Dec 21st 2013 - The Amesbury Winter Solstice Lantern Parade

The lantern parade started in Dec 2011, organised by the towns people, to rekindle the link between the people of Amesbury and Stonehenge. Winter Solstice represents a triumph of light over darkness and life over death as the sun is reborn. By old tradition the people would catch the light of the old solar year and keep it burning throughout the longest night, to greet the light of the reborn sun. A special lantern was created by Andy and Michelle for the purpose of housing this sacred flame which the community would carry back into Amesbury in a great procession.

The lantern parade was an instant hit with the people, and in the second year the organisation was taken over by the town council. This year the organisation was passed at short notice to the Mayor and Museum. A very special new route was arranged for the procession.

The candle was lit at Stonehenge and then processed by the people, who paused at the abbey for mulled wine and mince pies, before being led by the Mayor of Amesbury and Amesbury Druids through the beautiful grounds of Amesbury Abbey (Thanks to David and the Abbey team) to the sacred spring for a traditional ceremony led by Frank.

It was Andy Rhind Tutt and Becky Rhind Tutt 22nd wedding anniversary so they received a special blessing and shared a kiss in circle. The whole circle chanted the IAO and offered a prayer for the community, for peace and healing.

After the ceremony we processed back to the Amesbury Museum for hot dogs and tea. It was wonderful that David and Tim, two of Englands top archaeologists had joined in to support the community and enjoy the event.

The whole lantern parade was filmed by an ITV production company producing a documentary series about special places in Britain.  

The wonderful picture on the right  of Frank and circle was taken by David Cornelius Ried

The sacred spring is on private land and is not open for access to the public, so this very special ceremony was made possible by the generosity of Amesbury Abbey and their residents, to whom we owe a great debt of thanks for looking after this unique place so well and for being willing to open it up to the community for the lantern parade. Also a special thanks is needed for Andy Rhind Tutt for organising it so brilliantly this year.