In 1985 there was a shared vision for a future Glastonbury and one of the ideas was:
‘There should be a place where people could be on their own in silence or share in spiritual practices with others. This place could be a building or an open space. It would be open to people of all beliefs and faiths. Ideally this place would be in the Abbey Grounds to honour the energies that are present there’
In1994 this began to take a more coherent shape and Kathy Jones and I had a number of sessions where we channelled very strong guidance about the shape and setting of a new building – this building to be called the Temple of Avalon. These sessions were later published as ‘Glimpses though the veil’
From these meetings various ideas took shape. A group was formed to take the plan forward and in 1996 Professor Keith Critchlow was retained to produce drawings for the new building. By now the building was being called the Sanctuary.
In due course drawing was produced. These were for a circular building with seven chapels leading off the large central domed area. There would be a crypt and modern sustainable materials would be used throughout. The building would be set amongst trees and gardens in the Abbey grounds! The proposed site was obviously contentious, as the Abbey Trustees had not been consulted, and hence we kept rather quiet about the actual site.
One rather amusing bit of synchronicity occurred around this time. We had dowsed the site of the Sanctuary which appeared to be in an open space between two large trees in the South East corner of the Abbey grounds. Having satisfied ourselves that this was the place, we were amazed when, very shortly afterwards, large diggers moved in to start excavating what is now the duck pond on the exact site of our proposed Sanctuary. The pond was eventually dug to a considerable depth necessitated by the slightly sloping ground. We could not help smiling at the thought that our ideas might have created the duck pond as a reaction – but, as a useful by-product, we would not have to excavate much when we came to build our crypt.
Quite a lot of enthusiasm was generated for the Sanctuary and an energetic group continued for some time. Eventually, in an all too familiar Glastonbury fashion, the originating group disagreed about the underlying principles of the Sanctuary and the project was shelved.
Shelved is the word rather than abandoned. In 2007, the idea re- emerged. There was talk of a wider use of the Abbey grounds, of building a ‘Hall of Unity’ and even the appearance in the Abbey grounds of a small canvas yurt dedicated as an ‘Inter-Faith Sanctuary’.
The idea is not dead and no doubt, when the time is right, a new Sanctuary will emerge.
But the new Sanctuary may not be in the form of a physical structure.
It could be a shared idea of a 'Virtual Sanctuary' where individuals could go to find peace, tranquillity companionship – and Inspiration.