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Map of the Ancient Landscape around Glastonbury

0 906362 66 0

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This map was first published in 1982, hand-drawn. This updated version, A1 size and printed in full colour, has been completely revised and re-worked.

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Map of the

Ancient Landscape around Glastonbury

Energy Centres, Ancient Remains,
Ley Alignments, Coasts and Islands

Palden Jenkins


Full colour map with explanatory text on the back, A1 landscape size folded to 293x156mm, with an accompanying website


Click to visit the map's accompanying website


This map was first published in 1982, hand-drawn. This updated version, A1 size and printed in full colour, has been completely revised and re-worked.

This eagerly-awaited map of ancient Glastonbury and its surrounds is unique in that its design is based on ancient and medieval sacred places, ley alignments and the coasts and islands of the Somerset Levels. It highlights the mystical archaeology and ancient history of the area.

The map shows ley alignments between sacred sites big and small - hilltops, ancient settlements, hillforts, megalithic remains and medieval churches. It highlights Somerset's hills and the wetlands of the ancient 'Summerlands'. Also featured are the giant effigies of the Glastonbury Zodiac.

Glastonbury's spiritual heritage spans 5,000 years and more, embracing the pre-Megalithic, Megalithic, Bronze Age and Celtic-Druidic cultures, Roman and Saxon times, the High Middle Ages, secular urbanism and, today, a New Age subculture. All these features of the Glastonbury 'landscape temple' are written about on the reverse side of the map.

It is a map that will draw you in to the magic of the Moors and Levels, the legendary hills and monuments, and it will take you back in time to the Isle of Avalon, when it was surrounded by bogs, marsh and the sea.

This isn't just a romantic preoccupation with the past though. As Palden points out in his introduction, studying the patterns of the past will give us new insights into key 21st Century issues: bio-sustainability, food security, climatic re-balancing and re-enchanting humanity and the land with a new magic - a magic which lies at the centre of the solutions we are nowadays challenged to find and bring into being.


PALDEN JENKINS has lived and worked in Glastonbury since 1980. He is webmaster of Glastonbury's IsleofAvalon website. His books include Healing the Hurts of Nations, Living in Time and The Only Planet of Choice, and he is the founder of three educational projects. Currently he works as a humanitarian peacemaker and webmaster in the Holy Land (see Jerusalem Peacemakers).

Map of the Ancient Landscape
around Glastonbury

Palden Jenkins

Full colour, A1 landscape size, folded.
ISBN 0 906362 66 0, July 2005

The Ancient Landscape around Glastonbury

Introduction to the Map

(abridged - see the printed map for the full version)



This map shows the landscape features, sacred locations and ley alignments of mid-Somerset from ancient to medieval times. This period starts in early Megalithic times around 3000 BCE and continues to the late Medieval period around 1400 CE.

This sweep across time represents a series of cultural stages connected by a worldview more magical and reverential than ours of today. It was applied to life, practicalities, the landscape and matters of the spirit by using ancient mathematical, engineering, agricultural, social, locational, time-working and energy-working principles.

The emergence of the modern world put an end to all that. The old ways were already weak and partially lost. Geomantic principles were increasingly forgotten or suppressed by ecclesiastical, masonic and rationalist influences until recovered in the 20th C by Alfred Watkins, John Michell and others inspired by their work.

Some might argue that ancient geomancy is hardly relevant today. Not so. Eco-sustainability and energy are key issues in our time. Today we need to study and emulate nature's ways, re-enchanting the land and humanity's relations with it. We need to look again at secrets the ancients left behind.


Glastonbury

Glastonbury is an ancient spiritual centre with an uncanny global significance. Some call it the New Jerusalem: both places have a centre-of-the-world feeling, as if everything emanates from them. Both are places of revelation, where faiths meet. Both display the best and the worst in humanity, as if magnified through their 'power of place'.

Glastonbury's heritage spans over 5,000 years. It has attracted people ever since they arrived here – cave burials in the Mendip Hills take this back 12,000 years. The simple reason is that strange, impressive hill, the Tor. Glastonbury's spiritual history and traditions include:

  • ancient Goddess, magical and megalithic roots;
  • a Druidic centre of learning and perpetual choir in Celtic times;
  • a possible visit by Jesus as a young man, during the 'lost years';
  • the world's first purpose-built Christian church, built by Joseph of Arimathaea and his Palestinian followers not long after Jesus' crucifixion;
  • the Grail mysteries and Arthurian legends of the Dark Ages around 1,500 years ago;
  • one of Europe's finest abbeys, with an extensive library and unique culture;
  • natural philosophers and occultists of the Renaissance – John Dee is the best known;
  • the Romantics of two centuries ago – such as William Blake;
  • artists, writers, spiritualists, occultists and oddbods from 1890 to the 1960s – Rutland Boughton, Frederick Bligh Bond, Alice Buckton, Dion Fortune, Wellesley Tudor Pole and others;
  • the post-1960s eco-alternative-interfaith-transformation movement visible here today.

