The best of Britain: Glastonbury is a Tor de force thanks to its spiritual energy, ancient well and medieval monastery
- Many believe that Glastonbury is a city where mystical events occur.
- Legend has it that the holy grail was hidden in the well of the city
- At Glastonbury Abbey, colossal ruins are spread across acres of parkland.
Driving on the A37 through the Somerset levels, a large green cone rises 300 meters from the plain like an extinct volcano. Or maybe Glastonbury Tor is the navel of the earth, linking the planet to a universal womb of knowledge.
The climb of a terraced trail to the summit is steep and my head swims with myths and legends. Below me is the city that, ages ago, was surrounded by swamps and known as the holy island of Avalon.
From my point of view, pieces and arches of what was once the largest abbey in England are only visible. They look like a child's toy crushed with rage.
Myth and Mystery: Archangel Michael's Tower at the Tor in Glastonbury
Then my eyes follow the road 10 kilometers to the village of Pilton, scene of the Glastonbury Festival. The idea of rock-loving crowds seems immeasurably distant.
On High Street, I pass banks, tea shops, and a cooperative. But the blink of an eye and a Glastonbury alternative comes into focus: a pancreasic variety of reiki, alchemy and karmic astrology centers.
I inhale bursts of incense from psychedelic storefronts that normally pass to Glastonbury: the goddess and the green man; Cat and Cauldron.
Lunch time. I try a vegan lentil and a seed pattie sitting in front of The Winking Turtle Cafe, facing Man, Myth & Magik gift shop.
There are so many strands in the belief that Glastonbury is a place with spiritual energy that it is impossible to find a starting point.
According to some, it is because the city lies at a crossroads of ley lines drawn between historical sites that mystical events occur here.
Others believe a couple of stories linking Glastonbury's two main attractions – Chalice Well and Abbey.
It all starts with the belief that in the second decade AD, a metal trader, St. Joseph of Arimathea, landed in Cornwall and traveled the Mendip lead-mining hills to Avalon Island, accompanied by a relatives of Nazareth with good mining skills. carpentry. Jesus in his gap year, if you will.
Chalice Well, in the picture, so-called, as it was thought to be, was where the holy grail was hidden
This is the legend that William Blake gave voice to his 1804 poem, Jerusalem, today sung by songs composed by Sir Hubert Parry in 1916, as a kind of unofficial English national anthem.
The second part of the same legend is even more intriguing. Uncle Joe returns after the crucifixion, bringing with him the cup used at the Last Supper where he took some of the blood of Christ.
He hides it somewhere near Avalon. Which, of course, connects with another legend: King Arthur and his knights in their quest for the Holy Grail. I turn to the well of the chalice, so named, for it was thought that this was where the glass was hidden. It is a joy to stroll through the water gardens. From time to time a bell rings, asking visitors to stop silently, and all I can hear are muttering doves and drops of water.
Glastonbury Abbey features colossal ruins scattered across acres of grassy parkland
Then to the climax: Glastonbury Abbey, the medieval monastery, where two words you rarely see together – colossal and fragments – lie in ruins scattered over acres of grassy parkland.
I imagine glories like Durham Cathedral and try to imagine what Glastonbury might have been like had it survived the devastation of Henry VIII's dissolution in 1539 of the monasteries. The last abbot, Richard Whiting, was hanged, quartered and quartered in Archangel Michael's Tower in the Tor.
It is said that in 1191 the monks discovered an oak casket containing the skeletons of King Arthur and Queen Guinevere.
In the 21st century, the city remains a tapestry woven of myths and legends, unlike anywhere else in Britain.
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