Glastonbury

It’s been a day of magic and mystery. After leaving Stonehenge we made our way to another ancient site, Glastonbury, about 50 miles distant. Just as Stonehenge was preparing for a massive influx of visitors for the summer solstice, this little town will also be preparing for the huge music festival which begins here next week. It will be the first one in two years, as the event was not held last year. The beautiful green fields will most likely be churned into a sea of mud.

But there’s more than just music that brings people to Glastonbury. It’s another spiritual place that attracts ageing hippies, nature worshippers, believers in the occult and other assorted weirdos. We walked the streets for half an hour and roughly every second shop was selling goods connected with magic, spiritualism, mythology, witchcraft or new age philosophy. Needless to say, there was no thought of buying souvenirs here, although I might have bought a music festival tee shirt if I had seen one.

There are several sites at Glastonbury of both historical and spiritual interest. Approaching the town, we had seen the tower atop the fabled Glastonbury Tor. In the town are the remains of Glastonbury Abbey, where our tour was led by Good Wife Molly. The abbey once covered a huge area, but much of it was destroyed upon the orders of King Henry VIII, who was responsible for the destruction of numerous Catholic religious sites after he founded the Church of England. Apparently the money required to build such an imposing structure was not forthcoming in the early days of the twelfth century, but that all changed when a couple of monks ‘discovered’ the remains of King Arthur and Lady Guinevere conveniently buried within the grounds of the abbey in 1191. Word soon got out that these holy relics were at Glastonbury, and pilgrims flocked to the site. The wealth this generated was used to complete the construction of the abbey long before Henry ordered its destruction.

Could the Holy Grail possibly be buried here too? Maybe not, but I’ll bet you can buy a replica at any one of at least a dozen magic shops in town.

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