Once again I have the spring stirrings in me that make me want to embrace my spiritual side. Not my witchy side, my spiritual side. The side that calls to the Goddess and the God, the side that connects with nature, the side that really wants to know where her place in all of...this, is.
Last year, or possibly the year before, I can't quite remember, I decided that one of the things I wanted to do the year that I turned 30 was visit Glastonbury, the town not the Festival. I wanted to go on my own, I wanted to be able to have this spiritual experience that so many people who have visited Glastonbury have had before. I wanted to bask in the sun at the top of the Tor as it rose over the Somerset Levels, I wanted to dip my feet into the White and Chalice Wells, I wanted to sit in quiet, harmony, in peace in the Goddess Temple, deep in meditation and connecting with the powers that be. It was a dream I never thought I would have realised. I told my husband I wanted to go and he said: "whatever it is that you need to do." And that was that. It still remained a dream deep in the back of my mind.
When it came to my 30th Birthday and people asked what I wanted, I said I wanted money. I thought if it could fund at least a part of my trip, I would finally get to book it. The money came in, it went into my savings account, and while I had thought about buying many different things with it, it remained untouched, still with the vague hope that I might get to go. But my year was quickly filling up and it was seeming incredibly less likely that I was going to be able to go.
I have visited Glastonbury before, about two and a half years ago now. I went with a friend of a non-pagan persuasion and, while I deeply enjoyed the company, I feel like I missed out. I didn't want to do a lot of the things that might point me out as a bit odd or different, not in his eyes. Even though we have been friends for years, I felt that by fully revealing this side of myself in a practical side, I might make him uncomfortable or scare him off. And he was my ride home! We climbed the tor, we went to the Chalice well, I spent a small amount of time in the Goddess Temple, we visited the shops and we left. It was a lovely introduction to Glastonbury but it was far from the spiritual experience I hoped to have at the time.
It was a programme on BBC 2 that made me think of it all again, Pilgrimage: The Road to Santiago. For those who haven't seen it, it follows 7 celebrities, ranging in faith from Rev Kate Bottley to Ed Byrne who is Humanist and some people in the middle or on the other ends of the spectrum. There was a lot of open discussion about why people were walking the Camino, most interesting was Kate. I can't remember if she was having a discussion with someone now or if it was a piece said to the camera, but she said that even though she was reverend. she wasn't sure all the time about whether or not God exists. That spoke to me, I always viewed those that are in a seat like a priest or an imam or rabbi or whatever that they would have 200% utter faith and belief in God. Someone coming out in one of those positions saying that they don't on TV is, to me, important to know.
After I watched the first episode I was deep in thought and considered whether a pilgrimage was something that I would like to do. Not something as made as walking the Camino, I am not mental, but somewhere to be, to connect to the deities. Somewhere just like Glastonbury.
I had the discussion with my husband again that weekend about going to Glastonbury, as yet another one of our weekends became booked up, lamenting that the time I had left was limited and I wanted to go sooner rather than later. So I began to look up accommodation and what dates were available to me and knowing what was available went to work the next day and submitted my leave request.
Tuesday 20th I, at long last, booked my trip to Glastonbury for the end of June.
It's 12 weeks and 6 days away, which really feels like no time at all.
Since booking it my heart has felt so full, I've had little signs to show me that it's the right thing to do, from seeing certain birds constantly, finding out that I can see a friend I rarely see while I'm there, even just new music I've listened to, the band Auri, makes it feel right. I am looking forward to this trip so much, I really can't wait to go.
But what do I hope to gain from it?
I honestly don't know. I'm not going to lie and say that I wouldn't want some major spiritual moment that's going to change my life, that would be amazing, but I know that in all likelihood that isn't going to happen. What I am going for is some quiet, some time to think, time to connect. If there happens to be something that happens in among my time sat watching the sunrise on the Tor, or in a quiet moment in the Chalice Wells or Temple, then amazing. I will write it down in my journal and take that away from the whole weekend. For me, what is important about this trip is to allow myself to remain open to possibility.
I'm starting a journal, when it arrives, of my thoughts and feelings of many things before my trip to Glastonbury, to take notes when I'm there of any experiences, dreams or meditations I have, even just thoughts I may have in passing.
Overall I think it's going to be an interesting experience. It's the first time I will have been away anywhere on my own for longer than a day and I'm nervous but excited for what could happen.
The vast unknown awaits for me to see...