Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Glastonbury

Today was a quiet day reflecting on the experiences of the past week and quietly seeing more of the Glastonbury township.

Shops at the Entrance to Northload Street

Carving of a couple about 1470 thought to be close to the place where the medieval betrothal ceremonies were conducted before going to the church porch

George & Pilgrim Inn built about 1465 one of the bests surviving medieval inns in the country.

The Tribute a 600 year old merchant's house now the tourist information centre
  
The well at the rear of the building

The labyrinth in the grounds of the St John's Church built to commemorate Glastonbury receiving the town charter from Queen Ann in 1705.

Vestry Hall built in 1865 the blocked ground floor opening was provided to house the horse drawn fire engine until 1901

St George's Hall built in 1720's

Tudor Post Office built 1930's

For 250 years the Becketts Inn was the home and office of many Glastonbury surgeons.

Jacoby Cottage still shows traces of it's origin as a medieval Pilgrimage Chapel
We walked on from our town walk to the Tor for a personal look at this wonderous hill and it's many blessings. This time just walking straight up without the many twists and turns of the labyrinth.



An old milestone now a stone of blessing to the Tor near the entrance gate at the rear side of the Tor


My personal visit to the sacred orchid of apples I could just imagine what it would look like through the veil of the mists in the cooler weather



A personal visit to the Sacred Tree and Egg Stone

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Leaving this very special place after placing on my ribbon with my personal prayers on the tree 


Walking away from the Tor through the Entrance stone to the Labyrinth grateful for all that I have seen and experienced on her slopes
Our next stop was Chalice Well also known as 'The Well of Avalon'.  One of Britain's most ancient wells, nestling in the Vale of Avalon between the famous Glastonbury Tor and Chalice Hill. Archaeological evidence suggests that the well has been in almost constant use for at least two thousand years. Water issues from the spring at a rate of 25,000 gallons per day and has never failed, even during drought. The water is believed to possess healing qualities. The Well is often portrayed as a symbol of the female aspect of deity, with the male symbolised by Glastonbury Tor. As such, it is a popular destination for pilgrims in search of the divine feminine, including Pagans. The Well is however popular with all faiths and in 2001 became a World Peace Garden.

Surrounded by beautiful gardens and orchards it is a living sanctuary in which you can experience the quiet healing of this sacred place. For over two thousand years this has been a place where people have gathered to drink the waters and find solace, peace and inspiration. 'Many Paths, One Source' welcomes all people of goodwill to the gardens throughout the year. The wheel of the year is represented at regular intervals with events of celebration, silence and meditation, and conversation. 

Many legends are attributed to its chalybeate waters, which flow ceaselessly at a steady rate and temperature that never varies. Not least among these is that they represent the blood of Christ miraculously springing forth from the ground when Joseph of Arimathea buried or washed the cup used at the Last Supper. For others the waters are acknowledged as the essence of life, the gift from Mother Earth to sustain its living forms and so a continuous spring like Chalice Well is a direct expression of an unbounded life force.
Entrance Path


Goddess figure in the shade of the Yew

Kevin seating in King Arthur's Court and the healing pool of water has been here since the middle of the 18th century.

In this cascade that feed the healing pool you can see the rich red iron that the water contains.
In the past it as known as the Red Spring or Blood Spring because of the red iron deposit the water leaves on everything it touches.


The pure spring water pours out from the Lion's Head


The wonderful well head with the Lammas harvest wheat. The well cover has a wrought iron Vesica Piscis an ancient symbol of two interlocking circles. It's geometry symbolises a union, of heaven and earth or spirit and matter and it appears throughout the garden.

