A HAWTHORN TREE,
AN ISLAND OF GLASS AND THE GRAVE OF A MYTHICAL KING.
THE MYSTIQUE THAT IS GLASTONBURY.
There is no denying it, Glastonbury is truly a remarkable place and has been so since time immemorial, or so it would seem.
Hundreds of people, to this day, make pilgrimages to this little Somerset town. Once upon a time it was a watering hole for sheep traders, now its trade is all things ‘new age’. Its rich variety of crystal shops, book havens and a colourful assortment of alternative people make it a must do and see for any erstwhile spiritual traveller!
Glastonbury is the home of many legends.
One that grabs my imagination is the legend of the Hawthorn tree. The Glastonbury Thorn is different because it flowers twice a year, winter and spring and is situated on Wearyall Hill. It has been propagated several times and can also now be found at Glastonbury Abbey and the Church of St. John. The Tree was cut down in the English Civil war by Cromwell’s men as a relic of superstition but was replanted in 1951.
The ‘Holy’ Thorn represented the arrival of Christianity in Britain.
This was allegedly brought to us by Joseph of Arimathea, he gave his tomb to Jesus after the crucifixion. However historians down the years have questioned the authenticity of the tale of Joseph and the Thorn but there is further speculation that Joseph may have come to Britain to the tin mines in Cornwall, a trade route that was already very developed by the Phoenicians.
During the C12 Joseph became connected to the Arthurian cycle as the first keeper of the Holy Grail. The apparition of Jesus appeared to Joseph instructing him to bring the Grail to Britain. A wonderful story and one which most certainly would have done much to encourage Pilgrimage trade.
Glastonbury is also known as the Isle of Avalon, coming from the welsh Ynys Afallon or Isle of Apples. In ancient times Glastonbury used to be an island surrounded by marshland and one got around by boat. Apples used to grow in abundance in those parts hence its original name.
Another claim to fame is the burial site of King Arthur and his Queen Guinevere in Glastonbury Abbey which can still be seen today. During the reign of Henry II in 1190 Monks claimed to have discovered the bones Of Arthur and his Lady. The Abbott, Henry de Sully ordered the exhumation,16ft below the surface they found a coffin made from a tree trunk.
The Latin writing on the coffin pronounced that this was the resting place of the warrior king, Arthur.
Again, much has been said and done to refute the idea that this could be his burial site but legend has it that after the battle of Camlann in which Arthur was killed, a woman named Morgan, who was ruler and benefactor in those parts carried Arthur’s body to an island called Ynys Gutvin, Isle of Glass. The Saxons later called this island, Glastingebury.
The heart centre of the UK.
So, here we have these fabulous tales and the beauty of them is that we can research them for ourselves and visit the sites of note and importance. An invaluable experience for anyone who wishes to unpack their spiritual connection to this land and the heart centre of the UK which is Glastonbury.