You! Yes you! Have you ever been to Glastonbury? Glastonbury in the UK? You haven’t? Wow! It’s my most favourite place in the world, so why don’t you grab your coat and let me take you there? Come and see this most amazing place through my eyes, and just taste the magick. You won’t be disappointed, I promise you that, and you will feast like a King and Queen. This treat is all mine.
As we jump in the car, we’ve four hours to drive. Let’s hope the roads are clear, and to help our ride, let’s send a little instant magick ahead to ensure a great journey. Glasto-bound, we just have to have a little Damh the Bard to listen to, and with all of his albums to hand, he should serenade us right to the doorstop. We’re so nearly there now, and as we leave the M5 motorway, we only have twenty minutes to go. This part of the drive is so exciting, and I’m trying hard not to put my foot down on the country roads we’re driving on. I can’t wait to get there, and I also can’t stop grinning like a Cheshire cat. You’re no doubt thinking I’m crazy, but I love this place so much – and if anywhere does crazy, it’s Glastonbury! So who’s going to be the first to see the Tor? Will it be dark and broody, misty and mystical, or bright and magickal? Oh, how the energies of the town draw you in like a magnet. I swear I could let go of the wheel, and the car would take us there of its own accord. We drive past the tiny villages of Catcott and Ashcott, the word ‘cott’ being derived from Saxon meaning ‘small dwelling’. We drive past the town of Street, and there it is, The Tor; rising up, seen from so many miles away, standing tall, a beacon, beckoning us closer. Whoop! Now you’re getting it – now I can see you’re excited about this too!
Being a ‘companion’ of the Chalice Well has amazing benefits, and one of the perks is that I’ve been able to book us into The Chalice Well Lodge for the weekend. This tiny two-bedroomed red brick house is right at the bottom of the Tor, and even better still, it provides us with 24/7 access into the Chalice Well Gardens. Can you believe that? When the general public and the staff have gone home, it will all be ours. I can’t begin to tell you how magickal it is to wake before sunrise, make a pot of coffee and some toast, and head silently, still in your nightclothes, into the gardens to watch the sunrise over the Tor as the garden comes alive with the birdsong of many. Just as magickal too, a walk up to the Well Head as the clock strikes midnight – it makes any ritual all the more special. I don’t know about you, but I’m famished after that drive, so why don’t we park up in the Abbey Car Park and grab some food?
Did you know that the grave of King Arthur and Guinevere is in the Abbey grounds? I love sitting there a while and connecting with their energies. In my world, they were very real. I’ve often seen the proud knights on horseback in that wide open space, jousting, practicing their swordsmanship skills. Arthur, Guinevere, Merlin – who couldn’t get lost in the romance and the magick of the legend? Ooh now, where to go first? The Lazy Gecko Cafe make the most amazing breakfasts – full English, or a veggie option if you prefer. Mind you, their ‘Bubble and Squeak’ is to die for. Delicious earthy potatoes, crushed with sautéed cabbage and onions, topped with two eggs, sunny-side up. Yum! There are so many wonderful eating establishments in this town; you’ll find it hard to choose. So let’s do a Gecko breakfast, and I’ll take you somewhere very special for lunch too. Rainbow’s End perhaps, where the salads and pastries are a feast for the eyes, and their slices of cake are fit for giants! Or even the One Hundred Monkeys Cafe, where the coffee is delicious.
No sooner than we cross the road, we bump into Tim; Tim Raven, the town’s resident bard and harpist. I can’t wait for you to hear his stories of Taliesin and the songs he sings; you’ll love him for sure. He’s off to find a good spot in which to sit, entertain the passers-by and earn a pound or two. His music not only flows through the town, but throughout the Otherworlds too, and he’s so pleased to see us back. If you take to him too, he’ll do you a reading in The Wild Hunt down on Benedict Street and tell you what the runes have in store. The High Street is only small–curving around from the Abbey up the hill, towards the Chalice Well and the Tor. You could walk the entire length in fifteen minutes flat, but with near enough very shop selling magickal supplies of some sort, that’s a challenge only the most resistant human being could achieve! Me? Nope, I’m definitely not one of those! I’m guessing you’re not either, as you clearly want to take a quick peek at what’s in store for you before sitting down for breakfast.
