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.
Every year thousands of people visit Glastonbury, to see the sacred sights, to walk the land and to connect to the energies. Not surprisingly many people then choose to marry here rather than where they live. This sacred land feels like home to many… it’s a place that opens peoples hearts and awakens their souls.
For people trying to plan their Magical Avalon Wedding, it can sometimes feel slightly overwhelming with all the different aspects to think about. Not only is there the ceremony but there’s everything else, like the reception, food, music, flowers, wedding cake, photographer….
So how do you start to organise something like this?!
First you need to decide what kind of reception you would like. Is it a small, intimate gathering or do you want to let your hair down and have a good old party! Many of the restaurants in town do cater for smaller Weddings. If you are looking for something larger, you would need to hire a function room and a caterer and staff. Have you thought about where wedding photos at all of them? There is so much choice as to where you can have your photos… the Tor, the Chalice Well and the Abbey are all a possibility. Have you thought about flowers and cakes? There are some very gifted artists that will create something more enchanting and magical than you could have ever have imagined. Have you thought about music? There are some great local ceremonial musicians and some fantastic celtic bands… both sure to make your Wedding as beautiful and memorable as possible!
Once you have an idea of what you want, the next step is to come to Glastonbury to meet all the different businesses that may be able to help you. We are lucky and blessed to have some truly creative and talented people working here. If you need help or recommendations with anything, get in touch.
The Waters of Avalon by Dawn Kinsella
In ancient times Glastonbury (Glass-town-borough) and the surrounding hills were islands in a swampy inland sea called the Sea of Glass. Shrouded in the mists which rose from the Sea, the Tor was often all that could be seen of the island. This is a most beloved image in legends of The Isle of Avalon. It was during the summer months of June onwards that the ancient peoples who lived on the Isle would find the waters warm enough to swim in, and so the Avalonion wheel has the element of Water in the South, other paths such a Wicca for example would have Water in the West.
Over time, the sea, fed by fresh water from the surrounding hills, began to fill with silt. Reeds began to grow in the shallower waters and slowly the sea filled in, creating swamps and later dry land. Further drainage took place when channels were built to drain the remaining water away until today there is no sign of the ancient sea.
The land remembers the waters and we are blessed here on the Isle with the red & white springs that make their way from deep underground to pour out from several places, such as the White Spring and Chalice Well. The red spring contains a high amount of iron and is the colour red, staining the stone it flows over with the earthy pigment of blood, symbolising the feminine and the Motherline. The water of the White Spring is highly calcified and often solidifies as a white crystalline deposit and symbolises the masculine and the Fatherline. Avalon literally floats on the surface of the waters and amplifies the energies here of the ley lines that crosses through the centre point that is the Tor.
The blessing for Water takes place in the South of the elemental altar (which is a demarcated flower circle marking the compass points & elements of Air in the North, Fire in the East, Water, South & Earth in the West). The entire ceremony is conducted within the circle and it is during this part of the ceremony where you exchange rings, say your vows and legal words of marriage. During the ceremony we often refer tothe amazing work of Dr. Masaru Emoto and his discoveries of how water has memory and changes its molecular structure when blessed. As Priestesses of Avalon and your Celebrants, we bless the waters which infuse the molecules and frequency of love. Your Priestess invites you at this point to hold the Chalice and feel with thought and intention the cellular essence of love into the waters, before you both drink of the sacredness of love essence within.
We now offer your own Chalice made just for you for your special day. Our ceramist mixes some of the natural clay from the Avalonion landscape into the white clay and shapes the Chalice with waters from the sacred springs. Please contact us for more details.
Happy Solstice by Sharlea Sparrow
After what seems a long and cold winter we are approaching the Summer Solstice. The Avalonian Wheel celebrates and honours Domnu and other Goddesses of Water. To me this makes sense as the North Pole tilts towards the South Pole and we love to enjoy the beaches at this time of year.
Summer Solstice becomes busy with weddings and enquiries for the weddings team. I decided to do a little research as to why it is still a popular time to marry.
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. She is also the protector of women in all aspects of life, but especially in marriage and childbearing
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 (and grooms) 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.
However, we conduct weddings throughout the year at the Goddess Temple. We love weddings, whichever be the month that they are held in. Whether summer, spring, winter or autumn, a wedding is always a special event. Having said this, there are practical reasons why June is a wonderful month to marry – the days are longer with the promise of warmer evenings, summertime is full of joyful colour, summer is the best season for flowers and of course summer bounty makes menu planning easy.
I shall finish with a photo of the many Love in a Mist flowers that fill my garden now throughout the summer. They are the blues of oceans and waterways and are also known as bride-in-the -hair!
