Sorcerer's Guild

About Us Courses Articles Spells Rituals Suggested Reading Disctionary Links

by Ansur

My daughter, a Celtic Priestess, and an initiated member of the inner core of our Coven, was once a member of fanatical Christian sect. That was, until she read a book, The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley (and the subject of a fairly recent TV mini-series). The truths she saw in the book about her religion and the different ideas that were presented encouraged her to do further reading and studying. Eventually, these studies led to her conversion to paganism. No, I, her father, had not tried to influence her!Marion Zimmer Bradley’s book about Avalon may have been fiction but she expended a huge amount of time and energy delving into the area’s legends and its history. She later wrote three more books pertaining to the original theme. Although they are fiction, I recommend reading them all.After the TV mini-series, I too read the book (and its three prequels) and was intrigued and fascinated, once again, with a whole system of ideas relating to King Arthur, and Avalon. In turn, this led me to further studies that presented ideas on some odd coincidences, relationships, and correspondences—there is so much strangeness that I feel there has to be some deep meaning. Now, the meaning behind these strange correspondences may be hidden and elude me--but I still intend to present them. Maybe someone else can figure them out.1. The Isle of Avalon, I am convinced, not only existed, but also still exists in the physical world. It is now Glastonbury Tor (Tor means hill). The Tor is near Glastonbury, a small town about 125 miles west of London. Two thousand years ago, the sea washed right to the foot of the Tor, nearly encircling the cluster of hills. A vast lake gradually replaced the sea. It is from Celtic legend that the name Avalon originated -- named after the demi-god Avalloc or Avallach, who ruled the underworld. In Celtic lore Avalon was an isle of enchantment. Later, the Tor became an island in the midst of a swamp—a little of which remains today. However, when the area was a lake, Glastonbury Tor was one of the larger of several real islands in that lake—and I believe it was known as Avalon. Accordingly, I call that time the Avalon Period. Glastonbury Tor (formerly Avalon) has many legends surrounding it. Some old stories deal with the presence of King Arthur, and there is evidence that he and his queen may have been buried there. Other legends deal with Giants (or monsters) and, very importantly, the archangel Michael. It is interesting to note that the Christians built an abbey on the Tor but despite many efforts, its walls kept falling down and most of what remains now among the rubble is the bell tower. The remaining tower on the Tor is “St. Michael’s Tower”.Around the sides of the Tor is a strange system of terracing and paths. Though much weathered and eroded they are mostly still well enough defined to have been interpreted as being a labyrinth following an ancient magical pattern. If the labyrinth on the Tor is real, human labor formed it four or five thousand years ago--during the same period when Stonehenge was created. There is also archeological evidence that the Tor might have been a sanctuary for Goddess-worship. IMAGINE. During the Avalon Period: If you were a pilgrim to this holy site, you would take a boat from the shore, through the misty fog of the lake, until you landed on the island. There you would begin your climb to the top, along a well-defined labyrinth pathway. The path would take you back and forth, as you entered into a meditative state and began the climb. The walk would allow you to enter a time-honored dance designed to awaken special pathways in your brain. At the end, you would find yourself at the top—at the island’s most sacred spot—perhaps attended by Priestesses of the great Goddess….Currently, the Tor is still a strange place: Odd lights have been reported, there have been UFO sightings, there are active holy wells around it, reported displacements in time, and the labyrinth’s path has been seen to glow. The area’s activities would and have created several books and articles about the many phenomena that pertain to it. It is obvious that this ancient hill is still a very powerful and holy place. It is also the most ancient of the other sites that will be mentioned below. Part of the area, in a great landscape configuration, is a circle 10 miles across that is called the Glastonbury Giants. The 12 zodiac signs appear in their right order, formed by hills and outlined by roads and rivers. Katherine Maltwood discovered this great circle in the 1930's and claimed it was the original Round Table in Avalon, with Arthur, Guinevere, Merlin, and the Chief Knights still seated about it as the signs of the Zodiac and the seasons of the year. A great hound five miles long, the Girt (dirt) Dog of Langport, still guards this star temple. Several local legends and about 100 place-names, like Wagg on the Dog's tail, Earlake Moor on his ear, hint that these earth works were once well known. 