We had stopped for cider at the Apple Tree on the way, which is not quite a tradition yet, but we are working on that. It is Somerset, after all, and the Orchard Pig is brewed locally. There was chocolate cake too… just by way of a late lunch. We were on our way to Glastonbury to stay with our friend, Alienora, for the Beltane festivities and to meet up with a few of our other friends too.
The Silent Eye has a history with Glastonbury and, for a year, we had been there regularly. On the drive down we had been working but how long it had been since our last visit… time has flown by and apart from a very brief housewarming visit to Alienora’s new home, it had been years since we has spent time there. It is an odd place by any definition, a mixture of ancient history, myth and magic, Christian legends and eclectic spirituality. While the High Street is lined with bookshops, purveyors of crystals, incense and symbols, the land itself still carries the magic of Avalon at its heart.
Welcomed, hugged and installed in comfort by our hostess, we headed into the town. For the next two days, there would be crowds and people to see, but for now there was just time to talk, renew our acquaintance with the town and a nook in the George and Pilgrim, perfect for the odd glass of Stowfords.
We had a wander around the town before dinner, then went back to Ali’s cosy new home to curl up with a bottle of wine. It would be the first time in ages that we had Ali and time to really talk… and we didn’t stop talking till the wee small hours. Ali and I had met some years earlier at an esoteric workshop and had immediately recognised something in each other that made us ‘click’. What with one thing and another, it was a very long time before we managed to spend any time together without being caught up in workshops. In spite of that, the friendship continued to grow.
It was a lovely evening.There are few things I love more than to sit down with one or two dear friends and just talk, heart to heart. It was a ‘cabbages and kings’ evening, where just about everything came under discussion. When you are ‘at home’ with friends, there are no barriers; emotions and memories can be shared, insight and wisdom offered and received, anecdotes and observations dance with laughter and the occasional tear. The masks are dropped and soul speak to soul with an honesty the day-to-day world seldom allows.
At the workshop the weekend before, Running Elk had spoken of the everyday shape-shifting we do, wearing the persona required by every circumstance of the mundane world. Need dictates the masks we wear… as parents, at work, as children and siblings… and it is rare that we can drop all the masks and just be who we are. It happens only when there is trust and a willingness to share a moment… and when that moment is right, you are given the gift of seeing the true beauty of those around you. As the lights in the garden lit the leaves, we talked until the chill sent us indoors…and then we talked some more. Had that evening been the only reason for the trip, it would have been more than worth the long drive. But, by the time we finally went to bed, it was already Beltane Eve…