England-Denmark 1999: Trip Report
Magic and Mytery in a Sacred Landscape
John Major Jenkins
The 4th International Maya Dreamtime Festival, dream-vision on the Tor, dinner with Arguelles, Sweat Lodge ritual, Gandhi at Kingsley Hall in London, interview in Copenhagen for "The Fifth Gate" documentary, return to Denver and preparation for my Naropa University lectures.
Mythic things happen in mythical landscapes. Even before I left for England, I was alerted to impending synchronicities by the fact that the day I left was 1 Imix in the Maya Sacred Calendar - the True Count that survives in Guatemala. That was September 22nd, 1999. The tzolkin day 1 Imix is often the first day given in lists of the daycount. It doesnít correspond to a New Years Day, but the strange coincidence stands. In fact, I was surprised to notice that the entire trip, which would take me from London to Glastonbury and Copenhagen, would end exactly 13 days later on 13 Ben, thus spanning an entire 13-day "trecena" of Mayan time. The 13-day cycle symbolizes all growth processes in nature, from seed to fruit, and is modelled on the waxing phase of the moon from new to full.
The trip would be my latest effort to share my progressive research into Maya cosmology. Over a year and a half ago, after giving a slideshow in Merida I was invited to speak at the Fourth International Mayan Dreamtime Festival by Mikhail and Alloa, of the Sun and Serpent Mystery School in England. Then this past March, uncertain of my financial situation in the latter days of 1999, I politely declined the renewed offer. However, Mikhail was politely insistent that it would be much appreciated in England if I would come, so I finally acquiesced. And Iím glad I did. The trip proved important in many respects, especially in allowing co-speaker Jose Arguelles and I to meet and accept more deeply each otherís work, different though it is. How the timing and circumstances of this meeting fit right into the mythical landscape of sacred England, Iíll share in a moment.
So leaving by plane from Denver on 1 Imix, I was nursing a thrown back and uncertainties about the outcome of the trip. Prior to leaving, I had arranged an interview with Kindred Spirit magazine in England as well as an interview with Milton Media in Copenhagen, for a documentary on Native beliefs and the millennium. While in Glastonbury, I was able to set up a talk at Kingsley Hall in London for Friday, October 1. And so I had a pretty busy schedule.
Glastonbury is the site of ancient mysteries, all with a good deal of evidence to suggest truth. The ruined Abbey in central Glastonbury was built on the location of an earlier church, which itself occupied the site of the reputed first Christian Church in England. The legend, based on a manuscript found at the site, relays the information that Joseph of Arimathea settled in Glastonbury in about 60 A.D., bringing with him the holy grail and twelve disciples to establish a monastic order. Work by John Michell and others have shown there is a great deal of evidence to suggests this is true.
In Neolithic times, the Tors (hills) around Glastonbury were islands. As the inland sea retreated, Glastonbury and its magical Tor became known in myth and fable as the mystical Isles of Avalon. Legends of King Arthur then grew around the mythical landscape of Glastonbury. One theory holds that King Arthur was a descendant of the "Sangre raal" or holy blood brought to England by Joseph - the holy blood being a child of Jesusís born to Mary Magdalene prior to the Crucifixion.
Another facet of Glastonbury is the identification of a circular zodiac in the surrounding landscape made of streams, hills, and roads (built on older ley-lines). Katherine Maltwood discovered this, and identified Glastonbury itself with Aquarius. There is also in Glastonbury a sacred well - the Chalice Well - with a vesica pisces design on the lid that symbolizes the vagina of the Great Mother. This may be loosely associated with the Grail mystique, which is a female receptacle of sacred waters and wisdom. In that Aquarius is the Water Bearer, the prophecy is that the dawning Age of Aquarius signals a return to the wisdom of the Great Mother, as the waters of consciousness flow once again over the world. To me, this seems an indirect reference to the Galactic Center as the Grail, our entry into the Age of Aquarius being an indirect way of referring to the solstice-galaxy alignment of 1998. The dark-rift, of course, must feature into this reading as the visual signifyer of the Grail wisdom resident in the Galactic Center.
