Glastonbury, England, From The Isle Of Avalon To The Abbey, Jerusalem Is In England’s Green and Pleasant Land

This is an introduction to Glastonbury and its history. This historic town is my home and has been included in the hubpages hubtrail project. Famously known for its music festival, King Arthur, biblical connections and world pilgrimage. Glastonbury is England’s green and pleasant land. I stumbled on Glastonbury by chance when I was 21 years old. My friend and I decided to go on a crazy jaunt and ended up here. For the next few years to come, I didn’t forget Glastonbury and voweled that I would one day live here. So here I am.

Glastonbury is situated in the middle of nowhere but centre of everything. If you have been here you would know exactly what I mean! However, geographically, Glastonbury is in the middle of Somerset, nestled between the Somerset levels, West Pennard, the City of Wells (smallest city in the UK), Shepton Mallet, Pilton and Street. The main link roads that runs through Glastonbury are the A39 and A361. However, if in doubt for directions - just aim for the Tor! This can be viewed from miles around and can be accessed from the A361. The nearest motorway is the M5 at the Puriton, Bridgewater turn.

Wirreal Hill's Holy Thorn Tree
Wirreal Hill's Holy Thorn Tree

Over the levels, once a swamp land, Joseph of Arimathea was thought to have landed. He was said to have come with the Chalice from the last supper. When he alighted, so the legend says, he plunged his staff in the land. We know this now as Wirreal Hill - named because ‘all were weary’ from their boat trip to England. The staff left in the mud on the hill, grew and blossomed. Today, this is known as the holy thorn tree. Unusual for thorn trees, it blooms twice a year. At Christmas our Queen has a sprig of this on her yuletide dinner table. This is because of its religious significance.

A very good fellow hubber, Browland, has written an evidence based hub 'Joseph of Arimathea, Keeper of the Holy Grail'. If you want to read about this please click on the link at the end of this article for more. It is highly recommended!

A Place of Healing and Quiet Reflection

Chalice Well
Chalice Well
The Lion's Head Spring
The Lion's Head Spring
Dion Fortune
Dion Fortune
Glastonbury Abbey, ruined from the Reformation by Henry VIII
Glastonbury Abbey, ruined from the Reformation by Henry VIII

Chalice Well, Glastonbury Tor, The Golden Dawn, Tarot and Henry VIII's Reformation!

In Chalice Well grows a cutting from the original thorn tree (another of these is at Glastonbury Abbey). The well sits at the bottom of a towered Tor. The tree stands above a constructed lion’s head where spring water flows. Thousand’s of people pilgrimage to the spring, and Glastonbury, for its healing properties.

The water is tinged with red from the iron deposits. No one knows from where the water comes from – it is believed to emanate deep from the Mendip hills. There is never an end to its supply. Whether snow or drought, the water still flows, never freezes – never dries up. It is here, at the house, where Dion Fortune lived. She was, at one point, the High Priestess of the magickal ‘Golden Dawn’ order.

The sect had many members including Arthur Waite and Aleister Crowley. Crowley was dismissed from the order for his commitment to ‘Black Magick’. The Golden Dawn was not about projecting negative thoughts, but that of white and grey magick.

The Golden Dawn designed one of the first tarot sets. These designs were inspired from Glastonbury’s myths, legends and land. For example, ‘The Tower’ card is a design of the Tor. Bodies are shown thrown from this tower. This is a depiction of a scene from King Henry Vic’s dissolution in c.1534 during the reformation. This is a scene of devastation and destruction. The Monks, who lived in a community at Glastonbury Abbey, were hung on the Tor. Richard Whiting was the last Abbot to be hung there on November 15th 1539. During this time, Glastonbury Abbey was destroyed. This was the reformation of the now established Church of England.

An end of Catholism had dawned for England. It is not surprising, therefore, that subjects from both denominations make a trip in pilgrimage to Glastonbury. Once a year, on alternate days, we hear the sounds of voices like angels singing, from the areas of the Abbey and the Tor.

