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Blue Spring or Bride’s Well (Glastonbury)

Faerie Tree and Blue Spring at Beckery; Glastonbury, England.

Blue Spring or Bride’s Well
~ Glastonbury, England ~

There is not much known about this Spring as all I heard about it was from locals and that it was one of many springs welling up from the caverns underneath the Glastonbury Tor. Some pointed in the direction of the White Spring and the Red Spring (Chalice Well). Some say it is the the Red Spring before Joseph of Arimathea brought the Grail to the Chalice Well turning it Red. Others claim it to be the forgotten (and long vanished) Bride’s Well at Beckery Chapel and Hill. That would be the location I would go with.

In the Arthurian Legends, the Grail Romance “Prose perceval” and “y seint Grael” – the High History of the Holy Grail had claims to have been written here with the stories archived in the Glastonbury Abbey’s Library. It describes a hermit spread out on the altar with the Virgin Mary and the Devil fighting for his soul. It is believed John of Glastonbury – one of Arthur’s chroniclers having access to the High History inspired him to locate the chapel at Beckery whose doors were guarded by two hands holding flaming swords and is where Mary gave Arthur a crystal cross. The Hill is supposed to be the location where the knight Bedivere casts Excalibur back into the waters after King Arthur is wounded during the final battle and is believed to be the bridge over the River Brue at this hill and is called “Pomparles”. It is also the chapel where King Arthur received a vision of Mary Magdelene and the baby Jesus. Were these waters Bride’s Sluice or Well? or the lost Blue Spring?

Faerie Tree and Blue Spring at Beckery; Glastonbury, England.

Bride’s Well at Beckery

The site has shown use since Neolithic times through the Iron Age and the Roman period. The Chapel is a holy shrine dating over 1500 years of age to late Roman or early Saxon occupation of the site. The site was a small island off of Glastonbury surrounded by wetlands and cut off from the general villagers. There were rudimentary buildings made of wattle and daub at the time. There were no original stone buildings. The site is believed to have been abandoned after Vikings invaded in the 9th century during their attack of Somerset. It was in 789 C.E. that the Vikings began attacking England. The site fell in disuse and slowly dissolved into agricultural use, the ruins of the chapel were visible until the late 1790s. There is suggestion that the land may have continued to be used as a shrine since prehistoric times, Christian sites built atop old Pagan sites. William of Malmesbury wrote 1129 C.E. an Anglo-Saxon charter of 670 including Beckery island as one of the seven islands granted to Glastonbury Abbey by the Saxon King Cenwealth – the seven islands were the Isles of Avalon, Beckery, Godney, Martinsea, Meare, Panborough, and Nyland. Papal harter of 1168 claimed Beckery as the first of the islands of the the Glastonbury Abbey Estates. It is here that it was believed that St. Bridget visited in 488 C.E. from Ireland and stayed for several years on the island of “Beokery” where there was a chapel dedicated to Mary Magdalene that was later re-dedicated to St. Bridget.

In the 1920’s a Pilgrimage route was created by Alice Buckton from Benedict Street and Porchestall Drove through what is now called “Friend’s Land” where they would stop to hang “clooties” or wishing rags on a wishing tree or thorn tree near the sluice known as “lost Bride’s Well” seeking blessings or healing before going up Bride’s Mound. This is also where it is purported that Dr. John Goodchild in 1897 received a vision to bury a blue bowl that he got in Bordighera, Italy as soon as possible after his father’s death. He placed it in the pond by this sluice near Bride’s Mound as instructed by his omen. He pilgrimaged to this lost well every year from 1899 to 1906 (minus 1905). In 1906, Janet and Christine Allen found the bowl in the pond but replaced it, then that October Kitty Tudor Pole removed it and took it to a family shrine in Bristol. The bowl was returned to Glastonbury and is protected by the Trustees of the Chalice Well. At Bride’s Mound there is a stone marker showing where the blue bowl was found but it is unknown if this is the exact location where the pond and sluice (lost Bride’s Well or Blue Spring) was.

Faerie Tree and Blue Spring at Beckery; Glastonbury, England.

