How strange to write this newsletter days after Brexit happened. But it happened and I am sad that it happened, but it will hopefully lead to some important, and necessary, changes in the European Union.
We had planned this trip years ago. It was one of the things we very much to do. After exploring France extensively, looking for Mary Magdalene, for Black Madonna’s, for sacred places and for power places, it was time to go to England.
We already made trips to Spain, to Gerona, to Barcelona and to the Black Madonna’s in Montserrat and Nuria. We had been to Scotland and to Ireland, all wonderful places to visit, so now it was time to go to England.
Besides, as you may know, I wrote a book about Glastonbury, called “Glastonbury en de Heilige Graal,” a book in Dutch I am afraid. And I also wrote a few articles about the similarities between Glastonbury and Rennes-le-Chateau, two of the most sacred places in Europe. See Kindred Spirit Magazine and three Frontier magazines. I really longed to go back to this magic place and to show it to Door, and to you my friends. All those wonders of England.
001 Glastonbury en de Heilige Graal_2.jpg
We traveled by boat to England. For in spite of the Channel Tunnel there are still lots of Ferries travelling from Ostend, Dunkirk and Calais to Ramsgate and Dover. Travelling by boat is also more exciting, you have some leisure time to prepare for driving on the left side and it is cheaper.
We stayed the night in Dunkirk and were fortified by this tableau on the wall. Vie and Amour.
It was raining, but the sea was relatively calm. And it was a nice ferry, with plenty of restaurants and bars. The ferry was loaded with hundreds of cars and trucks.
Driving on the left was not such a big problem. But my goodness the traffic on the M25, the ring road of London, was terrible. A real nightmare. Thousands and thousands of cars on the road, queues everywhere. It took us almost two hours to get on the M3 to Salisbury. I kept asking myself: what are all those people doing on the road, why are they here? But no answer of course.
Salisbury is a lovely town with a beautiful cathedral. It was quiet. There was a service going on, so only part of the cathedral was open to visitors. A new phenomenon, at least for me. The same thing happened in Wells cathedral and in Canterbury cathedral. It is good that services are being held so regularly in these sacred places, but a bit sad for the tourists who want to see everything, like the Magna Carta in Salisbury.
We took a stroll through the cathedral and the cloister, admiring the beautiful art. And we walked in the park looking at those strange, loving feet and we had our first diner in a real pub. I love the English pubs.
002 Dunkirk hotel_2.jpg
003 Sailing to England_2.jpg
004 Lovely ferry_2.jpg
005 Loaded with cars_2.jpg
006 Salisbury cathedral_2.jpg
007 Inside the cathedral_2.jpg
009 Some strange light on my head_2.jpg
010 Beautiful art inside_2.jpg
011 Curious art in the park_2.jpg
012 Our first pub food_2.jpg
008 The cloister_2.jpg
Stonehenge and Avebury
On the way to Stonehenge we stopped at Old Sarum. A huge hill made up of high walls and deep trenches. In the middle stands another hill with the ruins of an old fortress. It was here that in 1086 William The Conqueror called together the major land-holders of England so that they could swear allegiance to him. Now it is a very popular place for walking your dogs.
Then on to Stonehenge. It can be seen from the main road, the A303, and then it is already an impressive sight. But much has changed. When I went there in 1968, on my honeymoon, we could just walk up to the stones, no problem at all and touch them. Later, during my visits to Glastonbury between 2000 and 2005, there was a huge parking place close to the stones, with a tunnel under the road. But that has completely disappeared. This time we had to park our cars a few kilometers away from the stones and enter the place through a wonderful visitor/reception center. From there we traveled by bus to the stones.
It was a great experience. Door was hugely impressed by those magic stones. Just look at the pictures.
On our way to Avebury we stopped, it was just our intuition, at the church of West Lavington. It was beautifully decorated for there was a wedding that afternoon. And in the church was Mary Magdalene! The church was surrounded by houses full of flowers. I have never seen so many trees, so many bushes, so much green luster, such lovely gardens and such wonderful flowers as during this trip to England!
