Glastonbury is one of the most famous sacred sites in the UK and it has long been associated with Goddess energy, faerie realms, sacred geometry and Arthurian legend.

 

I was inspired to visit this charming town again after I had finished reading The Mists of Avalon. It’s a novel set in the time of King Arthur but is told from the point of view of the women in his life, and primarily that of Morgaine, who is often named Morgan le Fay and portrayed as a villainous sorceress in traditional Arthurian stories. The book is often lauded as a seminal work of pagan fiction, but as well-written and thought-provoking as it is, it is flawed and more difficult to read given the accusations made against the late author, Marion Zimmer-Bradley in recent years. It has influenced my sudden love for all things Avalon, however (reading every book I can get my hands on, buying The Arthurian Tarot and Wisdom of Avalon oracle deck, plus binge-watching the BBC series Merlin on Netflix). I’m also keen to watch the TV film adaptation of The Mists of Avalon, starring Anjelica Housten, Joan Allen and Julianna Margulies (although I think Eva Green will always be the perfect Morgan le Frey in my mind).

 

 

 

I stayed at a b&b called The Covenstead, which is right in the town centre, adjacent to the car park for Glastonbury Abbey. I had seen adverts for The Covenstead in the Magical Times, as well as seeing it featured in Spirit & Destiny magazine many moons ago. It is unusual for harbouring many artifacts and paraphernalia of witchcraft and magick. There are books on magick and herbalism everywhere, as well as skulls and a mermaid statue in the lounge. My favourite feature was the mural of Glastonbury Tor on the stairway leading up to the second floor, complete with a depiction of the Horned God, a resplendent white stag and the ‘hounds of hell’. Each bedroom is themed, so for example, there is a handfasting room, perfect for romance, and I stayed in the Halloween room, complete with a four-poster bed, chinoiserie and a tapestry of John Collier’s Lilith.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I remembered from my first visit, the many bookshops which line Glastonbury high street (imagine a typical British high street and swap all the shops for witchy ones), so as my bookworm senses were tingling, I headed off to indulge in some retail therapy – I’d already prepared a wish list of things I was after. As much as I adore shopping for metaphysical items, I can only do so much shopping otherwise my bank account would dry up. To recharge, I went along to the Goddess Temple. It is a tranquil place reserved for meditation, reflection and of course being with the goddess. I went there on both days – I wish every town had one. The temple is set in a small courtyard which also houses bookshops, the accompanying Goddess Temple shop, the country’s only esoteric library, the Library of Avalon and one of my favourite pit-stops, Starchild, a herbal apothecary which sells just about every herb you could need, and helpfully sells online too.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After some quiet time, I headed toward Glastonbury Abbey. The Abbey ruins are supposed to be the (one of many) resting place of King Arthur and Queen Guinevere. Of course, many historians debate whether in fact this great King actually existed, but given my romantic leanings, I like to think that he did. Avalon itself means Isle of Apples and indeed many hundreds of years ago, the land around Glastonbury was made up of islands, rivers and marshes. From the Abbey, Glastonbury Tor can be glimpsed standing over the town, and I must admit, when I first glimpsed the Tor on the road towards Glastonbury, I did feel a shiver and got a feeling that I was entering a mystical land (I’ve had a similar feeling in Tintagel – Arthur’s supposed birthplace; seeing the waterfall for the first time at St Nectan’s Glen, as well as numerous spots in the Celtic lands of Scotland, Ireland and Wales).

 

 

 

 

 

 

That evening, I retired to my bedroom in The Covenstead, happy with my purchases and inspired by the Abbey and general feel of the town. I had some really interesting conversations with like-minded people in bookshops, prompted by some of the tomes I chose to buy, and my head was whirling going over the events of the day. I must admit that I had a headache upon arriving in the town and it didn’t leave until after I’d left. I’m not sure if this was because Glastonbury is such an energetic place – indeed, it is believed by many to be the heart chakra centre of the earth. It is a place of converging ley lines and lots of other mysteries. I highly recommend the book The Isle of Avalon: Sacred Mysteries of Arthur and Glastonbury by Nicholas R Mann if you want to read further into the geological details of Glastonbury and the surrounding land.

 

 

On day two, after a satisfying breakfast in the gothic dining room of The Covenstead, I set off on foot to walk the Tor. Of course, I overpacked and ended up lugging a handbag and tote all the way up there. Still, it was a pleasant walk in the sunshine, though, be warned, the walk up the hill itself is quite arduous (I really need to work out more!). Many people believe that the hill is hollow, and in legend, that it leads to the Underworld, or Faery realm, known as Sidhe. It is from this hillside that the two different springs come from, creating the White Spring and the red spring at the Chalice Well.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

At the top of the Tor, it was a clear day – none of the legendary Avalonian mist to be seen – and there was a beautiful 360-degree view of green fields and meadows, of the town, itself stretching over to Wearyall Hill where there is an ancient holy tree known as the Glastonbury Thorn. I sat for a while at the Tor and meditated there, taking it all in, remembering to be present instead of trying to just Instagram everything (I did that too).

 

On the walk back down, one of the meadows was full of sheep and adorable lambs who were quite curious and came up to get a better look at me. Leaving the path to the Tor, I crossed the road and went to the Chalice Well and Gardens. I had been hoping to visit the White Spring as I heard it was a really magical place, but unfortunately for me, it was closed on Wednesday. The Chalice Well has stunning gardens and plenty of places to sit quietly. You can take healing water from the well – I filled a couple of bottles so I have a good supply to use for potions.

