There’s a place close to where we live that holds many secrets. Mystery seeps from the land there.
Even the name, Haddock’s Fold is something of an enigma – we’re 20 miles from the sea and there’s not a haddock in sight! It’s the place of our ancestors, nestled under a meadow, looking out over a lake and is the spot we chose for our summer solstice celebration.
The farmstead is long gone, the last tenants evicted to make way for the reservoir on whose bank the ruins now sit.
We marked winter solstice here so it seemed fitting to welcome the summer solstice sun from this sacred spot too, and the weather was perfect. Our gathering was necessarily small, a circle of 11 not including the cows who seemed very intent on joining us at one point, almost half our number were children.
As the sun dipped to the horizon we opened the quarters, sensing the elements course through our being. We drummed as the sun traversed beyond our sight and ritually honoured the solar event.
Solstice fire reflected warm and red in the waters to our west, owl hooted from the beeches to our east, bats circled, mirroring our circle.
We ate, sang, drank, laughed and swapped tales until the early hours, grabbing some sleep in the arms of Anglezarke our heartland until the sun woke us, serenaded by bird song.
Buzzard soared high overhead as we greeted the morning light together before slowly, mindfully, closing the circle and thanking the quarters for holding the sacred space so well.
Our central candle stayed lit all night in the centre of our altar cloth.
With joyful spirits we sang our closing song, led by the little ones, and then headed home for a hearty breakfast knowing that we had honoured both the turning of the wheel and the gift of our ancestors on a beautiful evening that will stay with us for ever.
With thanks to fellow solstice celebrant Steve for these wonderful images.