a maze of words leading to …?

Posts tagged ‘Glastafari’

Reality with a capital Ah!


“Life in Avalon” is the title of a roughly sketched gift-card to be found in Glastonbury’s shops. It shows children playing against a backdrop of the famous, seven-spiralled Tor, whilst from a nearby house a parent calls: “Merlin, Arthur, Morgana le Fey, Isis, Vishnu, your vegeburgers are ready!”

Browsing visitors, seeing the card, smile fondly at this ‘parody’, or else look baffled. Yet all would be startled to learn that truth, in this place, far outstrips pale fiction. For from the many tribes and clans of Avalonia there looms today, out of the mists and beyond the ken of mortal folk, a greater range of names-fabulous than ever walked abroad in yester-years of myth and legend.

Here, perchance outside St. John’s Church, there is indeed a Merlin.[1] This swaying, red-faced Biker-Prophet harangues passers-by with the fierce, drunk-fired-up wrath of God. Angels of Hell’s variety adorn the denim overlay of his ripped and grimy leather jacket. Suddenly he advances, blue eyes burning, wild hair astray, thrusting his face within inches of a teenage techno-raver who loiters innocently nearby with friends. Merlin, portent with omen, fixes the youth with a penetrating stare, points upwards in dire consequence and booms like a thunder-clap, “You are the truth of all that you fear!”

Judgement pronounced, he stalks off in triumph. The boy-raver, though feigning unconcern to keep his coolth with peers, is greatly disconcerted and may later ponder deeply on these words. But Merlin, the shape-shifter, has shifted to a new location, driven on by …. who can know what?

Vishnudeva also lives here. A nervous, gentle soul, he floats on the sea of life like a jellyfish waiting for the next wave goodbye. A leather amulet with photogenic guru dangles from his neck, perhaps to ward off sharks and other lurking dangers.

And Guinevere was discovered shopping for buns in Jane’s Bakery[2]. A small crowd gathered in the High Street as a pilgrim fell to his knees in homage, clutching at the hem of her dress. “Oh Guinevere, Guinevere,” he declared ardently , “at last I’ve found you!” Being the sister of Henno the Astrologer, she was perhaps more prepared than most for such an encounter, and her native Dutch phlegm flickered but little – it would, after all, make an amusing tale for her boyfriend, a Cornish smuggler.

Jah Glastafari, ever-livin’, thy tribes and clans are legion: Antares of Shambhala, Orion, Burning Spear D’Albion, Jean Morning Star, Odin the Harpist, Moses, Stella Moon, Lizzie Freewoman, Jupiter, Stanley Messenger, Dice George, Pixie, Lol Whitelion, Tree Peacock, Justin Credible and many more besides … all shall make their entrances and exits in this story of the Veil that is Avalon.

These names are not made up for effect – they’re the real names of real people. This is actuality down here: Reality with a capital Ah! So get wise, fools, and wake up to what’s going on in this neck of the woods, lest you want someday to have to deal with an acorn the size of a coconut! And it’s coming your way, watch out. It just happens here first, that’s all.

So don’t say I didn’t warn you. In fact, don’t say anything at all – you’re not equipped for it. And you never will be until you know. And that’s what I’m doing – helping you to know. I don’t expect any thanks for it, but someone’s got to tell the world and I’m the one who’s been stuck with it. Anyhow, you deserve maybe one chance at the truth, I suppose, before it’s too late.

In the Middle East they call it kismet. In Old Norse, the word is wyrd. In the USA they say, “you can’t buck the system”. In India they bow to karma. In England they talk of fate. In Avalonia, on a favoured wall in Silver Street, they have simply spray-painted “Good morning lemmings!”


[1] There are in fact two different Merlins – or three if you count the Welsh variant Taliesin, or four if you include middle names, and five if you count dogs. They have not so far – stay lucky – learned of each other’s existence.

[2] Later re-named, under rather mysterious circumstances, ‘Burns the Bread’.

The Shambananas – EA Vol. XIX

Ice Crystals

Encyclopaedia Avalonia, Vol. XIX …

With the Shambananas one hardly knows where to begin, but it is widely supposed that the Shambhala Healing Centre, below the south-eastern slopes of Glastonbury Tor, is as good a place as any.

An entry concerning the Shambananas in EA Vol. XVIII says “see Special Issue”, but the last remaining copy of this latter tome is rumoured to have been snatched off the market and buried, under lock and key, beneath the large crystal star that is set in the Healing Centre’s patio. According to Shambananan dowsers, this star marks the exact cosmic energy centre of Planet Earth. The tribal elders continue to thank the “Starry Ones” for siting this on the patio and not in the nearby kitchen, as this has avoided countless domestic rows over where to put the food-mixer, or whether to mop the floor.


Swami Bharmi’s Ashram Acolytes – EA Vol. XIX


Encyclopaedia Avalonia, Vol. XIX …

The Swami has an indeterminate number of followers and has lived an indeterminate number of lives … although his penultimate descent to the samsaric plane is examined in a forthcoming book – ‘An Incarnation of Swami Bharmi’ – by Master Bruce Garrard.

