Friday, 3 July 2015

The Abbey Garden at Glastonbury Festival

Glastonbury is not all music, dancing, crowds and other frantic entertainment, there are also spaces for quiet contemplation - which I was very grateful for, as I am not up to 24-hour partying at my age.

This beautiful garden is an area near the stone circle called the Abbey. A sign at the entrance says: "Abbeys are powerhouses of prayer and dedicated spiritual practice. They are sanctuaries for the sick, the poor and the oppressed, brimming with healing, abundance and freedom."

It goes on to mention Glastonbury's famous ruined abbey and says that the garden is a "first stirring of its renewal". But the garden isn't only dedicated to Christianity. You can see in the god wheel to the left the names of many deities including the Dagda, Lugh and the Lord of the Wildwood as well as Jesus. Other shrines are dedicated to female deities as well as to Mary, mother of Jesus. A majestic statue of the Angel of Remembrance offers a place to remember the ancestors too.

Benches set out in the form of a star with a fire pit in the centre forms the middle of the garden and other places to sit are spread out. Some are at shrines, some under trees and some just logs suitable for sitting on.

Glastonbury Festival is strongly associated with Glastonbury Abbey itself and in August holds a mini festival called the Abbey Extravaganza. You can find out more details of that here:


Thursday, 2 July 2015

Glastonbury Festival: Shakti Sings Choir

The women and men in these pictures are the Shakti Sings Choir. I'd never heard of them before I went to Glastonbury Festival. I was sitting at Worthy Farm's stone circle chilling out one afternoon when I saw this vision in red walking across the green fields of the sacred space singing a beautiful Earth-honouring song.

When they reached the circle they invited people to join in and sing with them - which I did. The Shakti Sings Choir was founded to honour the Earth through song. It does this out in nature, singing to the land at places such as the source of the Thames and Stonehenge as well as at Glastonbury every year.

The choir is based near London and rehearses every month. Anyone who wishes to join is welcome, with just a small annual membership fee. I'm quite tempted to join myself. You can hear some of The Shakti Sings Choir songs here:

To find out more, here's the website:

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This Week's Pagan Events In and Near London

Here are some of the events taking place in London over the next week or so that could be of interest to pagans.

Now to Sunday 19 July. Numinous - photographic exhibition by Sara Hannant inspired by the tradition of offering votive rags at Cornwall’s Holy Wells. Venue: Forty Hill, Enfield EN2 9HA. Free to enter, opening times: Tuesday–Friday 11am–5pm, Saturday, Sunday and Bank Holidays noon–5pm. For more details, call 020 8363 8196 or visit:

Thursday 2 July; Myth in Life, When the Dragon Wins. Evening Workshop with Francesco Dimitri. Venue: Treadwell's, 33 Store Street, Bloomsbury, London WC1E 7BS. Time: 7.30pm - 9pm. Tickets £15. Advance booking required. Call 0207 419 8507. For further details:

Friday 3 July; Dark River with London Dreamtime. Venue: a secret location on the Thames foreshore. Meet at 8.30pm. Tickets £3, booking essential, email For more details, visit

Friday 3 July; Amanda Roberts Presents her Angel and Guide Students. Venue: The College of Psychic Studies, 16 Queensberry Place, London SW7 2EB. Time: 7pm-8.30pm. Cost: £10/£12 Advance booking advised. For details call: 020 7589 3292 or visit

Saturday 4 July; London Tarot Festival hosted by the UK Tarot Conference and The Atlantis Bookshop. Venue: The Columbia Hotel, 95-99 Lancaster Gate, London W2 3NS. Entry £10 - some free talks and workshops, some cost extra. Door open 9.30am.

