This year there was a smaller gathering than usual but there was a lot less tension around as well. There was a clearer atmosphere on Tara this year as we arrived at 2am on the Saturday before the Solstice Sunrise on the 21st of June 09. The OPW and some angry looking security men had parked their vans and jeeps nearest to the gate and placed red and white banded tape to link them all up. They stood around like a gang looking for a fight. They are desperate for an incident to then be able to force some undeclared agenda on access to Tara. They did not get what they wanted.
We got parking beside Tara Hall, the cafe / bookshop and robed up and made our way to meet and greet the others. Five of us were at Rath Grainne on Tara to watch the Sun rise on the start of its longest day - we were on the northern slope of the hill of Tara, quiet and peaceful with the clouds high in the sky. In the background we could sometimes hear drumming from the top of Tara Hill and when the wind changed we could hear silence with occasional birdsong - a timelessness.
We were early and we just waited and watched the horizon. Occasionally security men wandered about to check us out and give us harsh looks but they faded into pointlessness.
Tara, 5am ish, Sunrise on the 21st from Rath Grainne is shown on the photo below.
After the Sun sneaked through the cloud layers we made our way back to the car park and had some breakfast. We rested and assembled again for 8am to go to the Holy Well to collect water for the 8pm ceremony of dancing and drumming. A few more had joined us and we each filled bottles with water from the Well of the Dark Eye for later on. We blessed the water with our intention for love and light and happiness.
We assembled at 1pm beside the Mound of the Hostages for the Sun ceremony - because the Sun is at its highest and most southerly position at 1pm and not at noon during the Summer. Standing up at the Mound of the Hostages we shared some easy chat and then we held our ritual - the Sun briefly shone for us, later the day got much brighter and the sky showed patches of blue.
Back at the car park I sat on the grassy bank and began to sew up a one-piece medieval leather shoe for a Drui Fasach (druid of knowledge) of our Grove. Now in tee-shirt, with 6 hours to the next ceremony we were in �meet and greet mode� and met many of the Protectors of Tara and many locals too. Michael Maguire from the Tara Hall cafe / shop came over and gave myself and Niamh some warm �sticky toffee pudding� and had the craic with us for a while. Following his interest in the shoes I said I would give some to him for his shop and we will see what happens...
About 8ish we went to the Rath of the Synods and began to set up for the �Drum and Dance circle�. There was quite a few people about considering that attendance was down on previous years especially last year with the aggressive stance of the authorities. I placed the quartz crystals in the center of our dance location.
We drummed and we danced and we roared and the little kids and big kids all loved it. A celebration of freedom - chaos with good intention. For more than half an hour there was dancing and drumming and in Irish the dancers called on the Ancestors to wake up, get up and dance and finally we all called on Tara. When everyone was panting for breath I called it all to end and got the little ones to come into the center to pick a quartz stone to take home. Then it was the turn of the big ones to get their memory rock. All simple fun,young and old dancing and drumming, running in circle and at the end of it all each got a rock to take home. Mixed through the rock were some semi-precious stones I had gathered over the years, some stones and sand from beside the great pyramid of Egypt, some white quartz from west Cork and Achaill island and some red quartz from Ireland�s Druidschool.
After this the drummers kept the energy going and the shy ones came in for a magic rock to take home. Old friends came over and said hello and some asked for photo�s standing beside me - I always say yes and an always amused by this. In the image below you can see a man with a beard and a hat - this is JP a dedicated Protector of Tara. I had paid a prison visit to JP and three others when they were held at Cloverhill Prison a while back. A man of knowledge - JP brings great strength to the Protectors of Tara.
Then a lady with a wish tree came by and was asking people to write wishes on paper and to tie them to the tree she carried. Most present were delighted to write a wish and tie it to the tree on her back. Maybe she was Mother Earth and the tree was the spirit of all trees - my wish was for all the wishes to come true quickly.
To close the evening we went to the west side of Tara and gathered by the Fairy Tree as the Sun was setting. It stands alone while most if not all trees on Tara are in hedges or banks - it is out on its own. One bigish branch had died and showed no leaf - maybe a sorrow that relates to the forced troll road in the sacred valley of the White Mare in the Royal City of Tara. We each took a piece of this dead branch to remember the life force that once flowed. The rest of the tree is strong and healthy and maybe new growth next year will replace the dead branch. An orb showed in the phote below - a little ball of light to balance the light from the Lantern. The lantern had been given to us from a series of lanterns that were lit from the Vigil Fire on Tara by the Protectors of Tara. Others had similar lanterns that were to be brought to the four provinces of Ireland. May the Light from Tara and the people of Ireland shine on.
22 June 2009
ps I�ll post the videos of the dance and drum circle later this week