martedì 18 luglio 2017

Glastonbury - Part I

Glastonbury, known to most as one of the esoteric destinations for excellence in Europe, is a bucolic little town in the green Somerset (England). A well-deserved reputation, thanks to the many legends that surround it: the Isle of Avalon, King Arthur's tomb, the Holy Grail and the miraculous waters of the White and Red springs.

The hill overlooking Glastonbury (Glastonbury Tor), with its iconic tower, is located on the Michael Ley Line, one of the energy lines that cross the surface of our planet. The same energy that would have worked as a catalyst for the legends and mysteries that permeate the atmosphere of this magical place - by many identified with the Arthurian Avalon. 

In the book The Sun and the Serpent, Hamish Miller and Paul Broadhurst deepen the enigmatic array that correlates hundreds of Neolithic and Celtic archaeological sites to Christian places of worship in Southern England- alignment mentioned in the mid-60s by academician John Michell. Miller and Broadhurst, after years of study, found two distinct lines of energy, both roughly 300 miles long and almost parallel: the line of St. Michael and the line of St. Mary. They were so named because of the many churches dedicated to St. Michael and the Virgin Mary lying respectively on both, although these trails are well older than Christianity itself.

The Archangel Michael is associated with Light, Mysteries and the Other World - qualities also attributed to other gods, prior to Christianity, like Thoth, Mercury and Bel. 

The psychopomp deities were often associated with the spirit of the earth, whose mysterious forces  were represented by serpents and dragons. According to Chinese tradition, the earthquakes are generated by huge dragons that move underground. Along these landlines, places of power were marked by monoliths, temples carved in the rock or shrines up the mountains, where it was believed dragons used to live in them... Places that, thousands of years later, were replaced by shrines dedicated to St. Michael, the angel represented in the act of killing a dragon and then taken as a symbol of Christian suppression of the old religions. 

Not surprisingly, the majority of Christian churches dedicated to St. Michael, especially from the Middle Ages, are located on the highest points of the villages.

During their researches, the authors made a sensational discovery: the energy lines appear to intersect, as in an intimate mating ritual, in three specific points in Glastonbury: the Tor, the Chalice Well and the Abbey ruins . 
In these three places, the energy is balanced and you have an immediate feeling of peace and harmony. 

The line of Mary (the feminine, yin) meets the line of Michael (the masculine, yang) in a cupped shape (Tor) - topped by the phallic figure of St. Michael's Tower. An evocative image, powerful symbol of the universal alchemical fusion of opposites.

The other point where they intersect is the Chalice Well Garden. At the entry of the gardens, there is a bas-relief representing a cross with two vials; according to legend, the golden vial would contain the blood of Christ, whilst the silver one contains the sweat. 
According to the laws of alchemy, blood is the masculine energy, whilst silver is the feminine. 

The two energy lines intersect within  the Glastonbury Abbey, right in the point where today lies the tomb of King Arthur and Guinevere, buried together as if to represent the union between the masculine and the feminine. 


One can not talk about Glastonbury without mentioning Avalon - the mythical island of Arthurian cycles. 

The Isle of Avalon appeared for the first time in the Historia Regum Britanniae, the manuscript by Geoffrey of Monmouth: written in year 1136, retracing 2,000 years of British history and its various dynasties; including the discussed figure of Arthur. 

Avalon means "Island of the Apples" from the Breton aval and Welsh afal (apple); according to the legends the Tor would be inhabited by Gwyn ap Nudd, the Lord of Annwn; who later became the King of the Fairies and Lord of Avalon - an island full of wild apple trees, vineyards and wheat; an idyllic island where people could live without the need of cultivating the land but simply harvesting its spontaneous fruits.

This magical place would also be the location where Joseph of Arimathea came on a pilgrimage with Jesus when he was still a boy; and then returning, after his crucifixion, to found the first church in Great Britain- where is rumored to be the hiding place of the Holy Grail, buried with the remains of Joseph. 

Once he arrived at Glastonbury; Joseph, exhausted after a long pilgrimage, planted his walking stick to rest, which took root in the ground to flourish into the legendary "Holy Thorn", the Glastonbury thorn; a plant that grows only in the surrounding areas of this town.

Avalon is also the place where Arthur is buried, transported on the island on a boat driven by his sister Morgana. According to the legend, Arthur would rest on the island, waiting to return to the world when his people need him again. 

Since the eleventh century it was said that Arthur was buried in the Glastonbury Tor, which was once surrounded by water: the surrounding plain was a marshy land which was becoming a proper sea, depending on the tide.

During the reign of Henry II, the abbot Henry of Blois commissioned a research, that would bring to light a massive oak coffin with an inscription: " “Here lies buried the famous King Arthur with Guinevere his second wife, in the Isle of Avalon.”
 The remains were placed in front of the main altar in the abbey of Glastonbury, during a great ceremony which was also attended the royal family. 
The place became a pilgrimage destination until the period of the Protestant Reformation. It was later discovered that the tomb is a fake, concocted by the diocese to raise funds - and it can still be admired in the remains of the abbey, among  the ancient gardens and fruitful apple trees.

What is certain is that the Glastonbury Tor was a point of interest and a sacred place long before the so-called discovery of the tomb, in fact, artifacts were found dating back to the Iron Age and the Roman Empire: a forge for working iron; two tombs from the sixth century, fragments of amphorae, animal bones and a bronze element - probably an ornament that was part of a Saxon spear. These findings suggest that the hill had always been an attractive outpost, perhaps due to the fact that it was surrounded by swamps and therefore unlikely to be reached by enemies. 

The origin of the name "Glastonbury" itself is not clear: apparently it derives from the archaic Glestingaburg, Glestinga (probably a Celtic word) and - Burg (Anglo-Saxon word to define a fortified place); while "Tor" comes from the Old English "torr" (rocky hill). 
Another name for Glastonbury was Ynys-Witrin - The Isle of Glass.

One of the unsolved mysteries of Tor are the seven terraces that line the hill, of uncertain origin: it is unclear whether it is a natural configuration or man-made, it is just known that they date back to the Neolithic Age. Some believe it is an initiatory path, thousands of years old. Following this intricate and winding path, we would tune with the energies of this sacred place; where the sky and the earth meet.

In the next article the Abbey, the Chalice Well Garden and the White Spring... 

Ludna & Unornya♄
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