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Sunday, 23 June 2019

'Exploring The Isle Of Avalon'

I woke that morning the prospects of the day … a visit to Glastonbury, legendary resting place of King Arthur. My arrival in Glastonbury came as quite a surprise. I found the mina street quite dreamy and medieval in its existence. After parking my car, I journeyed to somewhere to quench my thirst … ‘Rainbow’s End CafĂ©’ captured my imagination.

Soon refreshed, I re-entered the fray; the main street was full of life. Day trippers of all ages and nationalities milled on pavements on both sides of the street. There was an atmosphere of shared expectancy. I felt relaxed and stress free; which for me was rare. Usually life was filled with non-stop panic; indeed, Glastonbury was proving to be just what the doctor ordered. Armed with leaflets and booklets, obtained from The Heritage Centre, I set about exploring ‘Avalon’.

First stop was The Abbey Ruins, which were within walking distance of the town centre. Its peaceful and tranquil lawns made a wonderful contrast to the mayhem in the streets. But, could I believe that King Arthur rested in the grave that lay at my feet? Not quite … the enchantment had not dissolved my sceptical mind just yet.

Next stop, The Glastonbury Experience; a courtyard surrounded by New Age Shops. ‘Starchild’ that catered for those who wished to fill their living rooms with pungent smells (I must admit the smells that drifted from the shop were wonderful). Then, armed with my own pottery dish and small container which depicted the label ‘Avalon’; a hand blended incense; I entered the next magical abode. ‘Excalibur’ I found to the found to be filled from floor to ceiling with swords, pottery and books of every conceivable esoteric subject imaginable.

Books? My mind began to wander. I needed something to read. I felt suddenly inspired … what was in the incense I had just inhaled? I wandered out of the courtyard in a daze, and spotted ‘Gothic Image’ … and obviously popular bookshop. There I mused for an indeterminable length of time amongst the numerous shelves stacked with awesome books, and more books. After a purchase; ‘Living Magical Arts’ by R J Stewart; I was back out in the main street. There I took a deep breath and noticed the change in me. I was once more the child in the toy shop, mesmerised and spoilt for choice.

Next stop, The Chalice Well Garden. I entered the gardens and became overpowered by the peace and quiet of the place. It was wonderful; I was taken completely by surprise by the change in people’s attitudes there. Everyone was friendly and talkative with strangers. I found it addictive to go up to a total stranger and say a friendly ‘hello’. The spring water I found to taste wonderfully cooling and refreshing; its reputed healing properties perhaps evident by the effect it was having on me. Then, with a new-found spring in my stride I set off to visit The Tor!

After twenty or so minutes of pulse racing exercise, I reached the summit of The Tor and the ruined chapel of St Michael that resided on the summit. I immediately found the atmosphere to be charged with expectancy. It was no surprise to find I was not alone, people of all walks of life stood, mesmerised, there. Some were gazing into space, perhaps in contact with their Spirit Guides, or maybe simply unwinding from the stresses and strains of material life.

I must admit I was beginning to sense something of the magic; I felt strangely relaxed, especially when I gazed over the township of Glastonbury towards Chalice Hill. The heat haze made the place look especially enchanting and mysterious. 

Then, after wandering back down the path, through the grass terraces on the side of The Tor, I noticed a plaque that informed me The Tor was the entrance to The Underworld … I could well believe it at that moment.

Sadly, it came my time to leave. I had still to visit Wearyall Hill, the place where Joseph of Arimathea in accordance with the legend had planted his staff of Holy Thorn and it had blossomed into a Thorn Tree. Joseph had supposedly visited Glastonbury when it was a sea port, he’d been a trader in Tin, apparently. On that note, I regrettably had to leave The Isle of Avalon, less sceptical and much more relaxed than when I first arrived. I wondered then if my landlady would permit me to burn some incense in my room? - Matthew James 

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