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Glastonbury Tor

Glastonbury Tor

One of the most infamous landmarks of Glastonbury is the Tor. It is extremely popular from the Arthurian legends. The Tor is a tall hill that ascends over 158 meters from Glastonbury and hosts panoramic views of the English countryside, viewing the three counties of Somerset, Dorset, and Wiltshire. During the legendary Isles of Avalon, this would have been the highest point on the isles. Geologically the Tor rises from Lower lias clays and limestones from the Middle and Upper Lias to a deposit of hard midford sand at the cap 521 feet and called the “Tor Burr”. The Tor has a conical shape made up of horizontal bands of limestone, clays, and capped with sandstone. As erosional forces dug away with limestone and clays, the sandstone lasts resisting erosion creating steep slopes. Historically, this Tor would have towered as an island above the flooded Somerset Levels, but as the levels were drained over the ages for agriculture and other uses, it is now a hill blended ito the landscape. The terraces on the slopes date to Medieval times where the hillside was one of the few dry locations where locals could farm and graze animals. The Tor is believed to have been a sacred site of pilgrimage for over 10,000 years and still used today. It is believed to be a gateway to the Otherworld. Lithics and other artifacts show presence of humans here for thousands of years.

It was said that Joseph of Arimathea in 63 C.E. founded a settlement here. Archaeologically the earliest found was a 6th century settlement, the earliest found in Glastonbury and many believe was the first Christian community in the area founded by Joseph. Evidence from the 6th century was found during excavations of 1964-1966 that exposed occupation during this time, and a second phase of occupation from 900-1100 C.E. by the finding of a head of a cross that were probably monks cells cut into the rock on the summit, a tradition of a monastic site on the Tor was confirmed by the 1243 charter granting permission for a fair at the Monastery of St. Michael at this location.

During the 8th century, the Great Abbey was built on the site of the present abbey ruins in the 8th century and then rebuilt becoming the wealthiest abbey in Britain, but destroyed in 1539 by the Dissolution of the Monasteries.

In the 13th century it is said the first Church on the Tor to be built was St. Michael’s Church in the charter of 1243 C.E.

These ruins are what you see today the most notable part of which is St. Michael’s Tower. These ruins are from the 2nd church replacing the original that was destroyed in the 1275 C.E. earthquake. This second church lasted until 1539 until the Dissolution of the Monasteries.

The earliest legend after Joseph of Arimeathea is the mid-thirteenth century story of St. Patrick coming from Ireland and becoming the leader of the hermits here. He was said to have discovered an ancient Oratory in ruins atop the Tor after climbing through dense woods.

In the historic era, this is the location where Richard Whiting, the last Abbot of Glastonbury, and some of his monks were hung.

