Glastonbury, South West England
Glastonbury is a small town in South West England with a big spiritual tradition. Some people believe that this is where Christianity in England began, and it’s still a place of Christian pilgrimage; but it’s become a centre for alternative spiritualities, too. There are more than 70 practising spiritual faiths and paths in Glastonbury and many more individuals that have developed their own paths that have helped them explore the Divine. Glastonbury has been described as a New Age community where communities have grown up to include people with New Age beliefs.
Glastonbury High Street and the streets that lead off from it, are attractions in themselves; it really is no exaggeration to say there is nowhere else like it! Unique shops run by independent traders, a vibrant café culture and places to visit are all within walking distance of each other.
This magnificent place I visited last week is notable for myths and legends concerning Joseph of Arimathea, the Holy Grail and King Arthur. The legend that Joseph of Arimathea retrieved certain holy relics was introduced by the French poet Robert de Boron in his 13th-century version of the grail story, thought to have been a trilogy though only fragments of the later books survive today. The work became the inspiration for the later Vulgate Cycle of Arthurian tales.
The first Glastonbury Festivals were a series of cultural events held in summer, from 1914 to 1926. The more recent Glastonbury Festival of Performing Arts, founded in 1970, is now the largest open-air music and performing arts festival in the world. Although it is named for Glastonbury, it is held at Worthy Farm between the small villages of Pilton and Pylle, 6 miles (9.7 km) east of the town of Glastonbury. The festival is best known for its contemporary music, but also features dance, comedy, theatre, circus, cabaret and many other arts. Check it out – you still have some time to join this year festival that will take place next month.
The Chalice Well & Gardens
The Chalice Well lies in a protected area of natural beauty, at the foot of a narrow valley running between the Tor and Chalice Hill and is an integral part of the sacred landscape in and around Glastonbury. For over two thousand years the Red Spring, or Blood Spring, has flowed ceaselessly and is a place where people have gathered to drink the waters and find solace, peace and inspiration.
It is commonly believed that long before the first Christian community was established, the island and its landscape was already regarded as a sacred place, integral to the harmonious balance between humanity and its connection to the natural world, the heavens and the Divine. This balance was maintained through sacred ceremony and ritual in the land, which also had the effect of continually sanctifying the land and all beings in it. Both the early Pagan tribes and the later Celtic ones participated in this tradition, including maintaining a so-called perpetual choir, set up to continually keep the right sacred vibration sounding throughout the land. It is believed that a Druidic college was already established in Glastonbury when the company of Christian men would have arrived, and many of their traditions were merged with those of the new-comers and over time developed into what we now know as Celtic Christianity. This particular Christian tradition of worship seems not to have survived far beyond the arrival of emissaries from the Roman Church around the middle of the first millennium CE.
The Saxons, who had been converted to Christianity, conquered the ancient county of Somerset in the 7th Century. Their King was Ine of Wessex, who was widely regarded as one of the most important figures in the history of the abbey. He was a local man who boosted the status and income of the abbey, and it is said that he put up a stone church, the base of which forms the west end of the nave.This church was enlarged in the 10th century by the Abbot of Glastonbury, St. Dunstan, who became the Archbishop of Canterbury in 960.
I was born and raised in Lithuania – the last pagan country in Europe.
I was always interested in authentic beliefs and religions people used to live with before they were made to change it. Paganism will always take a special place in my life as to my opinion it is a bridge for us to become a peace of nature again. With nowadays knowledge and understanding paganism could be turned into a peaceful life style where you can relax and stop controlling the world affecting it to die slowly. Just like Buddhists we could start changing ourselves instead of surroundings, dive deeper into spiritual life and build our moral and beliefs the way we want it to be worshiping our mind and soul. I am very happy I have visited Glastonbury – this place is truly magical and special. I was surprised by so many things I think I will have to come back there just to feel that joy again. What can I say more – you really come as a stranger and leave as a friend here in Glastonbury.
Thinking of visiting this place? Here you go – Glastonbury Reception Centre and Sanctuary.