Whilst the Swami’s full titular name is ‘His Holiness Sri Ananda Jacaranda Swamiji Bharmiji Ji’, he is known to his closest acolytes simply as Swami Bharmi (the ‘h’ is silent, unlike the guru himself).

The Swami’s interest in Avalonia began when his legal adviser informed him, mistakenly as it turned out, of a massive influx to the area from Greenland. He realised instantly that only a spiritual power-centre of enormous potency could have induced these Inuits to abandon their blow-holes and head south. Curiosity piqued, he resolved to leave his far mountain ashram and question these sweaty immigrants.

His Holiness slipped into Glastonbury almost unnoticed, for his reputation receded him. And then, after 23 weeks of meditation atop the Tor (making ready to visit the settlers at Greenlands Farm), he descended to his very patient band of followers and established his reputation as a guru of true Avalonian pedigree by declaring, “Nothing Once Known is Never Forgotten”.

Swami Bharmi’s Ashram Acolytes:

  • Tribal refuge: The Ashram
  • Favourite colour: Bardic Brown
  • Favourite Only food: A grain of rice (Ambrosia Creamed Rice during bi-millennial festivals).
  • Favourite drink: Buddhaweiser Beer
  • Favourite perfume: Lotus Oil
  • Favourite car: Lotus Élan.
  • Favourite TV programme: Highway to Heaven
  • Favourite dance: The Tao Step
  • Susceptible to: Lhasa Fever. Also Zenaphobia.
  • Patron saint: Philip the Punter
  • Tribal motto: ‘I am that I am’ (1st person singular). Otherwise translated as ‘The Swami is that he is’ (3rd acolyte singular).

The Star-Gazers – EA Vol. XVIII


Encyclopaedia Avalonia, Vol. XVIII …

In Avalonia they’re big on Astrology – and getting bigger all the time since interest is booming. As one local astrologer said: “… when it comes to our stars, the sky’s the limit.”

This boom was confirmed by a local newspaper (The Central Somerset Garotte) which, under the headline ’Alternative’ Businesses Boost Job Figures, reported that:

“A rush of new businesses, mostly in sectors usually described as ‘alternative’, have been transforming the local employment rates according to the latest figures released by the Ministry of Retrenchment. They reveal that out of a record 50 new jobs ‘created’ in the area … there were: 29 astrologers (our emphasis), 11 workshop leaders, 19 New Age Gurus, 8 wholefood businesses, 16 therapists and 23 anarchist revolutionaries working to overthrow the State.”

Many Avalonians (especially the anarchist revolutionaries) quite openly check their aspects and transits for the day before sitting down to breakfast. In justification they point to the woman who, being a Piscean anarchist, decided one day to wait till elevenses before checking her starry portents. She thus munched her Rice Krispies in total groklessness of Neptune’s retrograde motion semi-sextile to her natal Moon in the 8th House, choked on the “free gift with every cereal box” (a miniature plastic fish) and thereby effected an early arrival in that great autonomous confederacy in the sky.


Green Gatherings (1)

Green Collective

I’d been one of the organisers of these outdoor camps for several years prior to my formally becoming a citizen of Avalonia and acquiring the associated passport. Aside from the Gathering at Molesworth air-base (of which more another time), they had all taken place not far from Glastonbury and held over a five or six day period …

I remember one Green Gathering in particular. There were kid’s areas, women’s areas, men’s areas and areas for those of indeterminate gender, age and I.Q. There were even areas for areas.

There were hot showers and even hotter sweat lodges. There were domes and pyramids. There were workshops on a hundred and one subjects, including one on Advanced Telepathy … which was not advertised because the attendees would know when and where. There were drugs and hugs. There were geese, goats, rabbits, mice, cats and dogs, horses and donkeys. There were stalls, cafés and Vinnie’s Cider Palace. There were puppets, clowns, jugglers, acrobats and Wild Tree Man Jumping Crazy drumming live up a tree.

There were also The Milk Float Wars, police road-blocks and a mass outbreak of amoebic dysentery.

In short (with the exception of the dysentery, which lasted pretty long), we aimed to provide something for everyone, including the doctors.


Irish Rovers – EA Vol. IX

  Irish Rovers4

Encyclopaedia Avalonia, Vol. IX …

The Irish Rovers (plural) should more accurately be called the Irish Rover (singular), because this tribe – with the exception of the Hobbits, and also the Church of the Unitarian – is the smallest in Avalonia.

The Irish Rover would in fact be surprised if you told him that he is in Avalonia, for the only thing he remembers each morning is the punch that knocked him out the night before. Sporting wild red hair, a battered red face and a boys-o’-the-black-stuff bobble hat, the Irish Rover has achieved a unique double in bodily-status: the only living being to be both permanently drunk and punch-drunk at one and the same time.

He has reached this exalted state by means of several, carefully-planned techniques. For starters, he never stops drinking unless overtaken, one way or another, by unconsciousness.

