The A361 into Glastonbury (from the Pilton direction) is closed from 26th September 2011 for three weeks. The section of road affected is from Millfield School to the first roundabout after the Chalice Well Garden. Diversions are in place though the Tor can be accessed via the Wick road and a bridleway known as Gypsy Lane - very limited parking at the start of the bridleway.
The tower on top of Glastonbury Tor in Somerset has been covered in purple paint and had graffiti daubed on its flagstones.
The National Trust, which owns and maintains the Tor, said it was "dismayed" after spending more than £500,000 recently on its restoration... continues...
Concrete for a new footpath to the top of Glastonbury Tor
Wednesday, 2 January, 2002, 13:06 GMT
Trust defends Tor work
The National Trust has defended a decision to use concrete for a new footpath to the top of Glastonbury Tor, Somerset.
More than £300,000 has been found to pay for the restorations at the Tor... continues...
The most amazing thing I have ever seen was at Glastonbury Tor. Myself and my partner visited in early December and found the countryside was thick with fog - a real 'pea souper' - you could only see about 20 yards in any direction. Despite this I insisted on climbing the Tor as this was something I had never done. As we climbed (visability now pretty much zero) we feared it would be a wasted trip. However, as we reached the summit we literally walked up out of the fog, into brilliant sunshine - dark blue sky with not a cloud in sight. (The fog ended about 10 feet lower than the top). All you could see in any direction was the top of the 'cloud like' fog - as far as the eye could see. There was complete silence and a lone dove sat on top of the church tower. A truly memorable moment in my life. I only wish I hadn't left the camera in the car as we assumed it would be fog all the way up.
We later drove to Bristol airport where we had booked a flight to see the Northern Lights over northern Scotland. What a day!!!
Firstly, I would like to assure visitors to the White Spring that the water running from both sides of the lane, the Red Spring on the outside of Chalice Well Gardens, and the White Spring next to the old cafe is perfectly drinkable. I drank nothing else for several years. I understand that both are regularly tested.
Secondly, it may be of interest that the latest interpretations of the site dig conducted during the 1960s on top of the Tor, centering on the point where the Christian altar would have been before the second chapel building was shaken down, indicate the remains of a circular Celtic-Romano Temple. Double-headed axe heads and many spiral fossils (in heaps) were found in and around the temple. I believe the Glastonbury Antiquarian Society has access to the finds.
As far as energy is concerned, Glastonbury Tor grabbed me the first time I came here. I came to stay with a friend for a few weeks... that was over 6 years ago! There's transformative magic a plenty for me in the area, though I feel the Tor itself is just a beacon... the real magic exists throughout the surrounding area from the Tor to the coast at Breen Down and Brent Knoll.
Since the local authorities limited the parking by the side of the Tor and introduced a park and ride scheme from the town centre the journey to the Tor can be somewhat less than a pilgrammage.
Best plan is to park in the Town centre car park, and walk along Chilkwell street to the Chalice well gardens first... although there is a charge for entry here (it can be omitted and the well water obtained from the spout in the Tor road proper).. the Gardens are extremely well maintained and are a haven of relaxation and contemplation, and a good place to drink the Chalybeate water of the Red Spring.
Next visit the source of the white spring which is in an old reservoir building 50 yards up the Tor road... I don't think that this source can be drunk, unfortunately... but revel in the mystery of the two distinct springs joining side by side at the foot of the Tor...
Go back down the lane and on the left is a footpath running up past some cottages in what was an orchard.. I believe occult writer Dion Fortune lived here for a while... and now start the climb of the Tor proper... up the spine of the Dragon path...
Notice the remains of the spiral paths, forming a labyrinthine maze, which if you have three or four hours to spare would be the truly correct way to climb the Tor , indeed on special festival days the maze is still used...and is a powerful and evocative tool for attuning the mind to the ritual in progress...
Once at the top, take your time... this is a powerful place and believe me, the energy that can be experienced here can be overwhelming... the Xtians didn't plonk that tower there for no reason (mind you, an earthquake took out the rest of the building.. so think on that).. and whether you think Arthur and his Knights slumber within, or that it conceals the Grail, or that it is the focus of many ley lines which radiate outwards from it's divine essence.. or simply its just a place to be...meditate for a while and see what comes to your mind.... you will be changed by the experience.
