The Wheel of Avalon turns again, the wheat is ripening in the fields surrounding the Isle! Sunflowers raise their heads to the sun. Lammas is approaching. Here at the Temple we celebrate the Goddess Ker in Her aspect as Harvest Mother, Grain Goddess, Lady of Abundance.
Lammas is the Festival celebrating the first fruits of Mother Earth’s harvest, where we see the first grains of wheat appear, alongside ripening fruits, such as apples and pears. The word ‘Lammas’ is derived from ‘loaf mass’ and is indicative of how central and honoured is the first grain and the first loaf of the harvesting cycle. The first sheaf would often be ceremonially cut at dawn, winnowed, ground and baked into the Harvest Bread which was then shared by the community in thanks. The first barley stalks would be made into the first beer of the season. The last sheaf was also ceremonially cut, often made into a ‘corn dolly’, carried to the village with festivity and was central to the Harvest Supper. The corn dolly was made into a Corn Maiden (after a good harvest) or a cailleach, hag or cone (after a bad harvest). She could be dressed with ribbons, even clothed.
Most Handfastings were entered into at Lammas Fair Time in the past. This was when the annual rent was due and country folk gathered. The custom was single persons of both sexes to choose a companion for the next year. When Lammas Fair time came again they were to wed or separate.
Ker’s colour is gold and in the heat of the August sun, the grasses begin to turn golden as the earth becomes dry. Our beautiful Tor is the left breast of the Goddess in the landscape and is wondrous as the colour changes from green to golden. In this age and society, it is all too easy to lose touch at the miracle of the natural cycle of her nature. The Feminine is giving and nurturing.. Look around you and spend time in her nature, giving thanks for all that she provides.
It seems as though the great birthing is celebrated in the heavens as the Perseid meteor showers, a truly beautiful phenomenon in the night sky that happens every year between July & August (peaking on August 12th) Here in on our Isle of magic this can be viewed perfectly on the peak the golden Tor…
Glastonbury, this Isle of Avalon, is it any wonder that we are conducting many Sacred Marriages here at this time? It is the perfect place to feel the power of your love as you journey with us in your ceremony and at this time of year, as you commit your love to each other, the Earth sighs and meteors fly across the inky velvet sky..
Solstice, and the Festival of Litha, is the time where we honour the Goddess of Water, Domnu. Domnu is the Mother of Oceans and Queen of the deep who brings flow and emotion into our lives. It is the time when we dive deeply into our emotional beings, allowing our hearts to open and our creative tears to flow. Like cascading waterfalls of love, She touches the places we are often afraid to open… as with the Oyster, there is something vulnerable and sensitive within. Her sacred animals are all creatures of the Oceans, Rivers and Seas. She cries out to us to care for Her. We are guardians of this most sacred Earth, the body of the Mother and her waters are the amniotic fluids that support life.
Now more than ever before it is vital to see and know that Her sacred waters are the sweet fluids of life and we must be mindful. To honour this precious element as Goddess transforms our understanding of that which is often taken for granted and pollute. Water has the power to transform its molecular structure when prayer, intention and thought are projected.
I stepped out into my garden this morning, to be greeted by an abundance of flowers! The Love-in-a-Mist has delightfully self-seeded itself throughout the garden. It is popular for country style bridal bouquets.
This led me to find out more about the Language of Flowers. The history of flower symbolism, meanings and ‘sentiments’ reaches back into early Chinese Dynasties. Selam, the oriental Language of Flowers, was introduced into Europe by Charles II, King of Sweden after five years of exile in Turkey, living at the Ottoman Court and returning to Sweden in 1714, from where his courtiers began sharing and promoting the Flower Language around the Western World.
In 1718, Lady Mary Wortly Montagu, wife of the Ambassador to the Port of Constantinople, became fascinated with the coded messages used by Turkish harems and introduced the symbolic language to the UK. However, it was not until 1809 that the first published use of the phrase ‘Language of Flowers’ came into being. Queen Victoria became so enamoured by the Language of Flowers that she spread the tradition throughout the British Empire!
The Language of Flowers has seen a revival in recent years with more and more brides choosing particular flowers because of their meaning for their bridal bouquets. A famous one was the Duchess of Cambridge’s bouquet which had Lily of the Valley – return of happiness, Sweet William – gallantry, Hyacinth – constancy of love and Myrtle – emblem of marriage and love.