Secondly, he is master of the gratuitous insult. On discovering that someone is English, for example, he immediately shouts “You English bastard”. In the tourist season his repertoire expands, with variations ranging from “You German dickhead” and “You Finnish swine” to “You Estonian wanker”. If all else fails he seeks a different target group and lets fly with “You fucking biker” or “Sod off, you pig-faced skinhead”.

Thirdly, he never gives up. If an insult does not at first succeed in provoking, he tries and tries again (being indeed very trying). Such patience brings its own reward, often in the form of a visit to the local hospital.

Anthropologists from the University of Avalon have placed the Irish Rovers on their list of endangered tribes.

Irish Rovers:

  • Tribal refuge: Currently the Rifleman’s Arms
  • Favourite colour: Emerald Green, spangled with Scrumpy Orange and flecked with Bloody Nose Red
  • Favourite drink: Rubbing Alcohol, or else Punch
  • Favourite food: Guinness
  • Favourite film: Rocky XXIII
  • Tribal motto: “Veni, Vidi, Vinsulti” (I came, I saw, I insulted)

Eco-pagans – EA. Vol. V

Woods   Makeshift structure4

Encyclopaedia Avalonia, Vol. V …

The eco-pagans live in benders, domes, yurts and other shelters, hidden away in leafy glades and bushy coombes. But the encroachments of modern civilisation have forced these shy, rarely glimpsed peoples ever deeper into the woods and forests of Avalonia. Even worse, these last few descendants of ‘the folk’[1] must constantly hide from professional explorers sent by government to impose British citizenship and enforce compliance with housing regulations.

Amateur bounty-hunters, drawn locally from the ranks of Glastonburgers, join this relentless search, whilst officials from Sheepdip District Council aid the hue and cry with maps, satellite imaging and tracker-dogs. Yet against this whole panoply of the modern state and its vast array of detection techniques, the eco-pagans have only tree-craft, sling-shots and green skin.

At first sight it seems an unequal battle. But unbeknownst to the powers-that-be, the powers-that-were-and-will-be-again are with these plucky little folk. Yes, the Goddess is stirring; the Priestesses of the Nine-fold Muse evoke Her olden names and Pan of the Woods is once again abroad his ancient green domain.


  • Tribal refuge: Unknown
  • Favourite Only colour: Green
  • Favourite film director: Woody Allen
  • Favourite drink: Root beer
  • Favourite model: Twiggy
  • Favourite composer: Johann Sebastian Bark
  • Tribal motto: I was, I will, I wood


[1] See “faery folk”, Encyclopaedia Avalonia, Vol. V. Also see “Britons, ancient” (EA, Vol. II) and “Studies in Racial Genotypes and Gene-Pool Mixing” (published by the Dept. of Anthropology, University of Avalon).

Hedge Monkeys – EA Vol. VII


Encyclopaedia Avalonia, Vol. VII …

Hedge Monkeys are fledgling members of The Convoy (see here in Encyclopaedia Avalonia, Vol. XIII) who have not as yet found a Convoy to join … or even a live-in vehicle in which to Convoy.[1]

They do, however, have nearly the right sense of dress-code.[2] Enormous heavy boots, worn unlaced, are kept on at all times, even in the hottest heat wave. Dirty overcoats are de rigueur, as is dreadlocked, matted hair. Mud is glorified and cleanliness castigated as middle class, thus making a virtue out of necessity. The more fashion-conscious sport a cloth cap, a “twatting stick’“, and mangy dog (either a whippet or a Jack Russell) which they drag around on the end of a string lead.

The dog and stick are meant to give the impression of an earthy, rural, rabbit-hunting, tree-nutting, rogue ‘o the road life-style. However, most Hedge Monkeys are actually born and raised in London, and it is therefore no coincidence that “dog and stick” is in fact Cockney rhyming slang for “rural hick”.


The Bornabreds – EA Vol. II

peasants3 Peasants4

Encyclopaedia Avalonia, Vol. II …

The Bornabreds are a special case. Though born and bred locally, and despite their ranks including stout Glastonburgers (aka ‘peasants’), a few have crossed the Rubicon to become Glastafari. Others, perhaps with relatives to placate, have stopped short of such drastic action and moved sideways to become quite alternative [see “altered natives”, Encyclopaedia Avalonia, Vol. I].

Man X [name removed] is a prime example of the Bornabred tribal genre. Whilst he bravely sat on the management committee of the controversial Assembly Rooms, the internal committee minutes from this period note that he “… wanted to stress that he was not a Hippy but a ‘normal Person’“. Unhappily this claim to normalcy was severely undermined when his previous career as a military policeman at RAF Waddington was uncovered. Even so, Man X is credited with describing the quintessential existentialist dichotomy of all true Bornabreds when he said “Every time I get two or three miles away from Glastonbury I feel like going on for ever and ever.” Unsurprisingly, therefore, he is resigned to his popular nickname – “Bondage”.


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