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Ancient Mysteries of Glastonbury: contents

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New Light on the
Ancient Mystery of Glastonbury

John Michell


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The spiritual priority of Glastonbury – the 'holiest earthe of England' – an image of paradise - landscape and legends – a sanctuary from time immemorial – the privileged Twelve Hides – their sacred light – the spirit of Celtic culture-Tudor sacrilege - the modern renaissance.



1. The Primordial Paradise

A landscape wheel – the Glastonbury archipelago – the wandering tribes – their community of purpose-their economy – their feasts – their estates – their culture – spiritual perception – stars, myths and landscape-tribal sanctuaries – sacred isles.

2. The Seven Island Stars of Arthur the Great Bear

The seven chartered isles – Avalon and the wooden church – Beckery's Irish pilgrims – St. Brigit's chapel – King Arthur in the Chapel Perilous – his mystical experience-the legend of Godney – St Guthlac at Marchey – Meare and St Benignus – his miracles – the vines of Panborough island – Nyland hill – the seven island chapels – correspondence with the Great Bear – the island planisphere-the Great Bear, Arcturus and King Arthur – traditions of the seven-star constellation – the stellar landscape in old China – Glastonbury Tor the pole star – the planetary Round Table - the Maltwood zodiac – its conception – 'marks of authenticity' – simulacra – a powerful image - antiquity of the seven island constellation.

3. The Somerset Elysium

The Fortunate Isles – Glastonbury as Avalon – as universal pole - as an Elysium – Arthur in the underworld – Gwynn ap Nudd and his realm below the Tor – St Collen dispels his enchantment – the Hollow Tor – the abduction of Guinevere – initiation – the primeval golden age – the Grail quest.

4. Megalithic Magic in the Age of Giants

The tribes form settlements – the first Glastonbury farmers – the exit from paradise-hunters, miners and traders – priests and megalithic builders – their contact with the underworld – their use of light – megalithic alignments – Irish mounds – the powers of the earth – the invocation of giants – the exploitation of thought-forms – Chinese geomancy – the manipulation of earth forces – the age of Taurus – Mother Nature's giant progeny – the Titans – agricultural deities – Saturnus and Kronos – memories of the golden age – Glastonbury and the Blessed Isles.

5. The Gigantic Mysteries of Glastonbury Tor

The labyrinth on the Tor – Geoffrey Russell's discovery – a work from the age of giants – the St Michael line – Burrowbridge Mump – Avebury – Silbury hill – a landscape of ritual – the Mump and the Cheesewring – the serpents and the straight line – a pilgrimage path – poetic images – the linear chant – a legend of the line-a symbol of sacred union on the Tor.

6. The Giant-Killers

Phantom monsters – the raising of elementals – Stonehenge and Merlin – the landing of Brutus – Corineus the giant-killer – the downfall of the giants – the rise of Apollo – Arthur at Brent Knoll – early Celtic Britain – magical warfare – Druid spells – the power of Excalibur.

7. Arthur the Sun-King and the Zodiacal Round Table

The dawn of Aries – the Bronze age-its splendour – Celtic craftsmanship – solar orientations – the solar civilization and its law – the rule of the twelve gods – twelve-tribe nations – their cycle of festivals – their music and myth – the zodiacal order – King Arthur in the Glastonbury landscape – the Twelve Hides and the twelve-part mythic cycle – Arthur in other lands – the Order of the Round Table-Arthur's Chariot – the clock of the Great Bear – reading the Glastonbury landscape - its twelve divisions – image of the Heavenly Jerusalem – the zodiac and the Round Table-the transformations of Arthur – the constancy of his mission – the twelve revivalists – Arthur's vigil.

8. Life and Religion in the Kingdom of Arthur

Glastonbury's priestly rulers – the local economy – rights and obligations – a relic of the Celtic system – the twelve – tribe society – its benefits and limitations – its reflection of the zodiac – the science of enchantment – the breaking of the spell – the rise of commerce - Glastonbury's wealth – "the Bristol of its day" – the Druidic social order – its decline and suppression – new cults at the dawn of Pisces – the reformation of Druidry – the Christian revelation.



9. The Glastonbury Legend

The coming of St Joseph of Arimathea – denigrators of the legend – sceptics and partisans – mystical clergymen – royal visitors to Avalon – the flowering thorn – Jesus in Britain – Cornish legends – the 'Secret of the Lord' – the Celtic mysteries – their influences on Christianity – the Priddy legend – a divine foundation – the priority of Albion – the Virgin at Glastonbury – galloping gullibility – its possible function – a key to the mysteries.

