Category Archives: interesting & special places

Glastonbury Tor

Some info about a special place…

Glastonbury Tor is known as one of the most spiritual sites in the country, an ancient sacred place, magical and bewitching, surrounded by healing energies, myths and legends. Join me on my journey of discovery.

The name Glastonbury Tor
from Wikipedia:
The origin of the name “Glastonbury” is unclear, but when the settlement was first recorded in the late 7th and early 8th centuries it was called Glestingaburg.  ‘Glestinga’ may derive from an Old English word or Celtic personal name, for a person or kindred group named ‘Glast’. ‘bury’ is Anglo-Saxon in origin and could refer to a ‘burh’, a fortified place or more likely, a monastic enclosure. ‘Tor’ is an English word referring to a high rock or a hill, deriving from the Old English ‘torr’. The Celtic name of the Tor was Ynys Wydryn, or sometimes Ynys Gutrin, meaning ‘Isle of Glass’.

Somerset
“Somerset is Gwlad yr Haf in Welsh and Gwlas an Hav in Cornish, which mean ‘Country of the Summer’. “

Perhaps known as a summer country due to the Somerset Levels flooding annually.

The Somerset and Glastonbury landscape has changed dramatically over the centuries. Its been affected by the changing sea levels, as well as the man-made changes of the Romans, Anglo-Saxons and others trying to reclaim land from the sea.

special light and atmosphere
special light and atmosphere

Ancient civilizations at Glastonbury
There is evidence of ancient people visiting Glastonbury for over 10,000 years. (Upper Palaeolithic, Mesolithic and Neolithic periods) Flint tools and a green stone axehead were discovered buried at the top of the Tor.

After the ice age the sea levels rise and the sea would have been closer to Glastonbury. Around 4500 BC the sea levels sink and the area of the Somerset levels would be salt marsh, peat and fen bog land. Around 1200 BC the climate becomes wetter and the Somerset Levels increasingly flood.

A route that’s been discovered, a raised trackway through the marshland, known as the ‘Sweet Track’, was built around 3800BC and is believed to be the earliest constructed roadway.

Glastonbury Lake Village
recreation of Glastonbury Lake village on display at the tribunal

An early Iron Age Glastonbury Lake Village was discovered in 1892 and many of the finds and information about it are on display at the Glastonbury Lake Village Museum at the Glastonbury Tribunal (a 15th Century stone town house / Merchants House with an early Tudor façade) in Glastonbury. The Glastonbury and Street tourist info centre is on the ground floor.

Glastonbury museum
at the rear of the Tribunal

This village created on a man-made island in the marshes, dates to around 250 BC and was occupied until around 50AD when the water levels begin to rise again.

Glastonbury Lake village hut
a model of a village hut on display at the tribunal

Discovered among the excavations are 5 amber and 27 glass beads, bronze, wooden items and pottery.

more info:

dusk view of st michaels tower
dusk at St Michaels Tower, Glastonbury Tor

Mystical and magic Glastonbury Tor
Glastonbury Tor would have been a mystical place rising out of the surrounding seawater marshes and lakes and this is where its links to the legendary mythical Avalon come from. In Celtic folklore Avalon was a high hill surround by water, its believed to be the isle of enchantment, a place between the living and the dead.

There are many other well-known myths and legends surrounding Glastonbury, including:

  • King Arthur and his Queen Guinevere’s burial in the grounds of Glastonbury Abbey.
  • The first wattle and daub church being built on the site of Glastonbury Cathedral in the first century by Joseph of Arimathea. On a later visit, his staff on being thrust into the ground grew into the sacred Glastonbury thorn bush and he brought with him the holy grail – the chalice cup – with him to Glastonbury and buried it below the Tor, whereupon healing spring water began to flow at the Chalice Well.
  • The terracing around Glastonbury Tor is a maze or labyrinth pattern that was used as a symbolic pilgrimage route up to the top of the Tor.
  • It’s a place associated with the Goddess Birgit.

A spiritual place
For thousands of years Glastonbury Tor has been a religious place of worship. Although much of the archaeological evidence would have been destroyed when the top of the Tor was levelled in the 10th or 11th Century to build a larger church, some items have been discovered on the Tor.