Then on to Avebury. First we went to the little church with its enigmatic banner of St James and its tree full of good wishes. I added one of myself. Then on to the huge stone circle. A strange place with the road running straight through the middle of it. Magic stones, huge stones, just have a look at them.
Avebury is not far from Silbury hill, the largest man made hill, so they say. Impressive. And then a wonderful lunch in this typical, old fashioned pub.
013 Ols Sarum_2.jpg
014 The old fortress_2.jpg
015 The visitor center_2.jpg
016 Travelling by bus_2.jpg
018 Another view_2.jpg
019 So much joy_2.jpg
020 West Lavinton church_2.jpg
021 Mary Magdalene in West Lavington_2.jpg
022 Full of flowers_2.jpg
023 The banner_2.jpg
024 The wishing tree_2.jpg
025 Me and 'my' stone_2.jpg
026 Door and 'her' stone_2.jpg
027 Silbury Hill_2.jpg
028 A typical pub_2.jpg
We came from the north and lost the way a few times for the road signs were not very clear, and there were many small roads criss-crossing the landscape, but we finally arrived in Wells. Wells has a really magnificent cathedral. Impressive from the outside and on the inside. Look at those intertwining arches. In a side chapel was a little statue of a Black Madonna. Always the place for Door to go. To meditate and communicate with the Black Madonna and more often than not receiving the most wonderful insights and inspirations. I admired this beautiful clock and the statue of this lovely lady. Was it Mary Magdalene? I don’t know.
029 Wells cathedral_2.jpg
030 Look at the arches_2.jpg
031 The Black Madonna_2.jpg
032 The famous clock_2.jpg
033 A lovely lady_2.jpg
Glastonbury, the town and the abbey
We stayed for a couple of days in Glastonbury. There is so much to be seen and to experience. Let me take you by the hand and lead you through the wonders of this place. First of all to this little chapel dedicated to Mary Magdalene, located, almost hidden, in Magdalene street. Look at her statue in the porch and at this lovely icon. We also paid a visit to the Goddess Temple. They have a new Goddess healing center in Magdalene street with beautiful paintings. It was also the place where I saw my first Orb.
Then we went to the Goddess Temple itself, with this wonderful statue at the entrance. Really, I have to say it again, Glastonbury is the most feminine place I have ever seen.
And there is so much history, of Avalon and Glastonbury. There is love everywhere and there is an incredible amount of healing facilities everywhere. There are more then five large bookshops in one street.
There is furthermore a strange harmony between the old gods of the Megalitic, Neolitic and iron age time, like Belenos and the lady of the lake and the new Gods, the christian saints like Joseph of Arimathea, St Bridged and St Patrick. It is as if these two religions are converging, maybe even merging together into a completely new religion.
Next to the abbey. Where once the oldest christian church stood, the ‘wattle’ church, dedicated by Joseph of Arimathea to his mother the Virgin Mary or by Jesus II to his mother Mary Magdalene. We passed the chapel dedicated to Thomas Becket holding a painting of Mary Magdalene connected to the seven, or in this case, six major sins.
Then past this beautiful statue of a boy offering an apple to the knight on his horse to the Lady Chapel. The magnificent ruins of what once was one of the largest and wealthiest abbeys in England, are almost as impressive now as the real abbey would have been. Look at Door ‘captured’ between the walls and look at me sitting near the presumed tomb of King Arthur. And Door touching one of the sacred round stones of the Tor.
034 Chapel of MM_2.jpg
035 Beautifil icon of MM_2.jpg
036 Goddess healing center_2.jpg
037 Beautiful and powerful_2.jpg
038 The Goddess Temple_2.jpg
039 MM and the six major sins_2.jpg
040 Offering an apple_2.jpg
041 Lady Chapel_2.jpg
042 Impressive ruins_2.jpg
043 Between the walls_2.jpg
044 The Tomb of King Arthur_2.jpg
045 The sacred stone_2.jpg
Glastonbury, The Tor and the Springs
There are two famous springs in Glastonbury. The Red Spring and the White Spring. They say that the White Spring springs from the hills around the Tor and the Red Spring comes all the way from the Mendip Hills in the north. The white Spring, in previous years, had only an outlet at the outside, the street. It was, and still is, a wonderful meeting place for hippies. Now the house where the spring water comes to the surface is open for the public. It is a magic place with several basins of water and tucked away in the corner a statue of a Black Madonna.
