by Gemma & Alex Hughes
The Male altar at Ostara
Ostara is considered by some as the first day of spring, a time for new beginnings, for hope and personal growth. In some traditions it is at this time that the horned god is reborn, which has been represented by the god Pan. Pan is a god of the wild and is connected with shepherds, fertility, spontaneity and music.
To represent the equinox in this time of balance, the altar decoration includes a disc representing the sun and the moon, each occupying half the circle.
The Female altar at Ostara
Ostara is the spring equinox when the day and the night are the same length. To honour this time of balance, a circle is made up of two equal halves has been placed on the altar. At the centre of the circle a sunstone and a moonstone shine brightly in harmony alongside each other.
As mother nature pulls on her spring cloak of bright new growth, birds are busy nesting and laying eggs. The nest on the altar represents this time of activity. It has been woven from ivy and the eggshells were found whilst out walking, honouring the birds without taking anything from them.
by Faye Morgana
The Journey through the wheel this year has seen us host 7 wonderful ceremonies in the temple. We would like to thank all those who have supported these ceremonies and made them successful. We are back again to round off the year with our Winter Solstice ceremony which will continue our exploration of the elements, this time focusing on Air.
Air is a wonderful element to connect with. It’s dual nature to be able to cleanse us, and also to bring in inspiration and rejuvenate us. So if you are unable to attend the temple or our ceremony during this, possibly the busiest of seasons, we invite you to find some time for Air. I have to say my favourite thing is a walk on a windy day. Feeling the air on my face whilst the rest of me is wrapped up warm, the wind blowing my hair back, I can envisage it blowing through my soul, releasing the old and what no longer serves and leaving room for new, fresh air. Fresh ideas and inspirations are carried in on the breeze.
My favourite place to do this is on Brean Down, but if that’s not possible any hill will do! I’ve even been known just to stick my head out of a window at home, or wind down all the windows of my car for the drive home, whatever is going to work for you!
Whilst we enjoy being comfy and cosy in temple with cushions and blankets, at the end of the day, Paganism is all about connecting with the seasons of the land!
We are excited to announce that 'Ceremony Weavers of the Wheel' will now also be facilitating rituals at Stanton Drew stone circle for the Cross Quarter festivals of Samhain, Imbolc, Beltane and Lammas!
Our first was at Samhain and we would be delighted to have you join us for our next at Imbolc! The atmosphere at the Stones is wonderful and their power palpable. Dress for the elements and join us for a beautiful ritual!
by Faye Morgana
For 5 fabulous years Gemma and Alex have brought stories to life for our youngest visitors. With gorgeous hand crafted puppets to help tell the story of Luna Moon Hare and original tales penned by themselves, they give meaning to the wheel of the year to the next generation.
So now the younger children will be in the big room for stories, dancing and crafting. The older children will be in temple itself and there will be an age appropriate guided meditation, discussion on what the current season means to them and crafting of spiritual items in keeping with the season.
by Dawn Osborne-Tiller
In October we held the first “Tarot Talk” group. This is a group to discuss and share and learn from each other, rather than a “taught” lesson.
We brought along and shared our favourite decks, and there were a great variety of them! There was a range of experience in the room from experienced readers to beginners, people who only read for themselves, and people who are thinking of taking tentative steps to reading for others.
There was no such thing as a stupid question, which led to some helpful hints on how to shuffle those larger cards! The time flew by and people said how lovely it was to have the opportunity to discuss their hobby, passion, and pick up some hints and tips.
The group will be back in February, so watch the Temple page for further details.
Check the dates for Talking Tarot:
by Gemma & Alex Hughes
The Male altar at Yule
The traditional feasting of yule is represented in the light box scene surrounded by mistletoe and holly. This greenery represents life in these dark days indicating good things to come and some traditions believe mistletoe represents / enhances male fertility.
The Female altar at Yule
Mistletoe is believed by some to have healing and protective qualities, and for this reason it adorns the head of the goddess statue. This plant has long been revered by Druids and other traditions as magical and sacred, borne between the earth and the heavens. During the cold winter months its vibrant green leaves and dazzling white berries grow in the bows of leafless trees. Many people hang mistletoe in their home all year round to ward off evils spirits, burning the old sprig and replacing it with a new one each Yule.
