SACRED and Ancient Celtic SITES
This is probably one of the most famous, mystical sites in the world. It has connections with King Arthur (Arthurian legend), Joseph of Arimathea, Glastonbury Tor, The Abbey, the intersection of Ley Lines and Earth Energy lines around the world to name but a few. As well as many pilgrims and holiday visitors from around the world Glastonbury also has a large concentration of people with alternative beliefs. The town itself is reported to have been surrounded by marshland/water possibly dating to around the 3rd or 4th Century BC. Because of this marshland, it is argued by many that this must be the mythical place known in Arthurian Lore as 'The Isle of Avalon'.
The famous Tor located just outside the town is reputed, according to folklore, to have once been the site of a stronghold of King Arthur and guarded the entrance to Annwn (The Underworld). In the middle ages monks built a church on the same site which was later destroyed by an earthquake.
Along with the Tor, at the base of the hill is the Chalice Well and according to legend it is the site where Joseph of Arimathea threw the chalice used at The Last Supper by Jesus. It is also said that Joseph of Arimathea (Great Uncle of Jesus) brought the boy Jesus to Glastonbury.
Within the grounds of Glastonbury Abbey, situated in the town centre, stands the Glastonbury Thorn, which blooms every year and is said to be of the staff that Joseph of Arimathea placed in the ground whereupon it took root.
According to legend, Arthur and Guinevere are said to be buried within the Abbey grounds. Monks, in 1190, found remains of a man which were said to have had the inscription, "Here lies the renowned Arthur, in The Isle of Avalon". These bones were reburied in a black marble tomb which was later destroyed in the dissolution of the abbey in 1539 after Henry VIII closed down abbeys and monasteries when he split from the Catholic Church.
In 1907 The Church of England purchased the ruins of Glastonbury Abbey. Frederick Bligth Bond, who was directing the excavations at the time, argued that the abbey's construction had been based around a sacred geometry, originally known by the Egyptian Pyramid builders, which had then been passed down through generations of stonemasons. Although the Church of England dismissed Bond from his position when he published these thoughts in his book, ‘The Gate of Remembrance', in 1921, Bond also connected Stonehenge and Avebury with Glastonbury by lines now referred to as Ley Lines/Earth Energy Lines.
Katherine Maltwood, in 1929, offered the theory that many formations in and around the Glastonbury area could be argued to recreate the 12 signs of the zodiac. Glastonbury was also the home of the famous occultist, Dion Fortune, who spent the second half of her life in a house near the base of the Tor.
The town itself offers an inspiring ecletic mix of New Age/Alternative shops and stalls covering everything from crystals to religion and is a must for anyone who claims to be remotely interested in the Mystical/Religious World. It is also very famous for the Glastonbury Festival.
'Joseph of Arimathea', is according to one legend said to have landed by boat on 'Wearyall Hill' which is located on the outskirts of Glastonbury town and again underlines the fact that in past times the area around Glastonbury flooded making certain areas accessible only by small boat at certain times of the year. This also supports the belief that this area of the country was what some legends referred to as the 'Isle of Avalon'.
Once he arrived in the area it is believed that Joseph of Arimathea built a church out of wattle and daub which stood next to or on the site of the what is now called the 'Lady Chapel' in the grounds of Glastonbury Abbey. In AD1184 a fire destroyed the original church which was described by some as 'holiest earth in all of England' and was often even then a place that pilgrims travelled to.
This church was still standing when the Saxons entered into Somerset during the seventh-century and was being used by Celtic monks. It is believed that it officially became a Benedictine monastery in AD673. The Abbey was rebuilt by King Ine, of Wessex (AD688) during AD720, ten years after his war with the Britons of Cornwall.
It is believed by some that Joseph of Arimathea actually brought the 'boy Jesus' to Glastonbury and then returned here later to spread the word of Christianity after the death of Jesus, starting in Glastonbury and bringing with him the sacred Chalice used and the 'Last Supper' or the Chalice holding His blood or sweat. Other legends tell that Joseph brought 'Mary' (the Holy mother of Jesus) with him on this return visit.
As far as it is known, the Celtic Benedictine monks did not tell the Saxons who had originally built the church. Maybe they did not know or thought it best not to tell. It has been assumed by some that maybe the Abbey had always had some form of religious significance, the connection between the old church site. The legend of Joseph of Arimathea and that of Jesus visiting England may be based upon the knowledge that the Saxons had a legend that told of the church 'not built of man but prepared by God himself'.
In AD1184, the Abbey was in the care of 'Peter de Marcy' when fire destroyed the abbey's 'Great Church' and the 'Old Church', which had stood adjacent to it. The rebuilding of the abbey was heavily supported by King Henry II, who politically had a keen interest in Glastonbury. His death in AD1189 meant that the abbey lost its financial support and neither of his sons, John or Richard (King Richard I, Coeur-de-Lion, The Lionheart), were interested in continuing it.
In AD1409, Bishop Robert Hallum of Salisbury claimed England to be a Christian nation with equal status to Italy, France and Germany, on the basis of apostolic conversion by Joseph. Although the date of the conversion was moved backwards to just after Christ's Passion, rather than AD63, this was to offset France's claim to conversion by Mary Magdalene and St. Denis (a disciple of Paul). A similar claim was later made and successful at the Council of Constance in AD1417. The manipulation of historical fact for the benefit of prestige and/or political power, appears throughout history.
It could be argued that like other ritualistic sites the location may have been a site on which an act of God may have taken place i.e. struck by a bolt of lighting or a comet and so flattening the area. A building or monument being then built to mark the spot.
All that can be said is that the mysteries and connections with the church of Arthurian legend and the mystical leylines/earth energy lines found here at Glastonbury will continue to attract thousands of pilgrims well into the new millennium. It is a place that does have an atmosphere that is totally unique, interwoven with the Christian heritage of the pilgrims to the so called New Age pilgrims that travel to this town from all over the world.
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