Monday, August 1, 2011

Waters of the World Ceremony

"We welcome you to Avalon
Thank you for bringing the Waters of your lands.
Together we'll make a great medicine of love."

The Goddess Conference here at Glastonbury ended yesterday with some beautiful rituals, and I find myself feeling at a loss to write it all, but I'll try.  Having done week long ritual cycles in the past, as well as leading a few around the work of the mask, I've experienced the kind of "group mind" or entrainment that happens when one works together in sacred space and "mythic mind".  That sounds pretty lame and academic - forgive me.

Imagine gathering the first day in groups of people who come from different parts of the world - in my case, from the "west".   We have all brought water from our homes, and speaking of this, we pour our water into a vessel, which later will become added to a vessel for all participants. As an opening ceremony, each group approaches the Priestesses of Avalon in a barge, "rowing" to share our waters to the magic isle.  This water will be joined with rituals at the "holy wells of Avalon", the Chalice Well and the White Spring.  Later small vials of this charged, healing, universal "water of the well, water of the world" are given to each of us to carry back, and we will all make a procession with our banners through the streets of Glastonbury to the river (which once was a great lake, the legendary home of the Lady of the Lake) to pour some of this water into the flowing waters.

Quite a wonderful sight, to see so many blue clad, singing women and men gathered waist high in the stream, with our vessels of water, and a woven mermaid!  Then a sharing of fruit, to remind all that the Goddess gives to us the fruits of the Earth, always, to share, and to receive.

The closing ceremony included a "give away" where all present exchanged gifts.  And I leave with my heart open, and my vials of water to share with other waters, and to remember.

You know, I honestly feel rather speechless - moved, changed by this experience, the ceremony, the people, the place.   The work is about the Goddess, and it is collective, and a field opens that is also deeply personal and transformative.  A "mystery".  One sees with mythic eyes, with archetypal vision, and waking life becomes a revelation.  For example,  at the river yesterday, I picked a branch of elderberries, finding them beautiful, and wanting to add them to the "fruits" being shared, but decided it wasn't a good idea.  I wasn't even sure they were edible.  Some seeing me with them in my hand told me that they were very magical, connected to the Crone and the Goddesses of the underworld.  That's why they were called "elderberry".  She also said they made medicine from them, and Elderberry wine.

I carried those darkly beautiful berries all the way back, thinking as I returned (wet) from the river, and pouring our waters into the worlds waters thus, about my soon to be 62nd birthday.  I'll be eligible for early retirement now.  I'm entering old age, and I don't know what it means - it's this cycle of my life now.  Sometimes, to be honest, I feel very sad and lonely in the midst of it all.  Elderberries, bearing elderberries from the river...............  Crone medicine.

When I got to the cafe at the Assembly Hall, gathering for the closing rituals, the cook was saying to someone "Oh, someone left a nice bottle of elderberry wine here last night.  Potent stuff.  "(!) 

I was amazed. since I was standing there with the same berries in my hand - so I asked her if I could try it!

And so I sat, waiting for the "gifting ceremony", with a nice glass of (like she said, potent stuff!) elderberry wine in my hand, feeling awed, and as if, on top if it all, I had some very magical "medicine" that had just been gifted to me, even before the "gifting ceremony" had begun.  Elderberry wine.  Healing tonic....... gifts of the crone goddess, potency.

It works that way. The huge generosity of world, and when people come together in love and ritual.........when we forgive, love, and join the waters.........

At the closing, white veils were drawn, the "mists of Avalon", and we left for homelands, bearing our vials of love, and "holy-wholly" water. From the Well of the Lady, the Well of becoming...........


Lammas blessings to all.


John Webb said...

The Elder tree has a lot of magical associations, and is also called 'Fairy Tree'. Lots of folklore about the Mother of the Elder tree:

The wood is so powerful it was used to make Harry Potter's wand:

Botany books say that the name comes from an Anglo-Saxon word, aeld, which means 'fire'.

You'll have to take a bottle of elder wine home, if your suitcase isn't full, and provided bottles of high-octane liquids are allowed on planes.

Lauren Raine said...

hey, thanks so much Robur! This adds to the magic.......I definately will try to take some home, if only I can.

Valerianna said...

Elder blessings.... I love elderberry. Its such a healing berry. Wonderful rituals, thanks for sharing. Safe travels home and may you carry the peace of the Goddess with you! Blessings from the forest.

John Webb said...

I don't know if you see any BBC TV here. There's a very popular program just after the 6pm News called the One Show. I don't normally watch it, but just happened to catch it tonight (Monday).

They had a live report from a site in Northumberland where they are constructing a huge Goddess in the landscape.

There's nothing about this on the BBC website. This is a report from a newspaper from last month:

More artist's impressions of the Goddess:

Martine said...

you leave me speechles Lauren!
To show a foto of my beautiful friend whom i spoke of yesterday. Thats a real surprise..........I'm so glad you met.
Elderberry, i dont eat or drink but dye my cloths with it.

Gail said...

Reading about it with your wonderful descriptions is the next best thing to being there.

Lauren Raine said...

Thank you! Robur, the "green Goddess" is amazing, and I am going to post it next. I'll also write to you to let you know - thanks so much, amazing!

Martine - that is a coincidence! The fact is, I don't know your friend - I just pulled some images off of Google Images, because I didn't take any photos. The last image (from a previous year) shows a woman wearing a belt exactly like the belt I bought in Glastonbury, wore for the festival, and "gave away" at the giveaway ceremony. I wonder if it is the same?

Gail......wish you were here!

Martine said...

My friend is the one in the first picture, i'm sure she has been happy there as last year.
Thanks for the picture.

Rozanna said...

How I am vicariously loving your trip! What a beautiful adventure. I have recently been introduced to Elderflower syrup, and a yummy concoction with fizzy water (everclear optional for the cocktail hour!)- it it fairy elixir to be sure, and made me think of you. How cool to read of your experience with the berries! I recommend packing some syrup for your return trip to help you remember! My friend has to order it from England when any friends travel from there!
Keep writing, please!