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 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
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.