On Sunday the 18th of October five members of the Dark Moon grove celebrated the start of the Celtic New Year with triple fires at triple sacred sites. This is the report on our activities on that special day - from 4pm to 1am we were in ceremony. We started at 4pm at Tobar Tlachtga (aka the Druid's Well) on the northern slopes of the Hill of the Bard/Ward/Tlachtga. This is an immersion well that was cut into the ground water table a long time ago. It survived being re-named and even today it is known locally as the Druids Well.
We visit this well and sprinkle water form other holy wells that we have collected for this day. We each make a wish. We can just stand here and be. The five of us agreed that it is time to restore this well again as it is overgrown.
Then we went back to our cars and got ready for the face painting Lady and her magic doctor bag of paints and glitters and mirrors and submitted our faces for improvement before the main ceremony.
I was not told what I was to be painted up as - I just kept my hat on and said "not the beard, not the beard". I was quite impressed with the oak leaves. Scary and Happy both did their own faces having worked out a scheme ages ago.
It was getting darker at this stage and the madness was beginning to show....
Red John was unsure what was being painted on his face but they were kind enough and did not do the beard. Maybe this is why he is smiling.
Now we had held a water ceremony at Tobar Tlachtga and had our faces painted as the sun was setting. We made our way up to the four ring ceremonial enclosure on top of the hill and set up the fire box and prepared to create a new fire spirit. We held our End and Start of the Year Ceremony in Irish (as Gaelige) just as the Sun disappeared and the skies darkened. Then Red John and Denise prepared to create a new fire spirit. (flash used for the next image)
The down of the thistle was collected at Loughcrew/Slaibh na Callighe and and the moss was collected off an old oak tree on Tara by Red John who assembled the spark catcher to create the new flame. This was done in a tin and Denise took this new fire spirit to the sacred fire box. (flash used for the next image)
He had thought it through as our second sacred fire of the evening was to be at Tara and our third sacred fire of the evening was to be at Loughcrew/Sliabh na Callighe. In the image below you can see the new fire spirit being transferred by Denise. (flash used for the next image)
The image below shows Denise bringing the flame to the fire box and an almost audible sigh of relief as the kindling in the fire box began to burn. (flash used for the next image)
The new fire spirit does a snake dance for us. We were thrilled. Maybe these are the snakes that someone tried to ban a long time ago...
Once again we had made the new flame for the new year at Tlachtga, we were pleased and posed for a group shot taken by Happy - see below. Those who know us and have stood with us in ceremony on Tara and elsewhere will know that we have great fun doing what we do.
The next two images show the ecstasy of the dance of the new fire spirit in it first flush of life. It is hungry and we feed it with selected wild wood and just watch the sparks and the leaping of the flames.
The last image is of Scary holding a lantern that we were given by the Tara Protectors last year. The fire spirit was transferred to this lantern to be taken to Tara and then on to Loughcrew/Sliabh na Callighe. Others joined us at Tara and we had our second fire of the evening - then we went to Loughcrew by 1am and had the third fire - we were exhausted but happy at the same time.