Glastonbury: Not The Festival

"Glastonbury is the strangest, sweetest retreat in Great Britain with lush green countryside, old-fashioned pubs, a local Tarot reader (with his own shop) and a famous zodiac, hidden in the landscape."

Glastonbury – Not The Festival – The Astrology and Tarot

Go through one of the (many) pink or purple doorways here and you may never come back. Glastonbury is the strangest, sweetest retreat in Great Britain with lush green countryside, old-fashioned pubs, a local Tarot reader (with his own shop) and a famous zodiac, hidden in the landscape.

This is Glasto – Not The Festival. Book a trip away from the rock’n’roll madness and you’ll find the rooms affordable, the atmosphere peaceful and the effects – wondrous.

In fact, a white rabbit who might have escaped from Alice in Wonderland, has his own table at a local bar (below). If you are tired of London (but not tired of life) you might just want to bolt down a rabbit hole from Paddington Station, catch the first train out, and book yourself a taxi from the station. The rabbit does not give Tarot card readings, although he looks like he’d like too…

Glastonbury Tor

Glastonbury Tor is the huge hill which overlooks the town. It is approached through a simple old-fashioned gate, below. Beware of stinging nettles, and running out of puff, but otherwise, the Tor is all yours. The well-known British mystic Dion Fortune lived at the foot of The Tor for years. During the Second World War, Dion fought what she called The Magical Battle of Britain, to save the island from the Nazis, with friends in regular meditations across the country. Today it is home to cows, and a few cow pats, so watch where you step. Pack some old trainers or wellingtons.

The George and Pilgrims Inn, Restaurant and Rooms

You really don’t need Google Maps for this. In Glastonbury, there is one main street and one big pub, and this is it. This is the kind of ancient old rooming inn, with floors that dip in the middle, worn down from centuries of heavy boots (and decades of musicians, fresh from the festival, looking for beer).

It’s dark inside, even at the height of summer, and log fires blaze in winter. A lovely hand-painted mural dedicated to another of Glastonbury’s famous mystics – the woman who discovered the 12 signs of the zodiac hidden in the landscape, using a light aircraft – decorates the walls. Katherine Emma Maltwood (below) and Dion Fortune are two of the mysterious women who make Glastonbury what it is.

You can book a room at the pub, although it is haunted. Take your suitcase up one or more creaking flights of stairs to beds with a definite past!

Glastonbury New Hippie Charm

This is the place for Tarot readings, vegetarian lunch, healing retreats (if you need to get over a break-up, for example), guided walks, meditation circles, yoga and a print shop which will create oracle cards for you, if you bring the designs. Glastonbury is hand-painted with bright chakra colours on most doorways. It’s really not like anywhere else in Britain.

Book a Glastonbury Psychic Before You Go

Good psychics are hard to find and there is often a waiting list. Book your Glastonbury psychic before you go. Sabrina Dearborn comes highly recommended. Read her testimonials here.

Sabrina was on the faculty and management of the Findhorn Foundation, and went on to co-found and direct the Alternatives Programme of St. James’s Church, Piccadilly, with Malcolm Stern and William Bloom.

Sabrina helps to run the Peace Dome at the Glastonbury Festival too. You can also pick up your own Tarot cards at any of the local shops, or the crystal of your choice – this is typical local window-dressing, below. Try dropping in to see if side-street Tarot reader Michael J. Pascoe is available. (He’s the ‘Magickal Choice’ you know).

The Glastonbury Tarot – Try Before you Go.

Free Readings with the Glastonbury Tarot can be found here if you want to get a feel for the place and the people. Glastonbury is also the home of beautiful and historic churches, and Ley Lines which run energy currents through the soil, according to sensitive people who can sense them, using pendulums.

Stay at Stargaia Retreat

Where can you stay that doesn’t feel like yet-another-city-hotel for tourists, but fits a budget?

Single rooms start at £50 for Stargaia Retreat, a sweet little house, broken up into separate rooms with shared bathrooms. There is an old-fashioned kitchen with a kettle and fridge, oven and food storage cupboards to share as well, and a washing machine. It’s a five-minute walk from the centre of town with a stunning outdoor balcony for breakfast overlooking the Glastonbury hills. You might even find some fortune-telling sticks in your room. Even when the weather is stormy and rainy, this is a beautiful place to be. Just step outside with a brolly and explore the town. Chalice Well, The Holy Grail legends, the Glastonbury Zodiac and all the mysteries can be traced back to the local Information Centre, steps away from The George and Dragon Pub. No need to take your phone. Leave it at home!

No McDonalds, No Kentucky Fried Chicken, No Hungry Jacks

It can take time to unwind and get the feel of Glastonbury. There is no fast food. The people move pretty slowly, as do the local cows, eating on Glastonbury Tor. Allowing one day to settle down and one final day to take your leave, is wise.

Glastonbury Festival creator Michael Eaviss, the most famous rock’n’roll farmer in Britain, says, “The hippie shops are amazing. There’s no McDonald’s or any of that stuff, it’s very authentic. You can feel the enthusiasm of the people who run the shops here, even though they are selling crystals and fairy dust, they have a belief in themselves.”

If you are craving something fried, though, as any British roadie will tell you, there is only one place to eat, no matter if you’re outside festival hours or not. That’s Knights’ Fish and Chips, at 5 Northload Street which is a hippie chippie. It only uses fish from sustainable sources and the batter is gluten free.

Come to Glastonbury away from the high prices, packed queues and madness of the festival and see the other side. It’s still home to residents who came back from the Asian hippie trails of the Seventies and Eighties and retired here. The Tibetan Prayer Wheels at the base of the Tor spin with the wind and give this little town a very special atmosphere.


Jessica Adams

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Glastonbury Tor Gate


Glastonbury, UK