Here at the Goddess Temple we have chosen Ivy and red and white Roses for the flower circle. Ivy represents fidelity, wedded love and friendship and the Roses, unity and love. I like to use Rosemary and Lavender during the water blessing as together they represent devotion, good luck, undying love and fidelity.
There are many websites with the definitions, meanings and symbolism of the Language of Flowers. I have listed a couple below for your interest. Enjoy! I am off to sit amongst the flowers now!
Sacred Chalices for Your Handfasting Ceremony
We are delighted to share that we can now offer you your own ritual objects that you take home and place in your sacred space. Along with your incense, handfasting candles and hoop and wand, we can now also offer sacred chalices and incense Bowls for your handfasting ceremony.
We have an amazing ceramist who creates these beautiful chalices and bowls containing a swirl of natural red clay collected from the landscape of the Isle of Avalon, together with the sacred waters collected from the red and white spring.
Each Chalice has Glastonbury Tor lovingly hand carved into the wet clay and glazed showing the layers of the magical seven circuit labyrinth. These beautiful and incredibly powerful ritual objects will have only been used in your ceremony, unique to you, vibrating with your love and heart song. Each one contains a little piece of Avalon and the four elements: Earth – the clay and earth of Avalon, Water sacred spring waters to mould and shape, each drop infused into the clay, Air – to dry the ritual chalices before the firing Process, and Fire – the kiln and the firing.
These are bespoke sacred pieces of ceremonially created and inspired art are made individually just for you to be used for your handfasting ceremony and/or sacred marriage within Glastonbury Goddess Temple. Another unique and magical touch that we bring to your special day.
If you would love to have a time honoured, bespoke, legal marriage ceremony which takes place in the form of a pagan handfasting, come to Avalon and feel the magic…
Sacred Marriage Ceremony
A legal marriage in the Goddess Temple is unique in the fact that it is in the format of a Handfasting, an ancient Pagan sacred marriage ceremony.
As the sacred marriage ceremony takes the couple on a journey around the four elements of air, fire, water and earth, so it includes a ritual for each of the elements.
We provide the equipment needed, such as incense bowl and incense for the air ritual, which represents the beginning of your relationship. The Priestess Celebrant smudges you both with incense hand blended by Priestesses and Temple Melissae to cleanse and make ready for your new life together as married beloveds.
At fire we bless your union with the sacred temple flame, the Flame of Avalon. Fire represents passion and the fire of love in your relationship. During the ritual you are both invited to light your own candle from the temple flame and so keep it as a perpetual flame to love with the deep connection to the Goddess Temple wherein you spoke your words of truth and love.
For the water ritual we have the temple chalice, which holds the waters of the red and white springs, collected ceremonially by Priestesses the evening before your Marriage. The element of water represents the emotions and flowing freely with the Ocean of your love as you take your vows and say the legal words.
At earth we have the handfasting ritual, which is the deepening of the sacred marriage. In Avalon we favour the hoop and wand method. The groom creates his wand from a fallen branch that is a gift from Mother Earth on the forest floor or even drift wood from the sea shore. This represents the sacred masculine and is prepared by the husband to be. He may sand, carve or oil it, then decorate it with crystals and copper wire – all done as he feels his creative flow and thoughts of his beloved and his role in the family. The hoop is either made by the bride from withy, flexible lengths of willow wood, and decorated with silk flowers, ribbons and crystals or can ordered from our florist in Glastonbury at Enchanted Florals. This represents her divine feminine. Together the couple’s ring hands are bound with red & white ribbons to the hoop & wand (white for the father line and red for the mother line). The guests attending are then invited to come forward to tie their ribbons onto the hoop and wand and to offer their personal blessings and good wishes. The ribbons containing the energies and love of everyone attending!
If a sacred marriage ceremony is something that you have been dreaming of, please do get in touch and we can talk through what we can offer to you, to personalise your dream wedding in Avalon.
June Weddings at Glastonbury Goddess Temple by Priestess Registrar Sharlea Sparrow
I was asked today by a friend why June has always been a popular month to marry, we do have a number of June Weddings at Glastonbury Goddess Temple, so I thought I would share this:
Historically, June has always been the most popular month for weddings. There are many ideas of why this month is so popular…
*The month of June derives its name from Juno, the Roman goddess of marriage. It was thought that couples who married in June would be blessed with prosperity and happiness.
