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Beltane in Glastonbury (and some revelations)

Last week we celebrated Beltane in Glastonbury (my favourite place on earth) and it was truly magical.

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Photo courtesy of Nicole Fischer

We weren’t just there for the festivities, but it was jolly good to join in with the celebrations that happened around the Chalice Well area.

There was drumming (which Little Man loved) and dancing (which Little Man loved) and people dressed in all sorts of finery (which Little Man found fascinating). In fact it all made me rather emotional in a way I cannot quite describe, but let’s just say that seeing the procession coming past the Gardens made me well up with tears slightly as we joined the end of it.

We also had a blessing for Little Man (very small, just us and our friend Nicole) which I shall write about another time. It was very special for us.

But more than all of that, we came home with a renewed sense of passion for seeking out our own spirituality and being who we really want to be. TJ has actually never struggled with that as much as I have, but even he felt a difference being in a place that was so open and accepting.

I have held my beliefs very close to my heart for many years because I never knew where I fit in nor how others would respond. But I always knew I wanted any children I had to grow up knowing that whatever they felt to be true was okay. And suddenly I realised that unless I start living as if my own beliefs are okay to be shared he will never learn this.

Like so many things that have happened this year, it is the very fact that I no longer need to make changes for me but also for Little Man that I am able to take a leap of faith and try a different way of being. Things I have battled with for years suddenly seem to be falling into place as the changes necessary become so much easier to make. And it feels like the right time to start sharing these things on the blog too. Because, after all, this blog is first and foremost a place to record our lives as a family!

So instead of thinking about what I *should* post about, I’m going to start writing about things which mean something to me. Even if they are totally meaningless. And instead of worrying that I haven’t managed to post for a whole month, I’m just going to go with the flow. And instead of splitting my time between a mountain of projects and never feeling I have the chance to stop, I’m making my priorities and I’m going to try my hardest to stick to them.

A week in Glastonbury, without any internet and with a beautiful atmosphere around me, has made me realise what is important in my life.

I actually felt free without worrying whether I’d answered this person or checked up on that person, and though I still want to keep up with the lives of friends and family, I’m no longer going to stress about missing something once in a while.

And knowing I had only my family and the necessary things (like laundry) to deal with, made me a much happier and calmer (and more organised) person. TJ even mentioned he preferred this Amanda, the one who wasn’t constantly stuck to her computer or running from one thing to another. And I have to admit, I quite like her too!

So, Beltane in Glastonbury was a truly wonderful experience. But our holiday meant so much more to me. And I hope to share some of those things with you soon… but only when I have the time.

Glastonbury – my favourite place on earth

As we are in the middle of the craziness of moving right now, I thought I would reflect on the peaceful haven of Glastonbury, which is one of my favourite places on earth…

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The old Abbey, so ancient and beautiful, holds a particular place in my heart as it was the place I first met some of my "online friends" and even though it was pouring with rain, the day was just magical…

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There are steps that just inspire dreams of all the people who have ever walked down them…

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And places of such beauty that even Angel feather lie there, waiting to be found…

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Places of sweet beauty and silence, where my friend and I sat and sang "Amazing Grace" and listened to it echo round the dark hall before we were joined by a man and woman who sang the most gloriously haunting song in a language neither of us understood…

(sorry for the blurry picture, it was hard to get a good photo without ruining the beautiful glow)

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And then there are all the wonderful places to sit and meditate within the Chalice Well Gardens

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Even the shops are magical…

Oh, Glastonbury, how I love thee and long to return in the not-too-distant future. 

Tell me, what is your favourite place on earth and why? 

   

Wedding Update – Blessings

Morning all!

I thought it was high time we had another "wedding update" and what better thing to update you on than the ceremony itself?

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When Tim proposed to me last summer (in Italy, of course!) we immediately began thinking about how we wanted our wedding to be. The day after his proposal we went to an awesome wedding in Rome, and then another one in Oxford the following week. Both were so different, and it made us realise very quickly that our wedding could be anything we wanted it to be.

We thought of churches and how we didn't want to have to promise things that we didn't feel in our hearts. We thought of the register office and how it all felt so clinical. We quickly realised that wanted something in between. 

We discussed eloping and having a very private ceremony. We thought of Gretna Green or Glastonbury. But, somehow, as exciting as it sounded, we couldn't bear the thought of not having our closest friends and family share that special moment with us.

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And that's when we thought about creating our own blessing ceremony.

Our wedding day is going to be interesting, to say the least. We have our "legal" ceremony at the register office at midday, followed by a walk in the park for photos (taken by family and friends, of course, as we aren't having a professional photographer). We have until 2pm to get to our other venue, where we will be holding a blessing ceremony, followed by the meal and reception, before the partying begins and our evening guests arrive. That means I have three different guest lists – one for the whole day, one for the blessing and reception, and one for the evening. Quite a lot to think about…

But even more challenging (and exciting, of course) is the fact that as we are doing this ourselves, we are creating an entire blessing from scratch. We wanted it to be personal and to celebrate what is special to us, which means we aren't following any given ceremony that is already written. Sure, we will take aspects from other ceremonies, but this is our one chance to really express who we are as we make a commitment to each other in the presence of our friends.

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Thankfully, we have the help and wisdom of some wonderful people who, whilst unable to make the wedding itself, have been there with me throughout so many of my biggest life changes and know exactly what I want to create on that day. Online friends can be true gems and the little group who I met first online and then in person at the wonderful Glastonbury Abbey have taken Tim under their wing too and are helping us shape the day as we speak.

In fact, I must give a "shout-out" to Jen, who despite being unable to make it over to England this autumn to lead our ceremony, is helping us figure out how to make it work by inviting several of our friends to lead small parts of the ceremony and make it a truly special part of the day. 

So, my lovelies, I must leave you and go dream some more of the big event coming my way rather fast these days. Have a wonderful day and I'll see you back here tomorrow xx