  • the buried Neolithic flint tools found there are believed to be votive offerings
  • two skeletons excavated in the 1960’s displayed a burial ritual typical of the Romano-British period and might indicate there had been a temple on the Tor
  • 6th Century pottery
  • part of a 10th/11th Century ‘sun / solar cross’
Inside St Michaels Tower
Inside St Michaels Tower

There is some evidence to prove that around 450 AD Celtic hermits briefly lived on the Tor and in the 7th Century that Saxon monks or hermits built 2 small cells and possibly a wooden chapel there. Followed by the large stone church, which was destroyed by an earthquake in 1275 and was rebuilt smaller in the 1320s, this lasted until the dissolution of the monasteries by Henry the 8th in 1539 and the execution of the Abbot at the Tor. The church was quarried for its stone and now the landmark St Michael’s Tower is the only building from the original St Michaels church that is left on the top of the Tor. It continues to keep watch over the surrounding countryside.

golden light landscape
golden light landscape

Energies, ley-lines and portals
There is a strong energy at Glastonbury Tor, it’s a sacred and ancient place that is in tune with the earth rhythms and its energy flow. I believe that many of us in our modern world have lost our natural connection to the earth and our knowledge we possessed in ancient times.

Glastonbury Tor certainly has a lot of special energy surrounding it and I’ve found out from my research that its placed at a major intersection of the earth’s ley lines, as well as being one of the Earth’s main energy gateways. The St Michael’s and St Mary’s ley lines runs through Glastonbury Tor and it’s an portal for the Heart and Crown Chakras.

There are many websites with further info on the history of Glastonbury and its folklore, myths and legends. These are just a few that I’ve visited in my quest for knowledge:

I have enjoyed my journey of discovery, learning about Glastonbury Tor and look forward to further discoveries on my next visit, now that I’ve gained a deeper knowledge… Samantha, jewellery artist x

Glastonbury Tor, the white spring 2

Some info about a special healing place…

Healing springs and wells are magical ancient places, throughout time they have been revered, a place of pilgrimage, with many traditions and myths surrounding them.

The Springs at the base of Glastonbury Tor are well known to have strong spirit energies perhaps these are enhanced by the Michael ley line passing through them.

The red spring, otherwise known as the Chalice Well is iron rich and when left to settle will have red ‘iron’ sediment in it. The taste is also quite strong and earthy.

The white spring, has calcite and flows from the limestone caverns beneath Glastonbury Tor, according to records left by a local in the 1890’s this lime was said to calcify objects left in it, perhaps similar to Mother Shipton’s petrifying well in Knaresborough, Yorkshire. The water is lighter in taste than the red spring water and more akin to the taste of spring water.

There is evidence that for over 2,000 years people have come to these Springs, a place of wonder (with a constant flow of mineral water) where they worshipped the native spirits.

white well reservoir
the white well reservoir

Originally, the white spring was in a wooded glade until it was turned into a reservoir and a well house was built by the Victorians in 1872 in order to bring pure clean water into Glastonbury. Due to the water pipes calcifying and becoming blocked it wasn’t in use for very long and became disused.

Over the past 10 years or so, it has gradually been transformed into what we find today by its guardians, the Companions of the White Spring. The primary purpose of the temple is to honour the spirits of the White Spring.

white well spiral

Quote from their website, “It is an expression of gratitude for the gift of pure water. It is a sanctuary, a place of reflection, inspiration and healing. It is a sacred site of great depth and beauty. It is a living temple. visit their website for more info

Pools have been built inside the well house using the principles of sacred geometry and simple shrines to honour the ancient energies and spirits of Avalon. Its lovingly created, cared for and supported by the companions of the white spring.

whitewell5

I for one, am thankful for being given access to this magical ancient place and grateful to the time that the volunteers and companions give up to enable us to visit and share in the beautiful energy of the White Spring.

