Glasenbury, Glashenburye, Glassthenbery, Glastonbery, Glastynbury, Glestingaburg
This is probably one of the most famous, if not the most famous, mystical sites in the world. It has connections with The Abbey, Glastonbury Zodiac, the intersection of Ley Lines and Earth Energy Lines to name but a few. As well as many pilgrims and holiday visitors from around the world, Glastonbury also has a large concentration of people with alternative beliefs.
Glastonbury is a small town in Somerset, England, said to be identified with Avalon in the romance Perlesvaus, shrouded in mystery. It has a magical place, and the home of countless legends, Celtic, Anglo-Saxon and Christian, and even today it is a magical, mystical place.
Here the Archbishop of Canterbury became a hermit after defying Mordred. Here Bedivere, Lancelot, and other knights joined the former Archbishop as hermits at Arthur's grave. All this is at the end of Malory's book, but there must have been enough at Glastonbury already to attract the Archbishop.
According to a tradition not found in Malory, Joseph of Arimathea planted a flowering thorn tree here, which bloomed in winter until it was uprooted by Oliver Cromwell. You can still see trees in Glastonbury reputed to be descendants of the original flowering thorn.
All indications point to Glastonbury's having been a Pagan holy place before Christianization. Glastonbury Tor, for instance, is a high, conical hill with an ancient pathway to the top. As part of a ritual, the tor was to be ascended in tiers, the celebrants walking around each tier alternately clockwise or counter-clockwise before climbing to the next. The town itself is reported to have been surrounded by marshland/water possibly dating to around the third or fourth-century BC. Because of this marshland, it is argued by many, that this must be the mythical place known in Arthurian Lore as The Isle of Avalon.
At the bottom end of the High Street is the entrance to Glastonbury Abbey. According to legend, Arthur and Guenevere are said to be buried within the Abbey grounds. Although it is now believed by many to have been nothing more than a monastic hoax.
The town itself offers an inspiring eclectic mix of New Age/Alternative shops and stalls covering everything from Crystal Healing to Christianity and is a must for anyone who claims to be remotely interested in the Mystical/Religious World. Although it first glance it may appear a small town (approx. population 8,000) it is packed full of history and interest.
The high street can be covered by foot from one end to the other in approximately 15 minutes although if you actually wish to fully explore every shop with a mystical angle then you can spend a good full day exploring them, along with the Tor, Abbey, Chalice Well and other sites in or around the town. Car park prices are very reasonable, some are discretely tucked away in the back streets, so do look out for the signs. We can highly recommend some of the specialist shops and arcades there are also many lectures, seminars and exhibitions in the halls within the town.
Glastonbury was also a popular retreat of the famous occultist, Dion Fortune who spent the second half of her life in a house near the base of the Tor. Glastonbury is also very famous for The Glastonbury Festival, which is more than just a music festival but based just outside the town itself.
As stated earlier, the town is a must for anyone remotely interested in the mystical and/or religious world as the two exist side-by-side in an atmosphere that is totally unique to Glastonbury itself. Allow some time in the area to really appreciate this fascinating town of myth, legend and history.
Legend also says that Glastonbury is connected with the returning of Excalibur to the Lady of the Lake, though in this instance it is a river and not a lake into which Excalibur is said to have been thrown. On the main road between Street and Glastonbury lies the Pomparles Bridge (Pons Perilis) over the River Brue. It is from this bridge that Excalibur was said to have been thrown and, as it tumbled towards the waters of the river, a hand reached out and caught it, drawing it into safekeeping beneath the water. Another story links Arthur with the little chapel on the island of Beckery (now unfortunately located adjacent to the town sewage works). Told to go to the chapel by an angel, Arthur saw Mary and the infant Jesus there.
The quest for the Holy Grail would have involved Arthur at Glastonbury. One supposed hiding place of the Grail was at the bottom of a well that is known as the Chalice Well. This is an unlikely story, for the name was a medieval transplant and did not come into local use until after 1306. Its alternative name, 'blood spring', which some say equates it with the blood of Christ, which was supposedly caught in the chalice, comes from the high concentration of iron in the water, which leaves a blood-red deposit on the stones it passes over. Arthur has also been associated with the Glastonbury Zodiac, being identified as Sagittarius, while the zodiac itself has been regarded as the Round Table.
Glastonbury Abbey and Church
Site of a small medieval abbey. [More]
Glastonbury Abbot of
A cross unearthed at the excavation of Arthur's supposed grave at Glastonbury in 1191. The inscription on the cross read
The cross was lost but, in recent times, a pattern-maker named Derek Mahoney claimed to have found it and reburied it. [More]
Hic iacet sepultus inclitos Rex Arturius in insula avalonia
The supposed site of Arthur's and Guenevere's final resting place. [More]
A thorn which was said to have come from a staff, planted by Joseph of Arimathea on Wearyall Hill. [More]
Celtic: Ynys Gutrin ('Isle of Glass'), Ynys Wydryn
A hill in Glastonbury that shows traces of occupation in Roman times. [More]
In the landscape around Glastonbury are giant figures. [More]
Saint Collen | The Legend of King Arthur
Joseph of Arimathea in Glastonbury | The Legend of King Arthur