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Glastonbury Tor, Glastonbury, UK


Glastonbury Tor, Glastonbury, UK

Glastonbury Tor is a site of magic and mystery.

Image by G. Wright/De Agostini Picture Library/Getty Images

Glastonbury Tor is a hill in Glastonbury, Somerset, England, which is believed to be a place of great spiritual power. According to legend it is the home of the Faerie King, Gwyn ap Nudd, and is a place where the fae live. In addition to otherworldly beings, the Tor has been home to an abbey full of monks during the time of Saint Patrick, and a medieval chapel. There has also been speculation that the terracing on the Tor is the remnant of some ancient labyrinth, in which early peoples worshipped a goddess.

For years, legends said that in prehistoric times there may have been a stone circle located at the top of the five-hundred-foot Tor, much like Stonehenge. In 2002, archaeologists excavated what they believe to have been the foundations of a circular temple. Originally, the Tor was an island, connected to the mainland by a narrow strip of land only accessible at low tide. When floodwaters receded, the hill remained. Today, the Tor sits in the middle of a lush green valley. Although the hill itself is a natural formation, experts believe that over the centuries, it has been shaped and re-shaped by man.

There are paths that creep up the Tor, and it is believed that these terraced levels are in fact the remnants of an ancient seven-circuit labyrinth. The same design appears on Cretan coins, an Etruscan vase, and on the paths at Tintagel castle, which legend would have as the home of King Arthur. The legends of Glastonbury and its mazes link the site to the goddess Cerridwen, keeper of the cauldron of knowledge. Cerridwen, in turn, is often linked to the quest for the Holy Grail in Arthurian lore.

The Glastonbury Tor has been called many things -- the faeries' home, a spiral castle, an Arthurian fort, a magical point on a let line, a center of fertility rituals, and more. Some people even believe it is a point for UFO convergence. Many visitors to Glastonbury report feeling changed after they've climbed up the Tor. Although all that remains on the top today is a tower, a relic from the chapel of St. Michael de Torre, visitors come from all around the world to visit the site. It is now owned and managed by Britain's National Trust.


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