*During medieval times a person’s annual bath (yes, you read that right — just one really thorough bath per year!) usually fell in May or June, meaning that June brides still smelled relatively fresh. The brides would have smelled more pleasant then than before but just to be safe, brides carried a bouquet of flowers to hide their body odour. Hence the custom of carrying a bouquet when walking down the aisle!
*On a practical note, others chose June in order to time conception so births would not interfere with harvest work.
*Also, ancient tradition promoted it would be most unlucky to marry in the month of May because in Roman times the Feast of the Dead and the Festival of the Goddess of Chastity both occurred in May. (I doubt that husbands would be too inclined to want their new partners mourning lost loves on their honeymoon!)
*The real reason in today’s economy may be far more practical. If a person marries in June, he or she is considered to have been a married person for the whole financial year: July 1st to June 30th. As a married person was thought to have greater obligations than a single person, the rate of income tax collected was lower. So by marrying in June, a lower rate of income tax would be applied to the year’s earnings, and a substantial refund would be received. This was traditionally used to defray the costs of the honeymoon.
The 1948 movie “June Bride,” starring Bette Davis and Robert Montgomery, reinforced the connection of weddings and the month of June.
The 1954 musical “Seven Brides for Seven Brothers” continued to reinforce this tradition with the song “June bride.”
“Oh, they say when you marry in June you’re a bride all your life,
and the bridegroom who marries in June gets a sweet-heart for a wife.
Winter weddings can be gay like a Christmas holiday,
but the JUNE BRIDE hears the song of a spring that lasts all summer long.
By the light of the silvery moon, home you ride side by side7 Brides
with the echo of Mendelssohn’s tune in your hearts as you ride.
For they say when you marry in June you will always be a bride.”
— “June Bride” from the movie “Seven Brides for Seven Brothers”
And to finish, here are some old verses on choosing months in which to marry
“A January bride will be a prudent housekeeper, and very good tempered.
A February bride will be an affectionate wife, And a tender mother.
A March bride will be a frivolous chatterbox, Somewhat given to quarreling.
An April bride will be inconsistent, or forceful, But well-meaning.
A May bride will be handsome, agreeable, And practical.
A June bride will be impetuous, And generous.
A July bride will be handsome, But a trifle quick-tempered.
An August bride will be agreeable, And practical as well.
A September bride will be discreet, affable, And much liked.
An October bride will be pretty, coquettish, Loving but jealous.
A November bride will be liberal and kind, But sometimes cold.
A December bride will be fond of novelty, Entertaining but extravagant.”
“Married in January’s hoar and rime,
Widowed you’ll be before your prime.
Married in February’s sleepy weather,
Life you’ll tread in time together.
Married when March winds shrill and roar,
Your home will lie on a distant shore.
Married ‘neath April’s changeful skies,
A chequered path before you lies.
Married when bees o’er May-blossoms flit,
Strangers around your board will sit.
Married in month of roses- June-
Life will be one long honeymoon.
Married in July with flowers ablaze,
Bitter-sweet memories in after days.
Married in August’s heat and drowse,
Lover and friend in your chosen spouse.
Married in September’s golden glow,
Smooth and serene your life will go.
Married when leaves in October thin,
Toil and hardships for you begin.
Married in veils of November mist,
Fortune your wedding-ring has kissed.
Married in days of December’s cheer,
Love’s star shines brighter from year to year.”
“Married when the year is new, he’ll be loving, kind and true.
When February birds do mate, You wed nor dread your fate.
If you wed when March winds blow, joy and sorrow both you’ll know.
Marry in April when you can, Joy for Maiden and for Man.
Marry in the month of May, and you’ll surely rue the day.
Marry when June roses grow, over land and sea you’ll go.
Those who in July do wed, must labour for their daily bred.
Whoever wed in August be, many a change is sure to see
Marry in September’s shrine, your living will be rich and fine.
If in October you do marry, love will come but riches tarry.
If you wed in bleak November, only joys will come, remember.
When December snows fall fast, marry and true love will last.”
Congratulations to those of you getting married in June . . . you will always be a bride!
