The Magic of the Isle of Avalon

Glastonbury Tor, the supposed site of the Isle of Avalon as it looks today.
Glastonbury Tor, the supposed site of the Isle of Avalon as it looks today. | Source

What is the Isle of Avalon?

When I first heard the words Isle of Avalon, I had no clue what the person was talking about. But for some reason, the words were like music to my ears. Perhaps it was that way for you and maybe you came to this article searching for a few answers. You've come to the right place. I plan to keep things simple but poignant and describe what the Isle of Avalon was, how it came into existence, and how it left this world altogether.

The Isle of Avalon is now a place from legend - a magical place that was said to have existed in ancient times up to the early medieval period in England. Many people visit this place now, but it is known by another name - Glastonbury Tor. To put it simply, the Isle of Avalon was a place where a group of highly spiritual people lived and worshiped the gods of old. It is also the place where King Arthur was said to have died and been buried. But let us take a further look into this...

The Death of Arthur, a painting done by James Archer, depicts King Arthur in Avalon.
The Death of Arthur, a painting done by James Archer, depicts King Arthur in Avalon. | Source

Avalon's Mysterious Origins

Avalon was described in the Arthurian legends as being a island where there were people of a "magical" nature, including nine magical sisters who might also be considered priestesses. One of those nine sisters was said to have been Morgan Le Fay (in some accounts she was a sister to King Arthur). There were apple trees that grew on the Isle of Avalon, in fact this is where Avalon acquired its name. The people who lived there lived off of whatever the land produced naturally - including apples, grapes, and wild herbs. They honored the sun and the moon, a god and goddess, and all things that were balanced. King Arthur was said to have been brought to Avalon by Morgan Le Fay when he was on his deathbed after a fierce battle. His body was buried on the Isle of Avalon. The legends say he will return from Avalon to rule England one day.

There are theories that Avalon was established by some of the priesthood who escaped Atlantis after its fall. One of those priesthood might have been Merlin in a past incarnation. Another might have been the famed Lady of the Lake, also called Vivienne (amongst other names). Avalon was a peaceful place, where its inhabitants focused on their connection with the gods and nature. They lived off the land and learned from one another. Their main goal was to unify England and keep the "old ways" alive as Christianity began its great rise in Europe.

Avalon is said to have been on the very spot where Glastonbury Tor is today. It can be found in the county of Somerset in Southwestern England. Today it is a large hill jutting out from the green landscape, topped by a roofless Medieval building that was once St. Michael's Tower. But how was Avalon an island if it was said to have been on this hill, surrounded by land? Scientists say the hill was once surrounded by marshlands, but has since changed with the changing landscape. So technically, it could have been looked at as an island...surrounded by mist. The misty look described in legend and in modern fiction about Avalon is said to originate from an optical illusion. Wikipedia says, "The low-lying damp ground can produce a visual effect known as a Fata Morgana when the Tor appears to rise out of the mist.This optical phenomenon occurs because rays of light are strongly bent when they pass through air layers of different temperatures in a steep thermal inversion where an atmospheric duct has formed." Or is the mist of a more mystical origin? (pun intended)

After Avalon disappeared (by unknown means), a church and hermitage were founded on the same spot during Early Medieval Times and came to be known as Glastonbury Tor. Some say these were actually the first buildings established, as they try to deny Avalon existed; however, archaeologists have found artifacts dating back to Neolithic Times at Glastonbury Tor. Interestingly, there is a spiral walkway up the hill called Terraces that historians claim have been there since Medieval times. Others believe they have been there since long before Medieval times, and the pathway was used as a part of a sacred walk up the hill to the top. This is similar to walking a labyrinth...the person walking the path can go into a trance or into a meditative state and may experience something profoundly spiritual. While some believe the terraces were a result of natural weathering, others believe the terraces were placed there by the Avalonians long before the Christians came to build churches on the Tor.

But where did Avalon go? What became of it? No matter how it originated or disappeared, we are still able to tap into its magick in modern times...because it still exists in our ancestral memory...to some of us it is within our very DNA. And to others, it can be reached on the astral plane any time we are ready.

It is easy to connect with King Arthur and his knight of the round table by simply learning their stories.
It is easy to connect with King Arthur and his knight of the round table by simply learning their stories. | Source
The Queen Guinevere may have seemed feeble to some, but she stood for women's rights to others.
The Queen Guinevere may have seemed feeble to some, but she stood for women's rights to others. | Source
Perhaps my favorite Avalonian was Morgan Le Fay. Connect with her by learning the ways of magick.
Perhaps my favorite Avalonian was Morgan Le Fay. Connect with her by learning the ways of magick. | Source

Connecting with the Magickal People of Avalon

One of the simplest ways to tap into the magick of the Isle of Avalon is to spiritually reach out to some of the magickal people who once visited or lived there. Some of these legendary icons have actually become gods and goddesses since their time on Earth. Or were they gods and goddesses when they were here? Here are some of the Avalonians...