Saturday 4 July; Lessons in death and living - life lessons from the Old Masters - lecture with Jon Underwood and Christina Bradstreet. Venue: Sainsbury Wing Conference Room 1, The National Gallery, Trafalgar Square, London WC2N 5DN. Time 2pm–4pm. Tickets £55. Details:

Saturday 4 July; Crop Circle Trip. Talk and visit to a crop circle with Francine Blake, organised by Alternatives. Coach trip from London. Time: 9am - 9pm. Tickets £75 standard. For more details and to book tickets:

Saturday 4 July; Kensal Green Cemetery Open Day including art exhibition in the Dissenters Gallery Catacombs, using video projection that works with the viewer's image, driven by water and sound. Venue: Kensal Green Cemetery, Ladbroke Grove, London W10. Time: 11am to 6pm. For more details visit and

Saturday 4 July; Hendon Heathens Moot, Venue: Greyhound Pub, Church End, Hendon, London, NW4 4JT. Time: 6pm. Hendon Heathens meets at this pub the first Saturday of every month.

Sunday, 5 July; Making Anointing Oils Workshop with Tanya Moulding. Venue: Treadwell's, 33 Store Street, Bloomsbury, London WC1E 7BS. Time: 11am to 5.30pm. Tickets £55. Advance booking and deposit required. Call 0207 419 8507. For further details:

Sunday, 5 July; Full Moon Esbat (ritual and spell session) with Global Wicca Earth Healing Temple London. Meet at St James Street railway station, Walthamstow, London E17 7PJ, event is at a private location. Bring any of your own ritual tools if you have. Price: £10. To reserve a place and for more information, visit

Monday 6 July; Light Energy Channelling: Healing and Activation with Aang and Vaz of the London College of Spirituality. Venue: Latvian House, 72 Queensborough Terrace, London, W2 3SH. Time: 7pm. Cost: £33. Details:

Monday 6 July; London Energy Share meet-up. Venue: Friends Meeting House, 52 St Martins Lane London WC2N 4EA. Cost: £10. Time: 7.15pm. To reserve a place:

Monday 6 July; The Calm Centre. Talk by Steve Taylor. Venue: Alternatives. Venue: St James's Church Piccadilly, 197 Piccadilly, London, W1J 9LL. Time: 7pm - 8.30pm. Tickets £12/£8 online. For more details and to book tickets:

Monday 6 July; Psychic Circle run by Shamanic Spirit at a venue in Croydon, South London. The circle is held on Mondays fortnightly starting at 7.30pm. Cost £5. For more details and to book places call 07952 041477. For more information, visit

Tuesday 7 July; Sound Meditation. Venue: Goose Green Clinic, 57 East Dulwich Road, London SE22 9AP. Time: 10.45am. Cost:£12/£10. More information and booking:

Tuesday 7 July; Meditation and Yoga. Free weekly meetings hosted by Ruth, Katka and Galya. Venue: Phoenix Community Centre, 66 Westow Street, Crystal Palace, SE19 3AF. This takes place on Tuesday mornings from 11am - 12pm. Free event, just turn up.

Tuesday 7 July; Cobwebs and Cauldrons Moot. Talk by Pete Jennings, author of Blacksmith Gods.Venue: White Horse Pub, Chadwell Heath, Essex. Moot takes place on the first Tuesday of every month. 7.30pm start.

Wednesday 8 July; Prophecies of the End of the World - talk by Dr David V Barrett. ASSAP lecture in the Function Room, Star of Kings pub, Kings Cross. Time: 7pm-9pm. Cost: FREE to members of ASSAP, £5 to non-members.

Wednesday 8 July; Free Outdoor Event - Guided Meditation and Picnic Social with Himesh and the London Spirituality Meetup Group in Regents Park. Meet at Regents Park tube at 6.40pm to walk to St Johns Lodge. Free event but bring water and a picnic and something to sit on. Details:

Wednesday 8 July; The Strange Tale of the IOT. Lecture with Dave Lee. Venue: Treadwell's, 33 Store Street, Bloomsbury, London WC1E 7BS. Time: 7.30pm - 9.30pm. Tickets £7. Advance booking required. Call 0207 419 8507. For further details:

Thursday 9 July; Zig Zag Zenbook signing and talk with A Badiner, R Doblin and R.Forte at Watkins Books, 19-21 Cecil Court, London WC2N 4EZ. Time: 6.30pm. Free event. For more details Tel 020 7836 2182 or visit the website