The Red Spring also has a small outlet on the same street as where the White Spring is located, but most of the water comes to the surface in the famous Chalice Well Gardens. The place where they say that Joseph of Arimathea buried the chalice, or the two cruets, with the blood and sweat of Jesus, later called the Holy Grail by the Church.
Look at the wonderful fountains, the waterfalls and the wellhead covered by an elaborate lid of wrought iron with a sculpture of the Vesica Pisces. The red water, full of iron, is deemed healthy to drink and also to bath your feet in it (located of course downstream of the drinking station).
The visit to the Tor is an absolute must. The Tor is the name of the hill, and not of the tower standing on top of this 158 meter high hill. The tower was part of a church dedicated to St Michael, but that was destroyed on September 11th 1275. It is a wonderful pilgrimage. And there are always people on the Tor, and it is always blowing.
We made one other trip that day to one of my other favorite places, the church of Pilton. Pilton is famous for its incredible, huge rock festivals, but this church and especially this banner is my favorite. It shows Joseph of Arimathea taking Jesus II, the eldest son of Jesus and Mary Magdalene to the Tor, who in that time was surrounded by water and could be reached from the sea.
On the way back to our place near Wells we stopped at another pub and had a real fish and chips meal. Excellent!
046 THe White Sping_2.jpg
047 The Black Madonna_2.jpg
048 The waterfalls_2.jpg
049 The Vesica Pisces_2.jpg
050 Healthy to drink_2.jpg
051 The entrance to the Tor_2.jpg
052 The path to the Tor_2.jpg
053 The wind is blowing_2.jpg
054 The Tor_2.jpg
056 Fish and chips_2.jpg
The Marshes and Taunton
In the old days Glastonbury was surrounded by water. It could be reached from the sea, the Bridgewater Bay and it was a distinctive landmark for sailors. The land has been reclaimed from the sea, but it is low land, full of marshes and waterways and a special, lush flora and fauna. I love it.
First we went to a little church in Meare, an old place with a wonderful atmosphere. Then we went to the marshes were people are still delving peat. In earlier days the dried it and molded it into bricks that were used as fuel, but nowadays peat is mostly used to improve the quality of the soil of the many gardens. Look at the waterways and the lush vegetation. We even found near our path through the marshes a statue with a sword, the sword of the rightful king of England.
On our way to Taunton we stopped at another strange hill, called Burrowbridge Mump. It is a smaller version of the Tor and is located exactly on the famous St Michaels Ley Line, also called the May Day line or the Dragon Line. running east from St Michaels Mount near Penzance across Burrowbridge Mump and the Tor, over Avebury all the way to Zagorsk in Russia, the center of orthodox Christianity. And if we follow the leyline to the west we finally end up in Lake Titicaca in Peru. Look at he sheep sheltering peacefully under the tree.
The church in Taunton is dedicated to Mary Magdalene. Nobody seems to know why, but it is. The church has a small cafe and a bookshop and they are doing fine. So much better than to break down the building and put an ugly modern building in its place. The church has a huge tower and is full of the most wonderful portrets, stained glass windows and statues of Mary Magdalene. Let me show you some.
On the way back we stopped at Wearyall Hill. The place where Joseph of Arimathea stuck his staff in the ground and where a sacred hawthorn tree sprang up. Blossoming both in December and in May. Some crazy fanatics, first in the time of Cromwell and later in our time, just ten years ago, cut down the tree. Now it is covered in a blanket against the cold, and surrounded by colorful, good wishes. I so much hope that this tree will survive.