Since my last visit to Glastonbury Tor and my experiences there in October 2015, I’ve researched the Tor further, read my next post on it… Samantha, jewellery artist x

Glastonbury Tor, the white spring 1

Journey to a special healing place…

The White Spring at Glastonbury Tor is like stepping through a portal into another world and time.  A special ancient magical and healing place, where myths and legends feel alive, they surround, bewitch and inspire us.

spiral sculpture at the white spring
spiral sculpture at the white spring

By story begins a few years ago…
Glastonbury Tor has been drawing me back to it since my first visit in 2010, but it was on a later visit that I first discovered the White Spring.

I’d already been up the Tor and was on my way back to Glastonbury, passing by the Museum of Rural Life when I decided to visit the arts and crafts exhibition that was on there and look around some of the museum exhibits. Whilst there, I got chatting to a couple from Clitheroe in Lancashire and the lady – out of the blue – told me about the ‘White Well’. She was quite excited that she’d found it open and been able to visit it, after it being shut on her previous visits. She told me about the white and red wells and how incredible a place it was.

the view back to Glastonbury from the Tor
Glastonbury Tor and view of Glastonbury

Intrigued and my curiosity piqued, I postponed my journey back to Lancashire and after going to Glastonbury and extending my car parking, I walked back up to the base of the Tor in my quest to discover and visit this ‘white well’.

My luck was with me and it was still open when I got there. I walked through the doorway into the darkness, my eyes gradually getting used to the dimness of the light. Sounds came from the water, echoes of running water and I was aware of a humming vibration. It felt like time was on hold and there was a peaceful stillness about the place, like being in a church, which made you want to whisper, hum or sing, rather than talk.

There were some small alters created for sitting and meditating, so I sat for a while and let the atmosphere of the white spring envelope me in its cocoon. To be there felt so magical, but also strange in a ‘good way’, such a primeval and ancient place with its mysteries.

Inside the white spring there are a number of small pools, of different heights with the water moving from one to the other and a larger pool. I was tempted to take a dip in the water, but not having a towel with me decided against it and that it would be something to look forward to and be prepared for on my next visit.

white spring water at glastonbury tor
the white spring water

I left a donation and once outside drank some of the white spring and red well water from across the lane.

There’s a sign up asking not to take photographs or videos inside, which I agree with as it would alter the atmosphere of this special and peaceful place, so these are just a few photos from outside the White Spring.

Over the next year or two on visits to Glastonbury Tor, I’d hoped to revisit the Spring, but each time found it closed. Then last October (October 2015) although it wasn’t open to the public – there was a private group using it – I found out it would be open the following afternoon, so I changed my plans and it was to be 3rd time lucky!

It was a few hours after my sound healing gonging experience in St Michaels Tower at the Tor with Norah and Odette, as the White Spring wasn’t open until later in the afternoon, I sat in the sunshine outside the Tower; meditating, having a picnic, reading a book and chilling out before heading down the hillside.

spiral design at the white spring
spiral design at the white spring

Inside in the semi-darkness of the White Spring, I meditated in the peacefulness of the small shrines and waited for a quiet spell… I’d double checked with the volunteer steward that it would be ok to take a dip in the water, before I climbed up over the smaller pools and into the deepest pool. I wondered if I’d feel anything different as I submerged myself into the water of the White Spring, but it just felt very cold.

As I sat there in the water, I noticed my breath had changed, I could see it when breathing out and it wasn’t my normal breath. My exhaled breath was compressed like it was coming out in a tube that was at least 2 metres in length and it remained like this whilst I was in the pool. Although I wanted to stay there longer, I only managed about 5 minutes, before the coldness of the water drove me out and I clambered out over the pools and into the warmness of my dry towel.

I meditated a bit more, feeling a lightness of being and not wanting to leave the cocoon of the candle-lit white spring and re-enter the world again.

When I recounted this experience a few weeks later to a friend that does reiki, she said ‘it sounded like I was expelling or releasing something’. 

jewelart venus copper spiral and fused glass pendant
jewelart copper spiral pendant with fused glass

Coincidences:

  • For many years, I’ve been interested in spirals and ancient symbols and love working with copper wire to make spiral shaped unique jewellery. I’ve found similar designs to those I’ve been creating decorate the door of the White Spring.
  • my interest in healing springs and wells has grown over time and I’ve become increasingly drawn to visit and learn more about them.