I0ve been to Glastonbury three times now, and during that time I0ve seen the town change. From a depressed village with lots of beautiful sites in 1992, it changed to a booming tourist town by 1996. This was a little unfortunate (though I don't envy the jobs to the locals), because the High street changed with it to a collection of capitalist shops. Unfortunately, the prices went with it. A the small shops went alltogether, or if they were lucky, were relegated to back alleys. I hear that since that time, even the 'Gothic Image' was up for sale - shame! Anyway, the land does not change, and so the Tor, the Chalice well and the Abbey are stiil (and will always, I hope) be the same beautiful places.
I loved this place!! we stayed in a camp site a little out of Glasonbury and whilst Mr. pixie was assembling the tent and usually reserved children were making new friends with new neighbours, i relaxed. Within about 10 minutes i experienced the most amazing vision i could have been blessed with. it was in the form of clouds just rolling past me like some Goddess movie!! it was very personal to my circumstances at the time and very emotional! we then climbed the Tor. although it was not as magical as the vision i had experienced it was very special and very 'vibey' when we reached the top!
I can't wait to visit again, i believe that each one of us will be blessed whenever and wherever it is right, but this place is 'special' in a way that doesn't hit you straight away but really leaves a lasting impact upon your soul which resonates at a deeper level.
sunset is very special if you have children as it seems exciting to them.
visit Glastonbury and you can't fail to be moved in some way. i'm usually quite straight and i was walking round the town barefoot and 'spiritualised' within days!!!
Until recently, I was a Tor virgin but I guess I had to make the journey to find out for myself if this site really is worthy of the claims of magical powers bestowed upon it. After the ascent the the top I sat there for perhaps two hours in the wonderful June sunshine appreciating the fantastic location of this sacred hill. I took with me my Yamaha QY70 portable music sequencer and a pair of headphones and was interested to see if the Tor could inspire an interesting musical composition. Well it wasn't long before a celestial melody popped into my head which seemed to perfectly encapsulate my experience of the place.
After descending the Tor and visiting the Chalice Well (and drinking the water) I felt a strange reawakening. Worth the effort after all then!
was i supposed to get some enlightenment at reaching the top? well i didnt, was more amazed at the feat it took to carry all the materials up there to build the thing.
i found solice in an exhibition in the nearby tribunal building, a lake village exhibit with many artifacts, even a canoe, much more interesting than the tor itself for me.
Heart chakra of the solar system, this is my favourite place on earth so far...
Best to climb the Tor in the early dawn - the mists rise and the Tor once again becomes an island (if you do this on may morning latterday druids will appear and blow their horns!)
If you are musically oriented (or a lay chanter), check out the accoustics in the tower...
Wherever you are in the world, you should visit the Tor (and the town) at least once... unforgettable!
This morn after having heard Cathedral Service very well and decently performd at Wells, we proceeded to Glastonbury. Saw Tor hill, a very remarkable Point of view all over the Countrey, being a hill detachd from everything else, on the Top of which stands a tower which was the steeple of a church dedicated to St Michael, which is now totally demolishd and nothing but the shell of the Tower left standing. About the sides of this hill searchd for Lathyrus luteus, but without success - fancy it is hardly yet come into flower. From hence proceed to bloody well, a Spring so Calld from the reddish rust colour with which it tinges the stones over which it Passes. It has a very mineral appearance, but very little taste. The people here hold it in great Repute for astma, scurvy and Dropsy telling of several cures it has and continues to make every day. Not far from this on the other side of town, is the hill on which the Glastonbury thorn is said to have grown, but it has been dead several years, so long that we have not met with anybody who remembers it.
I imagine the bloody well is the Chalice Well though I certainly wouldn't say the water tasted of nothing. This is from "Journal of an Excursion to Eastbury and Bristol, etc., in May and June, 1767" by Sir Joseph Banks, published in the Proceedings of the Bristol Naturalists' Society v9 (1898).
Elsewhere I see it is called the 'Blood Spring' which was perhaps less damaging to delicate ears.
To this day you can hear local tales of a chamber below the summit, or a well sinking far into the depths, or a tunnel running all the way to the Abbey, a distance of more than half a mile. Rash explorers are supposed to have found a way in and to have come out insane.
From 'The Landscape of King Arthur' by Geoffrey Ashe (1987).
Geoffrey Russell suggested that the terracing around the Tor may once have been part of a sacred maze design, a design which may also have given rise to the Cretan Labyrinth legend. This belief was also held by Professor Philip Ratz, who excavated the Tor summit in the 1960s.