 

 

 

 

 

If you enjoyed this post, why not check out my guest blog about the delights of Hampstead Heath, London for the Travel Guides: Fit for a Heroine series over at the lovely Heroine Training. Link here

 

Until next time!

 

 

 

 

Hello, readers!

 

It’s been a while since I have posted on here. I really feel that a blog is an online home and that it needs to reflect the author’s personality and interests. I haven’t been entirely happy with my online space for a while now, and to deal with this I end up ignoring it. Not good. I am not great with the more technical side of technology and I’m no designer so it’s not something I could fix myself, however, I am now working with a tech wiz designer lady who is going to help me whip this place into shape. I’m so excited about the changes coming soon!

 

In the meantime, I’m working on my second book, which is a lot harder than I thought it would be. I assumed that with one novel already under my belt, I had access to the secret formula of writing a book, but apparently not. Each book is its own individual entity, and like a stubborn child doesn’t always agree with your ideas, locations and characters. So while I try all manner of methods to feed and please the muse, I thought I would announce that I’m once again doing a book giveaway. The closing date is midnight PST August 1st 2017 and to enter and read the rules, hop on over to my Instagram account. Click here.

 

Good luck!

May
18

 

*I received a preview copy of Witch from Hay House UK

 

I first met Lisa Lister last year, at a beautiful cliff-top villa on the Mediterranean island of Malta. She had sent out a call (The Call) for women to join her for a She Power Temple Retreat, and I answered without a second thought. I had been to Malta before, but had stayed in the urban areas, and was unaware of the deep connection to the Goddess there. I think most people are unaware of this because it has been buried for so long, as She has in most cultures.

 

In those incense filled rooms by the sea, dancing under the full moon and chanting in an ancient goddess temple, I felt awakened to the power of She and the power of me as a woman and as a witch. It is something I truly cherish about the path I have chosen because I forever feel like I am learning, waking up, and unlocking something more; the journey is never complete. I am a student always, and that pleases my Ravenclaw sensibility. The best teachers of the craft that I have encountered have considered themselves students also. There is an exchange, and for me, that is important. Lisa is unwavering in her dedication to help women reach their full potential, beyond the typical confines of a patriarchal society. A local guide at the ancient temple recognised this in Lisa and chose her to lead a modern group of witches to this ancient sacred space. The guide was mysterious and almost as if from another time, a guardian of ancient wisdom, a little like Lisa herself.

 

Lisa’s new book Witch: Unleashed, Untamed, Unapologetic is the book I always wanted to read; the reason I wanted to be a witch beyond the initial glamour of the cool aesthetic and lust-worthy paraphernalia. The reason and feeling that I couldn’t quite articulate to those who wondered. It’s the book I would have coveted as a teenager when the internet had far less information for budding witches and there was a much more secretive air about practicing witchcraft. I said the exact same thing about Lisa’s two previous books, Code Red and Love Your Lady Landscape too. They are all important books that I wish everyone would read. I’m not saying that Witch is meant for teenagers or is by any means a ‘beginner’ book of witchcraft. I believe it will appeal to those just beginning to answer The Call or are merely curious, as well as those who have a deeper knowledge of the craft, and years of experience. Even if you don’t consider yourself a witch (and I know how that word can make some people really squirm and feel uncomfortable) this book can appeal to you. It also encourages us to seek our own path and find out what works for us. Many witchcraft books are labeled Wiccan, but Lisa does not consider herself a Wiccan and her approach to finding your own way is so refreshing, as is her urging for us to do our research about the history and culture of certain practices and deities before adopting them for ourselves.

 

 

What sets Witch apart is that it is not another Witchcraft 101 guide. It certainly has the useful information, about the sabbats, esbats, herbs, circles and spell work, but it goes much deeper than that. Lisa explains why we have that deep need to answer The Call and does it in an informative non-preachy way. Witch encourages us to peel back the layers and dive in, to remember how women were before patriarchy made us repress our true nature and conform to the ideals of society. She calls for us to make a change.

 

Lisa has done it again, gone to that place that makes us feel uncomfortable, that taboo place that women are supposed to feel shame about. She did it with periods and vaginas and now she’s doing it with magic, and that innate intuition and wisdom that as women we hold within us. As it says on her website The Sassy She, Lisa was ‘Crowned ‘the defender of female awesomeness’ by Cooler magazine. This is such an important book given our political climate right now and also the surge of the witchcraft aesthetic online on Tumblr, Pinterest, Instagram and within the pages of fashion magazines. It is an important book despite the time we are living in, and I applaud Lisa, as always, for sharing her wisdom and calling for us to #wakethewitches, in her uniquely fierce, frank and down to earth way. I hope this joins the ranks of other seminal works such as Margot Adler’s Drawing Down the Moon and Starhawk’s Spiral Dance as being a must-read book for witches to have on their bookshelves.

 

Also, it’s a bloody beautiful book to look at. Why wouldn’t you want this in your book collection?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hello!
Heather Blanchard

Welcome. Are you a writer, a bookworm, a daydreamer? Are you still clinging on to that magic that pervaded childhood? Pull up an armchair and get cosy. This blog is my dreamscape through an enchanted forest to a world of stories and the little things that make me happy; a chance to add a dash of sparkle to the daily grind. Here you will find the whimsical, the coveted, the Gothic and the romantic. Happy exploring!

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