Thursday 9 July; The Undead of London and Elsewhere. Talk by Scott Wood at South East London Folklore Society (SELFS). Venue: The Old King's Head, Kings Head Yard, 45-49 Borough High St, London SE1 1NA. Entry: £2.50 / £1.50 concessions. Meetings are normally the second Thursday of each month. To guarantee a seat, email

Thursday 9 July; Enfield Town Circle Pagan Moot. Venue: Crown and Horseshoes pub, 15 Horseshoe Lane, Enfield, Middlesex EN2 6PZ. Time: 7pm to 11pm. This moot takes place on the 2nd Thursday of every month. For more details join the Facebook group:

Thursday 9 July; Fortnightly Druid Order Open Introductory Evening. A chance to learn more about at The Druid Order (A.D.U.B.) at an evening with talks and a meditation. Venue: Treadwell's, 33 Store Street, Bloomsbury, London WC1E 7BS. Time: 7.15pm for 7.30pm start. Price: £5 on the door. For more details, visit

Thursday 9 July to 10 July; Annual Egyptological colloquium - Abydos: the Sacred Land at the Western Horizon. Venue: BP Lecture Theatre, British Museum, Great Russell Street, London WC1B 3DG. Time: from 10am to 6pm/5.30pm. Tickets £50/£30. For more details and to book visit:

Friday 10 July; Manifest with Spirit - Access and Create Your True Heart’s Desire. Lecture by James Philip. Venue: The College of Psychic Studies, 16 Queensberry Place, London SW7 2EB. Time: 7pm-8.30pm. Cost: £10/£12 Advance booking advised. For details call: 020 7589 3292 or visit

Saturday 11 July; Sigil Magick. Afternoon workshop with Mark Vincent. Venue: Treadwell's, 33 Store Street, Bloomsbury, London WC1E 7BS. Time: 1pm - 5.30pm. Tickets £30. Advance booking required. Call 0207 419 8507. For further details:

Saturday 11 July; Storytelling with London Dreamtime in a tangled forest in SE23 in the evening. Location details given to those who sign up. Tickets £3, booking essential, email For more details, visit

Sunday 12 July; Occult London: Guided Walk with Delianne Forget organised through Treadwell's bookshop. Meet 2pm at a central London tube station - details given after you book. Price: £10. Call 020 7419 8507. For further details:

Sunday 12 July; Poetry and Picnic in the Park (Free Your Heart) with Live from your Heart, London in Hyde Park. Meet Meet outside Lancaster Gate Tube at 1pm. Free event, but bring a pen and notebook, water, food and something to sit on. Details: and

If you know of an event that you want listed, or spot an error in my listing, please email the details to me at

Wednesday, 1 July 2015

Glastonbury: Learning to Live in Festival Time

If I have one regret from Glastonbury Festival it is that I missed the Dalai Lama's 80th birthday speech - but even that's not much of a regret. One thing I learnt over the five days was to slow down and move at festival pace, even if that sometimes meant I didn't get where I was intending to go.

Rushing around with just a goal in mind can mean missing out on fun along the way. It is okay to be where you are, even if that isn't where you wanted to be.

Glasto is massive. It can easily take 40 minutes to walk from one side to the other - longer if there are crowds of people all trying to get from one stage to the other at the same time between bands. Added to that, the ground gets really muddy after even a little rain and if you need to stop to use a loo or fill up a water bottle you will probably have to queue for five or ten minutes as well. If you let yourself get stressed out by that, you won't get the most out of the festival. You have to live in the moment, which is a good lesson to learn. One of my best Glastonbury experiences was one of those kinds of moments.

I was in a very long queue at some rather smelly toilets (if you have even been to an outdoor music festival you can probably picture that). People were filling up the ground in front of the stage. I was worrying that I'd not only miss the start of the band I wanted to see, but that I'd be quite unable to find my mates in the crowd. Then I got talking with four other women in the queue. We were different ages and I suspect from very different backgrounds outside the festival, but that didn't matter.

