"The night felt heavy with this beautiful ritual significance. It felt drenched in culture and history," Becky Salter, Beltane Fire Society.
If you go down to the woods today,
You’re in for a big surprise,
If you go down to the woods today,
You’d better close your eyes.
For every soul that wanders here,
Is doomed to darkness, death and fear,
Because the Hunt is out,
And today they’re here to taaake you.
A group of photographers visited some nearby woods to practice taking pictures in the dark. What they experienced was not something they will soon forget.
Surrounded by darkness amongst the trees, strange noises could be heard. At first they were ignored…normal parts of the woods. Then something laughed maniacally near by; a rustling in the bushes.
They looked around them only seeing the blackness of the woods and occasional glint from the stars in the sky. They took pictures with their flashes to light up the area around them. Sudden movement was seen and strange noises started all around them. Heavy breathing, soft growling, clicking and even a blood curdling scream.
You could hear their footfalls as they ran passed, so close but yet unseen. Cameras flashed everywhere trying to glimpse the creatures around them. The noises grew louder. They were surrounded. As the beings moved in for the kill a loud roar arose from the group before they and their target were gone.
Some members are still missing from that night. The Wild Hunt don’t take prisoners. You are either prey or you become part of the Hunt. If you see them about, try not to stare directly at them or you may become their next target.
Photos, from top, by Gyorgy Papp, Mark Taylor and Neil Barton x3
9pm, Friday 31st October 2014
Starts on High Street, then down Cockburn Street, on to the stage at the Mound Precinct.
The festival begins on High Street with the lighting of the Neid Fire, the flame which is carried through night by the screaming, cloaked Torchbearers. The Cailleach, our dark goddess, awakens like a winter storm with her wolf familiar, heralded by her priestesses, the Cailleachan.
Led by the Blues, the guardians of our ritual, the procession of the seasonal elements of Cearcall Ur Nadir, the stalking terror of the Wild Hunt and the decadent energy of the Reds, winds its way down Cockburn Street, buoyed by beats of the boisterous Beasties and the pulsing rhythms of the Winter Drummers.
The procession’s arrival at the stage at the Mound Precinct heralds the beginning of an epic fight for supremacy between the reigning Summer King and the harsh chill of the Prince of Winter.
As the battle rages through fire and scenery created by our Tech team, the audience is safe in the hands of our very own friendly Stewards. If you notice bursts of light flashing from dark lurking figures, don’t worry - that’s Photo Point, our team of photographers capturing the event in pictures to share with the world.
BFS events are self-funded and created by volunteers. There are no tickets for Samhuinn and attendance is by donation, so please take a moment to give a contribution to our lovely Bucketeers!
See the Facebook event page for Samhuinn 2014 here
Follow us on Twitter @beltanefs and #samhuinn2014
For press and media resources, please visit this page
For non-press enquiries, please email festival[at]beltane[dot]org
We are very excited to announce our Samhuinn 2014 poster, as voted for by our community, audience and friends around the world! Congratulations to Emma Lindsay on her winning design.
Emma works primarily in stained glass and painting. She has a BA Honours degree in design and recently designed a stained glass window for Canterbury Cathedral. Emma’s work is greatly influenced by nature and it was for this reason that she felt inspired to create a poster design for the festival. Of her design, she says…
The concept of two contrasting sides, Winter and Summer, struck me as being a key aspect of the festival. I wanted to portray the transition from Summer to Winter in a striking and graphic way. The stag skull is symbolic of conflict but also represents of cyclical nature of life.
Keep an eye out for our posters around Edinburgh soon.
Photo Point hung out at a Winter Drummers rehearsal to take pictures while the drummers prepared their rhythms to usher in the coming of the dark season.
Photos by James Illing (top 5) and Neil Barton (bottom 5)
Events don’t happen instantly so we’re already thinking about what BFS will be doing for Imbolc 2015. The BFS Board of Trustees are looking for an outline proposal for an Imbolc event, so if you have an idea and the drive to see a plan through to completion (with help, of course!) please get in touch.
The deadline for proposals to the Trustees is 10pm on Sunday 12th October. If you would like to submit a proposal, please email the BFS Festival Secretary at email@example.com with any questions, queries, or to request a proposal form to fill in for submission to the Trustees.
On Samhuinn night, you can expect to see terrifying Torchbearers, cloaked nightmares screaming and roaring their fiery way through the streets of Edinburgh. The off-duty Torchie is an altogether friendlier creature, recognisable by frequent fits of giggles and wide happy smiles. They spent last weekend camping with the Stewards, Photo Point and Tech, bringing flames and happiness to dark places.
Photos by Tanya Simpson
Because our Samhuinn Fire Festival has become so popular in recent years, we’ve had to move beyond our usual route to include other parts of the city centre, making space for lots more people to come and witness the event.
This year, our procession will travel from High Street, down Cockburn Street then on to the Mound Precinct for the stage performance.
Watch this space for more information about the event, coming soon!