If anywhere in Britain can put a spring in your step, it's Glastonbury – even without its festival

Tracey Davies
·4-min read
The Somerset market town has attracted the devotional since the dawn of time - Getty
The Somerset market town has attracted the devotional since the dawn of time - Getty

“Your wellies look like beautiful daffodils,” says a serene young man dressed in a rainbow Baja hoodie and hemp harem pants. It's 5.45am and while I don't quite look my best in scruffy yellow boots, a muddy parka and bed hair, I welcome his kind compliment and follow the line of bohemian insomniacs climbing Glastonbury Tor to watch the sun rise over Avalon.

The Tor, a conical grassy hill rising 500 feet (158m) from the Somerset Levels, is one of the most spiritual sites in England. At its peak is St Michael's Tower, the roofless remains of a 14th-century church, where a gaggle of loose-limbed yogis begin their sun salutations towards the east.

Now I'm not one to throw scorn or mock the spiritually enlightened – I've had more than my fair share of sage burning, wand waving and sunrise rituals at festivals over the years – and after this emotionally turbulent year, I can't think of a better place to indulge my spiritual side than in Glastonbury. Its festival may be cancelled this June, but a trip here any time will definitely put a spring back in your step – as I found when I visited last summer.

The Somerset market town has attracted the devotional since the dawn of time – from Christians, druids, pagans and Wiccans to goddesses, hippies and the New Age curious all hoping to find themselves on its magical ley lines.

Ruins of Glastonbury Abbey - Getty
Ruins of Glastonbury Abbey - Getty

“I like to describe Glastonbury as a natural fountain with a stairway to heaven,” says Matt Witt, the Bard of Glastonbury, who also holds tree walks every other Sunday morning (tothetrees.co.uk). As we wander along the town's country lanes and leafy coombes, Matt points out the different types of trees and bushes, sometimes stopping to play a ditty on his guitar or recite a poem. At the foot of the Tor, he introduces me to Gog and Magog, a pair of 'married' oak trees said to be the gateway to Avalon.

The mythical island of Avalon, the final resting place of King Arthur, is just one of the legends which surround Glastonbury. It's also said that Joseph of Arimathea, Jesus' uncle, brought the Holy Grail here and washed it in the chalybeate waters of Chalice Well. To some it's the ancient Isle of the Dead and gateway to Annwn, the Underworld of the Goddess, to others the home of faery queens and a meeting point for UFOs.

Walking down the patchouli-scented High Street lined with colourful vegan cafes, healing centres and crystal shops, I meet white witches offering New Moon blessings, angels handing out feathers and watch as serene septuagenarians in tie-dye smocks chat to topless, shaven-headed men in harem pants and bare feet. And naturally, someone, somewhere will be playing the lute.

'Walking down the patchouli-scented High Street lined with colourful vegan cafes, healing centres and crystal shops, I meet white witches offering New Moon blessings' - Getty
'Walking down the patchouli-scented High Street lined with colourful vegan cafes, healing centres and crystal shops, I meet white witches offering New Moon blessings' - Getty

Glastonbury is also the heart chakra of the earth, where the ley lines of Saint Michael and Mary Magdalene meet. At the Glastonbury Goddess Temple (goddesstemple.co.uk) a living goddess community which worships the Lady of Avalon, I meet Bee Helygen, a Priestess of Avalon and Cerridwen, an inspirer, wise woman and Druidic healer, who offers to align my wonky chakras.

“Close your eyes, take a deep breath in and open your heart wide,” croons Bee softly, as I lie on the velvet covered massage bed, a soft, heavy eye pad shielding me from the late-afternoon light. The fragrant scent of burning sage fills the air and my senses are heightened by what sounds like a baby's rattle being shaken all over me. It focuses on certain areas of my body – my stomach, my heart and my head – and I can hear Bee whistling and singing gently over me as she wanders around my prose body in order to release the dense toxic energies I've been carrying around. As Bee continues to hum, I start to feel sleepy yet deeply aware of every limb, craning my senses to hear the clank of chakras realigning. Afterward the final gong rings, I feel calmer and more relaxed than I have done in years.

A chakra ritual is not the only treatment on offer here at the temple. Deep soul healing (£60) restores the body, mind and emotions, and expands your consciousness, while starlight energy healing (£35) uses higher dimensional star energy to transform.

Maybe next time I'll be brave enough to try a 'yoni steaming' (£55), which 'cleanses and relaxes your inner womb temple' to clear emotional and energy blocks. It works by squatting over a pot of herbal tea and allowing the vapour of medicinal herbs to cleanse your er, nether regions. But maybe don't try this in your local Starbucks, only in Glastonbury...