Morgan Le Fay

Morgan Le Fay is the mystical fairy-lady of the Isle of Avalon. In some accounts she was evil, and in others she was kind and caring. Some say she was actually the Lady of the Lake, while others say that she wasn't. Some of the Arthurian legends call her Arthur's sister and his savior in the end. She is often associated with fairies and with the element water. She is said to be a priestess that knew the old ways. To connect with her, connect with the fairy realm. Put up a picture of her on your altar or somewhere in your home where you will see it every day. Learn the way of healing with herbs, just as Morgan Le Fay did.

King Arthur

King Arthur was tied to Avalon through blood - through his sister Morgan Le Fay and some say his Aunt was Vivienne (the Lady of the Lake). He was given Excalibur, a sword forged in the heart of Avalon. To connect with King Arthur, keep a sword or an image of a sword on your altar or in your home. You can also read the Arthurian legends to gain a better understanding of the legendary king himself.

Guinevere

Many women feel they have a connection with King Arthur's wife, Queen Guinevere. She was said to be a very dedicated and pious woman and queen. And in other legends, she was an adulterer...having an affair with King Arthur's friend/cousin Lancelot. If you'd like to connect with Queen Guinevere, you can hold a rosary in your hand when speaking to her. You can also keep the image of her or of Mary (Mother of Jesus) in your home. Guinevere was said to have been a devout Christian woman.

Lady of the Lake

The Lady of the Lake has been called quite a few names, more popularly Vivienne. She gifted the sword Excalibur to King Arthur to help him in his fight against the Saxons. She knew the secrets of the old ways and of Avalon, and was the high priestess. To connect with her, connect with the element of water...scry in a lake or in a mirror to see her image and potentially speak with her. Honor the moon.

Merlin

Merlin was a great wizard and is featured in some of the Arthurian legends. Some sources claim he was an ancient being, not just a mortal. He was friends with the Lady of the Lake and stayed in Avalon quite often. He taught King Arthur as a child. To connect with Merlin, read any of the poetry or Welsh triads that include Merlin. You can take up the practice of wizardry, or ask him to visit you in a dream or vision. Connect with nature through the trees, as Merlin's favorite place was among the trees.

By studying any one of these legendary Arthurian/Avalonian figures, you can better understand their personalities and stories and therefore connect with each of them seamlessly.

King Arthur is pictured here with the Lady of the Lake, a woman of Avalon.
King Arthur is pictured here with the Lady of the Lake, a woman of Avalon. | Source
By learning the wild herbs in your area, you are vibrating on the same wavelength as the Avalonians once did.
By learning the wild herbs in your area, you are vibrating on the same wavelength as the Avalonians once did. | Source

Using Magickal Plants from Avalon

Another way to tap into the magick of Avalon is to connect with some of the plants that were thought to have thrived on the Isle of Avalon. You can do this by planting and caring for these plants in your own yard or garden, by visiting these plants in a nearby garden or orchard, or by weaving their magick into your cooking, teas, baking, or herbal healing recipes.

Apples

We know for sure that apples were prevalent just by the name of the magical island. Apples have long been thought to be a representation of the Goddess. Cut an apple in half horizontally and you will find the seeds form the shape of a pentagram - a symbol often connected to the Goddess herself. Apples also symbolize knowledge...think about the story of Adam and Eve. Eve was tempted to eat the "apple" from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. For her to take a bite was for her to gain knowledge.

Grapes

Grapes have just as magical a history as apples and have long been associated with Avalon. Grapes make wine and therefore represent wildness, freedom and lust. They are also a part of the harvest-season and therefore symbolize abundance and prosperity. Dionysus was a Greek God of lust and wine and so his sacred plant was the grapevine. They also symbolize fertility.

Wild Herbs

Herbs in Avalon grew wild, and they were used by the priests and priestesses in daily life. They were used to heal and also as simple forms of food. You can learn the wild herbs in your area and learn how to ethically forage and use these wild herbs. By doing this, you are connecting to the very essence of Avalonian magick.

Plant an apple tree in your yard, or visit an orchard to tap into the magick of Avalon.
Plant an apple tree in your yard, or visit an orchard to tap into the magick of Avalon. | Source

My Dream of Avalon

I just wanted to leave you all with a little bit of a background to this article/hub. I first dreamed of the Isle of Avalon when I was a child, not knowing that it was Avalon I was dreaming about. My first dream was of walking up a spiral pathway (paved with cobblestones) up the sides of a large green hill. There were trees and plants on either side of me and going up the side of the hill. There were even plants growing up from in between the stones on the spiral pathway. There were men and women traveling up and down the pathway. There was something extremely surreal and magical about this dream, and the memory of it has stuck with me for years.

A couple of years ago, I explained this dream to someone and this person said, "that sounds like Glastonbury Tor." I had no idea what she was talking about and reluctantly did some research and realized that indeed I was dreaming of the Isle of Avalon...specifically of Glastonbury Tor how it looked during the age of Avalon. From that moment forward I knew in my heart of hearts that I have been to Avalon...whether in a past life, in another dimension or on another plane, or just in a dream...I have been to Avalon. And I'll bet many of you have too!