Looking into the healing well



Views of the Tor from the well gardens


The water forms a figure of eight in each of the flow forms seven bowls and its rhythm mirrors the swirling eddies of natural mountain streams as it falls into the vesica pool.
The White Spring in Well House Lane Glastonbury is one of the greatest mysteries of the Isle of Avalon that two different healing springs, one touched red with iron, the other white with calcite, should rise within a few feet of each other from the caverns beneath Glastonbury Tor. Both have healing in their flow. In honour of the Spirit of the White Spring, a Temple has been created here in gratitude for the gift of pure water. A Victorian built Well House that nestles beneath Glastonbury Tor was ideal for this purpose. Cavernous and set apart, in blackness or candle lit, mysterious it remains. A wonderful contrast to the sunlit gardens of Chalice Well of the Red Spring. The interior consists of three domed vaults 16ft high, with beautiful bowed floors, like the hull of a boat moored at the portal to the Otherworld. With it's constant temperature, and the sound of the perpetually flowing water, it is a unique and sacred space. A series of pools have been built according to the principles of sacred geometry, and simple shrines in honour of the ancient energies and spirits of Avalon have been created within the temple. All enhanced by the ley line known as the Michael line which flows through this place. We honour Brigid as guardian, Our Lady of Avalon, the King of the Realm of Faery, and their ancient presence in this sacred space. People gather together to celebrate the turning of the seasons and at the full and dark moon. In keeping with the sense of sacred at the White Spring there is no charge or expectation of donation, neither is anyone paid. To explore this mysterious, candle-lit sanctuary is a special experience. Listen to the water, the white spring flowing from deep within the tor; for it has memory. Brigit's healing water can be collected from the well or from a small spout outside. Glastonbury was once an island and water rises and falls from it’s heart in profusion. Full of mystery and symbolism, two springs rise within feet of each other at the base of the Tor the holy hill of Avalon. One, tasting sweet with calcium, leaves a white trail. The other, tasting metallic with iron, leaves its mark in red. 

Unfortunately no photos of the interior of the well are possible, these are of the entrance from the lane.



Waters of the White Spring flowing freely for all

Across the street the waters of the Chalice Well flows
We walked back into town past the Abbey Park with it's beautiful trees.



We then continued our walk up Wearyall Hill a representation of the swan's head in the landscape. Standing on the slopes of Wearyall Hill, next to Glastonbury's Holy Thorn, gazing out across the sprawling sight of the busy town, with its tall medieval church towers, might not immediately conjure the image of a great white swan, gliding its way across the open waters of the Bristol Channel. You are situated on the head of this great bird effigy, its long snake-like neck defined by a descending hill ridge between here and both Chalice Hill and the Tor, which, together with high ground as far north as Edmund Hill and as far south as Edgarley, form its expanding wings and body, as well as the shape of a passenger in the form of an 'old crone'. This is the terrestrial swan effigy, approximately 4 kilometres (2.5 miles) in length and 2.75 kilometres (1.7 miles) in width, envisioned within the Glastonbury landscape by well-known Goddess devotee, expert and writer Kathy Jones.

Looking back to the Tor from the Swan's head


The Holy Thorn 
Whilst walking up the Wearyall Hill we were greeted by these Hares which I thought was amazingly significant whilst walking these Glastonbury Hills as they are sacred and held in honour here in Glastonbury.

A Native American (Cree) legend tells about a young rabbit who wished to ride the moon. Only the crane was willing to take him. The trip stretched Crane's legs as the heavy rabbit held them tightly, leaving them as elongated as crane's legs are now. When they reached the moon Rabbit touched Crane's head with a bleeding paw, leaving the red mark cranes wear to this day. According to the legend, Rabbit still rides the moon.

As the moon waxes and wanes, the common view of the hare has also waxed and waned. Revered in ancient times, the hare was later regarded with contempt and suspicion in early Christianity. It was considered to be a shape-shifting creature serving the interests of witches, ready to tempt man into perdition.

The symbol of the moon-gazing hare is almost universal and dates back to ancient times. It symbolizes fertility. Pagans believed moon-gazing hares would bring growth, re-birth, abundance, new beginnings and fortune. To others, the hare symbolized purity, and a single hare was often used to signify the Virgin Mary's purity. This image of the hare, of course, is in sharp contrast to that of the fertile common rabbit.
In ancient Egyptian belief, hares were intrinsically linked to the moon's cyclical movement - being at once masculine when waxing and feminine when waning. Hares would thus be depicted as alchemists making the elixir of immortality or as messengers of the female moon deity.

Since ancient times people have claimed to see the image of a rabbit or hare on the face of the moon. In East Asian culture, the Moon Rabbit or Jade Rabbit lives on the moon and is seen pounding a mortar and pestle. In Chinese folklore, the image is that of a companion to the Goddess Chang'e, who is pounding the elixir of life for her.





The stark contrast of light and dark was shown to us in the sky's


Walking back through town to our home we stopped to see the Pump House

St Margaret's Chapel




2 comments:

eastwitching.com said...

Thank you Lee-Anne for this rich and lovingly written post. I was in Glastonbury on the weekend with friends and the energy of the place always moves me. Alison

Lee-Anne said...

Thank you Alison, I am glad you enjoyed the blog. Glastonbury is a magical place that holds a special place in my heart. I have just returned from the South of France, where in parts it reminded me greatly of Glastonbury.