If you would like to learn more about our sacred, pagan and Goddess inspired marriage ceremonies please get in touch, or read more here. We celebrate love all year round, it is not only June Weddings at Glastonbury Goddess Temple… Blessed Be x
Our First Goddess Temple Wedding Anniversary by Wedding Planner, Iona Jones
It is our first couple of 2016 Huw and Louise’s 1st wedding anniversary today, which made me think about anniversaries, its origins and the gifts associated with each year. Here is what I have found.
The historic origins of the wedding anniversary date back to the Holy Roman Empire, when husbands crowned their wives with a silver wreath on their twenty-fifth anniversary, and a gold wreath on the fiftieth. Later, principally in the twentieth century, commercialism led to the addition of more anniversaries being represented by a named gift.
In the Commonwealth realms, one can receive a message from the monarch for 60th, 65th, and 70th wedding anniversaries, and any wedding anniversary after that. This is done by applying to Buckingham Palace in the United Kingdom, or to the Governor-General’s office in the other Commonwealth realms.
In Australia, where one can receive a letter of congratulations from the Governor-General on the 50th and all subsequent wedding anniversaries; the Prime Minister, the federal Opposition leader, local members of both state and federal parliaments, and state Governors may also send salutations for the same anniversaries.
In Canada, one can also receive a message from the Governor-General for the 50th anniversary, and every fifth anniversary after that.
In the United States, a couple can receive a greeting from the President for any wedding anniversary on or after the 50th.
Roman Catholics may apply for a Papal blessing through their local diocese for wedding anniversaries of a special nature (25th, 50th, 60th, etc.)
The names of some anniversaries provide guidance for appropriate or traditional gifts for the spouses to give each other; if there is a party these can be brought by the guests or influence the theme or decoration. These gifts vary in different countries, but some years have well-established connections now common to most nations: 5th Wooden, 10th Tin, 15th Crystal, 20th China, 25th Silver, 30th Pearl, 40th Ruby, 50th Gold, 60th Diamond, 75th Platinum.
In English speaking countries the first, wooden, gift was cut on the day of celebration and then presented to the wife as a finished article before the next two quarter days had passed. The tradition may have originated in medieval Germany where, if a married couple lived to celebrate the 25th anniversary of their wedding, the wife was presented by her friends and neighbours with a silver wreath to congratulate them for the good fortune that had prolonged the lives of the couple for so many years. On celebration of the 50th, the wife received a wreath of gold.
Over time the number of symbols expanded and the German tradition came to assign gifts that had direct connections with each stage of married life. The symbols have changed over time. For example, in the United Kingdom, diamond was a well known symbol for the 75th anniversary, but this changed to the now more common 60th anniversary after Queen Victoria’s 60 years on the throne was widely marked as her Diamond Jubilee.
The origins of the current gift conventions date to 1937. Before that, only the 1st, 5th, 10th, 15th, 20th, 25th, 50th, and 75th anniversaries had an associated gift. In 1937, the American National Retail Jeweller Association (now known as Jewellers of America as a result of an organisational merger) introduced an expanded list of gifts. The revamped list gave a gift for each year up to the 25th and then for every fifth anniversary after that.
Anniversary Traditional Modern
1st Paper Clocks
2nd Cotton China
3rd Leather Crystal-Glass
4th Fruit-Flowers Appliances
5th Wood Silverware
6th Candy Iron-Wood
7th Wool Copper Desk Sets
8th Pottery/Bronze Linens/Lace
9th Willow Pottery Leather
10th Tin/Aluminium Diamond Jewellery
11th Steel Fashion Jewellery
12th Silk/Linen Pearls
13th Lace Textile Furs
14th (was ivory) Gold Jewellery
15th Crystal Watches
20th China Platinum
25th Silver Silver
30th Pearl Diamond
35th Coral Jade
40th Ruby Ruby
45th Sapphire Sapphire
50th Gold Gold
60th Diamond Diamond
We look forward to many more of our beloved couples celebrating their First Goddess Temple Wedding Anniversary!
From daffodils to the dawn chorus Spring is finally here in Avalon! Celebrated around March 20/21st Spring Equinox is also known as the Festival of Oestre, it is when there are equal hours of light and darkness. Spring conjours images of warm and bright days, bright and sunny after the darkness of winter. Everything in nature is coming alive and awakening, the sap is rising in plants and trees. Life is renewed. This is a time of balance, day and night is of equal length all over the world.