    “Glastonbury Tor, one of the most famous and sacred landmarks in the West Country. From the summit at 158 metres, you can get amazing views over three counties – Somerset, Dorset, and Wiltshire. What is the tor? “Tor” is a West Country word of Celtic origin meaning hill. The conical shape of Glastonbury Tor is natural – due to its rocks. It is made up of horizontal bands of clays and limestone with a cap of hard sandstone. The sandstone resists erosion, but the clays and limestone have worn away, resulting in the steep slopes. A historic landscape: Before modern drainage, the tor in winter would have towered as an island above the flooded Somerset Levels. The terraces on the slopes date back to medieval times when the hillside was one of the few dry places where people could grow crops and graze animals. A place of pilgrimage: The tor has been a place of pilgrimage for over 10,000 years. Many thousands of people still visit each year, some for its links with religion, legends and beliefs, and others because it is such a renowned landmark. History of the Tower: on the summit is St. Michael’s Tower, part of a 14th century church. It was built to replace a previous church which had been destroyed by an earthquake in 1275. The second church lasted until the Dissolution of the Monasteries in 1539. At this time, the tor was the scene of the hanging of Richard Whiting, the last Abbot of Glastonbury. The Tor was the site of a 6th century settlement, the earliest yet found in Glastonbury. Some believe this was the first Christian community in the area, said to have been founded by Joseph of Arimathea in AD 63. 8th Century: The great Abbey: A stone church was built on the site of the present abbey ruins in the 8th century. It was rebuilt and became one of the wealthiest abbeys in Britain, but was destroyed in 1539 during the Dissolution of the Monasteries. 13th century: A church on the tor – The first written record on St. Michael’s Church on the tor is in a charter of 1243. The building was destroyed in an earthquake in 1275. 14th century- St. Michael’s Tower – in the 14th century, a new church was built on the tor, which survived until the Dissolution. St. Michael’s tower is all that remains. Glastonbury Tor rises from the Lower lias clays and limestones through the Middle and Upper Lias to a deposit of hard midford sand on the cap, 521 ft. high known locally as Tor Burr. This is more resistant to erosion than the lower levels making the slopes steep and unstable. These steep sculptured slopes, rising dramatically from the isle of Avalon in the flat somerset levels, have encouraged much speculation about the origin of the Tor in legend. The earliest reference is a mid-thirteenth century story of St. Patrick’s return from Ireland in which he became a leader of hermits at glastonbury and discovered an ancient ruined oratory on the summit after climbing through a dense wood, scattered fines of prehistoric, roman, and later objects suggest the Tor was always used by man, but evidence for actual occupation from the 6th AD was uncovered in the excavations of 1964-6, a second phase of occupation between 900-1100 was distinguished by the head of a cross and what were probably Christian monk’s cells cut into the rock on the summit, the tradition of a monastic site on the Tor is confirmed by a charter of 1243 granting permission for a fair at the monastery of St. Michael there. The present tower though later modified, is essentially 15th century and is associated with the second of two major churches which stood on the summit. The second one was probably built after the destructive earthquake of 1275. The monastic church of St. Michael closely associated with the Great Abbey in the town below fell into ruin after the Dissolution of the monasteries in 1539 when Richard WHiting the last abbot of Glastonbury was hanged on the Tor.” ~ information signs on the Tor, Glastonbury, England.

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Beckery Chapel, Hill, and Bride’s Mound (Glastonbury)

Beckery Hill and Chapel

During my 2011 and 2012 trips to Glastonbury I spent some time wandering around the remains, ruins, and legends of the Beckery Chapel. It is the legendary tromping grounds of King Arthur. Several years ago, Archaeologists found seven skeletons with dates of 5th-6th century C.E. at the same location that in the 1960’s exposed over 50 other human bodies. It is now believed to be the monastic cemetery of the Glastonbury Abbey and town. Whether or not King Arthur resided here during his legend or not, it is a impressive historical cache. Of course it wasn’t until Geoffrey of Monmouth’s publications claims of King Arthur that brought attention to this place since the mid-12th century, and scholars believe it was hoaxed by the local monks to attract tourism dollars, attention, and a come-back to the church. England saw the ruling Angevin kings claiming descent off of Arthur, and many of England’s rulers claimed to be his true heir. The revelations of the early monasticism of Glastonbury and that which surrounds King Arthur made it a central place in the history of Christianity in England for over 1500 years. It is this hill that is believed to be the central location of the Arthurian legends. This is where Joseph of Arimathea disembarked after his journey from the Holy Land, planted his staff into the ground and gave birth to the legend of the Glastonbury Thorn. His staff turned into this thorn species, sprouting from his staff, and the name of the hill adapted to cover this story as “Wirral Hill” from etymology of when Joseph and his group climbed the hill they were all “weary” and therefore birthed the name “Wearyall”, or so the legend goes. As the thorn is said to have originated from the Middle East, it is believed to been spread to the area from a Crusader, and/or his staff made of its wood. For many years this thorn was celebrated atop Wearyall Hill. During the dissolution of the Abbeys, and destruction of Glastonbury Abbey, the mythos was moved to this chapel and hill. The most revered version of the thorn was re-planted atop the hill during the 1951 Festival of Britain, but in December of 2010, someone decapitated the holy thorn causing a local tragedy and killing the plant. A replacement met the same fate as did two other saplings planted in town destroyed. the only remaining are on the grounds of Glastonbury Abbey and St. John’s Church. “Beckery” is said by some to mean “Little Ireland” to refer to the monks crossing the sea from Ireland to be at Beckery and the Abbey when St. Patrick was the Abbot of Glastonbury Abbey. Others say “Beckery” referred to the site as a Bee Keeper’s Island. Other myths claim the area was once a site of a Druidic Women’s College, but no archaeology exists to support these legends. Many believe the site was pledged to the Irish Saint Bridgid who supposedly visited the site in 488 C.E. to the community and chapel that existed there. It combined Celtic Paganism with Christianity. To those in Glastonbury, Brighid is called “Bride” and is central to the old settlement on Bride’s Mound. The name of Beckery is first recorded in a charter dated 670 C.E. by the Saxon King Cenwealdh when he gave the site to Glastonbury Abbey. References to “Bride’s Mound” seem relatively modern being labelled sometime around the excavations thoughthe area has been called Bride’s Hill for some time and Bride’s Hay or Bridget’s Island. A 1628 entry in the rental of the Cavendish estates called it “Bridhill” ‘neare Backrey mill”. This is the old Baily’s building at Bride’s Mill. 1799 sale called it “Bride’s Hill in the Occupation of Robert Bath.”

