Glastonbury is a name recognised globally as a sacred site and centre of pilgrimage. Its Tor hill, visible for miles around, has, to some minds, a distinct personality.Rich in history and mythology, the town is indissolubly linked with the legends of King Arthur through the alleged discovery of his grave in the grounds of the now ruined Abbey. The Chalice Well is arguably the most popular holy well in Britain.
Since the heady daze of the hippie era it has entered a new phase of fame. A nearby village has hosted Britain’s biggest and best-loved music festival for an extraordinary forty years until the event has become part of the yearly calendar of iconic national events to put alongside Wimbledon, the Derby, and the Last Night of the Proms, being extensively broadcast on BBC TV and radio. Named after Glastonbury, it has a reputation for spectacular good vibes.
Sixties psychedelic lore linked ancient places of sanctity with UFO sightings, ley lines, and a rich mix of alternative ideas. A number of people began to settle in the town during the early seventies laying the foundation for a remarkable ongoing social experiment that has increasingly attracted the attention of academics. The town now boasts a high density of many kinds of healers, Reiki Masters and so on, pagans and witches of all persuasions, yoga practitioners, Buddhists of all denominations, Hare Krishnas, Sufis, UFO contactees, devotees of assorted gurus, Channellers of Ascended Masters and Light Beings, enthusiasts of obscure Christian saints, and, of course, many with a passion for all things Arthurian and the history of Glastonbury. The spectacular Goddess Conference, Crop Circle Symposium, and Abbey classical music concert, all form part of the major summer season of events that draw people from all over the world. All of this occurs within a locale that is also a Somerset town where the majority of the population follow comparatively normal lives. This is the matrix that attracts global pilgrims and generates for its residents an intense esoteric personal transformation soap opera.
The unique mix of modern Glastonbury inspires pilgrims with the possibilities of a richly nuanced blend of its atmosphere of history and mythology with mind body spirit healing and transformation practices. Coming away with powerful books, evocative music, and inspirational artwork from a visit to the town all amplifies the alchemy. The place is not a museum. That which has drawn people to it through the ages remains alive and functioning, potent with power for transformation.
Further postings will explore Glastonbury in greater detail. Those with a taste for the mystery might like to peruse my books Avalonian Aeon and Mysterium Artorius.