A group of about fifteen pilgrims assembled outside the White Spring at one to restart the tradition of walking to celebrate Imbolc on Bride’s mound in the afternoon. It was a bright and breezy day, and it was good to be back after the intermission last year due to the coronavirus pandemic. This Imbolc is unusual in that it was also the lunar Dark of the Moon and the Chinese New Year of the Tiger.
We waited at a few places along the journey to let people catch up, and perhaps some who didn’t care for the full length of the walk to join us part-way along.
The first stop was at the Glastonbury Market Cross, where Serena talked about the auspicious triple calendar day this year, and a little bit about our destination.
The wind was starting to pick up, and a few more people joined in as we made our way down to the old site of Glastonbury railway station, which is in the industrial estate near the timber yard. We used the side of one of Colin White’s sheds to protect us from the wind, as Serena told us about the 1990s tradition of the Bride Doll, which would be taken to the Assembly Rooms in the evening. Throughout the day the men would be decorating the hall, and women were free in the day. This is where Serena had the idea of inaugurating the pilgrimage that we are following today.
The next stage is a walk along Porchestall Drove to Cradle Bridge, where we get onto the footpath leading to the FOBM land along the side of the River Brue.
Part of the way along this is the current location of the Bride’s Well Stone. The well was sadly lost in the last century as the embankments were raised to contain the river.
The Beckery Salmon and the ford onto the island
From this point on the bank Joanne led the pilgrims, inviting people to walk in silence and reflect on what they wanted to let go in their lives and what they wanted to bring into their lives, ready for the fire ceremony on Bride’s Hill, where some people had already gathered for the ceremony as the pilgrims arrive.
The Fire Ceremony
Serena concluded the ceremony with this reading from a book on the Coligny lunarsolar calendar honouring Bride.
And the customary offering round of her primrose country wine.
With that, dear reader, the friends of Bride’s mound wish you a happy Imbolc, turning point of the year and a returning of the warmth.
all photos and media by Richard Mudhar