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?

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.

More information:

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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).
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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 ~

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Glastonbury, England

Oh beautiful yet bizarre Glastonbury. I’ve been in and out of this village on backpacking trips since 2008 and haven’t been back since 2013. Glastonbury is a small village and civil parish located in Somerset England at the dry end of the low-lying Somerset levels 23 miles south of Bristol. The 2011 census stated it had a population of 8,932. The town has been inhabited since Neolithic times and there are evidence of timber trackways such as “Sweet Track” laying history in the area. The Glastonbury Lake Village was a bustling Iron Age Village located right next to the River Brue and Sharpham Park 2 miles to the west dating to the Bronze Age. Glastonbury was home to the Glastonbury Abbey that controlled the tow for 700 years. Many historic structures remain in the town from the Tribunal, George Hotel, Pilgrim’s Inn, Somerset Rural Life Museum, and the Church of St. John the Baptist.

Glastonbury was known as a center for commerce especially during the Middle Ages. This enabled the construction of the Market Cross, Glastonbury Canal, and the Glastonbury & Street railway station. Today it is considered a New Age community attracting spiritual people from all walks of life especially within the New Age Movement and Neo-Paganism much attracted to the legends of King Arthur, Joseph of Arimathea, the Holy Grail, and Glastonbury Tor.

Legend has it that Joseph of Arimathea stuck his staff into the ground and it mysteriously blossomed into the Glastonbury Thorn. There is legend of a landscape zodiac surrounding the town although no evidence of this exists. It is home to the Glastonbury Festival held in the neighboring village of Pilton that attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors each year.

During the 7th millenium B.C.E. Glastonbury was inundated by floods caused by sea level rise that caused Mesolithic peoples to occupy seasonal camps on higher grounds in the area. Archaeological evidence of dated flints have helped archaeologists date occupation from the Mesolithic and Neolithic of the area. The Neolithic inhabitants exploited the reed swamps for the natural resources constructing wooden trackways through the area – “Sweet Track” trackway located to the west of Glastonbury dates to being built around 3806 BCE according to dendrochronology and is one of the oldest engineered roads in Europe. It was the oldest until the 2009 discovery of a 6000 year old trackway in Belmarsh Prison. The road extended across the marsh between the then island at Westhay and a ridge of high ground at Shapwick for approximately 2000 meters and was part of a network of tracks once crossing the Somerset Levels. It was built of crossed poles of ash, oak, and lime driven into the waterlogged soil to create a walkway of oak planks laid end-to-end and was built along the route of an earlier track known as the “Post Track” dating from 3838 BCE.

The Lake Village was built around 300 BCE and had around 100 inhabitants from 5-7 groups of houses each for an extended family with sheds, barns, and dwellings made of hazel and willow covered with reeds surrounded by a wooden palisade. The Village was occupied until the Roman period ca. 100 C.E. after which it was abandoned due to water level rise as it was built on a morass artificial foundation of timber filled with brushwood, bracken, clay, and rubble.