The winter solstice is not only the shortest day but also the longest night. In celebration of the night the spiral doll honours the moon goddess. Above her head she holds a moonstone and on her back the dark swirls represent the shadows on the other side of the moon.
The smudge fan represents the element of air, which Is honoured at this time of year by the Wheel of Avalon goddess tradition.
by Priestess Ruth Llyn Cogan
We are happy to announce a new monthly ritual is coming to the Bristol Goddess Temple. Starting in January the Priestesses and Sisters of Cerridwen will be holding a Dark Moon Ritual. This will take place each month at a date close to the actual dark moon, and before the new moon when the priestess healers open the temple for the New Moon Healing event. The dark moon is a significant time of increased intuition and self-awareness, and during this moon phase we will gather in ritual to reflect, release, and raise energy to offer gratitude and send healing where most needed.
As these events will be a ritual and not a ceremony of seasonal celebration, we will be working magically in a safely held sacred space, invoking the Celtic Goddess Cerridwen into our circle. Cerridwen, Goddess of the Cauldron of Testing, Transformation and Rebirth. Who better to bring the change we need to see in the world right now. Each month we will introduce an aspect of Cerridwen and how she informs our devotional work. We will be adapting the directional Wheel of Ana as we create a sacred space, and including a guided meditation, chanting, magical working/activity, and time for reflection. This is deep work, and the theme of each month will be different and relevant.
So come along and join the Priestesses and Sisters of Cerridwen for a Dark Moon Ritual, a monthly magical ritual of release, gratitude and healing. A time to gather our power as Goddess loving people and invoke the Goddess; when together we will activate our magic through song, reflection, dance and action; raising energy for healing to be sent into the world.
May the energy flow.
So mote it be.
Check the dates for Dark Moon Ritual and how to book:
by Ruth Parham
The longest night, the shortest day. The still point of the darkest hours of winter. In the Northern Hemisphere, the sun appears to pause for three days at the southernmost stage of its journey along the horizon, before beginning its slow path back northwards, giving us an increase of light each day. At the moment of the Winter Solstice – which this year is at 21:47 on Wednesday 21st December – the North Pole of our planet is at its furthest from the sun.
Druids celebrate this moment at the festival of Alban Arthan, when the Sun Child is reborn. In the Goddess tradition, we honour Danu, Mother of Air, as well as the Cailleach or Veiled One – aspects of the Divine Feminine that express the awe of the deep starry sky, the dominion of winter and the duality of death and rebirth, creation and destruction. For thousands of years, as their monuments of stone bear witness, our ancestors watched, waited for and presumably celebrated the Winter Solstice as the rebirth of the sun.
They would have known that spring follows winter as surely as day follows night. Today we put up our small lights to brighten the darkness and bring the evergreens indoors to remind ourselves that the green flame of growth never truly dies. Warmth and light will return to the earth!
And yet, let’s not ignore the teachings of the darkness and the act of wintering. All of nature – which includes us – needs a time to slow down, pause, rest and restore itself, gathering energy for the active time of spring and summer. Finding a way to sit and watch a flickering fire, walking in your nearest open space and noticing the winter with all your senses, lighting a candle in a dark room and watching the interplay of light and shadow, or just allowing yourself to do less, when you can, and giving yourself that time to sit with your thoughts and notice what wants to come up… these are just a few ways in which to honour the cycles of nature in our own lives.
Come and visit us at Bristol Goddess Temple to connect with the sacred and yourself in our beautiful, warm space. All are welcome.
We wish you a blessed Winter Solstice, Yule and Christmas.
by Faye Morgana
As we enter Mabon properly I can’t help but feel excited as the beauty of Autumn envelopes us. Yes, it’s sad to say goodbye to the hazy summer days, but Autumn is just such a lovely season. Crisp mornings, crunchy leaves and the world begins its journey into quiet calm. Not to mention the best season of all (for me), Samhain is quickly approaching.
Ceremony Weavers of the Wheel has had the joy of facilitating ceremonies to celebrate the glorious exciting spring energies, sensuous Beltane, and joyous summer, but autumn’s call to return to deep inner spiritual workings is irresistible.