Finally in Glastonbury we stopped at the church of John the Baptist and admired the famous stained glass window of Joseph of Arimathea holding the two cruets with the blood and sweat of Jesus. And look at this beautiful stained glass window with Mother Mary and very clearly, at the other side of the cross, Mary Magdalene.
Back home in our B&B we very much enjoyed a pure, Englsh wine. It was excellent, not cheap, but very good.
057 The church of Meare_2.jpg
058 A mountain of peat_2.jpg
059 The waterways_2.jpg
060 Lush full vegetation_2.jpg
061 The sword of the kings_2.jpg
062 Burrow Mump_2.jpg
063 Sheep under the tree_2.jpg
064 The tower of the church_2.jpg
065 MM 1_2.jpg
066 MM 2_2.jpg
067 MM 3_2.jpg
068 MM 4_2.jpg
069 MM 5_2.jpg
070 MM 6_2.jpg
071 The sacred thorn tree_2.jpg
072 Giving it all my love._2.jpg
073 The two Cruets_2.jpg
074 Mary and Mary _2.jpg
075 English wine!_2.jpg
We are heading west, to the coast. First passing the church in Cheddar with this ‘inviting’ skeleton at the entrance and then driving through the wonderful Cheddar Gorge. It is not as spectacular as the Gorge de Galamus in the South of France, but still.
Then up to Tintagel on the west coast of Cornwall. A long drive, but through a beautiful landscape. Very ancient, very pure, full of flowers and rolling hills. It was crowded at Tintagel, the parking place was full of cars and busses and there are plenty of pubs, shops and restaurants in the village. We walked down to the coast and arrived at this lovely, shelterd bay. It was good to see the sea again and to smell and touch the water. Good for this old Navy man. The colors were magnificent. It was low tide. We watched the waterfalls and entered the cave of Merlin. Then we went up along some narrow, steep pathways and across a small bridge to the peninsula itself. With its impressive ruins, its splendid views to the north and the south and its wild, wild waters. Then we walked back to the village. A wonderful trip, blessed with sunshine and a low tide.
076 Cheddar church_2.jpg
077 Skeleton entrance_2.jpg
078 Cheddar Gorge_2.jpg
079 Walking down_2.jpg
080 The bay_2.jpg
082 The cave of Merlin_2.jpg
083 Steep paths_2.jpg
084 The small bridge_2.jpg
085 Wild waters_2.jpg
086 Walking back_2.jpg
Penzance and St Michaels Mount
We were staying in a typical British B&B. The front of the house is for guests, the back for the family. We had a drink in the Navy pub and dinner in an Indian restaurant. We both love spicy food and there are not so many good Indian restaurants in the Netherlands. Then we took a walk to the harbor.
The next day we went to St. Michaels Mount. It is high tide and the isle is surrounded by water. The tide difference here is about 5 meters. At this place I made the connection with Mont St. Michel in France. We went in by boat.
St Michaels Mount was, hundreds of years ago, a monastery. And there are still a few reminders of that time especially in the chapel. But later it was taken over by noble families and made into a fortress.
The walk up to the castle is magic. Beautiful flowers and strange stones line the path. The castle itself is huge. And full of images of the families who lived there and who still live there. We saw a few remnants of the old monastery, like this port image of Jesus, this very ancient Crucifixion statue and the lovely stained glass window of two mother and child pictures. And what about this Dutch ship of war?
In a few hours it was low tide. The scenery changed completely. The harbor was dry and a pathway to the castle emerged. Amidst wonderful, green seaweed. Thousands and thousands of people walked across this path to the castle.
We drove on to a lovey little village called Mousehole, because of its narrow harbor entrance. It was low tide so we could walk in the harbor. There is a lovely book written about this place called: “The Mousehole Cat.” A book where the cat is the head of the family and the fisherman is her servant and companion.
Then on to Lamorna with an incredibly long row of gravestones, with a seal and labyrinth in the garden and this woman playing violin in the church.
