(You just have to follow Glastonbury with a “Woooowwwww” – said in a long drawn out Neil the Hippy sort of way. It’s obligatory)
Did the trip down to witness the Cutting of the Holy Thorn ceremony.
Glastonbury is a unique place in that long traditions of pagan and Christian pilgrimage and ritual coexist. Not always easily, but coexisting nonetheless.
So we were there to experience a Christian ritual this time ( two years ago we were there for the pagan Beltane celebrations which was a completely different kettle of fish.
Or cauldron of herbs. )
The legend is that Joseph of Arimathea visited Glastonbury with the Holy Grail and thrust his staff into Wearyall Hill. The staff then grew into the original thorn tree. The thorn is a type of Hawthorn, but the plants around Glastonbury are unusual in that they flower twice a year instead of the usual once. In some traditions this is counted as miraculous.
Whatever truth, or not, lies behind this, it is traditional for a budded branch of the Thorn to be cut at Christmas and sent to the Queen to decorate her Dining room for the Christmas Lunch. So that’s what we went to watch.
The Church was looking beautiful, hosting, as it was, a Christmas tree festival
Then the Mayor and associated official type people arrived
Followed by what seemed like several hundred children.
All gathered around the Holy Thorn and the Mayor and two children chose a budded branch.
And chopped it off.
I’m sure the Queen is very grateful 🙂
And it is a very pretty tree.
Sorry the photo is a bit fuzzy. The weather was grey and my camera refused to focus on the appropriate spot (the blossom).
We spent a happy few hours wandering around Glastonbury’s many pagan and esoteric shops but it was a bit like when I visit Ikea. All I came away with was a bag of pretty candles.
We ended our spiritual journey with this
Ha! The Christmas House at Melksham. A new cathedral to the modern aesthetic.