Some claim that the Blue Spring got its name “Blue” from the Blue Bowl that once existed there.

More information:

Rated: 4 of 5 stars. Searched for on 8/1/2011, 6/14/2012 and couldn’t be found. ~ Review by Leaf McGowan/Thomas Baurley, Technogypsie Productions ~

If you would like to contact the author about this review, need a re-review, would like to advertise on this page, or have information to add, please contact us at technogypsie@gmail.com.

Faerie Tree and Blue Spring at Beckery; Glastonbury, England. June 14, 2012: Exploring from Glastonbury to Dundon Beacon, England. (c) 2012 – photography by Leaf McGowan, technogypsie.com. More info about the Blue Spring: http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=3414 & Beckery Hill/Chapel http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=3416
(expected publication July 2012). More info on the UK: http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=890. More information about Glastonbury: http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=3403
(expected publication July 2012).
For more information visit:
http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/
For travel tales, visit:
http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/

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Chalice Well

Chalice Well
~ Glastonbury, England * http://www.chalicewell.org.uk/index.cfm/glastonbury/ ~

Enter in the legends of King Arthur and the Holy Grail thou shalt enter the Chalice Well. It is one of the most infamous holy wells found in Britain and Europe. It is a classic example of a magical spring full of legends and lore surrounding it. It is located at the base of Glastonbury Tor. Its chalybeate waters are legendary and known to flow ceaselessly at a steady rate and temperature that is said to never vary. Many believe its the representation of the blood of Christ that miraculously sprang forth from the ground when Joseph of Arimathea buried or washed the cup used at the Last Supper (The Holy Grail). To Pagans, it is the blood spring of the Earth Mother, the essence of all life, and her unbounded life force. Some say the spring evokes peace, love, and the essence of all life. The Lion’s Head fountain is where visitors can drink of the water and fill up bottles to take home with them. The gift shop sells empty bottles for visitors to do this. The Red Spring is portrayed as a symbol of the feminine aspect of Deity while the Tor is symbolized as the male aspect of Deity. The Blade and the Chalice. The Tower and the Well.

The well is also called the Red Spring or Blood Spring as it displays a reddish hue from the ferrous oxide oxidized at the surface. The reddish color is said to represent the rusting nails of the Cross that Jesus died on. The Well springs out 25,000 gallons of warm water a day and is said to have never failed even during times of drought. Legend has it the waters possess healing powers. The Chalice Well Trust maintains and protects the Spring, established in 1959 by Wellesley Tudor Pole preserving the space for pilgrims to enjoy the magical spring. The Spring and its buildings are labeled Grade 1 Listed Building in England Preservation. The Well was researched by the Exeter University School in 2009. They determined the well is fed by a deep aquifer in the lower levels of the Pennard Sands.

There is archaeological evidence on and around the Spring of lithics, pottery, and artifacts dating to the Paleolithic and Mesolithic Age. There is a shard of pottery dating to the Iron Age. Other shards date to Roman and Medieval Times. It is estimated that this site has been used for over 2000 years.

A garden has been established around the Spring centered around spirituality, meditation, and tranquility. Many events take place here annually. The major events are World Peace Day, Michaelmass, Samhain, Summer Solstice, and Winter Solstice. The Chalice Well charges admission to enter the gardens and to visit the well. A free outpouring is just outside the fence. Just to the East is another natural spring called the White Spring, possessing colorless waters originating from a shallow aquifer. This has been built into a temple. There is no charge to visit the White Spring.

bird @ Chalice Well, Glastonbury, England. June 14, 2012: Exploring from Glastonbury to Dundon Beacon, England. (c) 2012 – photography by Leaf McGowan, technogypsie.com. More info on the Chalice Well: http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=3407
(expected publication July 2012). More info on the UK: http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=890. More information about Glastonbury: http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=3403
(expected publication July 2012).
For more information visit:
http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/
For travel tales, visit:
http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/