Happy Beltane by Dawn Kinsella
Beltane honours life, representing the peak of spring and the beginning of summer. Mother Earth’s energies are at their strongest and most active! All of life is bursting with potent fertility and at this point in the Wheel of the Year, the potential becomes conception. 30th April is Beltane Eve and this is when the sexuality of life and the earth is at its peak. Abundant fertility, on all levels, is the central theme. The Goddess has reached Her fullness and is at her most sensual.
It is on this day that Priestesses and Priests from the Goddess Temple celebrate the Beltane rites – a public ceremony, with all attending invited to dance around the Maypole, winding the many coloured ribbons in the dance and celebration of life. During the day the ground is prepared by the Priestesses. A hole is carefully dug and lined with flowers, fruits and garlands, this is blessed as the sacred yoni or gateway and represents the gateway of all life. The Priests and men of the Temple prepare the Maypole and ceremonially activate the masculine energies within the living wood, before it is planted into the body of the Mother, the Earth.
As Beltane is the Great Wedding of the Goddess and the God, it is a popular time for Pagan Weddings or Handfastings. Here in the Glastonbury Goddess Temple we call in the sacred sensual energies of the Goddess Rhiannon and dress the Temple in vibrant reds and greens. Rhiannon is a Sovereignty Goddess, whom the king must wed to legitimise his rule. A Goddess of Transformation, She uses her powers for love of others or self. She shines in our hearts as an example of true love and beauty. She appears in both the first and third branches of the Medieval Welsh stories, The Mabinogion, a narrative which grew out of the ancient myths of the Celtic Gods and Goddesses. Rhiannon is associated with the moon, horses, horseshoes, songbirds, gates, the wind, and the number 7.
Spring Equinox and the Festival of Oestre is the time when we celebrate the Mothers of Fire! We honour Ostara, Goddess of Light, Fire and Fertility and to Grainne, the Sun Goddess, for bringing her warmth and life back to our lands.
In Avalon the days are getting longer and lighter, and everything is springing to life! The sap is rising and we see buds on the branches of the trees and beautiful yellow daffodils and spring flowers appearing everywhere. The animals are coming to life as well! The birds are rebuilding their nests and looking for new mates, and the baby animals are being birthed everywhere.
It is a wonderful time of year! For us this is a time of renewed energy. After the long winter months of resting and hibernating, the light and warmth brings new energy and life. Our creativity and passions start to stir and we begin to work on our projects and ideas that we would like to manifest.
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 rather than the household implement) associated with the Romanis 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. Read More…
As our physical body has seven energy centres or chakras, so does our beloved Mother Earth! Glastonbury is considered to be the planetary heart chakra of the world and boy can you feel the love! Glastonbury attracts people from all over the world. Some people come on spiritual pilgrimage to visit the sacred sites of the Tor, the Goddess Temple, the Chalice Well and the Abbey. Others come for healing and refuge, or to visit the wonderful New Age shops. Recently it has also become a key destination for couples to get married in! It’s not surprising as there is so much to offer couples. We have the amazing Goddess Temple which offers beautiful legal weddings. These beautiful ceremonies weave together your spiritual beliefs, elemental blessings and your sacred words of LOVE. They are utterly divine, a tonic to the soul, touching the heart of everyone that attends.
Glastonbury, Isle of Avalon, has long been known as a place of sacred pilgrimage. From our distant past to now, in this fast and modern world, Avalon has beckoned the pilgrim to come and experience these strange, otherworldly energies. All who come here feel the quickening of their soul’s journey in many different ways that are pertinent to the visitor: one thing is certain, everyone feels something and this ‘something’ has changed the life course of many.
Living and working here on the Isle in my vocation as a Priestess of Avalon in the Goddess Temple, I meet many people from different cultures and countries and the one thing that seems to be a common thread is that people get a strong sense of ‘coming home’. Often this is interpreted as literally feeling that Glastonbury is home, however I feel that it means something far more than that to each person. This feeling of coming home is the only expression in our vocabulary to describe this sensory connection and it seems to me, and many others that have experienced the same, that it is more a sense of coming home to ourselves, to ‘know ourselves.’ This is something that feels like an essential truth. In today’s fast paced society and patriarchal paradigm we truly do not know who we are. At birth we are given our name, we are someone’s daughter/son, a pupil or student from a young age, an employee, we literally are layered with the identity labels that we wear throughout our lives.
As part of your Sacred marriage experience we are pleased to offer you a new and exciting workshop for couples! Sacred Smithing is held by our wonderful Smith Dave Goddard (also known as Hugs). It is a deep ritual journey of connection to the elements through the ancient craft of blacksmithing.
Hugs will take you on a ceremonial journey to create your very own sacred object or a heart or circle. This will be done in ceremony, using the sacredness of the four elements. Your creation will be woven into your bespoken wedding ceremony on the day.