Newest Review: ... smelling shops.* * There is also a shop down at the bottom, by the monument next door to the butchers (best in Glastonbury) owned by a g... more
Member Name: Palden
Date: 06/02/01, updated on 06/02/01 (57 review reads)
Advantages: Interesting and different
Glastonbury is located in Somerset, but really it's a planet or a world of its own. It's a former island (the Isle of Avalon), which contributes to this, but what makes it unique is that, for several thousand years, it has been a home and pilgrimage place for the odd-bods of every time - and this still goes on today. When you arrive in Glastonbury, it's not an ordinary tourist/visitor experience. It has one of the most lively main streets in Britain. It's a bit medieval - you'll be moderately begged and busked at - but it has many redeeming features too.
First: if you have questions going on in your life, a visit to Glastonbury will somehow help you resolve them, in mysterious ways. This has to do with the earth-energy and history of the place, plus the extraordinary variety of relatively awakened people living and visiting there - and it happens as much in your sleep and behind your back as when you're awake. There's a strange mix of the spiritual and the profane there - which can work well, because many people believe that spirituality has something to do with bliss, joy and heaven, when in fact it has more to do with real life and how you resolve the dilemmas it presents.
Second, it's a fantastic shopping place if you want things that are interesting and different - untouched by corporate hands, made and sold by *real people*. There are also courses, conferences and events, particularly from May to the end of August.
Third, the accommodation, events and spontaneous happenings there can be very stimulating. B&Bs with dolphin murals, jacuzzis and futons!? But there are normal B&Bs too - y'know, bacon and eggs and all mod cons.
Fourth, if you're into lifestyle and odd-ball things, you're in good company and, at last, you're normal! Also, it's very cosmopolitan - Glastonbury is perhaps more famous internationally than nationally.
Fifth, if you like mythic/mystic things - druidic, Arth
urian, geomantic, Goddess-oriented, anything - there are books, places, people to imbibe.
Sixth, it's as full of stimuli as a city, even though it can be walked around, and only 10,000 people live there. However, in a hundred years, it might well be a full city.
Seventh, you don't have to be crazy to enjoy it - it's a haven for Christians, the overweight, the over-taxed and the most normal of people - though it demands some open-mindedness and an adventurous mood. If your spouse or family don't like it, send them to Clarks Village in the next-door town, Street - it's a shopaholic's paradise!
Disadvantages? You could find yourself standing in a few queues - efficiency doesn't seem to go with creativity and eccentricity. For some people, this place can be confronting or upsetting (please go back to Wellingborough or Wolverhampton!). You'll probably lose more money than you planned, not because it's expensive (it isn't), but because there's a lot to spend money on - books, clothes, healing sessions, trinkets, restaurants - which you tend not to find elsewhere. Glastonbury badly needs a by-pass - the traffic is too much. Then, (and this is a profound thing), this town and its inhabitants tend to face you with things you might prefer not to look at, but perhaps you nevertheless need to - this can be quite liberating, if you're up for it.
This is a town with a *presence* - not just on the Web, but in the ethers and on the streets. It hits you on your first sight of Glastonbury Tor as you approach - your heart flutters. Most people go home wanting to return. Some places in Glastonbury - the Chalice Well, the Abbey, the Tor, and more - are stuff for falling in love with and remembering all your life.
Finally, I shall confess my own position. I live here. I run Glastonbury's magic web-portal. However, I have tried to give a balanced report. It's not all wonderful here. It's a stran
gely polarised town, with extreme conservatives and radical 'alternative types'. Yet it is genuinely unique and stimulating. Unofficially, it's possibly the true spiritual capital of Britain - Canterbury was invented to draw attention away from Glastonbury and the original British 'Culdee' Christianity, started by Jesus' uncle, Joseph of Arimathaea, who landed up here as a refugee. Most people living in Glastonbury are refugees from something! Such as the rigours of middle-English 'normality'!
And, strangely, Glastonbury gives to each individual what each individual most seeks, unconsciously. Some people experience breakthrough and great joy here, while others get nightmares. It's not a neutral experience. From a visitor viewpoint, it's one of Britain's biggest secrets. In other words, I advise many people: don't visit Glastonbury! But then, what about you?