Since my last visit I’ve researched the White Spring further, read my next post… Samantha, jewellery artist x

Glastonbury Tor gonging 2

an inspiring and special place – 2- gonging at the Tor

I was lucky to meet Norah and Odette at St Michaels Tower at Glastonbury Tor and thank them for giving me the opportunity to participate in their gonging at such a special place and also for sharing info about sound / gong healing and their own journeys with me in this blog…

Glastonbury Tor
Norah and Odette gonging at Glastonbury Tor

Norah 
Sound Healing
: “In the beginning they say there was sound, the word “OM” Sound Healing is the sound of creativity itself, using sacred sound frequencies and Schumann resonance’s to help heal, clear, shift and balance whatever is going on in someone’s life!

The Gong: The Gong used on the Tor is very unique, this gong was a one-off ( it’s tuned to a specific note G2 but has many different tones when you play it ) . The wonderful musician Tim Wheater got it from Don Conreaux who had had a hand in making it. My friend Kay Kraty bought it from Tim in early 2014  and that year it was played by  the wonderful Gong Master Don Conreaux at Gaunts House, it is called a Maitreya Tai Loi, it was then passed to the wonderfully talented musician Tim Wheater, who passed it on to my wonderful friend Kay Kraty. It was then passed to me as the new custodian to share its magic with whoever wants to let the vibrational  feed their soul.

Norah’s story: I have been working in the healing profession for 20 years but it was only when I received a sound healing treatment with Tibetan bowls, drums and chimes that I felt true release and acceptance relating to some stuff that was long suppressed in my bodies cells, I realized then how powerful sound was and went on to do a sound diploma and gong master training and further research into sound.  I now run my own sound healing practice and also teach sound workshops. My favourite work is in the special needs environment where you seem to be able to get through to children and adults without a word. Its amazing.
Facebook:

 

Odette
Odette
is a Gong Master, Reiki Master and Spiritual Healer. She’s been working with Energy Healing for many years.  Sound has become an important addition to her healing work, In the summer of 2015 she furthered her gong training and trained as a Gong Master. Her teachers include Grand Gong Master Don Conreaux, the creator of the Gong Bath.

Website www.londongong.co.uk
Meetup www.meetup.com/london-gong/
Facebook www.facebook.com/gongbaths/
Twitter twitter.com/Londongong

Glastonbury Tor

Samantha:
I’ve always found that listening to music with my eyes closed takes it to another level and that certain sounds / music help you into a different state of being. I came across Leonard Cohen’s music about 20 years ago and regularly listen to his music, as I love his voice, its timbre and the beat and find that some of his songs help me to relax and meditate.

On this holiday, visiting Stonehenge, Salisbury, Stanton Drew, Cheddar, Glastonbury and Wells, I met many interesting people and a theme that seemed to crop up were; places with amazing sounds, sound healing and the name Michael. Maybe, as part of my journey, I am meant to discover more about sound healing. I certainly never expected to be doing my blog posts on sound healing and gonging at Glastonbury Tor, but it was such an amazing experience that I was blessed to be a part of there, that I decided to share it further.

More blog posts to come on the history of Glastonbury Tor, its energies and the white well…

Please feel free to comment and share your own experiences of sound healing and Glastonbury Tor. Samantha x

Glastonbury Tor gonging 1

an inspiring and special place – 1- sound healing at the Tor

Glastonbury Tor has a special energy, go and visit it and sit there for a while taking in its vibration. Like me, you might experience a feeling of lightness, calmness and joy or its energy vibrations might awaken other feelings in you.

Glastonbury Tor
The path up Glastonbury Tor

My first visit
I got to visit Glastonbury Tor for the first time a few years ago on my way back North after meeting up with a German friend and her family on holiday in Devon. It was a beautiful August day and I was lucky to find some musicians in St Michaels Tower playing a didgeridoo (an Australian aboriginal instrument) and I sat in the Tower for a short while experiencing the amazing sound as it reverberated, before sitting on the grass outside and enjoying just being there with the energy of the Tor.   Since then its been drawing me back and I try to travel down South and visit Glastonbury Tor at least once a year.

