Patrick Benham, writing in The Avalonians, a reference work of historical and social significance concerning the activities of a small group of people in Glastonbury during the turning of the 19th / 20th century, writes, ‘It was Dion Fortune who coined the term ‘Avalonians’ for the particular generation of Glastonbury seekers that she found herself among.’
See here the articles on The New Avalonians written by Atasha Fyfe.
1970's and 1980's
During the 1970’s and 1980’s, the Avalonian community was still small; most of the members knew each other and were involved in a number of local projects. The long-term market town residents recognised these newcomers, but tended to not always be sympathetic with their activities. Today, in the 21st century, the Avalonian population has grown in number, alongside a developing understanding by the conventional town, in that these unusual services are attracting more and more visitors, whilst the majority contribute and benefit the local community as a whole.
Into the 21st Century
In the early part of the 21st century, of the resident population, around one third of them would say they were ‘called’ to Glastonbury and many of those who have relocated to the town are supplying the specialised services needed to support the spiritual aspects of the place. This includes the material characteristics of the spiritual economy, being seen by many as intrinsic to the spiritual search. A majority of these ‘incomers’ are people of various ages who have achieved a sustainable way of living, often with a good standard of education, training and life experience. They also;
- Have a wide range of religious and spiritual beliefs, some of which are unconventional.
- Provide, manage and staff most of the sacred sites, centres, shops, therapies, courses and workshops serving the needs of visiting pilgrims
- Have a range of artistic and creative skills
People continue to be called to Glastonbury, and the Avalonian population steadily grows. New members are not as socially unconventional as might have been perceived in the past and Glastonbury now has a greater atmosphere that encourages and allows people to enhance their own level of consciousness, understanding and awareness. Many of these individuals continue to develop and are inspired to expand a life that is more satisfying than has previously been experienced, not only for their own family and themselves, but for the wider community around them.
Though this is welcomed by many, some local residents are disturbed by the growing unconventional nature of their town and originally, it seemed as if this lack of understanding was an obstruction to progress. Recently though, it has become clear that these differences have created a need for clarity of purpose and outreach to others; this in turn has led to a stronger awareness of the inter-dependence of all parts of the town. Collectively, there is a growing concern over global and cooperative issues, and the Avalonian and Market Town communities are steadily growing together in their discovery of common beliefs, hopes, and aims. Those who might be called Avalonians are no longer just those that have moved here, and more commonly, people who were born here have embraced the qualities of Avalon and consider themselves as Avalonians.
Building these bridges is leading towards a closer acceptance than would otherwise have been achieved. This growing awareness, of the value of all people and services, will hopefully, and eventually, lead to a balanced understanding of both a community, and a town, that continues to grow and develop against all the odds, in current, challenging climates. However, whilst the town does have a growing attentiveness of the parts of itself, there is still a great deal of fragmentation. Some groups and centres hold occasional events with the participation of the whole community but there is a still a lack of overall cooperation, communication and cohesion. Recent years have seen huge progress but there is still a way to go.
Return to The People, Past and Present page.
The Avalonians 15 August 2015 / MW UPDATED 20.08.15 / DP