Christian Legend:
Joseph of Arimathea brought the Holy Grail (the cup that Christ used at the last supper to give his servants wine) to England and hid the cup here. When he did the waters were said to have turned red. It is said that Glastonbury is King Arthur’s tromping grounds. Over the well is the well cover for the Chalice Well that was designed as it was by church architect and Archaeologist Frederick Bligh Bond gifted to the gardens after the Great War in 1919. The two interlocking circles create the symbol of the Vesica Piscis and within the well lid design is a spear or sword bisecting these two circles, perhaps referencing Excalibur, the legendary sword of King Arthur who is believed to be buried at Glastonbury Abbey. Foliage on it represents the Glastonbury Thorn. William of Malmesbury who first recorded the well described the well waters gushing as sometimes red and sometimes blue. Some say this is the legendary Blue Spring that has vanished and the Red Spring was the Blue Spring before Joseph of Arimathea brought the Grail here turning it Red.

Local Lore:
The waters of the well is attributed to human blood – because the waters are red, the water coagulates as does hemoglobin, and the waters are warm. The Well is also a symbol and inspiration for the Eye of Elena in Sarah J Mass’ Throne of Glass series and featured in the Kingdom of Mei series as Christianity being a cyclical cataclysm.

Cornish, Welsh, and Irish Mythology:
Wells are seen as gateways to the spirit world or Other World, overlapping the inner and out worlds.

Islamic Mythology:
Mirza Basheer-ud-Din Mahmood Ahmad in his commentary on the Quran considered the possibility that the story of the Seven Sleepers (from surah 18, Al-Kahf, “The Cave”) was based on the earlier legend of Joseph of Arimathea having come to Glastonbury, with the cave being a metaphor for England, though he considered the Catacombs of Rome a more likely source of the legend. (wikipedia)

Rated: 5 of 5 stars. Visited 8/1/2011, 6/14/12. ~ Review by Leaf McGowan/Thomas Baurley, Technogypsie Productions ~

If you would like to contact the author about this review, need a re-review, would like to advertise on this page, or have information to add, please contact us at technogypsie@gmail.com.

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White Spring

White Spring
~ Wellhouse Lane, Glastonbury, England BA6 8BL, UK +44 7340 288392 * https://www.whitespring.org.uk/ ~

Official Article: http://www.technogypsie.com/naiads/?p=4373

While backpacking Europe during the Summer of 2011 this was one of my favorite sacred spaces to visit, even more so than the infamous Chalice Well. The White Spring is a free-to-visit spring welling up in a Victorian pump house that has been converted to a temple and pilgrimage site. It offers calcium-rich spring water to all for free unlike the Chalice Well that charges high admission to enter their sacred garden. It was the concept and dedication to the well that strengthened the birthing of my decision to be a Water Protector and Springs Guardian for the remainder of my life. This space was monumental for this change from a Protector of the Ancestors (Archaeologist) to Water Guardian as my life’s purpose.

Within a few feet from one another, the two Isle of Avalon mysteries wells forth from the Earth bestowing blessings, magic, and healing to its visitors and pilgrims. Each offer different healing properties, the Chalice Well being the Red spring rich with iron, the other white with calcite, both from the magical caverns beneath Glastonbury Tor, with rumors of Merlin’s magic. There is actually a third Blue Spring that has since vanished.

A temple has been built here at the White Spring offering the gift of pure water that is cavernous, mysterious, dark, Gothic, and magical as contrary to the Chalice Well in a well lit open-aired garden. The interior has three domed vaults standing at 16 feet height with beautiful bowed floors some say mimic the illusion of a hull of a boat moored at the portal to the Otherworld.

The pools within were designed and constructed based on sacred geometry following the Michael ley line that flows through the space with shrines added honoring ancient energies and the Spirits of Avalon.

A company of volunteers watch over the Spring and temple who designed it, built it, and care for it on a daily basis. The site sees pilgrimages and visitors daily. Group ceremonies and meditations are also conducted daily during opening hours, including celebrations of the turning of the seasons, the full moon, and the new moon. Private ceremonies can be arranged. There is no charge or expectation of donations and all caretakers do not get paid.

The sanctuary is candle-lit and dark, the sound of the water flowing can meditatively be heard and is a guide for ceremony and contemplation. Talking or conversations is strictly discouraged as silence other than the Spring is desired, though songs are welcome and check with the well keeper if wanting to play musical instruments. No Cameras, mobile phones, or electronic equipment is permitted in the sanctuary.