Just a tiny proportion of the Festival site.  There are 200,000 attendees
Just a tiny proportion of the Festival site. There are 200,000 attendees

The Solstice and Glastonbury Festival

During the longest night, Winter solstice 21st December, there are great celebrations. People from all ‘spiritual’ denominations celebrate this at the Well and on the Tor. A fire is lit, for example, by druids and prays of well wishes are offered in ritual. This is the day when the shadow of the Tor (the male), joins with the well (womb).

Symbolising fertility, this is a natural occurrence. There are lots of celebrations throughout the year, but Winter Solstice is considered particularly magical. Summer Solstice, 21st June, is the longest day. Not only is Glastonbury a renowned spiritual site, just down the road is Stonehenge and Avebury. The ley lines are linked between the Tor and the stones at both these sites. If you would like to know more about my favourite stone site - Avebury, please scroll down for a link to Hotspur's Hub 'Avebury - Neolithic Henge'.

It is around the time of Summer Solstice, that the famous Glastonbury Festival takes place. Click at the bottom of this article for more details. Many consider this as the greatest show in the world. It is a three-day festival that runs day and night. The festival is televised and attracts some of the greatest talents in the field of music and performing arts.

There are healing fields, arts, crafts and wondrous magical events that just seem to happen. Glastonbury festival is renowned as something special. It is the most prestigious musical event within the UK and, some would argue, the world. There are many stages specialising in many different music styles, from popular to up and coming.

The music industry tends to look to this festival to gain inspiration. It is a launch pad to many bands. Examples of this include, Editors, Kasabian, The Arcade Fire, The Killers, the Kaiser Chiefs and Muse. So popular is the desire to attend, it is sold out within hours of the tickets release.

Crowley and Holst - A Saturnic Experience by The Planet Suite!

It is rumoured that it was on the Tor that Holst was inspired to create ‘The Planets Suite’.  Apparently, Crowley hummed, by accident, the first few bars of ‘Saturn’.  However, I have tried to research this on the internet, without success, although I do remember reading this in a book somewhere.

Crowley in Satanic Verse.
Crowley in Satanic Verse.
Glastonbury Town - Head Shops and alternative therapies are here!
Glastonbury Town - Head Shops and alternative therapies are here!
Glastonbury Tor at Sunrise
Glastonbury Tor at Sunrise

Glastonbury, the Cosmopolitan Town of Spiritual Significance

Glastonbury itself is a small ‘oldie worldly’ town with a quaint cosmopolitan feel. There are vegetarian restaurants, coffee bars, traditional health and spirituality shops. As it is renowned as the heart chakra in the world, these shops, amongst other establishments, offer services associated with healing, yoga, self-help and any therapy deemed to assist with enlightenment. We also have a strong sense of community, whether you are just passing through or resident here.

People feel they can be spontaneous without judgment and may find themselves involved in a jamming session or a dance, for example. This might happen anywhere, but many of our public houses offer entertainment for all to join if they wish. There is always someone around that you can talk to. This might be because as our culture is open and diverse.

This might have stemmed from a time when the Abbey in Glastonbury had a strong community from the Monks that inhabited it. Unfortunately, this is now a ruin. This structure is within a beautiful setting that can be walked around. It is said that King Arthur was buried here with his Guinevere. Apparently, two coffins had been uncovered.

It was thought to be their bones whereby the female was buried under the feet of the male. This was thought to be because Guinevere had disgraced Arthur with her affair with Lancelot. Many believe that this land was the place where the Lady of the Lake handed Excalibur to Arthur. This is thought to have happened when the levels were a swamp.

I shall now end this hub from the words of William Blake’s ‘Jerusalem’. It was Glastonbury that he was referring to when he wrote this. I hope you enjoyed this short overview of my hometown and that maybe one day you might walk upon this green and pleasant land.

