Second Daughter and I just came back from a week in the UK. We had a brilliant time staying with my friend “down South” – I also have friends “up North”! – and visiting Stonehenge and Glastonbury. Of course a single post will not be enough, so I will start with Samhain, or Halloween, in the Chalice Gardens, Glastonbury.
Thankfully arriving under menacing but dry skies, this wonderful place worked its magic on us straight away. It was twilight, and the numerous candle jars or tea lights artfully disposed in the most important spots added to the spell. There were lanterns too, guiding us along the paths.
Second Daughter first went to see the Grand Wizard, who welcomed her to the Chalice Well School of Wizardry. He gave her a stone and sent her on her way. The first stop was the beautiful Light Mandala, set amongst the Yew trees. A big wood fire was built in the middle, waiting to crackle. It was asked of the children to spent some quiet time there and light a candle of kindness with someone or somewhere in mind.
We then visited the nearby Water Wizard waiting for us by the source. The kids were shown how to play a tune with water bottles filled at different levels, and received a small plastic bottle to fill on their next stop, the Lions Head.
Once this was completed, we waited for Second Daughter to have her session with the Wishing Wizard. I remained at a distance while she talked with him. She was told to throw the stone given by the Grand Wizard into the well while making a wish for someone else. As everybody knows, wishes have to remain secret to work, don’t they?
Reaching the top of the gardens, we encountered a very modern Sky Wizard…. Armed with his iPad and running a star-mapping app, he helped us discover the constellations. Given the very dark clouds blocking the view entirely, I guess he had to improvise!
Our last stop was the Tree Wizard and Witch. Second Daughter was asked to pick a twig out of the basket the witch was carrying. It came from an ash tree. Again I gave my daughter some privacy, but caught the words “healing”, “at sea” and “unicorn” all the same. After the wizard was finished with his explanations, Second Daughter threw the twig into the burning fire, making this time a wish for herself. She then picked a little souvenir from the basket and that was the end of her “training”.
We had some soup and cake, and as we still had an hour in front of us before the wizardry show, we went off on a Trick or Treat tour. It was by then pouring down, and probably too early for most people to be home. Our attempt was moderately successful, but Second Daughter was in good spirits all the same.
We went back to the gardens and bravely stood under our umbrella in the rain to enjoy the wizardry show, which was quite funny. At the end, all children received a Certificate Of Wizardship. We got ourselves some tea and more cake, and took refuge under the Yew trees, where the bonfire had by now been started. Second Daughter enjoyed lighting more candles, and then we decided to call it a day. I would have loved to stay for the adult ceremony, but that meant waiting for another hour and I also did not want to leave Second Daughter alone in our B&B. So we left and did a bit more Trick and Treating along the way.
As we got to the top of the stairs leading to our room back at Parsnips B&B, we found in front of the door a pumpkin shaped bucket full of sweets with a lovely note. This was our landlady Lynda’s Halloween present for Second Daughter, how absolutely nice of her!
We made ourselves more tea and collapsed on the beds. These celebrations were following a full sightseeing and shopping day, hence the exhaustion! Second Daughter declared the evening her best Halloween ever, and her happiness made it the best one for me too…