A major ley-line, or spirit path, runs through Glastonbury eastward through Avebury to the dawning sun on Beltane - May 1. This same axis runs westward to Landís End, pointing over the Atlantic Ocean to, in the legend, Atlantis. In fact it points to Lake Titicaca in the Andes, suggesting an ancient civilization there may have been the fabled Atlantis. The axis in question is the famous Michael-Mary ley-line, a major energy path of criss-crossing male and female energies. They touch right in Avebury, as well as nineteen other places through England. Another major ley runs roughly north-south from Avebury, indicating Avebury as the center of a quadrated grid. In ancient times, the Celts created regional and political divisions based on these energy crosses, as demonstrated by John Michell for Ireland, Wales, and the Isle of Man. Ultimately, the divisions of four took the form of smaller sectioning, to make twelve divisions orbiting the central thirteenth. This is a pattern that is found through the world, according to Michell, and probably served as a template for the creation of the Glastonbury zodiac. It was designed to mirror the perceived structure of the larger cosmos above.
Arriving in London on day two, I was met by friends Robert and Andrew, and we took the bus out to Glastonbury together. We got into town late, but had dinner and climbed the Tor under dramatic moonlit skies. As I climbed the Tor at midnight, looking up the path, I was struck by the similarity of this scene to a picture I had drawn some months before, intended as a view of a sacred pilgrimage to Tacana volcano in Mexico. I drew that as the outline for my next book was coming together, and I knew that a trip and an offering to the cosmic center represented by the sacred mountain was calling me forth. But this view of the Tor seemed to be what I was envisioning! My recent drawing thus seemed more of a premonition of climbing the Tor than anything else.
On Saturday, June 25, I gave a two-hour slide show on my research into ancient Maya cosmology and the 2012 end-date. Jose Arguelles and Mary Lightning Locke also presented that day. The next day as well, and I summed up the work with an hour talk including questions. The response to my work was good, and I made some interesting contacts and new friends. On Sunday, after the last event of the weekend, the organizers, Mikhail and Alloa, took all of the presenters into the country to an old manor for dinner. Here Jose and I were able to look more closely at each otherís viewpoints, have a good meal, laugh, and generally understand better our differences. While few details of the daycount were actually discussed, the meeting was friendly and beneficial to all. As we left I asked our host where we were, and she replied "Baltonsbury." Later, in looking at the Glastonbury zodiac, I noticed that our dinner had taken place between Sagittarius and Scorpio - right in the Galactic Center. Ah, mystery upon mystery, unfolding in timeís slow procession of strange synchronicity. But thatís not all. Several days later, I was participating in the Earth Spirit leg of the festival, at a retreat center in the country about ten miles from Glastonbury. This was located on the other side from Baltonsbury, in the region of the Pleiades. One night we did a sweat lodge, with a blazing fire and our spirits opened to a healing rebirth from the Earth Mother. Although it had been raining all day, the midnight skies parted for us to reveal Jupiter and the Moon brightly shining - Goddess energies indeed. So the symbolic landscape of Glastonbury was the stage - just as it had served in earlier Druidic eras - upon which human and celestial dramas could unfold in tandem.
