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      Chalice Well, Glastonbury


      It's 9.30am, 16 July 2021, and my mum drives by the Stonehenge cottages—near the great mysterious monument of the same name—with me in the passenger seat. There are signs advertising the sale of strawberries for 50p, however, there are sold for 3 a box by vendors, and cherries are even more expensive at 5 a box—prices which are completely rejected by my mum and anybody with sense travelling from London.

      At 9.50am we reach Stonehenge, where we examine Mesolithic (middle Stone Age around 10,000 years ago) tree throws and post holes near a flock of sheep before taking a closer look at the glorious monument—situated in an area important to the Neolithic people for hundreds of years; and we stood near the Stonehenge Cursus (built about 500 years before the main monument). Also preceding the main attraction is Robin Hood's Ball, where ancient people gathered to feast, exchange and conduct rituals. Scattered through the landscape are the long barrows, where they buried their dead. The Heel Stone, they say, may have originally been a natural sarsen boulder, lying half-buried in the ground. Its presence, together with some natural geological features that may have been visible in this area, could have been the reason why people selected this site for Stonehenge.

      By the time we reach the Chalice Well gardens of Glastonbury, I can't believe the panoramic views and nature's vivid colours. The weather couldn't have been better! And the variety of trees, plants and flowers is phenomenal. There were Pot Marigolds, Black Horehounds, Evening Primroses, Feverfews, Witch Hazels, Rosemaries, Jacob's Ladders, Scarlet Pimpernels and Olive Trees. I could not help but take pictures and notes and yes, I did drink water from the well, believed to be sacred, and safeguarded since 1959, since Wellesley Tudor Pole founded The Trust charity. There were quite a few visitors and pilgrims at the site, taking inspiration from the natural view, meditating and dipping their feet in King Arthur's Court and Healing Pool full of red iron—a tradition as old as two and a half centuries.

      I did not experience such waters as my mum did, but I did drink from The Lion's Head. You don't have to be a Christian to appreciate the legends attributed to this Living Sanctuary—in fact, people of all religions and backgrounds are welcome. Legend has it that the waters represent the blood of Christ which miraculously springs forth from the ground when Joseph of Arimathea buried or washed the cup used at the last supper. The Chalice Well and its gardens are enfolded in the vale between Chalice Hill and the Tor, and has long been associated with healing properties. There is also sacred symbolism associated with the Well Head and Sanctuary, with a cover featuring a wrought iron Vesica Piscis with a lance passing through it.

      The Vesica Piscis is an ancient sacred symbol of two interlocking circles. Its geometry symbolises a union, of heaven and earth or spirit and matter and it appears throughout the gardens. After taking pictures of the Vesica pool and before appreciating the Yew Trees on the way out, we popped to the Chalice Well Trust Shop, where we purchased a number of things including a mood ring and a book called 'Alchemy: An Introduction to the Symbolism and the Psychology' by Marie-Louise von Franz, who was once a long-time friend and co-worker of none other than Carl Gustav Jung. This book is comprised by studies in Jungian psychology by a serious Jungian analyst. I cannot wait to devour this book!

      On the way back to London from Chalice Wells we stopped at the Mattia Diner, an American-themed restaurant full of Hollywood icons, where I enjoyed a delicious cheeseburger and a fresh beer. Back on the road, I took panoramic photos around Winterbourne Stoke, Shrewton, the Manor Estate, the world heritage site of Stonehenge, Harewood Forest, the nearby industrial estate and other sights tens of miles away from the capital.


      The wholeness and the perceived connection to the divine that so-called Chalice Well essences bring could reflect a placebo-like effect in the believing mind, aided by a psychological connection with nature and the wild, perhaps awakening a primordial unconscious side of our minds via meditative states—and it could pertain to an animalistic brain region divorced from reason and all logical preconceptions to revel in infantile, unrestrained and playful associations however abstract. This primitive mentality is where everything and anything goes regardless of objective rules—a kind of beastly wanton abandon—where nothing is restricted to specific meanings; the reductionist approach involved in a map of a multitude of definitions takes a vacation to give way to a blissful and simplistic oneness. Because of this, the religious mind is far more prone to superstitious thinking and swearing by homeopathy as valid treatment.

      But if there is anything that I've learned from reading the first few Jungian pages of von Franz's 'Alchemy' is that sometimes logic, in its stringent way of mapping objective reality, can misrepresent or misinterpret the very holistic right-brain hemisphere that often provides the left with Eureka moments. A classic example of this type of logical extroversion tending to edit illogical introversion is when we dream of events temporally absurd in their sequence only to have this experience mnemonically 'corrected' for upon awakening. For instance, the dream could be best described as a series of events being witnessed in a house followed by the dreamer entering the house from an outdoor environment; erroneously, in the morning, the person wakes up and records it as entering the house first whereby house events are subsequently witnessed—the reason being that it makes more sense to describe it this way albeit imprecise. However, the original sequence of oneiric events which defies logic may betray a justified hidden meaning which may forever be buried in the unconscious mind because the logically rigid conscious side interfered unwarranted.

      Dream interpretation can contain a lot of projection, too, as it tends to come from a consciously biased approach—just like an alchemist labelling a metal 'demonic' if it reacts violently with another substance by nature while dismissing practical possibilities altogether. Certain religious traditions also tend to ignore or omit mental forms that arise during meditation or contemplation which appear impertinent or do not fanatically conform to their rigorous symbolism—often referring to such imagery as deviations or distractions indicative of failure on the adherent's part who, from a collective perspective, clearly strays from what is widely accepted to be the correct path. This ratiocination is eloquently expressed by Marie-Louise von Franz in her book (don't be put off by the title's first word).

