Glastonbury is changing quickly. The town is growing with new house building encroaching on our green and sacred spaces. Some of those moving in are aware of Glastonbury’s special ‘atmosphere’ while some are not. The High Street is developing and becoming more of a spiritual market place as ‘alternative’ businesses move in and become established. The biggest change in the last few years has been at the upper end of the street as it too transforms towards what a researcher from the Open University called ‘the new spiritual economy’.
Interest in Glastonbury from outside continues to grow. The media and particularly the newspapers are picking up on stories about Glastonbury and Avalon. Recent examples would be the national coverage of the attack on the Wearyall Thorn tree that circulated around the world. Even The Sun’s coverage of the Warrior Programme at Chalice Well was extremely positive. There is less of the old cynicism about sandals and muesli on display. Now comes news of Hollywood’s interest in making a film about Glastonbury’s legends: ‘Glastonbury – Isle of Light’.
Here in Glastonbury we have the sacred landscape of the Isle – from Beckery to Wearyall Hill to the Abbey to Chalice Hill and Chalice Well, the White Spring and the Tor, to Stonedown and Gog and Magog. We have a Goddess Temple, the Library of Avalon, the Glastonbury Experience and the Assembly Rooms as well as Abbey House, the Diocesan Retreat House. Despite all the mixed energies and passions, Avalon is thriving and emerging into the Aquarian era with diversity. As 2012 approaches there is going to be enormous interest in Glastonbury and those of us who live and work here need to be aware of this. Is there a note or message that Glastonbury can send out into the world at this time? The success of The Glastonbury Moment card (8,000 distributed onto every continent), the growth and development of the Pilgrim Reception Centre and the Glastonbury Candle, the Town twinning with the Isle of Patmos, another ancient pilgrimage centre.
These all point towards what can be achieved with vision and unified effort. This has recently accelerated with the purchase by the community of the Red Brick Building on the Morelands site as a place where entrepreneurs, artists, and sustainable technologists will work together to show a low carbon society in action. Also of note is the buying and safeguarding of land near to the river Brue by the Summerlands Trust, and the recent election of our first four green party councillors (an early success being that solar panels are to be installed on the Town Hall).
2012 gives us a powerful symbolic moment in time when Glastonbury can sound a note as it emerges again as a vibrant spiritual beacon in a rapidly changing world.