Updated: Jan 25, 2021
Glastonbury in Somerset is a magical and powerful place full of sacred sites and mysteries. Glastonbury is not only a charming English town, but is situated in an area steeped in mystical tradition from prehistoric peoples (nearby Wookey Hole Caves are thought to have been inhabited by prehistoric people 60,000 years ago) to the Celts, Druids, Romans and more recently Christians. Glastonbury is situated on the St. Michael alignment with the Michael and Mary currents (ley lines) that run across southern Britain. This alignment is connected to many other sacred sites from St. Michael’s Mount near Land’s End and continues north past Stonehenge, Avebury Henge, the Sanctuary, Windmill Hill and beyond.
Mary ley lines (ukleylines.tours)
Seven green hills ring Glastonbury; the most famous of them is the towering Glastonbury Tor. "At one time the Tor marks what was one island out of several rising out of a shallow sea in this region," thought to be the legendary Isle of Avalon. The Druids were reported to have had a holy temple at the top of the Tor, which was later replaced with a Christian chapel devoted to St. Michael. A Catholic Abbey was build in what is now downtown Glastonbury, although it was partially destroyed by Henry VIII, after he was excommunicated from the Catholic Church. Often earlier sacred sites in Britain were replaced with Christian ones, due to several possible reasons. One reason may be that the infant religion intuited the power and holiness of these sites and built their own churches there accordingly. Another is that the new Christian Church wisely hoped to convert people to its new religion, thereby building on older sacred sites, even incorporating ancient holidays into its own religious calendar. Perhaps "pagan" symbolism survived in "…ostensibly Christian buildings…as a continuation of the Druid groves: Christian churches were modeled upon them, the pillars and arches representing the trunks and boughs of the sacred forest."
At the foot of the Tor lies the Chalice Well, the most famous holy well in Britain, where iron-rich and allegedly radioactive healing waters pour forth. Today the Chalice Well is in a privately-owned lush garden setting with an infinitely tranquil atmosphere, which is open to the public for meditation and to drink the healing water. Sacred geometry of two inter-linking circles are used in both the bottom fountain and for the cover at the top of the well.
Chalice Well (wellhead)
Several interesting myths pervade Glastonbury. The first is connected with Jesus of Nazareth. According to legend, Joseph of Arimathea, Jesus’ uncle, was a wealthy merchant who often traded with ancient Britons. After Jesus’ crucifixion, in AD 63 Joseph brought the holy chalice from the Last Supper with him, which he then buried at the base of the Glastonbury Tor. The water that springs forth from the Chalice Well stains the stones an appropriate color of red. After his arduous journey from Jerusalem, Joseph climbed a nearby hill now named Wearyall Hill. He set his staff into the ground, out of which grew a thorn tree (the same thorns used to crown Jesus), whose descendants continues to bloom every year. This thorn tree has been researched and findings show it originates from Palestine.
Glastonbury Abbey -- Lady Chapel
The second myth connects King Arthur to Glastonbury. After Arthur’s precarious birth in Tintagel Castle, Cornwall, he later came to power in the Glastonbury area. Camelot was alleged to have been situated near modern Glastonbury. Merlin’s magical crystal cave was believed to be located within the Tor itself, while Arthur’s sister, a Druid priestess, had her stronghold atop the Tor, then the Isle of Avalon. The reported remains of King Arthur and his Queen Gweneviere are buried on the grounds of the Glastonbury Abbey.
A wealth of fascinating configurations and speculations abound in the Glastonbury area. The Tor labyrinth is believed to have been used from prehistoric times and researchers suggest that it "may have had a ritual function." At the very least, the Glastonbury labyrinth offers an entertaining climb up the Tor. A ruined Christian chapel stands at the top of the Tor; to some, the Tor’s energy feels "trapped" or "capped" by the chapel. The Glastonbury Zodiac is supposedly a configuration of local landmarks in the surrounding countryside which represent the twelve signs of the Zodiac as well as the twelve members of the Round Table. Glastonbury Tor, along with the nearby hills of Burrow Mump, Hamdon Hill and Cadbury are aligned in sacred geometry, in what appears to be a parallelogram.
Below I recount some of the amazing experiences that my fellow sacred travelers and I experienced when we were staying in Glastonbury:
One of our group of six pilgrims was an angry and troubled young woman, who bristled with outrage at the encroachment of civilization on various sacred sites we visited. She had expressed her vehement opinions a number of times and seemed to prefer her own company rather than being part of the group. While we were in Glastonbury, she decided to spend the entire day at the Chalice Well. The woman who returned to us was quite a different person. Her face was relaxed, with the frowns and wrinkles smoothed out. She smiled, laughed and joked with us in a friendly manner throughout the rest of the trip. Her whole demeanor had changed to one of serenity and openness. She said she noticed the electrical tension wires near the Well, but they didn’t upset her any more!
Our group leader had been ill and bedridden for more than a week before we arrived in Glastonbury. The last night in Glastonbury she realized the "gift" of her illness: she was learning to surrender her need to control and lead, and to allow others to find their own way through their own inner wisdom. The next day she was totally well and remained so for the duration of our tour.
Two women and I had formed incredibly potent bonds of friendship the first day of our trip. I called us the Water Babies since we were all water signs -- Pisces, Cancer and Scorpio. One day in Glastonbury, during our free time, a local merchant we had all gotten friendly with suggested we visit a small, local chapel called the Mary Magdalene chapel.
As we stepped inside the chapel, we felt as though we had stepped through a time warp. Without consulting each other, we immediately prostrated ourselves on the cold stones at the front of the altar. Then, together we relived a lifetime in which we were nuns living in the Glastonbury Abbey and working with the pilgrims at the Chalice Well. We came to a violent end when the Abbey was overrun by King Henry 8th's royal soldiers, who set to work destroying all evidence of the Catholic faith, and who then raped us and slashed our throats in the chapel. The Pisces water baby had a severe sore throat for the rest of the day.
The merchant was one of the soldiers in that past life, and later admitted he had received an intuition to send us to the chapel.
Later I found out that my two new friends both had strong Catholic beliefs and had performed many liturgies for their respective churches.
I lay in my bed in a lovely B & B, my feet pointing towards Glastonbury Tor. Unable to sleep, I tingled and vibrated with intense energy flowing into me from this huge hill -- the holy isle of Avalon. Through my third eye I imagined I could see the crystal cave deep inside, where Merlin was believed to have performed his sacred ceremonies and felt united with his magic. And I had a vision Stonehenge, which sent me a message, which I’ll discuss more fully in a later article.
Are sacred sites powerful? Most definitely.
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Shamanic Tours, Nicki Scully and Normandi Ellis authors
MISTS OF AVALON, Marion Zimmer Bradley, Alfred A. Knopf, 1982. SECRET SHRINES, Paul Broadhurst, Penwell Limited, Cornwall, England, 1988 THE SACRED EARTH, Brian Leigh Molyneaux, Duncan Baird Publishers, London, England, 1995