Glastonbury… Avalon… how many of us have always wanted to go there? To be part of the legends, the history, to touch the spiritual heart of England? Well, here is a chance to be part of that magical place in a very special way…. to add your name to the history of Glastonbury…
It took me decades to be able to get there… and it ‘caught’ me. It is no secret that Glastonbury is close to my heart. The landscape there is a special one to many people for many reasons. From the legendary mists of Avalon and the centre of the famous Zodiac, the Tor dominates the beautiful old town with the ruined and graceful Abbey at its heart. A shrine to the Lady and the quiet simplicity of St Margaret’s chapel contrast with the grandeur of the lovely old church of St John the Baptist. At the foot of the Tor, where the processional way has wound, dragon-like around the hill for millennia, the sacred Red and White Springs still run and around them has grown a haven of peace in a busy world.
The high street is a delight with bookshops, arts and crafts, and stranger things seldom seen on a town’s main street. Simply to window shop there is to get a feel for the eclectic nature of this place. For a town is more than its history, buildings and wares… it is about people.
Legends abound… Tales of King Arthur and his Guinevere are woven through the streets and Merlin sleeps under the hill. The Holy Thorn that is said to have sprung from the Staff of Joseph of Arimathea, he who gave his tomb to the crucified Jesus, and who, they say, brought that Story to our lands and placed the Grail in Chalice Well. It is said that when Joseph came King Arviragus granted him twelve hides of land and there he built a sanctuary… the first church in England.
Legend and history walk hand in hand here and right at the very heart of the stories there is a similar theme, that of the old faiths welcoming the new and sharing a land in harmony. This is perhaps why the place is so important to me, as I see all faiths and paths leading ultimately to the same Light.
The town has been a major place of pilgrimage since the Middle Ages, and today draws people from every faith and path. It is in this tradition that the Pilgrim Reception Centre, a not-for-profit organisation, was founded. Since its beginnings in 2007 the PRC, an organisation supportive of all faiths and beliefs, has become a living bridge within the community between the more than 70 practising faiths and beliefs represented in the town and welcomed thousands of spiritual seekers of every path through its doors. In this time the PRC has gained the respect of spiritual and secular communities and the Unity Candle has become a central symbol of something deeper than coexistence, its flame burns with the light of understanding.