This evolved into the settlement that came to be called “Glastonbury” around the 7-8th century as “Glestingaburg” referring to Anglo-Saxon names for a person or kindred group settled in a fortified place. It is believed the founder of the town was named Glast, a descendant of Cunedda. There is reference to it being first called Ineswitrin or Ynys Witrin according to William of Malmesbury’s “De Antiquitate Glastonie Ecclesie”. Centwine was the first Saxon patron of the Glastobury Abbey 676-685 C.E.

Legend has it that Saint Collen came to Glastonbury as one of the first hermits to settle on the Tor before the Abbey was built by Saint Patrick. Collen had struggles with the local faeries living in the area and was summoned by Gwyn ap Nudd at the summit of the Tor upon arriving entered a hovering mansion and King Gwyn’s armies, courtiers, and palace folk who attempted to lure him into the Otherworld. Collen dispersed the apparitions with holy water. According to Druidic mythology, this palace was made of glass and was able to receive the spirits of the dead who depart from the Tor, a passageway to the Otherworlds. This was why the chapel then church of Saint Michael was built on the Tor as Saint Michael was the chief patron against diabolic attacks which the monks believed the Faerie King Gwyn caused. The Tor was named after this palace of glass for the dead.

By the Middle Ages the town was largely dependent on the Abbey but also became a center for the Wool Trade until the 18th century. A Canal was built for trading connecting the Abbey to the River Brue. The dissolution of the Monasteries in 1539 saw the execution of the remaining Abbot and his monks.

The town was revived in 1705 C.E. being granted a charter of incorporation and was dependent on an economy of trade relying on the drainage of the surrounding moors, an opening of the Glastonbury Canal and became a local parish part of the hundred of the Glaston Twelve Hides until the 1730’s when it became a borough of its own. By the 19th century it had many troubles caused from the Glastonbury Canal drainage and competition from the new railways causing a dip in trade and depression set in its economy. The Canal was closed in 1854 and dismantled, being replaced the same year by a railway. A wharf was built for the railway and used until 1936 when it was filled in. the Main line to Glastonbury closed in 1966. Industrial production of woollen slippers, sheepskins, boots, and shoes became the mainstay but saw folding manufacture in 1993 converting to form Clarks Village – a purpose-built factory outlet. In the 19th-20th century tourism became the mainstay accompanying the rise in antiquarianism associating the Abbey and mysticism of the town.

Many Archaeologists believe that the Monks of the local Abbey connected the fables of King Arthur, the Holy Grail, and Joseph of Arimathea with Glastonbury to meet the challenges of a financial crisis caused by a devastating fire burning the Abbey. This was perpetuated by writing of historians such as William of Malmesbury, Venerable Bede, Gerald of Wales, and Geoffrey of Monmouth. In 1191 the Abbey’s monks claimed to have found the graves of King Arthur and Guinevere to the south of the Lady Chapel of the Abbey Church. The remains were later moved and were lost during the Reformation. In modern times this led to the four year study by Archaeologists stated “we didn’t claim to disprove the legendary associations, or would we wish to” and “that doesn’t dispel the Arthurian legend, it just means the pit excavated (where Arthur is said to be buried) he rather over-claimed.” It is however believed a hoax to substantiate the antiquity of Glastonbury’s foundation and increase its renown. The Glastonbury Zodiac came from a 1934 artist rendering by Katherine Maltwood suggesting the landscape formed a map of the stars on a gigantic scale formed by features in the landscape such as the fields, roads, and streams situated around Glastonbury. She claimed the Temple was created by Sumerians in 2700 BCE. Ian Burrow, Tom Williamson, and Liz Bellamy, scholars studying this myth from 1975-1983 used landscape historical research concluded contradicted the idea. For example the eye of Capricorn she labelled was a haystack, the western wing of the Aquarius Phoenix was a road laid in 1782 to run around Glastobury, the Cancer boat consisted of a network of 18th century drainage ditches and paths and there is no support of the theory that a “temple” in any form existed. Today Geomancers claim Glastonbury to be the center of several ley lines.

