Monday, 10 July 2017

Glastonbury - A Springtime Visit

I had not been to Glastonbury for at least 35 years so it was a delight to visit again and see the amazing changes - and also see so many things that stayed the same. It is a place where legends associated with all my favourite characters are brought to life. Perhaps a pre-Christian holy site, since the days when Joseph of Arimathea* brought two goblets (believed to be the Grail from Golgotha after the death of Jesus) to our land and placed his staff into the ground. The hillside is now called Weary All Hill because he and his group were exhausted from such a vast sea and land journey. I recently attended a family wedding at the ancient church of St Just in Cornwall where Joseph's boat is said to have arrived into the small bay. Joseph is an ascended master and I sense his energies all around
Glastonbury, a place that reminds me of a favourite book of my teenage years by the American, Paul Gallico (titled ‘The Man Who Was Magic’, a Glastonbury story though he might not have realised any connection). Chalice Well is abundant in its huge output of mineral water and has several places to drink the holy water, wash and bathe feet. 
 The gardens are a World Peace Garden and a beautiful place to sit and rest and enjoy watching the world go by (I say this because I heard so many different languages being spoken by those who came to take the healing waters). My husband fell asleep in the gardens on a spectacularly warm March afternoon and had a beautiful, healing dream. 
The Tor is a place of wonderful delicate faery energies and also a solid, strong protective energy which emits from its Tower, dedicated to Michael, the Archangel. Michael’s energy is very Celtic and runs through other high places, such as Mont St Michel, and St Michael’s Mount and Skellig Michael in Ireland. Dave walked from the house up to the top of the Tor and back to the house within an hour before breakfast each morning. 

Staying at the Dreamtime House where the bedroom overlooks the front of Michael’s Tower and it is possible to see the dawn sky through the magnificent archway whilst lying in bed in the morning. The Tor is magnificent in the early morning light when the tower is lit from behind, or later, consumed in mist, in fair weather or overcast skies, it has a very magical presence. In the afternoons, the sun shines a golden light directly on the stone-work. I left my curtain a little open during the night so I could invite Michael's energy to protect and strengthen me. The house provides much to do if it rains, CD’s to play, DVD’s to watch, painting, reading, everything is provided. 

The High Street is only a short walk from the house and has so many little alleyways to explore. All kinds of treatments are on offer, life path specialists, talks, spiritual consultants of every kind and so many things to purchase; incense, statues, books and clothes. I found the goddess shop where I bought a small blue bottle of Lady of the Lake perfume all those years ago when I last visited the town and Dave had a couple of beers in the George, a 15th century gothic pilgrim’s hostelry where Henry VIII was said to have stayed to watch the dissolution of the Abbey. The Information Centre has a wonderful museum of antiquities discovered in the area of the Somerset Levels. People used a dug out log to move through the high water table and many interesting artefacts are on display. Another museum within five minutes walk of the house is devoted to living on the land – how hard they worked and what short and sad lives they led! 

On Mother’s Day, I attended the high Victorian Christian church of St John the Divine with its magnificent stained glass windows. I had walked to the High Street early that morning to seek out one of the many cafes and restaurants and heard the bell calling me to attend the service. I walked the small labyrinth outside the church while the bell tolled and was made welcome amongst the congregation. There was no sermon but instead a lovely children’s tableau was provided and a story by one of the mums about when people were in service in the big houses that they only had one day off work each year and that day they must return to their mother church where they were christened. Many hands were raised by those who were christened in that church, and many by those whose mother church was abroad. After breakfast, I sat outside the church on a bench and several people came and sat beside me and spoke to me. It is such a very friendly place to be, they make strangers feel so important, perhaps a remnant of its status over so many millennia as a holy site of pilgrimage. 

Glastonbury Abbey was the earliest Christian site to be built in this country and was one of the richest and most impressive buildings in the world. Now an extraordinary ruin, like the bones of a great beast, it has been made into a beautiful outdoor retreat, with wonderful gardens and ponds and delightful music from ancient times. It has a badger set, so, in the middle of this thriving town, badgers live free. In mediaeval times the remains of the graves of King Arthur and his Queen were discovered and there is a memorial to them. I wonder if Merlin provided the ritual for their burial and whether the knights of the Round Table were present after their dangerous quest for the Grail. Who (or what) Doth the Grail Serve? Their ancient story inspires me and many others to serve in our small way!

Horrendously, Joseph’s living staff that blooms each Easter as the ‘Glastonbury Thorn’ tree was cut almost to the ground by vandals and was not thought to survive the attack. Specialists from Kew Gardens have bound up its wounds and taken cuttings so that this extraordinary thorn tree will once again flower out of season and will attract pilgrims to admire it and give thanks. There is a sense of timelessness about Glastonbury and it remains with me now I have returned home along with the presence of Michael under the spell of whose tower I slept. 

The area of Beckery is under archaeological investigation for signs of Brigid, the Celtic Fire Goddess who was later Christianised. When wood was used to build houses, flames were not left alive overnight due to a fire risk, so those, such as the nuns of Brigid’s order, the Brigantines, at Kildare on the West coast of Ireland (who were keepers of the flame) were powerful people. I did some dowsing in this area and found strong energy lines and did some wonderful channelling too. Brigid is the patron of the fires of inspiration and I was dedicated to her long ago and felt her presence strongly in the area. I hope they find something. St Bride’s church in Fleet Street that has the layered spire that inspired the layered wedding cake is under threat of closure and the fires of revelation are so needed for our very unenlightened society.

Street is a village only a mile or so away from Glastonbury and has warehouses full of goods to buy. Dave bought a pair of shoes in Clark’s superstore, a wok and an omelette maker. Wells is only 8 miles away and its cathedral can be seen from the top of the Tor. There is so much to do in the area and it is a place that can be visited many times and enjoyed at different times of year.

* I was told that the word ‘Arimathea’ is related to the word ‘arithmetic’, and any merchant visiting the tin mines of Cornwall would need to understand weights and would be well educated in the art of numbers or ‘mathmatics’, so called because children were traditionally taught to count by their mother or ‘ma’, though how true this story is, I have no idea and can find little about it online. If you have any comments to make, please get in touch :-)
Wendy Stokes is a counsellor, writer and workshop facilitator. Article by Wendy Stokes

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