I've just flown in to western New York to teach at Fellowships of the Spirit in Lily Dale. I'll also be teaching next weekend in western Massachusetts (more of that below). On my flight over the Big Pond, I had the pleasure of reading one of the most innovative bits of Glastonbury revisionist mythtory that I've had the pleasure of seeing in a long time. It's The Glastonbury Documents III: Temple of Reconciliation (Concerning Jesus Maria and the Re-union of the Temporal and Spiritual Aspects of Glastonbury)." It was written by my good friend Jon Cousins, who has self published it, and you can get a copy from the Library of Avalon, Glastonbury Experience, High Street, Glastonbury, Somerset, England. (£3.00 plus, I assume, postage).
As the title suggests, this is the third booklet that Jon has written about Glastonbury Abbey and its spiritually checkered history. In this one, he puts forward some rather amazing ideas based on extensive research he has been doing in both historical and modern day alternative interpretations of our town's mythtory.
One of the biggest tourist draws to the Land of Avalon is that the Abbey is the burial place of King Arthur. In 1191, two bodies were found outside the Mary Chapel in the Abbey cemetery during the reign of Edward I, and it has been claimed by all to be both Arthur and a lady, presumed to be Guinevere.
The brown signpost in the foreground marks the spot
where Arthur's bones were found
The bodies were moved to a place of honour in the Choir
in front of the High Altar.
But Jon has a different take on this, and it has to do with Jesus' mother Mary. Indeed, in a straight line from where these remains were found in the Abbey cemetery to the outer wall of the Mary Chapel are inscribed these words:
In the New Testament Book of John, he writes that Mary fled to the wilderness after the crucifixion of her son. (I suggest that you get this third booklet of Jon Cousins' to follow his thinking as to why she came to Glastonbury), but the point here is that the Abbey became a centre that worshipped both Jesus AND Mary/both God and Goddess! And this is what the Church (and finally Henry VIII) wanted to destroy.
The Gnostic dualists of the Middle Ages like the Bogimils and the Cathars were subject to the brutality of the Albigensian Crusade in 1208. Dualism inevitably says that yin is of equal importance to yang. Therefore, Goddess is equal to God! The Gnostics spoke about a distinct creator God or Demiurge, which is an illusion and as a later emination from the single monad or source. This second God, or Demiurge, is a lesser and inferior or false God. This concept never played very well in Rome where patriarchal thinking ruled in the Church. God's on top; the Pope is on top here on Earth.
Dualists are saying that He is just part of the One.
And you know what the Church did to heretics. Abbot Whilting was dragged up to the Tor, hanged until he was ALMOST dead, and then drawn and quartered. Sweet. Not.
Yes, there are other reasons put forward as to why the Church and Henry VIII and other kings before him didn't like Glastonbury, its abbey, and the Twelve Hides which comprised The Vatican Free State of Northern Europe, but I am more and more suspecting that the possibility that Mary was buried in Glastonbury and that dualism reigned supreme there. This was a the bottom of that nasty take-over of the Abbey on the 15th of November 1539. The result of that violation is still being felt to this day in our town.
Lily Dale, New York, USA
p.s. next weekend (19, 20 &21 November) I'll be teaching Archaeoastronomy, Dowsing, & Nature: Prehistoric & Contemporary Uses of Sacred Sites at Rowe Camp and Conference Center in western Massachusetts. I understand that there are still a few places left, and I'd love to see you there. It is the last time I'll be teaching in the US until late 2011.
p.p.s. Here's a neat one - a Tudor Labyrinth found on old Luftwaffe picture taken during WW II.