Tag Archives: Sam Rowena jewellery artist blog

Glastonbury Tor

Some info about my 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 a salt marsh, peat and fen bogland. 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 townhouse / 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:

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.

dusk view of st michaels tower

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 1960s 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 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 run through Glastonbury Tor and it’s a 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 visits, now that I’ve gained a deeper knowledge…
Sam Rowena, 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 1890s 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. It’s lovingly created, cared for and supported by the companions of the white spring.

whitewell5

I for one, love my visits there and 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…
Sam Rowena, 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

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

white spring water at glastonbury tor
the white spring water

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

jewelart designs April 2015

After hibernating during the dark and cold Winter, Spring has helped to rekindle my creativity and I’ve enjoyed getting lost in time, making some gorgeous new jewellery pieces. I’ve tinkered with some of my designs and experimented using different colours, beads, and buttons.

I am chuffed to bits with these new pieces, it’s felt so good to get back to making and spending some time being creative. You can now find these beauties or similar pieces on my stall at events.

Thanks for joining me on my creative journey,
Sam Rowena, jewellery artist x