Past Life & Soul Path Therapy in Glastonbury - By Atasha Fyfe BA (Hons) DHP

 Legends, folk-lore and strange experiences

The soft green hill of the Tor, crowned with its enigmatic tower, has become a symbol of Glastonbury. It dominates the town and the surrounding landscape, and is the first sign to the traveler that Glastonbury is drawing near.  

In archetypal symbolism, hills and high places are like bridges between earth and sky. They represent a link between material reality and the unseen dimensions.  

The early Celts thought of high places as gods – powerful beings in a world where all nature was inhabited by conscious entities. Roman influence later modified that idea, saying it’s not the hills that are alive, but the gods who inhabit them.    

Glastonbury Tor has long been seen as the most magical hill in the land. Centuries of legends and folklore have gathered around it. In their various ways, these tales all demonstrate one thing  – that the Tor is a place where the veil between the worlds is thin.   

Strange experiences here are usually interpreted according to the beliefs of the times. An otherworldly being met on the Tor might be called a fairy in one century, a nature spirit in another and ET in more recent years.   

Like Glastonbury, the Tor has come to host a large variety of mystical beliefs. Nature mythology, paganism, Christian legends, and newer ideas about life the universe and everything have all found a comfortable niche for themselves within Tor lore.  

It’s as if the Tor can attract and foster all kinds of ideas, but is always bigger than any of them - like a giant ancient tree with its ever-changing population of little birds and squirrels.   

It’s certainly ancient. Modern archeology agrees with the folklore about that. Legends say that on the top there was once a stone circle like Stonehenge. Recent archeology research has found that two thousand years ago there really was a stone structure on the Tor.   

A West Country seer described her vision of how it was: 'The Tor is not the same now as it was then. There used to be a white temple on the top. It was like a Greek temple, but circular.

'The top was domed. There were twelve columns around it.  Inside was the most beautiful mosaic floor, in the design of a zodiac. Under the floor there was a hidden vault. There were seven guardians there in pale blue robes.   

'The temple had trees and rushes and water all the way round. There was a very fragrant scent there. Just being on that little island was restorative.'    

The Tor was an island for centuries. 'Somerset' is short for 'summer settlement' because the area was too flooded to inhabit in winter. The Tor was called 'Ynis Witrin' or 'Isle of Glass'. It was connected to the mainland by only a narrow strip of land at low tide.     

The earliest tales of the Tor were about the fairies who lived there. In those days, fairies were nothing like our twee pictures of them. They were described as tall, youthful despite great age, and “fair” – i.e. beautiful. 

They were also associated with certain constellations - the Pleiedes, Ursa Major, and Sirius. People said they gave knowledge to them, especially about astrology and healing. Different peoples from all over the world have strikingly similar mythologies.  

A large number of fairy encounters are associated with magical hills. Fairy hills were thought of as hollow, in the sense that there was another realm within them. This inner realm was called Annwn or Avalon. A persistent ancient belief says there’s an entrance to Annwn somewhere on the Tor.      

Not many sought that entrance, because of certain dangers that everyone knew about in the old days. One problem was the difference between fairy time and ours. More than one medieval experiencer reports having spent only half an hour or so with the fairies – but when they returned, found that many years had passed in their world. Everyone they knew had grown old or died.

Another danger was the food. The rule was, if you visit Annwn, don’t eat or drink anything. Any human who accepts fairy fare will never be able to leave their world again.   That food and drink might stand for magical powers or advanced knowledge available in the other realms. Once these are assimilated – understood - it would be impossible to return to the old ways again.   

A famous Tor story is the encounter between St.Collen and Gwynn ap Nudd, the King of the Fairies. St.Collen, a devout Christian monk, had heard about the heathen fairies of the Tor, and decided to do something about it. 

He found the special place on the Tor that locals said was the entrance to Annwn, settled himself down, and waited. Before long, Gwynn appeared. 

He led St.Collen into his court, where the fairies offered him their food and drink.   The monk refused these offerings, and threw holy water at his hosts. 

At that, he was instantly back on the grassy slopes of the Tor surface. He wound his way home, satisfied that his actions had banished the fairies from the Tor.

Glastonbury Abbey was once one of the richest Abbeys in the land. After the dissolution of the monasteries in the sixteenth century, that wealth was meant to go to Henry 8. But there’s a good chance he didn’t get all of it. 

Secret tunnels are said to radiate out in many directions from the Abbey. One of them apparently goes straight to the Tor. At the time of the Dissolution, some of the Abbey’s assets may have been smuggled out through these tunnels.  

Many think this is why Henry VIII had the Abbot, Richard Whiting, hung, drawn and quartered on the Tor for treason. His ghost is still said to haunt Dod Lane in Glastonbury.   

There are stories about monks who found these tunnels, but when they returned were “insane” or “unable to speak”. Maybe this was to put off people who thought of looking for those tunnels themselves.   