We ended our day at the lovely beach of Sennen, just north of Land’s End and, yes indeed, I did swim in the sea. Giving me every reason for another lovely, fishy dinner in Penzance.
087 Our B&B_2.jpg
088 The Navy pub_2.jpg
089 The harbor_2.jpg
090 St. Michaels Mount_2.jpg
091 Connecting the two Mounts_2.jpg
092 Going in by boat_2.jpg
093 Walking up_2.jpg
094 The castle_2.jpg
097 Mother and child_2.jpg
098 Dutch ship of war_2.jpg
099 Low tide_2.jpg
100 The pathway revealed_2.jpg
101 Low tide in Mousehole_2.jpg
102 The narrow entrance_2.jpg
103 The Mousehole_2.jpg
104 Row of Gravestones_2.jpg
105 The seal_2.jpg
106 Playing violin_2.jpg
107 The beach of Sennen. Giving me every reason for another spicy Indian dinner._2.jpg
108 Dover sole, beer and cider_2.jpg
Our final destination, a magic place and close to the ferry in Dover. It was a long drive all along the coast of Southern England, from Penzance to Canterbuty. But we did it and there were, fortunately, no queues around London. We even had time to visit Canterbury and look at its waterways and the wonderful cathedral dressed in this soft evening light. Ending with one last Indian dinner, just one more for the road back to Holland.
The cathedral closed at 1700 hours but it would be open next morning. On the way to the cathedral we passed a small memory of St Mary Magdalene. It was the tower of the St Mary Magdalene Church in Burgate that was demolished in 1871. We payed a short visit to the church next to this monument, looking at the green woman and the wonderful woman dressed in blue.
Then on to the cathedral, now basking in the morning light. A huge cathedral, with a beautiful, high ceiling. And the only other place where I got Orb on my camera.
We visited the place where Thomas Becket was murdered, the place with the two swords. There were many, many beautiful stained windows in the cathedral, like this one of the last supper.
There was also the tomb of the Black Prince, famous in England and hated in France. In the crypt was another statue of a Black Madonna. She gave Door, again, some wonderful insights.
Then, finally, up to Dover, to the ferry. Everything there was well organised and well indicated. We had to wait for about an hour and passed the time sitting in the sun and having a glass of wine and some cheese. Again a wonderful trip. With again, just as during our trips to Scotland and Ireland, good weather. All the time!
109 Canterbury waters_2.jpg
110 The cathedral_2.jpg
111 Our last 'Indian Summer'_2.jpg
112 The green woman_2.jpg
113 And this beautiful woman in the church next to the tower monument_2.jpg
114 The entrance_2.jpg
115 In the morning light_2.jpg
116 It was huge_2.jpg
117 Ceiling with Orb_2.jpg
118 The end of Thomas Becket_2.jpg
119 The Last Supper_2.jpg
120 The Black Prince_2.jpg
121 Black Madonna_2.jpg
122 Waiting for the ferry_2.jpg
As of today, June 27th, I am the official owner of three little houses, connected to each other, in Exmorra, in Friesland. Exmorra, meaning the shore of the marsh, is an old fishing place located between Makkum and Bolsward. One house is an old grocery museum and that will stay so. It is so lovely. The next house was a museum of a small, basic school, but the schoolmuseum has been transferred to the next village, Allingawier, a beautiful Frisian museum village. And the third house was for living, but it is too small for me.
So some extensive renovations will have to take place. Isolating the roofs, putting in central heating. Making a new kitchen, a new bathroom, a library and a new bedroom. The old box bed is really a bit too small for me.
Enjoy the pictures of this special place and please pay me a visit when you are in the area!
123 Exmorra 1_2.jpg
124 Exmorra 2_2.jpg
125 Exmorra 3_2.jpg
126 Exmorra 4_2.jpg
127 Exmorra 5_2.jpg
128 Exmorra 6_2.jpg
129 Exmorra 7_2.jpg
130 Exmorra 8_2.jpg
131 Exmorra 9_2.jpg
132 Exmorra 10_2.jpg
133 Exmorra 11_2.jpg