Below is a list of places I visited and reviewed. I hope to have this expanded to a complete list of resources and places of interest within the next few years.

Sites of Interest:

More to come …



    Glastonbury & Surrounding Area, a set on Flickr.

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Glastonbury Experience Courtyard

The Glastonbury Experience Courtyard
~ Glastonbury, England * https://www.unitythroughdiversity.org/glastonbury-experience-courtyard.html ~

One of the must see sections of Glastonbury as I experienced on my 2011 backpack tour of England is the Glastonbury Experience Courtyard. It was founded in 1978 by a Dutch couple named Willem and Helene Koppejan who bought the retain properties at the foot of Glastonbury High Street and converted to a shopping mall of unique shops and function rooms called the “Glastonbury Experience”. Most of the shops began with specialization on “arts and crafts” focused on contemporary spirituality. Willem passed before they finished their dream. For several years the project came out at a loss being supplemented by Helenes private funds until in 1987 Helene met Barry Taylor who was a management and financial consultant who also had a strong interest in spirituality. They incorporated Barry’s plan to turn everything around. It came about when a section of Glastonbury’s residents were also inspired to re-create Glastonbury as a great center for learning, teaching, and spirituality mimicking what they saw it was in the Middle Ages but appropriate for the 21st century. Several key institutions moved in and became based in the Glastonbury Experience including the Isle of Avalon Foundation, The Library of Avalon, and the Goddess Temple. A Pilgrim Reception Center and Sanctuary was also formed. By 1992 Barry and Helene set up the Glastonbury Trust whose purpose was to benefit the public through the advancement of religion and education as a charity. In 1997 they established an agreement that in the event of their deaths the ownership of the Glastonbury Experience would pass on to a new charity. In 1998 Helen died and the Experience was transferred to the Glastonbury Trust Limited. The Trust began setting up a center offering help, guidance, training, and healing for all aspects of spiritual growth and ecological awareness.

Rated: 5 of 5 stars. Visited 8/1/2011. ~ 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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The Goddess Temple (Glastonbury)

The Glastonbury Goddess Temple
~ 2-4 High St, Glastonbury, England BA6 9DU, UK Phone: +44 1458 837977 https://www.goddesstemple.co.uk/ ~

I first encountered the Glastonbury Goddess Temple during my 2011 backpacking trip around the U.K. and have since visited in 2012 and 2013. The Temple was founded in 2000 as a pop-up Temple then again in 2003 as a public permanent Goddess Temple space in the Courtyard of the Glastonbury Experience and house of worship. The Temple claims to the be first formally recognized public indigenous British Goddess Temple in Europe for over 1500 years. The temple is open to the public every day from noon to 4 pm for prayer, meditation, celebration, and worship of Goddess. It is a home base for 21st century Goddess worshipers to meet one another, network, converse, pray, worship, do rituals, and share the Love of the Goddess(es). The Temple moved to the Goddess Hall on Benedict Street in 2008 where they hold larger seasonal ceremonies, offer teachings, and Priestess training. They opened a gift shop also in the Courtyard offering spaces for Goddess artisans, crafters, makers, writers, and Priestesses to sell their creations to the public. In 2016 they expanded to the Goddess House on Magdalene Street for their Goddess Healing Temple and Education Center. A sharing library of Goddess Books is also available. There are various function rooms that can be hired by groups for Goddess-based lectures, workshops, rites, or classes.

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

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Chocolate Love Temple, Glastonbury, England

Chocolate love temple, Glastonbury, England

Chocolate Love Temple, 86 High St, Glastonbury, England BA6 9DZ, UK Phone: +44 1458 835479

A great little delicious shop in the heart of Glastonbury I discovered during my backpacking tour of 2011. Its intriguing, alternative, and ecstatic … the chocolatier within calls themselves alchemist artisans who focus on raw chocolate as a healing medicine. Offered is a variety of chocolates, cakes, treats, medicinal mushrooms, love drops, supplements, and super foods like bee pollen. A must drop-in for any chocolate enthusiast.

