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Glastonbury: Avalon of the Heart
Glastonbury: Avalon of the Heart | Dion Fortune
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Take equal parts history, mysticism, Christianity, folklore, discredited racial attitudes & Theosophy, add dollops of disregard-for-critical-analysis & making-the-facts-fit-the-theory, & you have the elements of a book I should hate, but I actually found it all rather charming. To be fair, Fortune says at at one point, "All this is speculation, not history; modern myth-making, not research," & I think it's this mythopoeic strand I find attractive.

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Ha! I'd forgotten that Fortune specifically mentions Powys's book, obviously with a degree of head-shaking bemusement ? It's as well that "We do not quite come up to Mr Powis's specifications," as his characters are, if not exactly caricatures, certainly writ large. I do think he's more satirically accurate as an outsider than Fortune, being immersed in Glastonbury society as she was, is prepared to give credit for, & he clearly ruffled feathers.

bibliothecarivs Michael, are you a fan of The Waterboys, by chance? In addition to their Glastonbury Song, a couple years ago they released a cool song called Good Luck, Seeker with lyrics drawn from some correspondence or brochure written by Fortune. Then, ahead of their appearance at this year's festival, they released a new track called Glastonbury Fayre about their experience playing there for decades. 5mo
Bookwomble @bibliothecarivs I love The Waterboys, though I don't have all their albums, and unfortunately not Good Luck, Seeker, which I'll try to track down. I saw them on their Modern Blues tour a few years ago, and they were fantastic 😊 5mo
bibliothecarivs I thought you would probably be a fan. I saw them in 2013 on their apparently first ever show in Utah, USA when they were still touring the Yeats album, one of my top-10 favourites. It was magical. If you haven't read it already, I'd recommend Mike Scott's memoir, Adventures of a Waterboy. It's excellent. 5mo
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Bookwomble @bibliothecarivs I've wanted to get the Yeats album for a while, but somehow haven't quite got there. I'll bear it in mind next time I'm music shopping. And I'm sure I'd enjoy that autobiography as Mike Scott strikes me as a thoughtful & reflective person. Maybe one for me to reserve at the library 🤔 Slight tangent, do you know the band World Party? It's Karl Wallinger's project after he left the WB in the 80s. Goodbye Jumbo is my fave of theirs. 5mo
bibliothecarivs (Sorry for the late reply - I just stumbled upon your most recent comment - not sure I received a notification.) I have heard of World Party but only through their connection to The Waterboys and I've only listened to one of their songs - on the album Now and In Time to Be, a 90s compilation of Yeats set to music which also includes KW, the WB, Shane MacGowan, Van Morrison, The Cranberries, etc. It's pretty good. Thanks for the WP recommendation. 5mo
Bookwomble @bibliothecarivs Apologies not needed 😊 All good artists on that album! 5mo
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I'm re-re-reading Fortune's book to see if it casts any light on Powys's A Glastonbury Romance, & hit pay-dirt with the section on Alice Mary Buckton. She was a poet, playwright, feminist, mystic, lesbian, early anti-racism advocate, as a child sat at Tennyson's knee while he read her his poetry, and as an adult had her poems set to music by Holst.
She bought Tor House, renamed it Chalice House, and set about making Glastonbury a centre of 👇

Bookwomble ... British mysticism and pilgrimage, creating annual pageants performed by the local townsfolk, which Powys mirrors as a central plot point in his book. In 1920, Buckton also made the first film record of the history of a British town, "Glastonbury, Past and Present". She sounds like she was a remarkable person.
The link is to the first part of her film on YT, the full film is available to freely view on the BFI site. https://youtu.be/OW-0oh-IyzE
TrishB Another fascinating hidden woman! 5mo
Bookwomble @TrishB She seems to have been quite a prominent figure in her time but, yes, largely forgotten now. I'd forgotten her myself from earlier readings. Having access to internet resources these days is very helpful. 5mo
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I fished out Dion Fortune's "Glastonbury: Avalon of the Heart" to read alongside Powys's "A Glastonbury Romance", both having been written in the early 1930s, and found this #BookTrove I'd forgotten I'd tucked inside when we holidayed in Glastonbury in April 2004. I've also still got a bottle of water from the Chalice Well. ?

Bookwomble The cross is a lead replica of the one the monks unearthed in the abbey when they 'discovered' the graves of Arthur and Guinevere, bearing the inscription "Hic jacet sepultus inclitus rex Arturius in insula Avalonia" ("Here lies interred the famous King Arthur on the Isle of Avalon") I've happy memories of this holiday ? 5mo
Leftcoastzen Wow! I would love to visit! 5mo
Bookwomble @Leftcoastzen I got a bit giddy when I laid on the grass full length next to the site of Arthur's grave! Fortune describes the landscape as it was in the '30s, so it was good to see the places I'd had to imagine when I first read it in the '80s. Glastonbury, Bath and Wells are a marvelous trio to visit if you ever get the chance 😊 5mo
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Leftcoastzen I hope to someday! 5mo
Bookwomble @Leftcoastzen 🤞🏻😊 5mo
bibliothecarivs My family and I climbed the Tor during our trip to England in Oct 2016. It was windy and very beautiful. Unfortunately, we didn't have time to visit the abbey ruins - had to push on to Shrewsbury by nightfall. 5mo
Bookwomble @bibliothecarivs The view is fantastic from the top of the tor, isn't it! 5mo
bibliothecarivs It is! I didnt know there was a proper path so I just parked our car at the bottom and led my family (all seven of us) in a pretty steep hike up to the top. We came down in a National Trust-approved manner. Haha. Love your Glasto relics, by the way. 5mo
Bookwomble @bibliothecarivs Ooh, that must have strained the old calf muscles! 😄 I wanted to visit while the music festival wasn't on as, much as I love music, festival crowds are not my natural environment! The draw for me was the Tor, the Abbey and the Arthurian connection. I'd like to go again one day. 5mo
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