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Glastonbury Tor



Type of Spiritual Experience


A description of the experience

Glastonbury is  a natural hill in Somerset, England.  The word Tor is a local word of Celtic origin meaning 'conical hill'. It is visible for miles around being situated in the middle of a plain called the Somerset Levels. The plain is reclaimed fenland.

Symbolically it has every feature one could ask of a hill. The hill is cone shaped.

At the time the site was considered sacred, the hill would have risen like an island, surrounded by water and marsh.  It is now 15 miles from the sea but at the time there would have been a link with the Ocean and sea.

There was an Iron Age settlement of about 300–200 BC on the site.  It was called Ynys yr Afalon by the Britons, and it is believed to be the ‘Avalon’ of Arthurian myth.  It is also known as Ynis Witrin – the Isle of Glass [crystal].

It has two springs – the White spring, which is white from calcium carbonate, exudes from a cave and there is also the Chalice well which emits red water coloured from iron deposits.  It is often called the Blood spring.  The guide books say “The chalice well is so called because it is found on Chalice hill”, but in fact it is the other way round – the hill was named after the spring – Chalice or cup. 

The surrounding ditch goes back to the Iron Age.  It was shaped with a spiral of terraces which are Neolithic in origin.

In effect one can symbolically climb the spiritual path.

The source of the experience


Concepts, symbols and science items

Activities and commonsteps