Glastonbury is a small town with a big reputation. Located in Somerset UK it is a focal point of the Arthurian myths and legends. The curious energy of the place, centred on Glastonbury Tor, has attracted a concentration of healers, psychics & mystics, which I suspect is unparalleled anywhere in the world. I like to make a short visit once or twice a year to recharge my batteries. For me it is the place where I review my life path & my big decisions are made.
So what are the features of Glastonbury that make it unique?
Driving towards Glastonbury you are suddenly presented with a curiously shaped hill rising dramatically from the gentle Somerset countryside. The Tor is a remarkable sight and must have been more so when the sea level was higher and this was an island, Ynys Witrin- the Isle of Glass. The Tor is the epicentre of the myth and magic that surrounds Glastonbury. Its shape is peculiar; it curls around itself in rolling ridges to the top, forming a labyrinth.
There are so many tales about the Tor. Joseph of Arimathea is supposed to have hidden the Holy Grail here. It is claimed this is the Isle of Avalon. Melwas, King of the Summer Lands, now Somerset, brought Queen Guinevere here when he abducted her and later it became one of Arthur’s own strongholds. The hill is reputed to be hollow, with an entrance leading to Annwn, the land of Faery; certainly there exist tunnels within it, though they have all been blocked up now. Perhaps Caer Sidi, the castle of the faeries lies inside. It is also said to be home to Gwyn ap Nudd, King of the Fairies and leader of the Wild Hunt. How many great legends can one hill contain?
We may never know the complete truth about the Tor, but it has certainly been an important place of worship & ritual from Celtic times onwards. It is believed to be an ancient site of goddess worship, was then used by Druids and more latterly by the early Christians. The Tor is also remarkable in energy terms. It lies on the St Michael ley line and intersects here with the Mary ley line; the male & female energies are said to perform a spiralling dance together.
Legend has it that when Joseph of Arimathea reached Glastonbury he struck his staff into the ground of Wearyall Hill, where it took root and grew as the Holy Thorn tree. Curiously the Glastonbury Thorn, a hawthorn, flowers twice a year to this day, in Spring and again between the Winter Solstice and Imbolc. Offspring of the original Thorn tree can be found in the Abbey grounds and the Chalice Well Gardens. The Thorn is credited with remarkable healing properties and an essence of Glastonbury Thorn can be purchased from the Chalice Well Gardens.
At the foot of the Tor are two springs also credited with healing properties; the Red Spring and the White Spring. The calcium rich White Spring is on Well House Lane. The iron rich Red Spring is located in the Chalice Well Gardens. The Gardens are a lovely place to spend some time & the waters spout from a lion’s head mask. You can sit by the Chalice Well with its Vesica Piscis cover, or paddle your feet in the healing pools. This is a lovely place to meditate on life, the universe & everything.
Glastonbury has been a major centre of worship for centuries. Glastonbury Abbey, an impressive ruin these days, was once a thriving monastery. Within its grounds King Arthur and his Queen Guinevere are buried, so it is said. Certainly a grave reputed to be Arthur’s was found after a fire in 1184.
Whether the Arthurian connection is myth or historical fact Glastonbury remains a special place for contemplation & healing.