Oestre is symbolised by flowers, seeds and eggs and whose name was taken for Easter and where we get the direction East. At this time we celebrate Ostara, the Goddess of Light, Fire and Fertility. We also honour Grainne the Sun Goddess whose bright star is at the centre of our Solar System and is the most important source of energy for life on Earth.
Ostara shows Herself in the blossoms, the leaves on the trees, the sprouting of the crops, the mating of birds, the birth of young animals. In the agricultural cycle, it is time for planting. We are assured that life will continue.
The Spring Equinox celebration offers a sacred space to ponder and give thanks for the dream-time and inward journeying of winter, and vision what it is that you wish to seed for the coming season. As you set your intentions and let the gentle Spring breezes and warming days soften your heart, you join the process of creation and the shaping of your tomorrows.
Speak to us if you are considering a Spring wedding ceremony, the vibrant colours of the Temple dressed for Spring Equinox, make it a beautiful time of year to marry!
Jumping the Broom
Jumping the broom is a time honoured wedding tradition in which the couple jump over a broom during the ceremony. There have also been suggestions that the expression may derive from an actual custom of jumping over a “broomstick” (where “broom” refers to the plant, common Broom, which is native to the UK, and is associated with cleansing, rather than the household implement) associated with the Romanies of the UK especially those in Wales.
The act symbolises a new beginning and a sweeping away of the past, and can also signify the joining of two families or offer a respectful nod to family ancestors. For all of these reasons, jumping the broom is an increasingly popular part of many modern wedding ceremonies.
Today’s wedding brooms, however, are a far cry from those first used in jumping the broom ceremonies. They are still made with a wooden handle and natural bristles, but they are kept as treasured keepsakes and probably never actually used to sweep the floor.
Jumping the broom is held at the end of the ceremony and we do this in the Courtyard below the Temple. It is a great way to the end the ceremony, as well as being fun it is a great way to signify honouring and respect of your ancestors, their legacy, and your family heritage. It celebrates the Coming together of both families, and commitment to each other as a couple.
Finally, jumping the broom represents strength, love, togetherness, loyalty, and respect which is essential for a successful marriage.
If you would like to find out more about our traditional pagan/Goddess inspired, legal marriage ceremonies at Glastonbury Goddess Temple, please do get in touch!
Handfasting with a Hoop and Wand
There are many variations of the traditional handfasting. After the couple both declare their intent to enter into this union, the hands of the couple are clasped and fastened together with a cord or cords just after their vows are made to one another. The wrapping of the cord forms an infinity symbol. The handfasting knot that is tied is a symbolic representation of oneness between the couple. In a show of unity, they become bound to each other.
Here at Glastonbury Goddess Temple we ask our couples to bring a hoop and wand, hoop and hoop if the couple are two women and wand and wand if the couple are two men. The hoop is represents the Goddess, Her feminine energies and the yoni. The wand, represents the God, His masculine energies and the phallus.
This is a time for couples to become creative by making their making their own hoops and wands. We ask grooms to take time in Nature to look for their wood for the wand, either on their own or with men friends. It will be meaningful to them, either because it is from a favourite tree or a special place. The wand is carved, stripped or polished and decorated.
Brides sometimes get their hoops from florists or make themselves with withies. Priestess Registrar Sharlea Sparrow holds Hoop Making Workshops.
It is always such a delight to see the creativity and love that goes into the making of the hoops, especially the wands. They are such beautiful expressions of their love for their beloved.
The hoop and wand (or hoop and hoop, wand and wand) are joined together and held in the couples left hands. Two long lengths of ribbon are then used to bind these together, which symbolically creates a sacred marriage. Guests are then invited to tie small lengths of ribbon to the hoop and wand adding their love and blessings. Finally, the two ribbons used for the binding are knotted – this is where the expression tying the knot comes from.
As part of our legal marriage ceremonies, we incorporate this wonderful and meaningful tradition of the Handfasting with a Hoop and Wand, and the couple are left with a beautiful momento of the day, where all the guests have been included.
Our next Hoop Making Workshop with Priestess Registrar Sharlea Sparrow, will be held at the Glastonbury Goddess Temple, 8th April, 4.30 – 6.00pm. Cost £20. If you would like more information on this workshop, please contact us.