“Blessed are the weird people — poets, misfits, writers, mystics, painters, troubadours — for they teach us to see the world through different eyes.” – Jacob Nordby
Something about Glastonbury makes my heart sing. The mystical energies around the Tor, and the unabashed acceptance of all that is magical, weird and wonderful, makes it an incredibly liberating place. Here, the imagination is given free reign and belief in what is normally considered impossible is shared boldly. When I went back for my third trip to Glastonbury with two friends a few weekends ago, we had so much fun looking at more of the mystical sites, browsing through the incredible esoteric, spiritual and magically-minded bookshops and crystal shops, and attending the annual Faery Ball hosted by Karen Kay.
We stayed in a lovely flat which we rented through Airbnb which had a great view of the Tor. When we arrived it was absolutely pouring with rain, but by the late afternoon the clouds cleared and I managed to capture an incredibly atmospheric picture of the Tor from one of our bedrooms. Talk about a raw, wild, natural magic!
Before the Faery Ball, the Town Hall was crammed full of stalls for the Faery Fayre where independent artisans sold everything from paintings and jewellery to little pumpkin fairy houses and elven armour! I didn’t get to meet Brian and Wendy Froud who were there giving talks, but I did get to say hello to Alan Lee, one of the most famous Lord of the Rings artists ever (he worked as a conceptual artist on the films). This was brilliant, because we had previously met Peter Pracownik, a good friend of Alan Lee and a fellow Lord of the Ring’s artist, during our trip to Tintagel earlier in the year. To us, as mega Lord of the Rings fans, this was amazing!
The Faery Ball this year was Middle Earth themed; so, as you can imagine, we were stoked! It was SO much fun to get dressed up in an elven costume and walk to the ball with my cloak billowing in the wind (actually, it was really cold, so I looked more like Aragorn trudging his way to Rivendell with hobbits in tow). I was quite pleased with my own effort, but some people’s costumes were incredible: from a balrog to Smaug, an Easterling to Tom Bombadil and Goldberry, and a guy dressed as Samwise Gamgee complete with pots and pans hanging from his rucksack, it was an absolutely great place to people-watch. I’d originally intended on going as Melian the Maia from The Silmarillion, but I couldn’t not wear my elf ears once I was there, so I ended up being an elf from Elrond’s court.
What I really loved (aside from the tribal folk music of Belgian band Rastaban. Seriously, listen to them here) was the child-like sense of wonder, imagination, enthusiasm and lack of inhibition. People really did ‘dance like nobody is watching’! It was all about fun, creativity, fantasy, and being surrounded by kindred spirits. And the fact that it was a celebration of one of the most epic pieces of literature EVER, The Lord of the Rings, was amazing, and actually quite emotional for a complete Tolkien geek like myself.
Elsewhere, the people you see walking around Glastonbury as an everyday, normal occurance would generally be considered ‘oddballs’, ‘freaks’ and ‘hippies’ – but that isn’t what I see when I see those people. I see people with enough gumption, conviction of spirit and freedom to be what they enjoy being, regardless of what other people may think. How many people in this day and age are bored by a dull, lack-lustre and uneventful life, wearing what they are told is ‘attractive’, rejecting what they have been told is an ‘irrational mindset’, and gagging their inner child? I’m not saying everyone has to love Tolkien and walk around wearing medieval gowns, cloaks and elf ears, but injecting a little imagination and magic into one’s life definitely makes it easier to get by! And, also, it harks back to what I was talking about in my recent blog post: make your own rules, and do what makes you happy.
If you’ve never been to Glastonbury then you really should, especially if you are a lover of mythology, history, the Goddess, and all things weird and wonderful. There is so much Arthurian mythology surrounding the place that you could study it for several life times! Arthurian mythology is one of my passions, and I shall be writing much more about it in the future. And, the more I read about Lord of the Rings, the more I realise that Tolkien was an utter genius, so look out for more posts – or Odes to Tolkien. For now, enjoy some pictures of the sights of Glastonbury and remember: “There is no life I know to compare with pure imagination. Living there, you’ll be free if you truly wish to be.” – Roald Dahl.