the water blessing.
Then we got out the face paints - our group enjoyed the masking up and we went to the top of the hill to the 5 ring ceremonial enclosure.
When we got to the top of the hill we took the photo below. This should be read alongside Meath County Councils tourism promotion for the region at http://www.meath.ie/Tourism/EventsFestivalsandNews/SpiritsofMeathHalloweenFestival2010/Name,43501,en.html
They poison the water and then sponsor tourism at the same place???
Their promo says -
"Hill of Ward (Tlachtga), County Meath - The Birthplace of Halloween
Samhain, the ancient Celtic Festival that we now call Halloween, originated here in Co. Meath more than 2,000 years ago. Samhain marks the end of the old Celtic Year and the beginning of the New Year. The Celts believed that this was a time of transition, when the veil between our world and the next came down, and the spirits of all who had died since the last O�che Shamhna (Night of Samhain) moved on to the next life.
One of the main spiritual centres of the ancient Celts was located on top of the hill of Tlachtga, now called the Hill of Ward, near Athboy, Co. Meath. The druids felt that this world and the otherworld were closest at Tlachtga and it was here that the festival of Samhain, or Halloween, was started. The old year�s fires were extinguished and, after sunset, the ceremonial New Year Samhain fire was lit here. Torches were lit from this sacred fire and carried to seven other hills around the county including Tara and Loughcrew, and then on to light up the whole countryside.
Today, the old Celtic ceremony at Tlachtga has been revived and we mix the ancient past and the twenty-first century with a re-enactment of the Celtic celebration starting with a torchlit procession from the Fair Green in Athboy, Co. Meath to the top of the Hill of Tlachtga, at 7pm on October 31st each year."
But they also have a water poisoning plant on the same hill - this water is the drinking water for the people in the area.
The event they speak about is the Catholic Halloween and Janet Farrar and Gavin Bone facilitate. This year they had 200 or more men and women and children in the torchlight procession and fire on top of the hill. It was was a great event and the rain stayed off and people had great fun. Well done to Janet and Gavin.
The we set out our sacred fire box and two of our Dru� created a new fire spirit and then added this to the fire box. You can see video footage at this link - Samhain Fire 2010 Every fire is different - especially when it is outside and its dark and its a very special festival night.
The first fire on Tlachtga lit quickly and we held our ceremony to the Earth Goddess. The stars came out. The Sun disappeared completely and fireworks could be heard in the distance. The fire danced with vigor and as shown in the image above the flames go to the left but a spark snakes off to the right.
Our group posed for a piccie - we tried to not move but the lanterns holding the fire energy show they we must have moved slightly or did we??? We had transferred the flame from the fire to a lantern and a candle so we could take it to the next sacred site - Tara.
At Tara we were met by another group of Druids from Europe led by Jan. They quickly sought out the face paints and 'masked up' and then we all went to the top of the hill of Tara where we hold fire ceremonies on the gravel patch. The image below is of our Dutch Druid friends when they got back to their lodgings later on. They joined us at our second fire and we were also pleased to have an Irish/Canadian join us as well. See image of the continental Druids below.
The second fire which was on Tara took ages to catch, but eventually the fire spirit danced for us and we held ceremony. Thanks to Red John for starting the fire and leading the second ceremony of the start of the Celtic New Year.
Then we went to Sliabh na Callighe for the third sacred fire on the third sacred site in one night. We arrived before 12 and set up our fire box - the fire was very slow to catch from the flame we had protected in a lantern. Eventually it caught and the fire danced strong and wild. Once again we had held our night of multiple ceremony on the Dark Moon of Samhain.
The image below shows Con an Niamh standing still but the flames are moving - not trick photography just a camera set to night time delay capturing more than one moment in time. Once again we enjoyed ourselves and the company of many others walking our path as Celtic Druids.