Glastonbury Tor
Inside St Michaels Tower

My recent visit October 2015
This time, again I was lucky and had an amazing chance encounter with sound healers gonging inside St Michaels Tower. The sound of the gong echoes and vibrates inside the tower and its really beautiful to experience. After sitting there, listening and watching for a few minutes, I was invited to take part.

Glastonbury Tor
gonging inside St Michaels Tower

I stood in the middle of the Tower and the gong was played whilst being moved around me. I enjoyed its sound vibrations, but apart from a feeling of peace and lightness, I wasn’t aware of any other changes, so was quite surprised to watch it in their video afterwards… wow!

Afterwards, I chatted to Norah and Odette and then enjoyed some Indian Summer sunshine whilst sitting in a sheltered nook outside the Tower, before walking down to the White Well and having another unique experience… to follow in one of my next blog posts. 

Glastonbury Tor
Indian Summer at Glastonbury Tor

Since these special and healing experiences, a pain in my chest / ribcage that I’d suffered from for a few months has disappeared.

I thank Norah and Odette for giving me the opportunity to participate and also sharing info about sound / gong healing and their own journeys with me in my next blog… Glastonbury Tor gonging 2

Please feel free to comment and share your own experiences of sound healing and Glastonbury Tor. Samantha x

travels in Wessex

Autumn 2015

My recent holiday, travelling and sightseeing in Wessex was blessed with glorious weather. My time was spent visiting ancient sacred landscapes; stone circles, springs, cathedrals and watching inspiring sunsets.

Along the way, I met some quirky characters and amazing people and had a number of interesting conversations with; a stonemason that was working on Salisbury Cathedral and a Dutch healer at Salisbury Youth Hostel, a forge artist from Norfolk, sound healers at Glastonbury Tor and an abstract artist at Cheddar, amongst others…

A glimpse of Wessex Autumn 2015, Samantha x

St Chad’s Well

an ancient holy place

bellringers at chadkirk chapel
beautiful setting and acoustics for the bellringing at Chadkirk Festival 2015

At a craft fair I had a stall at many years ago, I was recommended the Chadkirk Festival… after researching the event I applied for a stall and now I go there each summer and take part. Its a lovely little festival in a great setting; with traditional music, dancing displays and all sorts of handmade stalls in the garden area next to the chapel.

Before I head home after the festival I like to visit St Chad’s well, which is just up the hill from the chapel and see the well dressing. Its decorated with petals, leaves and other natural materials. This year its particularly beautiful.

St. Chad’s Well Dressing 2015

From the Info board at the well:

“This ancient holy well may have had its origins in Celtic times but has come to be associated with St Chad, the 7th Century Bishop of Lichfield whose missionary work in spreading the gospel may have brought him to this remote corner of his diocese.

 

St Chad is regarded as the patron saint of wells and springs, in the Middle Ages, a well dedicated to him at Lichfield was said to have medicinal qualities and its water to bring about miraculous cures.

St Chad's Well
St Chad’s Well

Ancient Celtic sites were often associated with water in the form of sacred pools and springs, where offerings were made to the gods. As part of the process of conversion to Christianity, places where pagan worship had taken place were often adopted by missionaries for Christian worship, this may be the way that our well came to be associated with St Chad.”

More info:
There isn’t access to the well – you can just get a glimpse behind the well dressing – and there doesn’t appear much water in the well, all that can be seen is a little bit of water, some plants and moss (see photo above).   It still feels special, situated next to ancient woodlands and Chadkirk Chapel.

chadkirk chapel window
the beautiful stained glass window at Chadirk Chapel

Chadkirk Chapel

Its believed that in the 7th Century Chad, who was Bishop of Lichfield from AD 669 to 672, founded a Monastic cell near to St Chad’s Well and that the present Chadkirk Chapel occupies the same site.

