I have been gestating, over the last nine years, a story and a message that the Glastonbury Zodiac has been showing me. The vision was eventually birthed through a combination of studying Katharine Maltwood’s books on the zodiac – a 30-mile round of colossal earthwork giants on the Somerset Levels – and then going on to those of the Irish shaman Coleston Brown, and also journeying into what he calls the Faery Ring to gain guidance from the spirits of the land, otherwise known in this part of the world as the Fae.
I had also been studying comparitive mythology for many decades, and so I was able to match what I was shown in the inner dream worlds with the academically-recognised morphology of the mega-myth.
In that way, it eventually became clear to me that the drama being played out every night under the stars is based upon the universal “Hero of a Thousand Faces”, who was first discovered by the mythologist Joseph Campbell. This zodiac champion appears to have been treading the cosmological wheel of Time and Space in our dreaming fields for at least six thousand years, and probably longer. But why?
In entering the other dimensions, more information unravelled itself to answer that question, because then this story in the Summerlands revealed itself to be multi-dimensional. Just as the shaman journeys into the Three Worlds, the plot of this Mystery Play, acted out by 13 colossal earthwork giants, is spread across the Underworld, the Middle World and the Upper World.
The story begins to spiral up at Beltane in May, when an eclipse of the full Moon in Scorpio opposite the Sun of Taurus creates the right conditions for Bridie to emerge from the Underworld to meet her Bridegroom, Gwythyr the Serpent Slayer, who has come down her from the Upper World of the stars.
The eclipse casts a shadow upon the Earth in the Middle World, to give the couple privacy in their honeymooning under the Faery Stone at Scorpio. There, they conceive the Faery Child who is put into the Faery Boat at Cancer and who then begins a long, nine-month gestation voyage along the Underworld Waters of Avalon until he emerges into the Middle World in White Lake at the Winter Solstice.
He still has a lot to learn though, being just a babe, and so as he voyages in a coracle along the river Brue, he is taught first by Bridie in her Swan form at Aquarius and then the Faery Salmon of Wisdom at Pisces. Finally, at Aries, he reaches the safe harbour of the Lord of the Sea, Manawydan, and there he completes his education in seamanship and is given his magical sword.
At the Spring Equinox, he sets out to become the zodiac hero and his first adventure is to conquer the Bull at Taurus … and so it goes on.
In my new book Stories in the Summerlands, I have gone into a lot more depth about this three-dimensional passage of the zodiac hero with more than 50 illustrations, to explain how its message could help us make more sense of our lives today.
The spirits showed me how to bring together what is known objectively with the subjective, and then to feed through that weave the alchemical, astrological and astronomical metaphors of the ancient Mystery Plays.
In that way, it has helped me make sense of the riddling words of the biographer of the 10th century Abbot of Glastonbury Dunstan who, according to researcher Mary Caine, said that this circle of earth giants was created for the salvation of mankind.
There is much more about all of the Earth mysteries and esoteric secrets of Avalon in Stories in the Summerlands: A pilgrimage into Avalon, which you can get from Amazon in the UK here and in the US here. #ad