      As a credit to alchemists, they worked independently and uninhibited by collective purview and thus their models of reality remained 'uncorrected' by dogmas and widely accepted symbolism. Their work, consisting of projections of the world (to put it in a Jungian way) and unbiased impressions of the unconscious without external interference, was an unprogrammed approach which refrained from making rigid assumptions and was similar to analytical psychology. Archetypal thinking, however, cannot be dodged ab initio when embarking upon a comprehensive journey into the unknown.

      The ancient Norse warriors known as Berserkers worshipped bears and would emulate the wild beasts in battle by wearing bear skin and fur and fighting with a trance-like ferocity—it was, in a sense, their animalistic god working through them in their favour. In the early Middle Ages, the practice of worshipping the Ursa was widespread across the northern hemisphere; the wild animal was perceived to be powerful and frightening and thus existed as an archetypal god in the collective unconscious of many medieval warriors. A similar motif is found in Polynesian and Melanesian cultures, where an intentional force that works through individuals and commands respect is believed and represents energy, power, influence, authority, efficacy and the ability to perform in any given situation—qualities embodied by the Hero archetype—and can also be conveyed by groups and inanimate objects. In Maori belief, it is known as 'mana'.

      The 9 Chalice Well Essences, such as the Cherry Blossom, the Apple Blossom, the Star Magnolia, the Foxglove, the Trinity of Holy Thorn, the Snowdrop, the Yew, the Golden Rose, and the Heart of the Well, symbolically work on the same principle of making contact with our inner selves and tapping into that which is in touch with nature and conveys a restorative potential—a healing that starts within and makes individuals feel, through the power of belief, stronger, balanced, and steadfast. It encourages wellbeing and promotes the quality of being virtuous—closer to the godhead and the divine. Like the 'Mountain of the Adepts'—where alchemical transformation of base matter into gold (the philosopher's stone) is analogous to psychological development—Chalice Well Essences assist the unfoldment of human evolution and consciousness in an inner journey towards balance and wholeness. The 'temple of the wise' which is buried in the earth in the 'mountain of adepts' illustration has a phoenix symbolising renewed personality. This creature straddles the sun and moon which represent the masculine and the feminine. The Zodiac background represents the duration of psychological development and the four elements (fire, water, air, earth) indicate wholeness. The blindfolded man is the stumbling search for truth.

      Chalice Well activities, as recommended, involve taking 7 drops of the essences under the tongue or added to water, twice a day. These instructions are said to be 'intuitively guided'; Wellesley Tudor Pole made it clear that such activities are aimed at harmony. Similarly, an illustration of the philosophical egg shows different aspects of the personality and the seven stages of transformation represented by 7 planets. The egg is the birthplace of, and contains, the new attitudes symbolised by the alchemical goal of the coniunctio, the union of opposites (male and female, consciousness and the unconscious, etc.) A balanced hermaphrodite is depicted triumphant over the dragon and the winged globe of chaos—threatening faces of the unconscious.

      In the context of Chalice Wells, the Cherry Blossom is analogous to the loving Mother archetype who 'washes away troubles, emotional burdens and what no longer serves, leaving us with sparkling clarity, brightness and tranquility'. The Apple Blossom nourishes the true Self and appears to promote self-integration or Jungian individuation. Principium individuationis is where the individual self develops out of an undifferentiated unconscious in a process towards a well-functioning whole. The individual matures beyond group attachment and/or narcissism. We merely love ourselves just as we are and work towards progress and see others as 'blossoms' worthy of our love. Star Magnolia is an energy boost towards the divinity within, appealing to our hearts, helping us to reconnect with the sacred Self and the source of everything as we are encouraged to create order. The Foxglove aligns the mind and body in order to revitalise oneself and stand tall. It promotes high spirits and inspires new ideas and perspectives. In folklore, foxgloves have long been recognised for their fairy energy.

      The Trinity of Holy Thorn supports us during transitions, bringing clarity and a centrality of being. It carries the wisdom of surrender and assists with suffering. It appears to pertain to accepting and confronting the hardships of life and finding the strength to persevere. The Holy Thorn tree is associated with the legend of Joseph of Arimathea, the uncle of Jesus, in Glastonbury. On arriving after the crucifixion, he planted his staff in the ground of Wearyall Hill where it took root and blossomed. This tree (Crataegus monogyna 'Biflora') is not native to Britain but originates from the Middle East. Its biennial flowering with white blossoms and red berries at Easter and Christmas time is a source of wonder to many. The Snowdrop appears to prevent the Persona from possessing one's personality by providing the courage of exposure of the original Self to the world. It promotes balance away from extremes which is something that Carl Jung recommended. From hell emerge the strongest souls and this heralds the dawn of a new chapter in life. Galanthus nivalis are thought to have been brought to the United Kingdom by the Romans who associated them with heavenly purity. They tend to burst forth towards the end of Winter as if they herald Spring.

      The Yew provides a mental gateway to our inner realms and our innate wisdom. This one appears to be mostly associated with the Wise Old Man/Woman archetypes in Jungian terms. This essence was made using all seven Yew trees in the Chalice Well gardens and Taxus baccata is thought to be the oldest living plant in Europe, reaching up to around two thousand years of age and three metres in diameter. The Golden Rose pervades us with the power of unconditional love and joy, driving away negativity, breaking mental manacles and creates a more joyful disposition. Finally, the Heart of the Well is a purported healer, supporting collective unified intention and becoming at one with everything.
      Last edited by Summerlander; 07-20-2021 at 11:23 PM. Reason: Additional
      THE PHASE = waking consciousness during sleep hybridisation at 40Hz of brainwave activity conducive to lucid dreaming and autoscopy.


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