Updated: Oct 9, 2019
When we arrived to our hosts' home in Somerset, England, we found massive amounts of shelves filled with interesting books. The one that caught my attention was titled: Crossing Into Avalon. The book opens with the author's journey of transition. She uses the word liminal multiple times referring to the experience of being in-between: the notion of leaving one's sense of self and identity without knowing what lies ahead. These in-between times where one must acknowledge and accept the unknown before it is ever possible to become something new. Akin to time in a chrysalis, the author refers to this transitional phase in life as crossing into Avalon.
The book spoke straight to my heart and my very real personal experience. As I read the work of Dr Jean Shinoda Bolen, I was transported from the individual experience into the collective consciousness of humanity. Drawing upon history and the power of myth, she weaves a rich tapestry of the liminal consciousness of humanity at this time, through the personal journey of leaving one phase of life and entering the unknown. What I did not immediately know is that we were merely miles away from historical Avalon and Glastonbury Tor.
The days passed slowly and in perfect natural rhythm. We became familiar with the farm animals and their routines. I practiced driving daily on the narrow country lanes. A perfect day dawned and we packed up for the drive to Glastonbury.
We began our day with a walking meditation on the lesser traveled path up Glastonbury Tor as the sun rose in the sky.
Passing through herds of fluffy ewes, baby lambs, and locals enjoying morning picnics, we steadily made our way up the hill.
The historical tower, the remains of St Michael's church, grew nearer as we peeked through dense green foliage. The fresh forested air delighted our lungs and skin as we steadily and quietly walked the path.
Fields of bright yellow wildflowers blanketed the hill as we reached the top. Clear blue skies and transient fluffy clouds made the journey an unexpectedly sunny one. Although there were a few locals up and about for their daily run or walk, the feel up and on the Tor was very peaceful.
From the top, you can walk through the stone tower and read about some terrible history that took place there.
Much more interesting to us, was the compass outside of the tower at the top of the Tor, which showed all of the nearby places in a circular orientation to the mountaintop with their respective distances Having been exploring the area for about a week, it was fun to see this perspective from the vantage point of the Tor.
We walked down the more traveled route and back into the town of Glastonbury.
While wandering the streets, we came upon a fabulous little cafe called Excalibur that offered fresh, healthy treats. Turmeric lattes, sea buckthorn shots, seed cakes and fresh almond mylk with espresso made for a tasty stop. Back to wandering through grocery stores (one of our favorites while abroad), crystal shops, book stores and herbal medicine boutiques. While wandering through the streets of Glastonbury, we came upon a tiny GF bakery tucked into an alley and were able to try our first English pasties!
With full and happy bellies, we made for the sacred springs. These two springs emerge from nearly the same place, one flowing through rock filled with iron and turning the color red, the other flowing over rock rich with calcite and turning white. These two springs are revered as sacred waters, where the divine feminine has been honored for at least 2,000 years.
The Red Spring is honored with a permanent national trust built around the well. Known as The Chalice Well Gardens, the area is gorgeously landscaped, well-loved and peaceful. Multiple faiths are honored here and many events take place. The Many Paths, One Faith gathering is scheduled to occur the first week of June, 2019.
Upon entering the garden grounds, the fragrant scent of flowers in bloom waft on the cool Spring air.
I couldn't resist burying my nose in the scented hanging flowers, like a little bee, while AJ couldn't resist snapping a picture.
The quaint, meandering stone and brick paths, are the perfect set up for contemplative walks. Benches and signs throughout the garden encourage quietude. Cellular devices are only permitted for picture taking. How refreshing.
We spent some time seated upon a wooden throne behind the Chalice Well, meditating, and enjoying the Qi of the place.
We took several pictures of the Red Spring, none of which appeared on our device when we later looked. While the following picture (poached from the internet) does not do it justice, it provides a general idea. The Red Spring is honored here with multiple clay caverns, pouring from one to another and ending up in two pools, honoring the vesica pisces shape. The water is red colored, the plants surrounding the pool were all in full colorful bloom, and the water flows in a curving stream from the bottom circular pool. We sat for a while, enjoying the magic of this scene.
The Lion's Head fountain where you can drink the healing waters. Very rich in iron on the palette.
After enjoying the garden grounds and sunshine, we felt called to go across the street to visit The White Spring. This spring is not a part of the national trust, is not advertised, and is honored in the old pagan tradition. The spring emerges from a wall in a cave and entrance to the cave is tended by volunteers for just a couple hours each day. There is no admission fee, but a simple donation basket for offerings. The cave is lit with candles and has multiple altar spaces for honoring the divine feminine. The following picture is the first set of pools after the White Spring emerges from the wall and the tiny altar space honors the Lady of Avalon. Here, in the dark candlelit caves, one can immerse themselves in water.
We splashed around a bit (reverently), sat in quietude for a bit, then went back to the above ground gardens to dry out in the sunshine.
All in all, a glorious day filled with the holy goddess energy of the Earth. While we are very much in our own liminal period, we emerged today with a renewed sense of peace. By embracing the unknown, by stepping into the void, we have indeed crossed into Avalon.