Glastonbury is rightly celebrated as the birthplace of English Christianity.
For just under two millennia, Christians have been arriving, first by boat, then by foot, horse, cart, train, car and bus, to worship in England’s New Jerusalem.
The first one arrived on a fine May morning in A.D. 63- the legendary Joseph of Arimathea. His quest was to plant a Crataegus monogyna cv. biflora on Wearyall Hill and bury a cup or two before leaving again. With those simple, solemn and yet slightly confusing gestures, he laid the foundations for Christianity in England.
It’s also the only place still existing on God’s green and war-torn earth where Christians attempt to co-exist with a steadily increasing number of pagans, druids and other Goddess-worshipping types in what is also the capital city for British Earth Religions, even though it’s actually a market town.
It has been suggested that this remarkable and rather wonderful situation might be attributed to Glastonbury’s ancient guardians, known as the Long Worms of Glaston. These twin blind beasts, born of faith at man’s first awakening, sleep eternally entwined around the Isle of Avalon, keeping it safe from harm within their coils. Their protective influence has, it is said, a profoundly calming effect, enabling differing religions to co-exist, after a fashion.
However, even though pagans can and do enter the Abbey grounds and St. Mary’s church to admire the architecture, Christians only very occasionally return the favour by entering Glastonbury’s first official multi earth-faith place of worship- the Goddess Temple. Few local parishioners would want to risk entering such a place, just in case they were spotted by any prowling Born Agains, the right wing militia of the Christian faith.
New Jerusalem/New Salem
To Christians, Glastonbury is one of the most important religious sites in England. To born again Christians, however, the town has also become a focus for evil forces- malevolent spirits that are attracted like flies to the beliefs of the New Age. Every time a Tarot card is turned over, it’s one more sliding step closer to hell. Every time a drum is carefully thumped by yet another new shaman, it sounds the beat of Satan’s own black heart.
Devils swarm behind every local un-baptised child’s eyes, paddling in the pools of their tears, revelling in their pain at being called Dryad, Rainbow and Moss.
Wearing their patented invisible Evil-Everywhere® glasses, Born Agains step up and down the high street in neatly pressed suits, doing God’s will, holding up their Swords of Truth against the un-Christian hordes that would seek to taint the purity of The Word.
It’s an un-ending, thankless job.
They reserve the majority of their bile for one group in particular. The Witches.
Witchcraft or Wicca, Satan’s own private army, has gained a strong hoof-hold on the Glastonbury scene over the years. Many witchcraft shops are now openly dedicated to the pagan traditions of eating Christian babies and other such despicable evils.
Every year, some of the more daring, hell-fire inspired Christians enter the chubby belly of the beast with the sole intention of breaking the pagan’s devilish hold on Glastonbury. This they do by witnessing outside the worst of the offending shops.
The witches are easy to spot through the shop windows, busily moving about in their velvet pantaloons and dresses, capes and ivy garlands. They are careful to hide their wickedness and warty noses by being nice to each other, loving nature and only working in natural candlelight.*
On spying a flock of velvety Wiccans, the Born Agains assume the protective smiles of righteous belief. They attack as one, flicking lighters, scattering salt and singing hymns about the good old days when piles of Satan-worshipping witches would burn like beacons into the night, justice finally for mothers who too easily trusted soft-clothed wet-nurses. The witches have no recourse but to come out and quietly explain yet again about the usual foolish misrepresentations of witches by Christians.
There is no worship of our lord Satan. As a peaceful, Mother Earth-worshipping nature religion, the babies used in the rituals have always, always been made from marzipan and… OH MY GODDESS! LOOK OVER THERE..!
They then make a run for it, heading for the comparative safety of the pub. This is the one place that the Born Agains are not allowed to enter (see Luke 2.7). Here the Wiccans settle their nerves with a swift half of mead in a nice pewter tankard before resuming hostilities by wheeling out a Trojan wicker man peace offering.
*Candles are at the very core of a Wiccan’s magical life but as is often the way, the magical and nasally flattering benefits are off-set by the considerable risks involved in using them. Fire, necessary for both cauldron and candle work, has a terrible down side for the careless witch and many have paid the highest price of all. Tragically, due to the excessive amounts of velvet worn, witches are extremely flammable, a fact also used against them by the frugally-minded witch- finders of long ago. These days, every magic-using novice has had Greta Moonchild’s famous lines drummed into them from birth by mindful parents. ‘Mark ye well, ever watch and never turn, lest your hat and cloak and you do burn’.
Venus of Glastonbury
There exists an interesting offshoot of this matriarchal religion that has distilled the sometimes woolly beliefs of Wicca into a single powerful fact- that chubbiness is the sacred birth right of all women. Through eating and drinking lots and lots, each holy expansion brings each goddess closer to the purest expression of She who is what She is.
Manifesting as a physical embodiment of the Mother is an awe-inspiring and life- expanding experience for anyone, an eternally renewing celebration of life’s over-rich tapestry. Once a year they come together at the Glastonbury Goddess Convention where they dance the two-day long Sacred Dance of the Tripled Goddess, with frequent stops for sit-downs and extra snacks. A doctor is always in attendance.
The Godless Conference
Running alongside the convention is the small annual Godless Conference, where the fifteen or so members of the beleaguered Atheist community can meet and hold each other. They are some of the most reviled people in Glastonbury.
Atheism is still the only thing to elicit an equal sense of revulsion from the diverse religious, mystical, psychical and New Age groups of Glastonians and Glastafarians. This unusual concord between so many opposing viewpoints means that at any time, an arsenal of belief exists that can effectively repel and deal with any sign of freethinking. Faith, after all, is too important to allow anyone to undermine it with doubt. Every amoral atheist would like nothing more than to go to war with God and kill Him, filling the world with rational homosexuals, a world where Winter ruled all year round and people visited doctors when they were ill.
There can be few things more important in life than defending the world, or at least Glastonbury, against the insidiousness of such twisted minds.