The Chalice Well in Glastonbury, England is the human world counterpart to what my Visionary Fiction novels call the Red Well in the mystical realm of Avalon. My novels center around this magical well, considered a sacred site in England. Many legends originate at this well: Arthurian (site of the Grail), Christian (hiding place of the Chalice from the Last Supper), and pagan (Goddess priestess culture holy site).
My novels focus on the well’s Goddess lore. The cool, burbling water is red tinged due to its high iron content. It is suggested to be the earthly blood of the Goddess in the land of Avalon. There are healing qualities attributed to the well for those who drink its satiating water. The White Spring, situated across the lane from the Chalice Well at the base of the 500 foot hill called the Tor, is considered the masculine energy correspondent to the Red Well.
The wellhead cover is wooden, topped with an iron crafted image of the Vesica Pisces. The Vesica Pisces symbol consists of two interlocking circles with a line (sword) through their center. The symbol represents the notion of duality; such as heaven and earth, masculine and feminine principles, light and dark, physical and spirit. The two interlocking circles form an almond shape at their intersection, portraying the center space of union. This almond shape is often regarded as the Yoni of Divine Feminine creation.
I have had many meditations, spiritual awakenings, and otherworld journeys sitting in the Chalice Well gardens beside these soothing waters. When I lived in Glastonbury for 13 months, I visited this well every day. It was a potent source of peace, ancient memory, and inspiration for me.
We continue with The Hidden Abbey novel excerpt from last week’s post, where the acolyte priestess Marissa was describing the rituals of the Summer Solstice to the younger students. The scene resumes with Marissa’s experience of the Red Well:
Marissa rolled onto her side and leaned over the spring, running her fingers through the iron-tinged water. The spring burbled, its flow continuous since time immemorial, and its waters cool and clean.
“Why is the well water tinted red?” the High Priestess Alianore asked the group, her voice soft like the breeze that rose up and crested the mound where the small group was assembled. The lessons always began this way, with this question. A question meant to honor and remind them of their community’s source of wellbeing, the holy well they had revered since the first priestesses arrived in Avalon centuries ago, survivors of the demise of Atlantis.
She repeated the question, her eyes resting on Marissa. “Marissa, will you tell us?”
Marissa had learned about the Red Well the hard way, when she was taking her first baby steps and nearly tumbled headfirst into the wellspring. It had been Ciara’s screams that alerted their mother, who’d turned her back for only an instant. It was Elder Vanora who’d promptly lifted the young Marissa up and out of danger.
She answered the question by rote. “The red color is from the minerals. But in Avalon, it is the blood of the Mother, emerging from the underworld to nourish our body and soul.”
“And? What else?” Vanora piped in. Their tutor wasn’t really paying close attention. Her focus was on mending her dark blue, silken stole, the beaded one she wore during ceremonies.
Marissa had an irrational urge to roll her eyes at the Elder, but she was eighteen summers old now, too old for that sort of behavior. Still, Vanora’s constant patronizing tone wore on her nerves. She knew her Elder had her best interests at heart, intending to properly groom her to one day fill Alianore’s shoes. But still. She sat up and rolled her head side to side to ease the ever-present tension that burrowed in her shoulders since Michael’s departure from Avalon. She reminded herself to focus. She must act responsibly and prove herself proficient in priestess lore, ready and eager to one day be a leader.
She answered as was expected. “The water is used for healing, as well as for scrying so we can see into the future.”
Vanora looked up from her stitching. “Scrying is not only to see the future. It is to read the actions of others in the present as well.”
“Of course it is,” Marissa snapped.
“Marissa, tame your temper when speaking to an Elder,” her mother scolded.
“Yes, Mother. Forgive me, Vanora. I confess to feeling anxious about the upcoming Summer Solstice ceremony.” She offered her hands, palm up, to Vanora.
Her tutor nodded acceptance to the apology. “What other magical underpinnings does our holy Red Well have? Shayla?”
Shayla’s head jerked up. Preoccupied again, Marissa thought. She’d never known another priestess to daydream as much as her halfling Faery friend.
“Umm . . . all blood and all tears shed on earth flow into the Underworld River of blood and tears. We see them above ground as the red and white springs of Avalon.”
“Good . . .” Vanora said. Her voice droned on in further instruction about using the waters for scrying.
Marissa turned her attention back to thoughts of Michael. She certainly knew the purpose of scrying well, and not only because she had been formally initiated into the arts of seership one summer ago. How many times had she poured the holy water into her shell bowl and gazed into the shimmering fluid, setting her intent to learn of Michael’s whereabouts. She’d even knelt down on all fours next to the spring, scrutinizing its watery depths, begging the Goddess for some sign of his return. But in six years she had not been privy to any such information. No images appeared to show her where Michael was or how he was doing. It baffled her. It was almost as if something was blocking her watchful eye. Some sort of obstruction she couldn’t discern or move beyond.
|drawing by Rana