Okay, I’ll take you for a whistle-stop tour in the lower part of the town and show you my most favourite shops of all. We can explore later when we’ve unpacked and planned our time, because with so many things to see and do, we really should plan a little. There’s the Abbey and Chalice Well to explore at length. The Abbey is fun as the guides dress up in period-costume and really live the part. The Chalice gardens hold my heart. I adore the peacefulness and the healing energies held close within those walls. We must also visit Wearyall Hill to see the Holy Thorn. Legend has it that, following the crucifixion of Christ, Joseph of Arimathea visited Glastonbury, fetching with him not only the Holy Grail, but twelve companions, two of which were Mary and Jesus. Of course back then, Glastonbury was an island – The Isle of Avalon. Joseph’s intention was to establish the first Christian church in England and, being tired and weary from his travels, he thrust his staff into the ground on Wearyall Hill, from which a Holy Thorn tree took root and flourished. After the English Civil War, Cromwell ordered the original tree to be destroyed on the grounds that it was a superstitious relic, but today there are many trees in and around Glastonbury said to have been grown from cuttings of the original tree. The one in the Chalice gardens now has mistletoe growing on it, and most interestingly, these trees flower not only in Spring, but also at Christmas. Oh, and the Holy Grail? That is said to be buried on Chalice Hill, so as you can see, there is plenty to find out about and experience firsthand for yourself. There’s never enough time to do everything in Glastonbury during just one visit, and this is why I so want to move here.
Can you imagine being able to stroll through the grounds of the Abbey or the Chalice gardens on any day of the week you choose? Climb the Tor at sunrise or sunset? From the top, it is said that you can see seven counties of England, and right out to the sea. On a clear day, with the wind blowing though your hair, it feels like Heaven meets Earth right there; it truly takes your breath away. But on a dark day, the energies can be quite eerie. Let’s face it – with the last Abbot of Glastonbury being executed on the orders of Henry VIII in St Michaels Tower, the only part of the church still standing at the very top, it’s hardly surprising.
Anyway – enough history for now. Take a look into this courtyard and see the beautiful ‘Stone Age’ crystal shop owned by Lui Krieg. There are crystals in the pathway and the walls leading up to the shop, which is packed with the most amazing gems you’ve ever seen. Lui designs and creates a lot of the jewellery he sells there – in fact he made our handfasting rings. He’s also a crystal sound activation healer too. Right next door is ‘Star Child’, an incredible Apothecary, selling organic herbs, oils, incenses and candles. If you can’t get what you need here, you can’t get it anywhere! I do grow a lot of my own herbs, but have a list of those I need to replenish, so I’ll drop my list in now and pick them up later. Right across from the courtyard is ‘The George and Pilgrim” pub and hotel. It’s the oldest pub in the South West of England, dating back to the 1400s. I love the old oak beams and the atmosphere in there. The ‘Speaking Tree’ bookshop next door is packed with magickal and occult books, so that’s worth a visit, and they have some great bargains too. One of my most favourite shops has to be ‘The Goddess and Green Man’. You can buy anything, from cards and books, to candles and jewellery, statues, chalices and cauldrons, along with Tarot decks, bags and spells, to herbal hearts to hang on the wall and besoms; with Damh the Bard on constant replay, you can be lost in there for hours. ‘Lilith of Avalon’ is directly across the road, selling the most fabulous Steampunk and gothic clothes, wands and head-dresses, and then ‘Haruka’, my favourite clothes shop of all, just a few minutes away, please don’t tell my bank manager where I am! There’s ‘Art of Africa’, ‘Yin and Yan’, the ‘Yoga’ Shop, ‘Natural Earthling’, and ‘Arnacadabra’ all further on up the hill – you’re totally spoilt for choice. But come on, enough for right now.
Let’s head back to The Lazy Gecko for breakfast. We’ll rest there awhile and meet up again another time to explore the mystical Isle of Avalon a little further … Blessed Be.
Karen Ainsworth has just completed her second degree training with The Temple of Witchcraft, having been on the path for around ten years. She is Reiki Master trained and has studied Crystal Therapy, Incense and Magical Oils, and Crystal Therapy with the British School of Yoga. Karen lives in the North West of England with her husband Chris and daughter Shirli.