And did those feet in ancient time
Walk upon England's mountains green
And was the holy Lamb of God
On England's pleasant pastures seen

And did the countenance divine
Shine forth upon our clouded hills
And was Jerusalem builded here
Among those dark Satanic mills

Bring me my bow of burning gold
Bring me my arrows of desire
Bring me my spears o'clouds unfold
Bring me my chariot of fire

I will not cease from mental fight
Nor shall my sword sleep in my hand
'Til we have built Jerusalem
In England's green and pleasant land
'Til we have built Jerusalem
In England's green and pleasant land

So, there you have it. Not only 'my' Glastonbury, but your's too. No one 'owns' Glastonbury, it's a place for the people to love, learn and ... be! Glastonbury – Our Isle Of Avalon, Our Jerusalem and England’s Green and Pleasant Land

© This work is covered under Creative Commons License

I hope you enjoyed my rough guide to Glastonbury and you will consider this as a springboard for further reading. Here I will give you a start with some excellent material by these hubbers!

As mentioned within this article, let me recommend you to:

This is a compelling factual and evidence based article surrounding the myth and legend of Joseph of Arithmathea. He was believed to be the keeper of the Holy Grail after the last supper. This really is a must read!

Glastonbury lay lines link with Avebury and Stonehenge - the myth continues! Hotspur takes you through a whistlestop tour of the background to Avebury. This is a very important and relevant link to Glastonbury and should you visit, it is worth the short trip to this important stone site. The magical mystery tour continues!

Please click on the above link for more details of the world famous Glastonbury festival.  This is a music festival so vast it is almost a mini city!  It really is one of the things you must experience - the greatest show on earth!

Beltane Festival

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Comments 25 comments

tantrum profile image

tantrum 7 years ago from Tropic of Capricorn

I've been in Glastonbury some years ago. I climbed the Tor, the view was amazing. Thanks for sharing. It made me remember ! Cheers!


Denno66 7 years ago

Very, very interesting. As a Catholic, I denounce you! Just kidding :-) I found this to be one of the more enjoyable articles I've read here on HP. Thank you! :-)


Lady Guinevere profile image

Lady Guinevere 7 years ago from West Virginia

Isn't Glastonbury really in Wales? I enjoyed your article and will read many more like this. I am half Weslh decent and also a firm believer in King Arthur and why the factions split from Pagan and Catholic. Some of the Welsh origins are on my Genealogy hub if you care to read that: http://hubpages.com/hub/My-LEWIS-Genealogy

There is also a link to another hubbers hub about Wales and I think it is located near the top of my hub. I also have a bit about the Welsh K(NOT) and how Welsh was hushed by the English peoples.


shazwellyn profile image

shazwellyn 7 years ago from Great Britain Author

@trantrum - so you had the Glastonbury calling? Lots of people are attracted to this land. It really is in the middle of nowhere but centre of everything! Many people report feeling a special vibe here. Did you? Were you touched by its spirituality? Was it a pilgrimage or did you just stumble upon us? Thanks for reading!

@Ladyguinevere.. We live about 60 miles from South Wales if routed over the Severn Bridge. The Celtic influence links all over Britain, but is particulary rich here. Arthurian legend is strong here - Cadbury (camelot castle is supposed to be here), Tintangal, Stonehenge. Thanks for reading x

@Denno Well, even Catholics are welcome here! hehehe. People who live in happy hippy land are tolerant of all races, creeds and religions. We believe in the power of love. Thanks for stopping by. Perhaps you might visit here one day. I hope I might have whetted your appitite. x


Lady Guinevere profile image

Lady Guinevere 7 years ago from West Virginia

Have you read any of Frogdroppings Celtic Hubs of late? You should. Anyway, the calling is very strong with me and I had a past life regression and was told that I was a Priestess back then. Getting back to my roots, wherever then they started. It's all in my LEWIS genealogy.


shazwellyn profile image

shazwellyn 7 years ago from Great Britain Author

Well.. believe it or not... my maiden name was LEWIS! Shall check out your frogdroppings hubs. I am sure that when the time is right for you, a pathway will be made available, and you will find home.