While researching the Tor’s legendary tunnels, I received this intriguing e-mail:    'I have a story from a very old source - 17th century - which tells of a large tunnel leading into the Tor. It led to a big cave in which two pools of natural spring water flowed underground to the Chalice Well.  

'It's said that the cave was part of a Druidic initiation - a journey into the dark and inner self. There were also steps leading down from the top into the cave.  

'This was re-discovered then promptly covered up for reasons unknown. As for the cave under the Tor, it was bricked up by the local water board until recently.  

'A local who was very interested in the history of the site told me all this. He also relayed to me that in the 60's his father was part of a project to hollow out the Tor further and place a water tower inside to harness the natural spring. The idea was to hide the eyesore ruining the cave, and profit at the same time. 

'This same person showed me one of the tunnels which still leads into the Abbey from outside of town. The bit I walked seemed to be several hundred yards.'   

Dowsing methods have now traced many power lines in the earth that for centuries were known to folklore. These are geomagnetic lines in the earth - like acupuncture meridians in the body.

Ancient people found that using them made all forms of travel and communication easier. Christian churches later replaced the older sacred sites that were built along these lines. 

The Michael line is called that because most of the churches on it are dedicated to St.Michael, who was the Christian version of the protective male deity originally associated with this line. 

In the same way, St.Mary churches delineate the Mary line and replaced older shrines to a nurturing and gentle earth mother. The male and female nature of the two lines was thus preserved and continued by the Christian interpretation.   

The Michael and Mary lines are especially powerful. They connect major sacred sites throughout the South West and beyond. But it’s only on the Tor that their energies combine. In a harmonious dance of earth patterns, the lines move ever closer as they approach the summit. At the top, they merge and unite.   

When they flow down from the Tor again, the lines then pass through other major Glastonbury sites – Chalice Well, the Abbey and Wearyall Hill. Their energy may be an important source of the strong mystical element that’s been associated with these places for many hundreds of years.  

Apart from their connection with sacred sites, these lines are also associated with strange lights, and other unexplained phenomena. Over the years, a substantial number of credible witnesses have seen balls of light around the Tor. 

These are described as luminous, alive, and somehow conscious.   People say it feels as if the lights present themselves on purpose in some way. 

They can be round, oval, small as ping pong balls or big as beach balls; misty, sparkly, luminous or glowing; sometimes alone, sometimes in groups; hovering, floating or travelling purposefully through the air, appearing and disappearing at will. Not only white, but reds, greens, mauves and other colours have been reported.   

During the great solar eclipse of August 1999, two separate and unconnected groups of people reported seeing a large orange ball of light hovering to the south of the Tor.  

Adventurous people who sleep in the tower talk about strange and vivid dreams, and a white light that sometimes fills the place. Whatever these lights are, they seem connected in some way with the powerful energies of sacred sites and earth meridians.   

 A physical indication of what might have been some ancient ritual, is the terraced pathway that spirals around the Tor. Although very worn now, it can still be traced. 

Scientific surveys currently think that it was made about four or five thousand years ago – at about the same time as Stonehenge.    

Starting at the bottom, it winds around and up the Tor in a spiralling maze. The pattern it makes is almost identical to the labyrinth found on ancient Cretan coins. It also echoes the Native American Hopi people’s representation of Mother Earth.

An examination of this path has found that it seems to end before getting to the top. The place where it suddenly disappears is marked with a large, smooth, oval-shaped stone – locally known as the eggstone.   There are very few big stones on the Tor, and from their positioning they look like deliberately placed markers. 

When the solemn St.Collen decided to have it out with the King of the Fairies, he chose the best spot he’d heard about for this kind of contact. He described it as 'a little place under a rock in a secret, out of the way place'. 

This sounds like the eggstone, which is quite difficult to find, being in an obscure spot hidden by bushes and brambles.   Like much else about the Tor, the terraced pathway still seems active. Some have seen it glowing with a strange light. 

Dion Fortune said: 'Many times the Tower is reported to have been seen rimmed in light; a warm glow, as of a furnace, beats up from the ground on wild winter nights, and the sound of chanting is heard from the depths of the hill. Towering forms of shadow and light are seen moving on the lower slopes.' 


Other mysterious marks in the landscape around Glastonbury are the giant signs of the Zodiac. Some think that the Phoenicians created them more than four thousand years ago. The Elizabethan magus, Dr.John Dee, was the first to discover this map.   That was forgotten until 1929 when the artist Katherine Maltwood found it again. 

In the map, the Tor is in the sign of Aquarius. This is depicted as a rising Phoenix with wings outstretched, symbolising triumphant rebirth.   

Legends say that when the secret treasure of the Tor is found again, it will herald a new age of peace and happiness. This secret treasure probably isn’t a chest overflowing with jewels and gold. I think it’s more likely to be about the mysterious energies that have been there for centuries – and according to many reports, are still as strong as ever.                               


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