The People, Past and Present
Of the resident population, around one third 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’, often referred to as the Avalonians, are people of various ages who have achieved a sustainable way of living, often with a good standard of education, training and life experience and;
- 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
During the mid-eighties, the Avalonian community was 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, 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 contributing and benefitting the local community as a whole.
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.
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.
This area within Glastopedia includes people, past and present, that have been causative to transformative processes and lists their contributions.