© 2015 Author Nicole Canfield

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Comments 8 comments

kittythedreamer profile image

kittythedreamer 15 months ago from the Ether Author

Jean - Yes we are! And I agree, any woman with the ability to heal or advise people on matters would be considered a witch...heck, women who didn't have healing powers were called witches too, I'm sure. Yes, I've always been drawn to the Celtic culture, as well. I yearn to go to Ireland, it's on my bucket list LOL. I haven't read or seen Outlander, but I've heard of it. I might have to check it out. As far as the prudish thing in the U.S., yes I can see how we are still under that Puritanical mindset...noticed it when people got offended when I breastfed my baby in public...even though I was covered up!


Jean Bakula profile image

Jean Bakula 15 months ago from New Jersey

It's so neat that we shared similar lives. I think anyone who had healing knowledge and was a woman would have been called a witch back then. We're sort of sharing a bit both writing here too!

I feel more drawn to Celtic things though, so I must go eventually. Have you seen Outlander on Starz? It's in Scotland, but it's a superstitious society much like Irish or Celtic. I've read the books (lately everyone is interested since the series is on TV) but they are all about 1,000 pages and it takes the author 5 years to write one. She's on Book 9, and now she says she may go up to 10. I'd like to finish the series in my lifetime.

I considered writing a hub on Outlander, but see many have beat me to it. I'm still trying to think of a different angle. I watched it with my son, and was embarrassed by the amount of sex in it, since it wasn't made in the US where it's so prudish! It had more sex than Fifty Shades of Gray--romantic though. Hmm, maybe that's my approach!


kittythedreamer profile image

kittythedreamer 15 months ago from the Ether Author

Jean - I could talk to you about this for hours! I too believe I lived in Ancient Egypt...have always been drawn to it and I've had dreams of writing/carving heiroglyphics onto walls! I have a strong connection to the god Thoth, he comes to me often in dreams and I believe I knew him in Atlantis and when he helped establish the earliest civilizations in Egypt. I also believe I've had past lives in Scotland and Ireland. I had a past life reading done once, and the lady knew nothing about me...she said I was a "farmer or gardener" in Scotland and worked closely with plants to help heal people in my community. She referred to me as a "witch" but said not to take offense (I would never be offended by that!) Anywho, thanks for sharing...sounds like we might have had similar lives :)


Jean Bakula profile image

Jean Bakula 15 months ago from New Jersey

I have a picture of the UK on my dreamboard, I really hope to get there. I feel like I shared a life with my late husband there or in Ireland. He was very scientific, and the night I met him, he said, "You vibrate faster than anyone I ever met." That was so weird, because people weren't taking metaphysical courses and stuff like that back then.

We were both interested in Atlantis too. He believed they destroyed themselves with their own technology, as they got so egotistic. I think you wrote a hub about Lemuria where you said that was the civilization that had the gentle souls. We believed we also escaped from there and got to Eqypt, because around the same time we met, we were both fascinated with the country. We always wanted to go in this life, but time ran out on us. But if we already had a life there, I guess that's OK then. We saw the exhibit of King Tut's treasures from his tomb in NY, years ago when it was touring, (it's only about an hour from where I live). Even though we went with a group of friends, it was clear we two were the most interested!


kittythedreamer profile image

kittythedreamer 15 months ago from the Ether Author

Jean - It's really funny you say that, I just made a video on Youtube the other day discussing my dreams and memories of a past life in which I was persecuted and called a "witch" and then thrown in a river to drown. I too have always been drawn to Avalon, I don't believe I was Morgan Le Fay but I do believe I lived there or visited there often. The dream I had of Avalon was so vivid and beautiful, it's hard to put into words but I doubt I'll ever forget it. I want to go to the Tor too!


Jean Bakula profile image

Jean Bakula 15 months ago from New Jersey

Hi Kitty,

When I read The Mists of Avalon several years ago, it left me really shaken. I knew I had lived a life in that period, and since I am somewhat political when I am moved by circumstances, identified with Morgan Le Fay so much I thought maybe I was her. Any meaningful experience in my life has always taken place outdoors, under the sky, so I feel like I've participated in Beltane. I am clairsentient, but a clairvoyant friend of mine tells me that I was persecuted for being one of the last Pagans. I really want to go to the Tor one day, it's on my bucket list!


kittythedreamer profile image

kittythedreamer 16 months ago from the Ether Author

annart - I would give anything to visit the site in person...in this life! :) Thank you for sharing your knowledge on the land.


annart profile image

annart 16 months ago from SW England

This is an interesting angle on Glastonbury Tor/Isle of Avalon. I live a few miles from it and often take visitors up there to look at the fantastic panoramic view from the mound.

It used to be an island (the Tor and the land around its base) when the sea covered what is now called the Somerset Levels which often flood still. Much of the land you see today has been reclaimed from the sea and an irrigation system put in place.

King Arthur and his Queen Guinevere are said to be buried within Glastonbury Abbey, at the foot of the Tor.

This area was also one of the main apple-growing areas of England, though now less so, hence the region's most famous export - cider.

It's a lovely area with a beautiful coastline and a gentle way of life.

I see you have one of my hubs to the right here; that's great!

Amazing that you had that dream! It is a very mystical place, full of legend and autumn mists.

Thank you for following me. Reciprocated.

Ann

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