The Celtic New Year was honoured on the Dark Moon of Samhain at Tlachtga, Tara and Sliabh na Callighe by the Ard Dru�, Dru� agus Dalta� of an Doire Gealach Dorchada. This is my report of that special event.
What an amazing multiple ceremony we had on Wednesday the 26th of November 2011! We arrived at the Druid�s Well on the south slope of the Hill of Ward/Bard aka Cnoc Tlachtga about an hour before Sunset. We always hold this Water ceremony before we hold our 3 fire ceremonies. A very disappointing scene greeted us cause the ancient immersion well had its posts and wire fence knocked over. In the image below you can see that the tractor had back tracked until one wheel was almost inside the well.
More images here
The ancient immersion well had its posts and wire fence knocked over. This problem was most likely caused by a commercial contractor. We met the landowner 4 years ago and he joined us briefly at the well just before we held our Water ceremony. He had no objection to us being there but he had no intention of protecting the well either. There is some problem with the locals that we (being from outside the area) are not conversant with so we chose not to stir things up. The local heritage officer has no power or funds to do anything, the local history group seem disinterested and our group lives far away - what can be done? I�ve made a plea for help on the Facebook site Ancient Wells of Ireland so hopefully someone nearby ie a local can help.
We still held our Water Ceremony blessing and adding holy waters from the Red Well at Glastonbury and the Well of the Dark Eye at Tara to the Druid�s Well at Tlachtga. A simple ceremony with wishes for restoration and protection of this hugely important well.
Then we painted our faces.
Not all of us can have our faces shown online due to possible grievances with narrow mindedness. We each had a unique image painted on / over our faces just as the Sun was setting on the last day of the year. Then up we went to the 5 ring ceremonial enclosure on top of the hill.
The site was empty save for sheep and their blessings... we made our way to inside the first ring and set up to create the new fire spirit. We all paused however to view the incredible Sunset. Then with the Sun below the horizon (it was still bright) we set out to make fire. Niamh and Red John created a new fire spirit when they got the spark to make flame. They then transferred this new fire spirit to our firebox as shown in the video shown here
Then three Gardai (policemen) arrived...
Wearing blue jumpers and with cap in hand they stood on high ground and watched us as the fire smoked and blazed. I smiled inside and waited to see if they�d join us. Slowly they walked over and stopped a respectful 10 foot away. Niamh told them they were just in time as we had lit our Samhain Fire. They smiled not knowing what to say. Then the more senior one said �you picked a fine day for it�. Then it was explained to them that this day was the last day of the year and that tonight is the Celtic New Year. One of them was aware that it was the new moon... (the Dark Moon is followed by the first slim crescent that is called the new moon but very few people know that there is a night when the moon cannot be seen at all) The fire blazed away. I was happy to see three guardians attend as we would be calling on the three sons of Tlachtga: Muach, Cumma agus Doirb to help protect Ireland and the boys in blue seemed to fit the bill. Finally I inquired as to why they were here - �is there a problem with parking?� I said. No said the older Garda, then he asked who owned a specific vehicle and then he said �no problem�... Then he said a woman had rang in and complained about people wandering around with their faces painted up .... We all looked at him and smiled. We all had our faces painted up. Off they went without taking names or making any official noises... We guess that they took the registration numbers of our vehicles and had them checked out so they had most of our names anyway. The two younger Gardai looked a little bit scared as if Druids were dangerous, their Auras leaned away from us and we could sense their relief when they left. Now it would be possible to interpret this as the fourth sacred site where Gardai have provided protection to us over the years as we held public ceremony at a sacred site. The previous sacred sites where we got Garda protection are Bru na Boinne (Newgrange) and at Tara and at Rath Lugh.
We stood and watched the fire spirit dance vigorously as the night gathered around us.
The hill itself held a shadow with the surrounding house and street lights in the distance making out �civilisation�. We were aware of 3 outer planets - Jupiter, Uranus and Neptune in the darkening sky above and using a app on an iphone we could see they were just to east of us. We held our ceremony asking Tlachga�s 3 sons to protect our land.
The stars came out in their millions and millions. The Milky Way was like a stream of milk in the dark night sky. We let the fire run low and then lit a candle in a lantern to transfer this fire spirit to Tara for our second fire.
Off we went in a small convoy heading for Tara. I got lost and realised it after 3 wrong turns. Red John came up and took the lead. The network of feeder roads to the forced M3 troll road confused me and I got lost a second time - this caused me to drive past Rath Lugh on the east side of the Pagan Royal City of Tara. We felt it before we saw it. A big U turn and then we made it to Tara. We usually plan to make Tara at 8ish but it was past 9. We met others and held our second fire ceremony of the night on the gravel patch at the top of the so-called Banqueting Hall. It was slow to catch but in the end with a group to guard it the wood in the fire box caught fire. In the image below is the fire being taken from a the candle lantern and given to the firebox.
It was cold on Tara Hill
The Tara Vigil group has disbanded, the tourists have all gone and the car park told us we were alone on the hill. The second fire blazed and we held our second sacred ceremony. Then as we left two young Ladies known to Red John came up the hill just as we were leaving - they had to work late and said they would just hold a simple ceremony themselves. Off we went to Sliabh na Callighe with Red John leading the way so I would not get lost again... We stopped at the fuel station in Navan for coffee. Very important.
Then we drove to the Hill of the Vieled Ones, aka Sliabh na Callighe. Here we saw a plaque to Mick Tobin who had died earlier this year. see image below.
Mick was a character - he owned the land on the east hill that has the Equinox temple. We met him many years ago and he gave us directions to the temples on the west hill - especially Cairn �L� with the man size Quartz standing stone inside the chamber. This is the Samhain Alignment of our ancestors landscape temple calendar. The west hill was / is owned by a family called Napper (since Cromwellian times) and Mick Tobin being Irish used to cause great fun for the Nappers by sending every tourist he met to see the monuments on the hill owned by descendants of the Cromwell army... Mick Tobin was a guardian in this dimension, I reckon he still is a guadian, now in a different dimension.
Some images of us at Cairn �L� from our visit years ago... here
We held our 3rd fire of the Celtic New Year and you can see a video of this here
Then with the third fire of the night burning out we gathered and had the traditional group hug. It was near 2am and we had been in ceremony since 4pm so that is 10 hours. We were tired and cold but elated and in top spirits. When we broke the group hug we looked up to the sky which had clouded over but we had the milky way and millions of bright stars, 3 outer planets and 3 boys in blue as fond memories of this start to the Celtic New Year.