We shared tips for keeping clothes away from the mud (and other muck) in loos. The youngest, maybe 16 years old, offered to share her pack of wet wipes with us. A DJ started playing an Oasis song nearby and we all started dancing and singing along to it. By the time we reached the end of the queue and it was our turn to face the terrible toilets, we had bonded so much that we hugged each other and said our farewells as though leaving old friends. That's another Glasto lesson - that wherever you are you will find music and mates if you look for them.

The Dalai Lama gave a birthday message to the crowd during Patti Smith's set at the Pyramid Stage. I had also wanted to be there for that, but I was right at the other side of the festival. Earlier in the day I had gone in search of a cup of chai, which is a lovely spiced tea and the perfect pick-me-up festival drink in my opinion. I'd wandered up to the healing fields and found the Mandala tent where chai was on offer, folk music was being sung and there were some nice benches to sit on and rest weary legs.

When the folk music ended, Nik Turner (formerly of Hawkwind) came onto the stage for a jamming session with various other Glasto old-timers, including someone called Captain Whizz who I had never heard of before. But the set was so good I got up to dance despite aching feet. Then I realised I was missing Patti Smith and the Dalai Lama, but I didn't mind. I was where I was and that was a good place to be.

And, of course, Patti and the Dalai Lama are still available to watch on the BBC website, while the Mandala Stage was certainly not being recorded. After I got home and had internet access, I listened to what the Dalai Lama said. After the crowds sang Happy Birthday to him, he thanked them for their warm feelings:
“I dedicate my body, speech and mind to the wellbeing of others. That is my main daily practice. When people are showing warm feeling that gives me more enthusiasm...We all the same human beings. We all want happy life. Each day is a new day. New birthday. Every morning when you get up, think this new day, birthday, I must carry this birthday, happy birthday. In order to be happy day, keep here more compassionate feeling...that is the ultimate source of happy mind, happy feeling. That brings self confidence. That creates honest, truthful, so your new day becomes more meaningful...that day carry transference, that brings trust. Trust is the basis of friendship. We are social animals. Friendship very important. Friendship cannot be bought by money or force. I practice that, so I want to share.”
It is, undoubtedly, a good message. I hope I'm not being too irreverent when I say what it reminded me of - the message from the time travel movie Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure: "Be excellent to each other...and...PARTY ON DUDES!"

I think if I could time travel, I would go back and experience all the Glastonbury Festivals of the past. There are so many wonderful lessons to be learnt in festival time - and so many wonderful friends to make there.

Photos from top: the Pyramid Stage, a hugging troll, Nik Turner and Captain Whizz

Links and previous related posts

Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Cider with Billy Idol at Glastonbury Stone Circle?

Okay, I can't be sure that the bloke with the cider at the left of the photo above is actually Billy Idol, but the girl on the right with the blue fascinator said he was when she offered me some of the cider to drink.

I took the photo up at the stone circle at Glastonbury Festival, where there is always a really friendly atmosphere. It is a great place to chill out away from Babylon (the nickname given to the main festival area) and get offered stuff like cider.

I'm going to be sorting out the rest of my photos - and memories - from Glasto later today and will put a few more on my blog tomorrow. In the meantime, what do you think? A Rebel Yell for the real Billy or Eyes Without a Face for a lookalike?

Links and previous related posts

Monday, 29 June 2015

Supporting Oxfam with a Big Kiss from Glastonbury

I've just got back from Glastonbury Festival. I had a fantastic time and will be posting lots of pictures over the next few days, but here is one to start with - me with my lips painted green taking part in Oxfam's Big Lip Sync to fight poverty.

Oxfam were at the festival persuading people to have a go - and why not. It was fun and all for a good cause. If you fancy taking part too, you can. All you need to do is paint your lips bright green and share your photo #biglipsync

The images are being used to raise awareness of extreme poverty and persuade world leaders to set goals to help those in need. You can find out more here: