Glastonbury

The Avalon of Marion Zimmer Bradley, place of King Arthurs adventures, entry to the fairy kingdom, holy wells, ruines of the Glastonbury Abbey, legends around a hawthorn bush. I am truely delighted to spend time here. It feels like a happy place to me, friendly and enchanting. I started writing this post earlier, but here I am on my last day, only now ready to share some of what I experienced in and around Glastonbury. 9 days of glorious sunshine, though quite cold for the last few days. I learnt to keep myself warm while spending most of the daytime outside walking and wandering. My base was a lovely airbnb room not far from the center of Glastonbury. Here I spent the evenings reading up on the stories around King Arthur, the history of the Abbey and mostly on ley lines in the internet. So much information to digest.

On my first day I was drawn to the remains of the Glastonbury Abbey, and the surrounding gardens. The story goes that here one of the very first Christian Churches was built by St. Joseph of Arimathea, the uncle of Jesus. The church emanated such a holyness that it attracted people from near and far. It was built from wood and was destroyed in a fire in 1184 along with the Abbey buildings. Today there are remains of the Chapel St. Mary that was built on the foundations of the old church. The holyness is still there. I saw young people sit on the bench and take their shoes off to connect to the grass, I copied them and it felt like being connected to a flow of energy, refueling on joy and wellbeing. It feels timeless, joy and wellbeing must have always bubbled up there, even before any churches were built.

I spent a few hours in the garden around the ruins of the old Abbey, walked beneath the many different kinds of trees and rested in a lovely orchard. A few days later I spent another afternoon in the garden near the ruins. In the meantime I had read about the ley lines or better maybe to call them lines of earth energy that run through the Abbey garden. These particular energy lines start in Cornwall and flow in a more or less straight line through to Hopton-on-Sea on the Norfolk coast. Dowsers have detected two distinct energies, one fairly strong and the other softer and calmer. On the current of the stronger energy line churches named after St. Michael can be found, often set on hills. On the current of the softer energy line the churches are more often dedicated to St. Mary. So the energy lines are called St. Michael and St. Mary respectively. Knowledge about this is assumed to have been around for thousands of years. In the Abbey garden the St. Michael and St. Mary line are supposed to cross each other. Starting in Cornwall they kind of dance with each other and cross at certain points. I tried to sense where they are flowing and did not get very far. I spent some time on a bench where I could feel the strongest flow of the joy and wellbeing energy. Dowsing might be the next skill I want to learn.

On my second day I walked up the Tor, Tor is an old word for hill. This hill would be the old Isle of Avalon I assume. A few thousand years ago the land around the Tor was mostly under water and only through drainage the land has dried over many many years. On the Tor a tower, part of a church call after St. Michael, is standing. Today I walked up to the Tor again, however could only stay briefly with strong and cold (-2 degrees) winds.

At the foot of the hill, the Challice Gardens with a sacred well with healing waters can be visited. According to legend Joseph of Arimathea burried the holy grail here, the grail which was used in the last supper and in which he collected Jesus’ blood. One can decide if the coloring of the stones over which the water runs comes from Jesus’ blood or from the high iron content of the water.

And beside many more, another meaning place in Glastonbury is the Wearyall Hill, where the same Joseph planted his walking staff and it started to grow into a Hawthorn tree, the sacred Glastonbury thorn tree. This particular thorn tree used to bloom twice a year, around Easter and Christmas. I was wondering if the legends hold some truth and yes, maybe they do. And maybe the more important part is that through the legends a connection is made between the Middle East or more specifically Jerusalem and this part of the Earth. This is a special place, not because of the legends, but beyond the legends.

When looking out from the Tor enjoying the excellent views over Somerset and the surrounding fields and small towns something caught my attention. The street to one side of Wearyall hill, which is situated opposite of the Tor with some of the town of Glastonbury in between. I wandered along the street a few times since I discovered it and found the most beautiful energy there. It is called Roman Way, so most probably built back in those times, it crosses the hill on the southern side so that the houses get the full warmth and power of the sun. It felt like an area of richness and clarity, the soil, the plants, the houses. I would want to live here if I chose to live in Glastonbury. And I started to be poetic up there. And marvelling how the people in the older time knew so well to built in partnership with the landscape which benefited both, the people living there and the landscape.

Lanzarote II

Lanzarote deserves one more blog post. Such a special place.  I came back a week ago after experiencing beautiful, however, unusally coldish, sometimes rainy and often windy days.

On my last day I tried to go to the energetic church again, about 17 km from where I was staying. To get there I had to first cycle up a mountain against the wind, when I was on the top, I thought that it was just a matter of rolling down the other side, but there were windy gusts so strong that it was difficult to continue. After trying for a bit and finding myself being blown around with little space on either side, the cars on my left and lava fields on my right, I decided to turn back. I let myself role back down the hill and then further on to the sea. I took a walk at the beach, feet in water which I enjoyed a lot. And maybe the energy I was supposed to feel that day was from the sand at the beach when I lay down and rested.

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Another day I went on a guided walking tour in the north of the island, the wildest part I would say. We climbed up a cliff with beautiful views of four small islands off Lanzarote, one of them, Graciosa, is a tourist attraction in summer, mostly for day tourists and a few people live there. Our guide explained some of the plants, many of them endemic, that were growing along the route we were taking. He also told us about the difficult water management on the island until around 80 years ago, when Lanzarote was one of the first islands that installed a desalination plant. Today most of the water used comes from two such plants, but as the water still tastes salty, most tourists buy their drinking water in plastic bottles which need to be transported to the island by ship. That is the fairly crazy water situation today. Back before desalination, the islanders had a system to collect the rain water, rain was scarce, and still they had to live on what they managed to collect in winter for the whole year. Farming was possible through a special method using a volcanic gravel. Farmers spread a layer of the volcanic gravel onto the field, to not only protect the earth from being blown away by the constantly blowing trade wind but also to soak up the condensed steam from the dew of the night and then transfer it to the ground during the day.

 

When tourism started to get bigger on the island, however, farmers left their fields to work in the hotels. Today only few people grow vegetables this way. However a similar method is used to grow vine. Driving through the vine growing area of the island was most impressive. For each grapevine a round protective wall has been built to shelter the plant from the trade wind that is always coming from the north. The view of these hillsides is peculiar.

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Grapevines

In my last post I mentioned the Centre of Anthroposophie, I continued going to the regular eurhythmy sessions and took one private session. I was curious about the effect that it might have. To the session I brought my issue of feeling cold most of the time, my cold feet and hands and needing to wear a hat often. It was interesting to feel how small adjustments of body movements could have an effect on the energy management of the body. My main insight was to generally put awareness when I am standing more on my heals than on the front of my feet. Generally I seem to have a tendency to lean forward which could be one aspect why I am not able to keep my heat for myself so well.

Oh, and I have to mention another house that I visited, designed and built by Lanzarote artist Cesar Manrique and others. Truely magically placed into the volcanic lava with fantastic views. The story goes that Omar Sharif when filming on Lanzarote saw and loved the house and bought it, only to loose it in a bridge game the same day.

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On the flight back to Berlin I chatted with my neighbour a young woman from Prague who was suffering from multiple sclerosis. But she seemed to be quite well and she said that spending a few months every year on Lanzarote for the last 10 years helped her to heal a lot. I am interested in hearing more about the healing powers of this island.