10. Joseph of Arimathea and the Ancient Wooden Hut

The ancient relic – pilgrims at the Old Church – the mystic shrine-its holy emanations – William of Malmesbury at Glastonbury – the sanctity of the Old Church – its destruction by fire-its foundation legend – the Abbey library – Norman builders – early charters – the church built by 'no human art' – Arthurian pilgrims – the St Joseph legend in the Middle Ages – Glastonbury and the Grail romances – the ritual of the Fisher King – the Grail ritual – St Joseph, his sprouting staff and the two holy cruets – sacred allegories.

11. Twelve Saints and the Mysterious Conversion of the Celts

Successive foundations – the two papal missionaries – a chain of anchorites – their number always twelve-St Patrick arrives – becomes first abbot – climbs the Tor – Glasteing and the twelve brothers – the twelve founders – St David and his twelve foundations – the zodiacal system of twelve tribes – the twelve gods – Brutus and the twelve-Jesus and the twelve apostles – twelve gates, tribes, magi – twelve knights, heroes, saints, missionaries, rites of initiation – Christianity a reformation of Druidry – lack of early martyrs – the conversion of the tribes – magical contests – the power of light – astrological reckoning – the dawn of Pisces – Britain and the Holy Land – the worship of angels – the ubiquitous legend of twelve Celtic saints – twelve founders in Wales, Cornwall, Brittany, Scotland, Gaul – their sanctifying of wildernesses – the twelve – part ritual – the twelve apostles of Ireland – the twelve Syrian Fathers – the twelve-fold Arthurian cycle-the Grail ritual – the twelve dedicated initiates – the power of music and chant – enchantment through the twelve-note chromatic scale-perpetual choirs in Celtic realms – the twelve choristers – the ancient chant maintained at Glastonbury Abbey – the zodiacal cosmology and the restoration of the Grail.

12. The Wattle Church and the Hall of Light

The focus of the mysteries – the wooden hut shrine in China, Japan, Rome, England – the Roman Regia – the Chinese Ming T'ang – its primitive character – simplicity of its rituals – its sacred dimensions – the Ming T'ang and Stonehenge - the Stonehenge orientations – Glastonbury's wooden hut – the foundation ritual – a heavenly sanctuary and the invocation of Paradise on earth.

13. The Foundation Pattern

Summarized history of the Old Church – its unaltered condition – the rebuilding after the fire-the new St Mary chapel – joined to the main church – St David's pillar – its inscribed plate-text of the inscription – the pillar rediscovered – the pyramid in the Abbey cemetery – the finding of King Arthur's bones – their identification – the trepanned skull – the burial site rediscovered – Bligh Bond's excavation – the Masonic tradition – the octagonal site plan – the position of St Joseph's church – the symbolism of proportions and measures – the development of the foundation pattern.

14. The Glastonbury Revelations

F. Bligh Bond appointed to the Abbey ruins – his qualifications and interests – his mystical views – psychic archaeology – The Gate of Remembrance-automatic writing – Johannes the monk – his tales of the old days – Bond's understanding of spiritualism – his disgrace, exile and death – his influence in the Glastonbury revival – an English Bayreuth – the Glastonbury ritual revived – the magical order of W.B. Yeats – his spirit medium consulted by Bond – The Gospel of Philip the Deacon – a spate of mystical booklets – Bond warned against spiritism – his poetic guidance-his achievement and its limitations.

15. The Stonehenge Prototype and the Meaning of the Foundation Pattern

The pattern on the paving – William of Malmesbury's account – its effect on Bligh Bond – an astrological site plan – the advent of 'Brother Simon' – The Company of Avalon – the spirit of Romualdus – his description of the foundation pattern – another account – further details from an American medium – gematria and sacred architecture – Bligh Bond's revelations – the foundation plan disclosed – its application to Stonehenge – Bond's misconception over the site of St Joseph's church – his quest for the founders' cells – the octagonal pattern – the twelve cells positioned – the tomb of St Joseph – Bond's search for the Grail chalice – the Philosopher's Stone at Glastonbury – the Glastonbury legend for pilgrims – the mystic treasure – alchemical transmutation – contemplation of meaning – towards the centre of the mystery – knowledge and faith – the light of prophecy.

16. Glastonbury in the Light of Prophecies

John Leland at Glastonbury – astonished by its library – the ancient chronicle of Melkin the Bard – Melkin's prophecy of Glastonbury – Carley's translation and comments – Islamic features to the prophecy – its alchemical flavour – St Joseph and the Grail – the Great Work – the mystic tomb – the linea bifurcata – the zodiac on the church floor – a hidden relic – concealment of Abbey treasures – the theme of an earthly paradise-its implication in the foundation pattern – the science of initiation – an invitation to paradise-the paradisial archetype – its image as a city – Blake and Plato – the limitations of civilization – the ready – made pattern – its relation to the Grail – its invocation in ancient Glastonbury – its accessibility today.