Glastonbury Unity Candle
The Glastonbury Unity Candle 2010 – present
Blue is said to be a colour of spiritual significance and understood to represent faith, devotion, peace, inner knowledge, love, tranquillity and harmony. Shades of blue were chosen as the livery colours of the Pilgrim Reception Centre and it was a natural process to choose blue as the colour of the Candle. To further develop its Glastonbury nature, the wax was infused with herbs, trees and flowers, including The Glastonbury Thorn, that have been gathered in and around Glastonbury during particular cycles of the moon.
To build on its connection with Glastonbury, the team at the Pilgrim Reception Centre devised a way in which to bring the energy of the people of Glastonbury into the Candle, which was described as ‘an excellent representation of the Whole that is Glastonbury and goes some small way in helping to celebrate our ethos of honouring all paths’, and created a simple ongoing pilgrimage in which the Candle, in a brass lantern would be passed around allthe diverse facets of the Glastonbury community.
The Pilgrimage of the Candle
The candle was first lit and blessed in a ceremony at the Pilgrim Reception Centre in July 2010; those in attendance representing a portion of the different beliefs in the town. From that day onwards, the Candle has been passed around the town to different community groups/organisations to light and bless in a manner appropriate to them.
The Glastonbury Candle in its lantern has spent time at many diverse venues and events and has been lit by people of a wide range of faiths and beliefs. Not only does it attend many religious sites, it also sits on the Town Council table at the monthly meetings, attends different rites of passage such as weddings and funerals, spent time at a diverse range of talks, workshops and conferences, craft fairs, book launches, music events, shops and businesses. It has been lit by a range of well-known personalities at opening ceremonies and, in 2015, led the Mayor’s Parade through the town. For a list of just a few of the venues and events it has attended, see the table below.
Glastonbury 2012 - A Celebration of Harmony and Healing
Glastonbury 2012 – A Celebration of Harmony and Healing was an event organised by Morgana West of the Pilgrim Reception Centre and William Knight, then Mayor of Glastonbury to showcase the diverse beliefs and healing that can be found in Glastonbury was held at Chalice Well, led by the Mayor. The message of the event was to to mark and celebrate the significance of Unity through Diversity. The Glastonbury Candle was a focal point, being lit at 8.30am, then carried in its lantern on a flower-bedecked bier throughout the town by more than fifty representatives of different Glastonbury faith organisations and beliefs.
Stopping at places special or relating to a number of groups and individuals (including private houses) the procession was inclusive, and while representatives of different groups participated in the central ritual of candle lighting they were able to make distinctive but non-confrontational declarations of their worldviews, and the focus was on blessing Glastonbury as a whole.
Following this event, the Glastonbury Candle became referred to as the Glastonbury Unity Candle, and its name was changed accordingly.
Around the World
Hundreds of Glastonbury Unity Candles have now gone out all over the four corners of the world, where people of diverse cultures and beliefs have lit the flame to both connect with the message and a place that has had an impact on their lives.
Glastonbury Town was Twinned with Patmos in Perpetuity in 2008; the first twinning to occur between the UK and Greece. The essence of Twinning is to provide a bridge of goodwill as well as a rich potential for cultural, social, educational and spiritual exchange for all kinds of people who visit these two places for a range of reasons. - Stella Zingas, a Pilgrim Reception Centre volunteer, went with the Glastonbury Town Twinning team to Patmos taking three candles with her in total. One was also presented to the Bishop of Patmos, one to the Council of Patmos and the third, after being blessed by the Bishop of Patmos, was taken into the Cave of Apocalypse to be lit from the flame in there. This flame was then brought back and introduced to the activated Flame in Glastonbury.
Cathedral of the Pines
A Glastonbury Candle was it at the Cathedral of the Pines in New Hampshire, USA, an outdoor place of worship for people of all faiths, during their 65th anniversary celebrations marked by a Peace Day for all religions. The Cathedral of the Pines is a non-profit corporation and a memorial to the nations war dead..
A few of the venues and events the Glastonbury Unity Candle has attended...
- 24 hours with the Naqshabandi Sufis
- 24 hours with the Sai Baba group
- Abbey House
- An evening with the Golden Sufis
- Archangel Michael Healing Centre
- Arimathean Retreat
- Bishop's Palace - Wells
- Bride’s Mound
- Bushy Coombe
- Chalice Well
- Chalice Well Unity Conference – with Ervin László, Satish Kumar, Glennie Kindred & Steve Nation
- Charminster Spiritualist Church - Hampshire
- Church of St John the Baptist
- Divine Light Centre
- Dreamtime House
- Earth Day ceremony – Wearyall Hill
- Earth Vigil in the Goddess Hall
- Glastonbury Academic Symposium
- Glastonbury Anthroposophical Group
- Glastonbury Community Conference
- Glaston Group
- Glastonbury 2012 – A Celebration of Harmony and Healing
- Glastonbury Abbey
- Glastonbury Buddhist Community
- Glastonbury Goddess Conference
- Glastonbury Harvest Show
- Glastonbury Learning OtherWise (G.L.O.W)
- Glastonbury Methodist Church
- Glastonbury Natural Health Centre
- Glastonbury Thorn Community Day
- Glastonbury Tor
- Glastonbury Town Council Meetings - every month
- Goddess Temple
- Handfasting on Dartmoor
- Healing Waters Sanctuary with Geshe Lama Ahbay Rinpoche
- Isle of Avalon Foundation
- Lighting the beacon on the Tor for Queen Elisabeth II's Diamond Jubilee
- Mayor’s Sunday - Service and Parade
- Olympic Torch Relay
- Open Day and Christmas Fayre at the Camino
- Opening Ceremonies of the Glastonbury Frost Fayre
- Park Wood
- Red Brick Building
- Remembrance Sunday
- Road to Peace Pilgrimage
- St. John’s Flower Festival
- St. Margaret’s Chapel
- St. Mary’s
- Stone Age
- Tercentennial Labyrinth in St. John's churchyard
- The Covenstead
- The Glaston Group
- The Glastonbury Peace Pole planting
- The Glastonbury Zodiac Pilgrimage
- The Library of Avalon
- The White Spring
- Under the Stars gathering
- United Reformed Church
- Walk for Harmony Pilgrimage
- [[Wearyall Hill]
- Winter Solstice ceremony - 21st December 2012 on Glastonbury Tor
- Witches' Market
- With Chamtrul Lobsang Gyatso Rinpoche
- With members of the community at a special evening to celebrate three years of the Pilgrim Reception Centre in St Mary’s Church Hall
- With the Bishop of Bath and Wells during a Glastonbury Town blessing at the Market Cross