|The Vandalized and Decorated Holy Thorn|
|Pagan or New Age or Both|
My first impression is that Glastonbury wears its spirituality on store fronts and shop signs. It reminds me of a small Haight Street, sans head-shops, though there is a store that specializes in supplies for growing hemp. A few grifters and homeless, pastel chalk mandalas on the sidewalk, shops selling all things magical, essences, candles, crystals, Celtic jewelry, a Viking store, alternative bookshops, and a local newspaper listing events, seminars, and small group practica, every imaginable life balance regimen represented, all reinforced this first sense of a commercial spirituality at work in Glastonbury. But chance encounters do offer opportunities to peel back the layers of what Glastonbury is and hint to a genuine openness.
|St. Patrick's Chapel|
I head down the more frequented path, back in the direction of Glastonbury center. At the base, I turn to find the White well, a small patio type forecourt with placed rocks, strewn flowers, water bubbling from a stone-built, gated building, dark interior, signs warning to refrain from photography out of respect for the spiritual nature of the spot, all combining to make it feel anything but.
On entry I feel the feminine nature of this place immediately, verdant, almost a botanical garden, paths leading to pools and watercourses, large yew trees in which one might discern aged faces in the bark, trees for hugging. There are several small groups of predominantly but not exclusively women, each with a leader, a spiritual guide speaking softly. Quiet, gurgling fountains drown out the street noise, waters swirl hypnotic. Trevor, on the first day of my walk, had opined that "pagans see all good as coming from the Earth, Christians from the sky." The Chalice Gardens radiates its good from below.
|Wells Cathedral Church|
All told, a nice walk, a fun time but it seems I still have some distance to travel.