Here lies entombed the renowned King Arthur of the Island of Avalon
2 of 3: Isle of Avalon, A Journey to My Past
Alongside him, was Guinevere, his wife, with her blonde plaited hair, according to Geoffrey of Monmouth’s: History of the Kings of Britain. The epitaph inscription above was found on a large cross made of lead.
The enchanted land of Avalon (either meaning “apples” or derived from Avallach, ruler of the underworld), where the ongoing quest to search for the Holy Grail – the chalice or sacred stone that fell from the sky, was sought – is still entrancing. Arthur’s sword, Excalibur, was once forged here; mythical Camelot created and the Knights of the Round Table was formed; whose members included Galahad, Elyan the White, Ywain the Bastard, Bagdemagus and Dagonet.
What happened to wonderful names like these and Lancelot, Gawain, Urien, Mordred, Morgane Le Fay – (fairy, the ethereal sorceress), Uther Pendragon, Urien or Madog? Why not a description or a definite article in our names?*So many and famous names; and never yet
Had heaven appeared so blue, nor earth so green,
For all my blood danced in me, and I knew
That I should light upon the Holy Grail.
IDYLLS OF THE KING, Alfred Lord Tennyson
Glastonbury Tor (Old English word for “hill” or Celtic for “glass”), a holy hill, rises up from the ancient Isle of Avalon, so termed as it was once surrounded by marshland and only accessible by waterways.
From the summit at 158 metres, you can clearly see 360° across three counties: Dorset, Somerset (“Summer settlement” due to its flooding in Winter) and Wiltshire. It is spectacular.
The energy is electric here and, no wonder, Glastonbury Tor is home to Gwyn ap Nudd, King of the Fairy Folk. In the chakras of the Earth, Glastonbury is termed the Heart Chakra. It is no surprise that traditional dowsers, show hundreds of ley lines converge at Glastonbury.
The best time to climb the Tor would be on a Full Moon wearing a cloak. On a trip less impromptu, I shall do so and walk its outer labyrinth which is quite a quest.
In his book, The Glastonbury Tor Maze, Geoffrey Ashe states the seven terraces are the remains of a vast three-dimensional neolithic labyrinth – globally prevalent in neolithic times – forming a ceremonial pathway dedicated to the goddess. (I came upon another labyrinth being created in the next part of my sojourn).
Regardless of religion or spirituality, people are drawn here. The Tor consists of blue lias, a geologic formation that dates back to the Jurassic period of up to 200 million years ago.
The original wooden building was destroyed during an earthquake in 1275 and there is evidence of occupation between 5th to 7th centuries. The original, it is understood, was a circular, domed, ancient Greek-style temple. What remains now is a roofless, stone tower standing majestically against the sky and visible from miles around.
Four dragon sentinels with burnished scales
Keep ward and watch, and whether the sleets and hails
Of winter beat their caves, or in May magic the lawn.
Like a dull emerald smitten with the Dawn,
Up brightens, guard and gleam; and still the Grail’s
Enchaliced splendors shake over those sweet dales,
Where, ‘neath a thick-leaved canopy unwithdrawn
Since the old days of Vivien’s sorcery,
Sleeps Merlin in a nest of nightingales AVALON, Robert E Gonzales 1888-1916
I haven’t been to Glastonbury since 1970 and I ended up there for almost a week, quite by chance when, one dark evening in spontaneous search of adventure and stimulation, I hitch-hiked to see where it would lead.
When I was there in the quietude of the countryside (absolutely silent, compared with most places current times), I noticed more how I could read thoughts, which I fully realised I’d been doing all my life. This came home to me even more powerfully, after an especially intense OBE a few years later.
In those days, forty-four years ago, some of the shops – quite ordinary then – had signs saying: “NO HIPPIES HERE!” So, my floppy hat and customised jeans went directly in to enquire about their particular definition of “hippie” and to ask if they’d met each individual member of the aforementioned organisation!
Not that I aligned myself with any group, but I did enjoy an eloquent debate when I was 15. Whether it was my earnest, innocent little cherub face I don’t know, but I remember them all smiling and being extremely kind and lovely.
Most of the shops now have interesting appearances with names such as: Witchcraft Limited; Cat & Cauldron; Man, Myth & Magik; The Speaking Tree; Moon Mirrors; Facets of Avalon; Hemp in Avalon; Lilith; Witchity Things; The Magick Box; The Wonky Broomstick; The Crystal Man; or Earthfare (where I purchased some organic herbs for infusions). Though there is a distinct theme, mercifully, these are far removed from the typical high street chains or mind-numbing mall stores seen elsewhere up and down the UK.Rich galleries, lady-laden, weighed the necks
Of dragons clinging to the crazy walls,
Thicker than drops from thunder, showers of flowers
Fell as we past; and men and boys astride
On wyvern, lion, dragon, griffin, swan,
At all the corners, named us each by name,
Calling, “God speed!”
IDYLLS OF THE KING, Alfred Lord Tennyson
Legend has it that Jesus, as a boy, visited Glastonbury (as it was said he sojourned to Holdstone Down, a hill in north west Devon).
In the Abbey grounds is the famous and beautiful Hawthorn said to have been originally planted by Joseph of Arimathea. Hawthorn is one of the particularly mystical trees (although all The Standing Ones are old, loyal, sacred friends to me).
Hawthorn is very appropriate for the Heart Chakra town of Glastonbury as haws make the most ideal tincture for the health of the heart and blood. I have a sprig of the flowers from this Holy Hawthorn in my large jar of dried haws I collected in the Summer for infusions and tinctures.
There were many people at the pinnacle of the Tor so I performed my overtone chanting, directional calling in and blessing the land towards the lower slopes, which would have been the water at one time.
The earth felt good. I felt uplifted having been there. I’d drunk the water from the Chalice Well; and so it was time to travel to my next sacred destination.
By this huge oak, sung nearly where we sit:
For here we met, some ten or twelve of us,
To chase a creature that was current then
In these wild woods, the hart with golden horns.
It was the time when first the question rose
About the founding of a Table Round,
That was to be, for love of God and men
And noble deeds, the flower of all the world.
And each incited each to noble deeds. Merlin and Vivien, A L Tennyson
Happy and healthy heart blessings to you
* Dawn The Peripatetic Paganus