If this was the case, then the maze is supposed to end with a tunnel into an underground chamber. Several other legends suggest that the Tor is hollow, including Rhiannon's post below.
For more information about the maze theory, see the link at the bottom of the page.
Glastonbury Tor and some of the surrounding land used to be pretty much an island. You can get a glimpse of this sometimes when the Somerset Levels are sodden and the water reflects the sky. In 'Celtic' thought there was the idea of an Otherworld island. King Arthur was buried in Avalon when he died, but you don't have to see the Underworld as being inhabited by the 'dead'. Gwyn ap Nudd was the king of the underworld, Annwn. Later he was seen more as a fairy figure. One of the legends associated with the tor combines his non-christian and fairy characteristics:
St Collen had come to live as a hermit on the Tor. Glastonbury of course had been long associated with Christianity - Joseph of Arimathea was supposed to have visited and planted his staff, which blossomed into a thorn tree.
He overheard two men talking about Gwyn ap Nudd and told them off for talking such un-Christian nonsense. They warned him that Gwyn would not look kindly upon such an attitude, but Collen dismissed their remarks. A few days later a messenger appeared in Collen's cell with an invitation to Gwyn's court. Collen declined the offer. The messenger came back every day but each day was turned away. Eventually he lost patience with the saint, threatening that 'it would be the worse for him if he did not go.' Perhaps tired of being pestered, Collen at last agreed.
They entered a secret door in the side of the hill and Collen was led along tunnels, finally emerging into the grand throne room, which was filled with courtiers. Gwyn welcomed him warmly and invited him to eat at the feast that had been prepared in his honour. 'If this does not please you there is plenty more of all sorts.'
However, Collen wasn't blinded by fairy 'glamour' and could see perfectly well what was on the table. He replied 'I do not eat the leaves of a tree.' A shudder of horror rippled through the court. Collen clearly didn't care about the dangers of being rude to fairies. Next he laid into the dress-sense of the king's pages: their clothes were 'scarlet for the ever-living flames' and 'blue for the eternal ice of Hell'. Collen didn't believe in fairies - to him they were the demons of the Christian religion's Hell.
To top off his rude behaviour he whisked out a bottle of holy water he'd had stashed under his cloak and sprinkled it liberally in every direction. The palace disappeared and Collen found himself in the pale light of dawn on the summit of the Tor. To him this proved the point that they were demons - but maybe they were just fed up of their discourteous guest and ejected him.
(details from various sources, for example 'Culhwch ac Olwen' - see Lady Guest's Mabinogion notes here at 'sacred texts'..)
Of course it's possible that the story has nothing to do with Glastonbury at all - St Collen and the story is comprehensively discussed in Bord's 2004 'Fairy Sites' book. The saint is far more associated with Llangollen. Perhaps early writers equated Annwn (Annwfn) the Celtic otherworld, with Avallon, and thus Glastonbury.
Omphalus means source of inspiration or centre of the world.The first recorded Omphalus was found at the temple of Delphi(delphus is one of the Greek words for womb)the Spiritual and moral capital of ancient Greece.at the height of its culture.
The Omphalus was the most universal representation of the great Goddess , the Pagan equivalent of the Holy of Holies, the vagina,the womb or egg, the source of life itself. In fact the Shape of the Omphalusis that of the female birth cone or cervix.
Another Omphalus was recorded at Mecca its described as a black stone, on it is a mark called the impression of Aphrodite, this mark is an oval depression signifying the Yoni (or female genitalia) this is said to clearly indicate that the black stone of mecca once belonged to the great mother.
An omphalus was also found at the Abbey in Glastonbury also beleived to be a former Pagan shrine. This stone was supposed to have mysteriously dissappeared but there is a possibility that it has turned up again, leaning against the back outside wall of the Abbots kitchen. Ignored like a piece of old unwanted rubble, It has been shifted about a great deal.
The Egg stone is roughly 'egg shaped' but flattened, the measurements being approximately 3ft by 2ft 4 inches by 1 foot 4 inches. One of the flat sides was exposed and was found to be artificially levelled over a considerable area. In the centre was a roughly hollowed cavity.
Dowsers have reported that the Egg stone emits powerful vibrations.
This source material for this post was taken from the book Glastonbury Maker of Myths.