Isle of Avalon: Avalonian Magic, Gods, Goddesses, and Plants
The Isle of Avalon is a legendary place—a magical place that existed in ancient England and possibly into the early medieval period. Many people visit this place now, but it’s known by another name—Glastonbury Tor. To put it simply, the Isle of Avalon was a place where a group of highly spiritual people lived and worshiped the old gods. The Isle of Avalon was also King Arthur’s final resting place. Though the Isle of Avalon is lost, Avalonian magic still exists. Learn of the Isle of Avalon’s origins, its magical people, and plants, and how to work Avalonian magic into your spiritual practice.
What Was the Isle of Avalon Like?
Avalon was a misty island where magical people lived, including nine sister-priestesses. Avalon was known for its magical apple orchards, which is how it got its name. The Avalonian people lived naturally off the land and ate apples, grapes, and wild herbs grown on the island. They honored the sun and the moon, a god and goddess, and mother nature. Legend says Morgan Le Fay brought King Arthur to die at Avalon after his last battle. The Isle of Avalon was located somewhere in present day England with popular belief situated over Glastonbury Tor.
Avalon Becomes Glastonbury Tor
A large hill juts out from the green landscape, topped by a roofless Medieval building known as St. Michael’s Tower. This hill is Glastonbury Tor and is theorized to be where the Isle of Avalon once stood. The hill was once surrounded by marshlands but has since changed with the changing landscape. In ancient times, it might have looked like an island protruding through the mist. The misty look described in legend might actually be an optical illusion.
After Avalon’s fall, a church and hermitage were built on-site. Archaeologists have found artifacts dating back to Neolithic Times at Glastonbury Tor confirming the location was used long before the church was built. Interestingly, there is a spiral walkway up the hill that scientists call Terraces. Scientists state its a natural form of the land; however, those who lived in Avalon know better. The spiral path was walked in a state of meditation or prayer, similar to walking a labyrinth. While walking up the Tor, the person enters a trance and may experience something profound. It is likely people came to walk the path from all over the countryside as a sort of sacred pilgrimage many years ago.
Avalonian Gods and Goddesses
One of the simplest ways to tap into Avalonian magic is to connect with the Avalonian deities and priestesses. This is done easily through study, prayer, and meditation.
Morgan Le Fay
Morgan Le Fay is a mystical fairy-lady of the Isle of Avalon. Some versions of the Arthurian legends say she was evil, and in others she was kind and caring. Some of the legends call her King Arthur’s sister. She is associated with fairies and with water. She was a priestess who knew and followed the old ways. To connect with Morgan Le Fay, work with the fairies. Put a picture of Morgan le Fay on your altar. Study herbalism and the fairy-faith along with Morgan Le Fay’s stories to grow close to this goddess of magic.
King Arthur was tied to Avalon through blood—through his sister Morgan Le Fay. He was given Excalibur – a sword forged in the heart of Avalon. To connect with King Arthur, keep a sword or an image of a sword on the altar. Read the Arthurian legends to gain a better understanding of the legendary king himself.
Many women feel a connection with King Arthur’s wife, Queen Guinevere. She was a dedicated and pious woman in the original tales. And later versions of the Arthurian legends, Guinevere became an adulterer who had an affair with Lancelot, the King’s knight. Hold a rosary in your hand to connect with Guinevere, as she served Mother Mary as her goddess. Keep Guinevere’s image or Mother Mary’s image on the altar.
Lady of the Lake
The Lady of the Lake has many names, in modern times, Vivienne. She gifted the sword Excalibur to King Arthur in his fight against the Saxons. She knew the secrets of the old ways and of the Isle of Avalon and because of her wisdom, she was high priestess. To connect with her, study and dive into the water element. Scry in a lake or with a scrying mirror to speak to the Lady of the Lake. Honor the moon and its cycles, just as Vivienne once did in the lost civilization of Avalon.
Merlin was a great wizard and is featured in some of the Arthurian tales. Merlin was an ancient being and not just a mortal. He was friends with the Lady of the Lake and stayed in Avalon often. He taught King Arthur as a child. To connect with Merlin, read any of the poetry or Welsh triads with his name. Take up the practice of wizardry and ask Merlin to visit in a dream or vision. Connect with nature particularly with the trees, as Merlin’s favorite place was among the mighty oaks.
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Avalonian Magic with Plants
Another form of Avalonian magic involves working with the magical plants that thrived on the isle. Plant and care for these plants in your garden, visit these plants in a local garden or orchard, and use them to cook, brew teas, bake, and craft herbal home remedies.
Apples were prevalent and we know this because of the name of this magical place. Apples are a representation of the Mother Goddess. Cut an apple in half horizontally and the seeds form the shape of a pentagram—a five pointed star and a symbol connected to the Goddess herself. Apples symbolize knowledge. Think of the story of Adam and Eve. Eve was tempted to eat the “apple” from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. For her to take a bite was for her to “know”.
Grapes have just as magical a history as apples and have long been associated with Avalon. Grapes make wine and therefore represent wildness, freedom, passion and lust. They are also a part of the harvest-season and therefore symbolize abundance and prosperity. Dionysus was a Greek God of lust and wine and so his sacred plant was the grapevine. They also symbolize fertility.
Many herbs grew wild in Avalon and were used by the priesthood to heal. Learn the wild herbs in your area and how to ethically forage for them. Keep a wild, local herb journal with dried pressed leaves and flowers. Use these local herbs in your spiritual practice to invoke the essence of Avalonian magic. This is something the Avalonian priestesses did in ancient times.
My Dream of Avalon
I first dreamed of the Isle of Avalon when I was a child, not knowing it was Avalon I was dreaming about. My first dream was of walking up a spiral pathway (paved with cobblestones) up the sides of a large green hill. There were trees and plants on both sides and covering the entire hill. There were plants growing between the stones on the spiral pathway. There were men and women traveling up and down the hillside. There was something extremely surreal and magical about this dream, and the memory of it has stuck with me for years.
A couple of years ago, I explained this dream to someone and the person said, “that sounds like Glastonbury Tor.” I had no idea what she was talking about. Upon research, I realized I was dreaming of the Isle of Avalon, and more specifically of the hill of Glastonbury Tor during the age of the Isle of Avalon. From that moment forward, I knew in my heart of hearts that I visited Avalon – whether in a past life, in another dimension or on another plane, or just in a dream.