Visitors to Glastonbury today imbibe an energy- and archetype-rich atmosphere, with a strong genius loci or 'power of place'. Britain is rich in such places, and Glastonbury is one of the strongest and most numinous. Most power-centres of old are now ruins in the wilderness, yet Glastonbury lives on, still evolving.

From the 800s CE onwards, the town grew to service the medieval abbey, England's 'holiest earthe'. It was known for its prostitutes, highwaymen and corrupt clerics. Today 'advanced souls' form the town's inner heart while, at times, a seedy flavour pervades the High Street. It has always been like this. Probably always will be.

The place is different and multiplex, a place of paradox and challenge, where the sacred and the profane jostle daily. This colourful quality irritates and repels some people. Whatever lurks just under the surface is magnified, mirrored back at us. Sometimes this is difficult, sometimes uplifting. Avalon's angel has its own plans.


Energy-lines and site alignments

The alignments shown on this map are not energy-lines of the kind that can be detected by sensitives or dowsers. They are simple, straight map and landscape alignments – four or more points accurately aligned – connecting ancient and medieval sites.

Some alignments are or can have been energy-lines, though this depends on what we define as 'energy' – and it is a matter of ongoing debate. A comprehensive survey of energy-lines and patterns, which fluctuate and even migrate, would be prohibitive to carry out. Defining the nature of energy and calibrating its variations is beyond current knowledge, peer consensus or resources.

Map-alignments nevertheless have meaning. Ancient and medieval builders located their sites and churches on them very deliberately.


The Map

I compiled the first edition by hand in 1982. This followed research I had done in North Wales and around Uppsala, Sweden in the 1970s. The map sold well and went out of print by the late 1980s. From 2000 onwards I field-checked many sites and alignments and reworked the map on computer. Some 20% of alignments proved untenable and were removed, and some 10% have been added as a result of recent insights and observations.

Most sites and alignments were identified using Ordnance Survey maps stretching from Stonehenge to Exmoor and Wales to Dorset, joined together. Many prominent places were visited over a period of time. A few alignments were first seen in the landscape – you develop an 'eye' for it – and then found on the map.

The map's boundaries are defined by cartographic practicality and a distinct Celtic Mid-Somerset tribal area. Neighbouring landscapes include the Dorset hills to the south; the Quantock Hills and Exmoor south-westward; the Severn seaboard and Wales north-westward; the Cotswolds to the north-east and Wessex and Salisbury Plain eastward.

Uniquely, from Maesbury Castle above Shepton Mallet, on a clear day, you can see all of these. From Glastonbury Tor you can see east to Cley Hill and west to Exmoor and South Wales. Brean Down offers a vista of the Severn Sea, the Mendips, Wales and Exmoor. Brent Knoll, Wearyall Hill, Westbury Beacon, Cadbury Castle, Street Hill and Walton Hill all afford fine views. Try them!

The Mendips form a landscape axis from Salisbury Plain to South Wales, passing north of Glastonbury. Alignments following this escarpment cross radial alignments from Glastonbury. Glastonbury and the Mendips form quite separate landscape-temples or energy-systems.

It is not easy to research long-distance alignments stretching beyond this map. Technical and resource problems arise. Long-distance alignments and grids have been identified piecemeal by some investigators, but the whole question and its principles have not been comprehensively researched. Apart from the Michael Line, the Glastonbury-Stonehenge alignment and several other lines, I have not included long-distance alignments on the map.

Some global great circle alignments that connect with other major sacred sites around the world are included, calculated by Terry Walsh. Great circles are bisecting slices passing through the centre of the Earth, forming global lines curving round the surface of the planet.


Glastonbury's prehistory

As soon as people arrived in mid-Somerset, the Tor drew them, if only to visit. Up to around 2,000 years ago, local people were transhumant – moving with the seasons, spending summer on the marshes and winter on dry land. Glastonbury will at first have supported only a hamlet, around Wick Hollow at the top of Bove Town. It might have been cosmopolitan for its size, in the way of the time, as Glastonbury still is. Sensitives have at times 'heard' ancient Greek and Sanskrit spoken here.

Many Glastonbury thinkers support the idea of an ancient goddess culture stretching far back. It waned slowly from megalithic to early medieval times. This culture was contemporaneous with Minoan culture on Crete (3000-2000 BCE), during which the banks on the Tor were most likely constructed.