Everyone at the Festival was great, and I think often of them all, especially little Ezekial, David and Lorraineís little one. On another day we went to Avebury and did a ceremony at West Kennet Long Barrow and also at the stone circle. Avebury is truly a magical place. As a group we toned inside the barrow, creating a vibration of unity and deep connection with the earth. Itís difficult to explain these kinds of experiences with words - itís captured in the look from someone youíve known only a week but share the universe with in the here and now. Earth Mother energy, in a beautiful, mystical landscape. At the stone circle, we stood hand in hand and chanted a wordless vibration containing an intention of peace for the world. Other visitors roaming the site looked at us strangely, even snapping a few pictures, and probably thought we were all pretty kooky. But I could also see envy in their eyes, as anyone who comes to the sacred stone circles yearns to connect with their ancient mystery, and participate in the ongoing worship of earth and sky that they inspire. For me the experience was especially connecting and deep, as one theme is connection with ancestors. As my father has shown in his genealogical research, our Jenkins line apparently sailed for America from England or possibly Wales in the early 1600s. A long trend of Johns, Zephaniahs, and a Major resulted in yours truly three centuries later. And I did feel a connection with England in this way. More so with Nick and Rhian, who were from Wales and could speak Welsh, a beautiful poetic language that serves the modern Welsh bards and musicians well. In fact, they are from the sacred central precinct of ancient Wales, near Llandridod Wells.
So, by Friday, October 1 (10 Oc) I had done an interview by phone with Kindred Spirit and had seen an interesting presentation of Jiva and Julietís healing procedure. An amazing team, Juliet Carter wrote a great book called Original Innocence which details techniques for reconnecting the broken subtle energy pathways in our bodies. I recommend their work as a key to what we all need to be doing right now as 2012 approaches, and if you are in Glastonbury stop by and see them at the White Spring Cafť near the white spring on the way to the Tor. I was needing to move on to the next phase, so I jumped on a fast train to London in time to give another slide show at Kingsley Hall. It went well, and I slept in the room where Ghandi had stayed in 1931. I awoke there next to his little yarn spinner on October 2, Ghandiís 130th birthday. Thanks to David Baker and Raga for making that possible.
Leaving Kingsley early, I was given a ride to the train to Gatwick airport, where I met the producer of the video I was to be interviewed for in Copenhagen. Guy was very helpful and by 10:30 am I was in the air. Copenhagen is a really great town - the energy and architecture are really nice. Bente met me at the airport and we talked a little about the project and how my work fit in. Dropping me at my hotel in downtown Copenhagen, I rested for awhile and was then met by Birgit and her daughter Cecelia for dinner. Birgit is the one who found my book and gave it to Bente just minutes before she left on a four-week shoot in America for the video. If that hadnít happened, Bente would not have known to contact me and I wouldnít even be there. I walked with Cecelia, a very charming young woman who was studying at the local university, to the restaurant and saw some of Copenhagen along the way. Dinner was great - lots of laughter and fun - and later Cecelia and I walked along the main canal and she told me about Christiana. This is a "free town" across the canal from Copenhagen, a sort of ex-hippy haven where disaffiliated youth could congregate, dance, do drugs, and so on. Apparently it was tolerated and sufficiently self-governing that it was not the focus of fascist police blood-baths as it no doubt would be here in the States. Saw the Queen of Denmarkís Palace and the Tycho Brahe museum.
The next day the interview took place with Bente and they were apparently very happy with the result - we wrapped up the shoot in just under an hour. Had lunch and then Bente drove me back to the airport for the flight back to London. The next day, 13 Ben, I returned to Denver by way of ten hours of flights. From 1 Imix to 13 Ben, the journey is complete. Then 1 Ix, 2 Men, and 3 Cib (Oxib Ajmac) - my tzolkin birthday. In fact on October 7 I celebrated my 50th tzolkin birthday: 13,000 days old! And so the magical mystery tour had come to an end. I learned that we create our own limitations. That doubt manifests your fears. That silence can be a lie. And truth can be relative. I remember thinking toward the end of the trip, "I just wish I had more time." TIME. Time is illusion, time is money, time to get up, time to go, running out of time. Time is natureís way of keeping everything from happening at once. Time is natureís best teacher, but it kills all its students. There is a place beyond time that is eternal. The millennium turns in less than eighty days. Perhaps we have to run out of time before we realize that beyond the edge of time, thatís when everything really begins.
October 8-10, 1999. copyright. John Major Jenkins