Legend has it that Glastonbury is England’s most sacred site and is where the foundations of the earliest church in Britain was formed and may be the site of the earliest church in the world second to Jerusalem and was dedicated to Mary. (There is no archaeological evidence to support this legend) The Glastonbury Tor or the Holy Hill of Albion is also believed to be England’s most sacred mountain and a place of Ancient Goddess worship. The Tor and its caverns beneath host numerous aquifers and springs that well forth from its base. Many of the springs have dried up except the Red Spring (Chalice Well) and the White Spring. There is evidence of a monastic site at the summit of the Tor and archaeological excavations revealed it is likely that early Celtic Christian hermits once lived on the sacred site of the White Spring. In 1872 a well house was constructed over the spring creating a reservoir that was used by townsfolk who were suffering from cholera and therfore destroyed the beautiful combe that once was there. A historic document by George Wright in 1896 stated ““And what was Glastonbury like then? One thing that clings to me was the beautiful Well House Lane of those days, before it had been spoilt by the erection of the reservoir. There was a small copse of bushes on the right hand running up the hill, and through it could be, not seen, but heard, the rush of running water, which made itself visible as it poured into the lane. But the lane itself was beautiful, for the whole bank was a series of fairy dropping wells – little caverns clothed with moss and vedure, and each small twig and leaf was a medium for the water to flow, drop, drop, drop into a small basin below. This water contained lime, and pieces of wood or leaves subject to this dropping became encrusted with a covering of lime. For a long time I attended those pretty caverns with affectionate care, and Well House Lane was an object of interest to all our visitors”

The reservoir fell into dis-use as the high calciferous waters often blocked the pipes and by the 19th century water was piped into Glastonbury from out of town, the well house falling into dis-use and forgotten. In the 1980’s it was re-opened and reconstructed being used for drinking water for the town. The walls, floors, water pipes, and chemical paint added in the 80’s was removed. The high ceilings, bowed floors, and original stone walls were uncovered unveiling the cathedral-like structure you see today. By 2004 a new owner took over the building and erected the sacred space you can visit now. The temple was consecrated in 2005. In October 2009 various pools were built inside based on sacred geometry. Its design and layout is always changing. The seasonal altar changes at each turn of the wheel. The bower that forms the Brigid shrine is rebuilt with fresh hazel for Imbolc and a February 1st celebration held in conjunction with Chalice Well and Bride’s Mound.

The White Spring is dedicated to the Goddess Brigid – the Celtic Fire Goddess and Guardian of the Sacred Springs within, and a perpetually burning Brigid Flame flickers her magic. A shrine in honor of the Lady of Avalon is within as well as a shrine in honor of the King of the World of Faerie at the portal to the Otherworld. Legend has it that the nun named Brigid who was said to be a child in 525 C.E. filled with the spirit of the Goddess Brigid who was born in Ireland from a Druidic father named Dubtach and a Christian slave mother named Brocessa. She was raised in both traditions and chose to enter a monastery – making her an Abbess as well as a nun. Legend states she lived and learned at the Beckery in Glastonbury before founding her abbey Cill Dara in Kildare Ireland.

The Lady of Avalon is seen at the White Spring as the Lady of ancient feminine primary power as Mother, Earth Mother, Mother of God, and Mother of us all. She is forever conceiving and birthing yet remains unchanged as herself self-fulfilled as the Virgin Mother. She is a dark lady like the earth – dark, womb-like, safe, hidden, mysterious, vast, abstract, and protective. She is also called the Black Madonna.

The King of the Faeries represents nature as wild, beautiful, majestic, diverse, interdependent, and powerful. He represents the Fae, the Otherworld, and is King of the World of Faerie as well as all the nature spirits of this world. He represents the unity of both worlds.

It is said that the White Spring is a portal to the Celtic Otherworld. It is said that Gwyn Ap Nudd was said to ride through here.

More Information: https://www.atlasobscura.com/places/the-white-spring-glastonbury-england

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