Shaz x


Lady Guinevere profile image

Lady Guinevere 7 years ago from West Virginia

See if you have any connections to my line here: http://hubpages.com/hub/My-LEWIS-Genealogy...


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 6 years ago from England

I really enjoyed this. I last went to Glastonbury when I was very small, and of course I did not appreciate it then. One of these days i will be back! cheers Nell


shazwellyn profile image

shazwellyn 6 years ago from Great Britain Author

Well if you do, please drop in! x


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 6 years ago from England

I might just do that! thanks again Nell


shazwellyn profile image

shazwellyn 6 years ago from Great Britain Author

Great stuff Nell!


CrystalStarWoman profile image

CrystalStarWoman 6 years ago from Pevensey Bay, East Sussex, England

Great hub! Brought back treasured memories of my visit to Glastonbury... and Avebury too!! Wonderful feminine energies! I left a crystal there, in one of the stones, so I always have link :)


shazwellyn profile image

shazwellyn 6 years ago from Great Britain Author

Thanks Crystalstarwoman.. Glastonbury touches many people and am glad it touches you too!

Thanks for reading! x


pddm67 profile image

pddm67 6 years ago from Queens, New York

A wonderful hub!!! Glastonbury is the top choice on my list of places to visit (when I get the chance). Has been for many years. I have the feeling that once there, I won't want to leave. Very envious that you reside there :) Your photo of the Tor at sunrise is beautiful! Man - I really need to renew my passport!!! Rock on!


shazwellyn profile image

shazwellyn 6 years ago from Great Britain Author

pddm.. many things happen here in Glastonbury but ... shsssh.. its a secret! hehehe x


Browland profile image

Browland 6 years ago from Georgia

Thanks again for the link! Good idea


shazwellyn profile image

shazwellyn 6 years ago from Great Britain Author

Brownland - your hub really is exceptional and gives my hub a twist - hopefully we can educate a broader audience in a way that the learning will hit a note. People learn in many different ways and if we can add something more, that is a good thing. Share the loooove my friend! x


a.l. laurice profile image

a.l. laurice 6 years ago from United States

Wow, what a unique and fascinating hub! I've always been captivated by the Arthurian legends and love learning more about what might have been the "real history" behind them--so I guess I'll have to visit Glastonbury someday :)


shazwellyn profile image

shazwellyn 6 years ago from Great Britain Author

al laurice... it is a magickal and mystical place... if you hear the calling of Glastonbury, then a pathway will be made and it will happen :)


Arionrhod 6 years ago

Loved the article. Was there 2 years ago and had a mystical, magical experience as well as a Karuna Reiki attunement inside the circle of Stonehenge.

Can't wait to go back and feel it all again.


shazwellyn profile image

shazwellyn 6 years ago from Great Britain Author

I am a very fortunate person to be here, Arionrhod. I have just come back from the festival today and am proud that of where I livew. There is, indeed, Magick in these hillsides:)


iantoPF profile image

iantoPF 6 years ago from Sunny California

I have lived in America for 20 years now but Glastonbury is still my most favored spot on the world. Everytime we go back on a visit we go to Glastonbury. My whole family loves it and I can bore people for hours with tales of Avalon, the Tor and the Chalice.

Thank you for a beautiful Hub.


shazwellyn profile image

shazwellyn 6 years ago from Great Britain Author

iantoPF - It is as if certain people have a calling here. It is only when you arrive that you know what 'home' really is. You know what I mean, I know what I mean but unless you have been here... you wont know what I mean!


Hestia DeVoto profile image

Hestia DeVoto 4 years ago from The Left Coast, USA

I'll be visiting in Glastonbury in July 2012!


shazwellyn profile image

shazwellyn 4 years ago from Great Britain Author

Hestia - and there will be a happy hippy welcome for you! Blessed be :)

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