From the Info board at the chapel:

“Little is known of the chapel’s early history, but records show that there was a “chaplain of Chaddkyrrke” as early as 1347. For much of its medieval existence it was a ‘chantry chapel’ where masses were said for the dead. At the Reformation the chapel was suppressed, it was disused and became derelict. In the late 17th century it was used by Puritan dissenters, but they were ejected in 1705. Following a further period of dereliction the chapel was restored and partly rebuilt in 1747, thereafter being used by the Church of England. In 1865 a new church of Saint Chad was built a short distance to the north in Romiley. The old chapel was used only occasionally, and the church was once more falling into disrepair.

In 1971 the chapel was declared redundant and was sold to Bredbury and Romiley Urban District Council for community use. Following further restoration in 1973 and local government reorganisation it passed to Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council and over the years more restoration of the chapel has taken place.

Burials – Most of the recorded burials in the Chapel and the surrounding Chapel yard date from the 18th and 19th centuries, but there are probably many older burials which were not recorded. The most privileged position for burial was with the church and close to the alter; only the wealthier families could afford these favoured plots.”

More info:
The name Chadkirk means the ‘Church of Chad’ and might be the ‘Cedde’ mentioned in the Domesday book of 1086.
Chadkirk, is situated in Romiley, near to Marple in Stockport, Cheshire. 

further info: friends of chadkirk blog

Poldark in Corsham, Wiltshire

Who knew that a medieval town in Wiltshire was doubling for an 18th century Cornish village in the new Poldark series. I certainly didn’t when I stumbled across Corsham. Recently, travelling through the Cotswolds to Avebury I noticed a sign for a ‘medieval town’ and decided to stop and take a look around… I was very glad that I did.

poldarkinpaperCorsham is quiet and pretty, gorgeous buildings, shops, nice old church, a stately home, ruins and most importantly a great bakery with delicious cakes and bread.

Whilst walking around, I discovered there was a ‘Poldark exhibition’ on at the Town Hall, a small display of photos from the filming of Poldark. Corsham had also featured in the newspaper, the ‘Daily Mail’ that day and there was a copy on display.

Poldark brings back happy memories for me from my childhood, as I enjoyed watching it way back in the 1970’s and its been great that we’ve now got a new Poldark series, with the gorgeous and dashing Aidan Turner playing Ross Poldark. Samantha x

more info
Visit Wiltshire Corsham Tourist Info

Saint Robert’s Cave

an ancient holy place

A few years ago on an afternoon visit to Knaresborough, I discovered this small ancient cave and chapel remains. Hidden amongst the trees on a dark rainy day and visiting it on my own, it felt quite eerie and foreboding. My next visit there was in summertime with a friend, but it still had the same cold and dark feeling and we were glad to step back into the light. On this visit, 2 weeks ago, it felt different, the dark seemed to have lifted and it felt peaceful. I ventured into the cave on my own and spent a few minutes meditating in the darkness and my fingers were tingling with the quiet energy coming from the cave.

From the info board at the cave:
The cave is cut into the limestone cliff and originally it served as the chapel, inside the cave is a small shelf cut out of the stone, which may have served as an alter.  Robert is said to have enlarged the cave himself, whilst his brother William had the small chapel built on the platform outside the cave. There are some remains of the small chapel, wall foundations, altar base and nave in which Robert was buried, his body was moved to the local priory sometime after 1250. At the far end of the site is the living area, outside the entrance to the cave, where a bench is cut into the rock.

chapel ruins
chapel ruins

More info:
Saint Robert’s Cave is a rare survival of a medieval hermit’s home. This site once attracted thousands of pilgrims to this North Yorkshire town. Robert of Knaresborough lived on this site in the late 12th and early 13th centuries. Toward the end of his life, pilgrims came to be healed of physical ailments, for spiritual guidance, or simply to be in close proximity to the home of a revered holy man and they continued to come to the cave in large numbers for centuries after his death in 1218. The site retains a remarkable atmosphere of distant times.

Knaresborough in Yorkshire  is one of my favourite places to visit, its a picturesque medieval market town, with its ancient castle ruins, panoramic view of the Nidd Gorge, narrow streets, alleyways, nooks and crannies to discover and also lots of great places to eat.