A simple thing you can do to open yourself to the changing energies is make a change yourself. So this season we invite you to mix up your routine. This could be something small. Maybe switching off the radio or TV in the morning and looking out of the window or sitting outside in the crisp air. Maybe get off the bus one stop early and walk part of the way home. I for example always do a particular walk on a Wednesday, and I always find myself going around the park the same way round, yet this week I chose to walk round in the other direction.
The stability of the routine walk is great for body and soul, yet a simple tweak of walking a different or reverse way opens you up to noticing again. So often we are caught up in the business of our minds, by mindfully mixing things up it causes us to take notice, and at this time of year spiritual messages may be coming through that we miss. Awaken your senses and take notice once more before we return to a time of stillness and reflection. Be open to change, be open to receive, what message does the universe want you to receive?
We invite you to join us at our ceremonies if you can, and journey through the dark half of the year with us!
They will all be on a Sunday 12-1:30pm
18th September - Mabon
30th October - Samhain
18th December - Yule
by Faye Morgana
Bristol Goddess Temple has been so happy to call Warmley Clocktower our home for an amazing 5 years. The temple space is so lovely and peaceful and was decorated perfectly for our needs.
As our community has grown we have been using the larger room next-door for many of our events; Moonlodge Red Tent, turn of the Wheel ceremonies, singing and chanting, gong meditations, Children's hour and many more. This room has witnessed and held us through both tears of joy and sadness.
So to honour what this room gives to us, and for the other communities using the space, The Friends of Bristol Goddess Temple decided it was time to give back!
The tired yellow walls have been given some TLC. A fresh coat of paint has been lovingly applied, the white stone wall refreshed! We have also painted one wall white so it will be suitable for a projector for talks. Curtains have been made in a lustrous green to give privacy when needed.
We are so happy and honoured to have been allowed by the custodians of the building to do this and we hope it brings joy to people who attend our events and the many other groups who use the room.
by Ruth Parham
As the Wheel turns towards the Autumn Equinox, we become more and more aware of the Earth moving into the darker half of the year, with changes in the light, the temperature and the trees, animals and plants all around us.
Many will celebrate this festival as Mabon, while in the Avalonian tradition, we honour the Earth Goddess: Banba, Gaia, Mother of harvest – the second harvest of fruits and berries.
Druids celebrate this season as Alban Elfed, marking the time of balance between light and dark, a sacred pause to look back with gratitude for the blessings of Spring and Summer, while acknowledging the power and potential of the approaching darkness.
Without the descent of the vital energy of the plants into their roots, the moist richness of the falling leaves blanketing and nourishing the earth, and the cold that brings rest and hibernation, there will be no glorious green Spring and abundant Summer!
We don’t have evidence from prehistory of specific celebrations of the equinox, but there is no doubt that the changes in the earth and the sky would have been observed by our ancestors, whose lives and survival depended on living in step with the natural world.
Autumn would have been a time of harvesting and storing nuts, berries and roots, finding ingenious ways to preserve them for the winter months. Often when we celebrate harvest we focus on the blessings of abundance and manifestation, but there is another aspect to the harvest: a lot of work and husbandry is still needed before that abundance can be transmuted into nourishment that will keep us warm and fed until we start to see the green shoots of Spring again.
Today we are lucky enough to have lots of options at our disposal for making the most of Autumn’s bounty: we can make jams, vinegars, honeys, alcoholic tinctures; we can cook, bake and freeze, as well as drying or pickling our harvest, whether of hedgerow or garden.
However, it’s easy to get carried away, so if you are foraging, remember to leave plenty on the bushes for the birds and small mammals.
How do you mark the Autumn Equinox? If you’re someone who greets it with sadness for the end of summer and dread of the nights drawing in and the cold months, you might want to find a way of bringing in the light and warmth in small rituals, whether with candles, incense or a meditative few minutes with an uplifting warm drink.
Get as much daylight as you can, especially in the morning – even 20 minutes will be beneficial. Maybe keep a journal for the dark half of the year and explore your feelings around it.
If you love and look forward to this time, may you find the time you need to rest in the autumnal hush and sense the Earth drawing in, ready for her own long rest.
Either way, the Bristol Goddess Temple is the perfect place to connect with the energies of the season and all are welcome, whatever your path.
Blessings of the Autumn Equinox to you!