2. Mont St. Michel, is a place that I believe relates/corresponds to Glastonbury Tor. It is on the north coast of France, near the border of Brittany and Normandy, and it too is home to centuries of tradition and legend.In the early eighth century, according to the Catholic Church, the Archangel, Saint Michael (the Catholics demoted our angels to Saints) appeared to Bishop Aubert of Avranges, who started an oratory.I have my doubts as to whether the archangel Michael appeared to a bishop—unless that bishop was extremely pure and innocent. In most Catholic miracles, angels, or Mary (Mother of God AND aspect of the Great Goddess), or other religious/spiritual figures, appear only to innocent, pure, and simple people—not to church officials. Of course, since I did not meet the bishop during that lifetime, perhaps he really was pure and innocent.Mont St. Michel is in a magnificent, almost arrogant location. The Mont is a small island, separated by a mile of waves from the mainland at high tide. At low tide, however, it is separated from the mainland by nearly one mile of sand—some of it quicksand! (A Bayeux tapestry bears the mention that Harold the Saxon and William the Conqueror, visited Mont St. Michel. It says: "Harold pulled them out of the quicksand.")Construction of church buildings began in 1020. Unfortunately, the original masonry was not adequate for supporting the weight of the granite that successors placed upon it. In 1300, one of the towers collapsed, followed by the collapse of a nave. In 1618, the facade started to collapse, and had to be pulled down. (Sound familiar?)King Arthur is supposed to have fought a giant here, according to Mallory, Book V, Chapter V.3. Mount Saint Michael also relates/corresponds to the first two places. This place, with the same name as the island in France—but anglicized--is the British sister to the French Mont St. Michel. It is located on an island in Mount's Bay along the southern coast of Cornwall. Mount Saint Michael has a castle on it--built on sharp peaked hill. It was so named after the angel Michael appeared at this site in the fifth century. It has been the home to Benedictine monks under Edward the Confessor, to Saint Keyne of Ireland, and probably, to earlier pagans who may have worshipped the sun from its top. Legend has it that the archangel Michael appeared to a young man and asked him to mark the spot as being holy by building a cairn of rocks—a spot where churches were later built. At that time, the story goes, Mount Saint Michael was part of the mainland. Later, the sea washed away its connections until it became an island. The Mount is now connected by a land bridge to the mainland during low tide but it is a true island at high tide.According to the folk tales, Jack the Giant Killer slew the Cornish Giant Cormoran here after tricking him to fall into a pit on this island. Jack the Giant Killer, supposedly existed during the time of King Arthur’s reign and one Cornish folk tale even connects him with King Arthur’s son. Jack is probably the model for the fairy tale, Jack and the Beanstalk.Here too are seen strange sights and odd rock formations that seem impossible to have evolved naturally. One such rock formation is called the Giant’s Lock—which is a hole in a rock with the “key” inside. The key is a round, movable rock that is bigger than the mouth of hole it is inside, making people wonder how it got inside to begin with! The Correspondences:1. Michael. To begin with, the archangel Michael, known even to pagans, is not a saint but is a very ancient, universal, supernatural, and powerful spiritual being. His appearances to different people around the world have usually been followed by rather odd later occurrences—usually involving the movement of Water and/or Earth—although Michael’s usual correspondence is Fire. Do all the places where he has interacted with humans become islands, or if islands, later become mainlands? Perhaps the movement of Water and/or Earth, being Fire’s major preventative and/or cross correspondence is appropriate—but this too is beyond my understanding.2. Then, we have the correspondences to Giants. Mention of Giants is found at all three sites.3. King Arthur or stories relating to him are found at all the sites.4. Finally, but probably not all of the odd things, there is a very uncanny resemblance to the look of the places. Does Michael form the earth where he appears with his signature? Does he reconfigure the land to announce his existence? I have reproduced the silhouettes of the three places below:Glastonbury Tor:
(Avalon)
Mont St Michel (France)
Mont Saint Michael (Cornwall)
Bibliography:The Mists of Avalon
The Forest House
Lady of Avalon
Priestess of Avalon---all by Marion Zimmer BradleyGlastonbury, Ancient Avalon, New Jerusalem; ed Anthony Roberts, Rider, 1977. Gerald of Wales: The Discovery of the Tomb of King Arthur, from On the Instruction of a Prince (De Instructione Principis), c. 1223Morte D’Arthur by Sir Thomas Mallory, Volume 1, Book 5Mont St. Michel by Kaitlin Duck Sherwood, 1994http://www.gandolf.com/cornwall/places/montstmichel.shtml: (Cornish Folk Lore)-- authors: Bill Rowe, Christi Rowe, Took & Baggins, and Los Padres


©2000-2011 Sorcerer's Guild, All Rights Reserved.