Rated: 4.5 of 5 stars. Visited 8/1/2011. ~ Review by Leaf McGowan/Thomas Baurley, Technogypsie Productions ~

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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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Glastonbury Backpackers – Crown Hotel

Glastonbury Backpackers at the Crown Hotel
~ 4 Market Pl, Glastonbury, England BA6 9HD, UK +44 1458 833353 ~

Currently Closed. The summer of 2011 I visited this indifferent hostel and stayed a couple of nights. While staff were friendly they were short and seemed too busy to handle guests. The Price however at the time was decent and it fulfilled my needs. I did not completely feel safe there at the time and it may have been a location where my internet use was hacked and one of my credit cards compromised causing much frustration and necessities to save loss of funds.

Within a 16th-century coaching Inn above a local pub called “The Crown”, this was a popular backpacker’s hostel with budget twins, doubles, and dorms – some en suite with male and femal dorms, and six private rooms. Most of the rooms have showers and toilets, others are shared.

It is a popular cheap lodging option for those visiting Glastonbury and quite over-accomodated during festivals and events. The bar below is lively and hosts DJ’s, music, and events. Closed down and proclaimed closed permanently in July 2016. A January 2018 article states it might re-open summer of 2018.

Rated: 3 of 5 stars. Visited 8/1/2011. ~ 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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Glastonbury Tribunal

Glastonbury Tribunal
~ Glastonbury, England ~

Late 15th century Townhouse. During my backpacking trip through England and Scotland the summer of 2011, I visited this unique 15th century merchant’s house called “The Tribunal”. It is one of Britain’s Grade I historically designated buildings. Much of the building’s history is unknown except that it was built in the 15th century atop an old 12th century wooden structure. The front wall seen in the pictures were added in the 16th century. Originally used as a merchant’s house, it may have been both a shop and a schoolhouse. Today it is the Lake Village Museum. The first floor has original Elizabethan Era window and ceiling panels. Upstairs in the front room sits an braced arched wooden truss roof. Owned by the English Heritage as a Lake Village Museum as well as a tourist information centre. It house various artifacts such as the “Glastonbury Bowl” that dates to the Iron Age. Other artifacts in the Museum center around the Iron Age as well as works of art from Iron Age Glastonbury Lake Village – the man made “crannog” island that was abandoned near Godney 3 miles northwest of Glastonbury. The village was built in 300 B.C.E. and lasted to the Early Roman period (100 C.E.) abandoned due to a rise in water levels. There were originally about 100 people living in the village in 5-7 groups of houses with sheds, barns, and a wooden pallisade. It was built atop a artificial foundation of timber filled with bracken, rubble, and clay. Local legend states it was a Tribunal, hence the name, for the local Abbey where secular justice was administered for the Glastonbury Twelve Hides, but there is no archaeological or historical evidence to support this. Legend also suggests it was the site for trials by Judge Jeffreys for the Bloody Assizes after the Monmouth Rebellion, yet no evidence exists to verify that legend. There is no recorded information why its called a Tribunal.

The door is an original and hosts a Tudor rose with the arms of Richard Beere who was an Abbot from 1493 to 1524. There is a possibility the house was used as a hospice during 1716 as there is a document describing “Beere’s Hospital” though unknown if its the same building. There are documents that seem to point to it being a commercial school for young gentlemen during the later 18th century.

There are two rooms with an attached kitchen on the ground floor. There is a staircase leading to the living quarters on the first floor. The front room may have been a storefront like neighboring buildings but wasn’t used as such after installation of the new front wall during the 16th century. There are also evidence that this room was originally partitioned. Within the room are recesses on both sides of the arched fireplace . The rear room is a hall with 16th century panels and four light windows and the remains of a large fireplace with a chimney blocked after the downstairs fireplace was installed. Ceilings have Elizabethan Era plaster decorations. Wooden stairs to the first floor replaced an earlier stone staircase which still have rubble extending from the wall. The roof has braced arched wooden trusses.

Rated: 3 of 5 stars. Visited 8/1/2011. ~ 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.

August 1, 2011: Glastonbury Tribuna (http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=38787)l: Late 15th century town house. (c) 2011-2012 – photography by Leaf McGowan, technogypsie.com. Glastonbury: http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=3403

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