Then came the Iron Age or Celtic period, starting around 800 BCE. Hilltop settlements were built, indicating a tribalised, territorial society under an equable climate. These sites were defensible – hence they are inaccurately called 'hillforts'. Some of these settlements are well worth visiting and inspiringly located.

Glastonbury was a Druid centre of learning and initiation in the last centuries BCE. If the tradition of Jesus visiting Glastonbury as a young man is correct, then he would have come for this. After the Crucifixion Joseph returned as a refugee and guest.

In Roman times Glastonbury was not far from Roman Ilchester, the Fosse Way and Bath, and romanised Britons visited the island. But it wasn't a Roman centre. It was occupied by strange people, perhaps possessing magical powers. Avalon was left to its own devices, not properly taken over. Similar happened in early Saxon times. This tendency continues today – officially it's a profoundly ignored, sidelined and under-supported town.

Joseph arrived around 37 or 63 CE, and his foundation survived a few generations. The site of the Abbey was a Druid grove or suchlike, a valuable endowment. Druid and early Christian ways interwove into the ancient British church, which prevailed until Saxon times. It exported the radical Pelagian heresy to Europe in the 400s. Later, Augustine was sent from Rome in 596 to christianise the Saxons, who had invaded in the 500s. But Britons were already Christian. An inter-cultural fight began in which the Catholic Saxons eventually prevailed at the Synod of Whitby of 663-4.


Historic times

On the arrival of the Saxons, Glastonbury was a Celtic shrine, re-founded by St Patrick around 433. Joseph's Old Church still existed. Expansion began around 712, with further growth under St Dunstan in 940-57 – a local-born abbot. More building came in the 1100s, and with it growth of the town and Abbey estates. In 1184 a disastrous fire destroyed the Abbey. Work on the new church began in 1186, and Arthur's tomb was discovered around 1191.

It was one of Britain's largest abbeys. Building continued until its forced closure in 1539 in Henry VIII's dissolution of the monasteries. Abbot Whiting refused to hand over relics and valuables proving Glastonbury's primacy over Rome, so he was killed atop the Tor. The king's men took the Abbey's valuables, including a grand altar made of sapphire, and the locals used abbey stones for building. Some relics were spirited away by monks.

The fall of the Abbey meant economic downturn. Suddenly Glastonbury was marginal and isolated, lacking purpose. Slight revival came in Elizabethan times (mid-1600s). The Abbot's Kitchen, the only intact remnant of the abbey, hosted Quaker meetings in the 1700s (they were later hounded out and then founded neighbouring Street). The interest in Glastonbury of occultist John Dee in Elizabethan times and of William Blake in the late 1700s indicate that all was not dead here. It was never quite the parochial country town some locals wanted it to be.

In the earlier 20th Century came a cultural upswing led by Rutland Boughton, Alice Buckton, Dion Fortune and other interesting characters, laying foundations for the new age movement of today. In WW2 Glastonbury was the centre of Britain's secret occult war-effort: some 200 psychics around Britain, led by Wellesley Tudor Pole and Dion Fortune, secretly focused energy into the Tor, releasing it in bursts to counteract Nazi occult activities. In the 1950s Glastonbury was a place of esotericists, spiritualists and British Israelites.

Then came the 1960s, making Glastonbury a centre for the new age movement. This grew visibly in the 1970s-90s, with an influx of people, events, activities and shops. This sector now contributes significantly to the local economy. Behind the scenes and evidenced in colourful public events, Glastonbury now hosts a vibrant community of creative, spirited, gifted and innovative 'alternative types'.


Avalon of the Heart

Avalon is an inner place, a space, a temenos. Today's population lies around 9,000, yet the 'spirit population' is higher, more like a city. Avalon is a repository of archetypes, lived out before your eyes. What you invest affects what you get out. This intense energy-field warps time, amplifies emotions, widens and deepens awareness, delivers 'instant karma', causes remarkable chance occurrences and accelerates the maturing of destinies.

It's a place where the Great Mystery waxes strong. Many who visit Glastonbury know not why they came, yet they depart feeling clearer, empowered, with decisions made. In Celtic lore Avalon is the entrance to Annwn, the Underworld, where hidden realities become visible. Living here injects depth into normal life. If presented truths are avoided, strange and difficult things happen. If welcomed, breakthrough can occur. This tendency has been consistent for centuries.


Do enjoy the map. Get out into the landscape! See it with different eyes.

- Palden Jenkins

under Chalice Hill, Glastonbury, 2005.

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