Opening the Doorway to the Chalice Well

My Call to the Sacred by Melissa Min

I was first called to the Chalice Well one hot and heavy afternoon, feeling lonely, tired and deeply overwhelmed by increasing responsibility. A friend told me, over a cup of tea and a kind conversation, that there was so much more to Womanhood than being a wife, a mother or a functioning member of society. She spoke to me of powerful ancient Priestesses, gatherings of empowered women, of community and Sisterhood.  There was a place called Glastonbury, she said, that was the gateway to the ancient land of Avalon, where Priestesses celebrated the Ancient Rites and Sacred Ceremonies were held to honor a women’s power. Where deep wisdom explained the natural cycles of the Feminine, connection to the land was strong and connection to each other was deeply revered. I was utterly enchanted. My call to the Sacred had begun.

A few months later I arrived in Glastonbury with my two very young daughters. I told them we were going on an adventure to a sacred place to the top of a very big hill. We arrived in Glastonbury and walked up the winding pathways to the top of the Tor – a tall hill on the outskirts of the town where sacred ruins sit.  It is said that when you reach the top, on a clear day,  you can glimpse the land of Avalon through the mists. It was a steep climb over hundreds of steps and I had to carry my youngest on my back as I bribed the other daughter with packets of biscuits so we could make it to the top. I wanted desperately to smell the apple blossom on the breeze and walk on the earth that had the energy of sacred Circles. We all sat, enchanted, as the gentle rains fell and we saw out across the valley. Patchworks of green lay before us and we breathed in the fresh abundance of magic that sits deeply in the lay lines of this land.

We ventured down the hill and into the vale where the Chalice Well lies.

Nestled in a beautiful living sanctuary of gardens,  it’s one of Britain’s best-loved Holy Wells. It’s quite literally, a place to soothe the soul and revive the spirits, regarded since ancient times as a sacred space of healing and restoration. Once known as ‘Red Spring’ or ‘Blood Spring’ because of the iron deposits in the water, legend aligns the Well with links to the blood of Christ and, even older, to a direct expression of the Goddess and unbounded life force.

We could feel the peace of this place so acutely in the bubbling streams of water and scurry of squirrels that even the little girls stood dumbfounded with eager eyes, like we had ventured into the heart of Narnia where real magic unfolded around us. We went to sit at the Lion’s Head where the holy water is safe to drink and we could grab handfuls in childlike delight. I drank feverishly and almost gluttonously in the hope that some kind of restorative miracle would take place, relieve me of my angst, give me patience and all the enlightened answers I so desperately sought.

We sat at the head of the Well and we noticed hundreds of little scrolls hanging in the trees – little prayers from travellers, hand written and rolled up with ribbon. I scribbled down a note asking for peace and clarity and strength and wisdom.  My eldest daughter wrote a note asking for a really nice, new pair of shiny shoes and the other prayed for a double scoop of ice cream in a really big cone. Bless their little hearts; we were all new to appropriate Pilgrimage etiquette at that stage.

We could literally feel the connection this land has to time, to ceremony, to the whisper of prayers on the wind through the ages. We sat at the edge of the Vesica Pool where the water swirled in figures of eight, watching in delight at the cascading ebbs and flows of the stream. We noticed the bright daffodils bloom and dance with the wind, standing tall in rich, dark brown soil, growing in full acknowledgement that eventually they would fade and wither, returning to the earth when their time was done. We took off our shoes and walked in the freezing sacred waters of King Arthurs Healing Pool where travellers have come since the middle of the 18th Century to heal their ailments.  We sat in the Angel Seat amongst the flowers and watched a group of women gathering in bright purple skirts to speak powerful verses in honor of the land, of spring time, of the changing seasons, of Sisterhood.

Silently, with a deep reverence and recognition, the three of us took it all in, softening, opening and marveling at the vibrancy of natures script, of the richness of these sacred spaces. Their timeless offerings, so nourishing and uplifting, that they coat you in an essence of Grace that sends you delicately on your way back out into the ordinary world with just a faint scent of magic on your skin and hope in your heart once again.

Fast-forward a decade later. My daughters and I have made regular Pilgrimages to this Holy Sacred place in Glastonbury over the years. Each time, we experience it anew. Our last journey to the Chalice Well, earlier this year was to carry the impulse of this place back home, ready for the beginning of a brand new Women’s Circle,  to be held here in the Perth Hills, with the desire to connect women to the work of Sisterhood, to Self, to the world, to the Sacred and to each other.

At The Sound Temple our first Women’s Circle, “Opening the Door to the Chalice Well, was held in November and was completely booked out. Facilitated and held by Dawn Steel , Helen McKenzie and myself , it was powerful, moving and uplifting for all involved in the process of deep transformation that day. Women’s work is powerful work. It is needed as much now as it ever was. It reconnects us with a feminine lineage and reminds us that we are part of something greater than ourselves. It gives us a sense of connection to space and place and each other in ways we all deeply long for. None of us are alone. So many of our stories as women intersect and interweave. We just need to share them with each other, to hold space for our mutual unfolding. To seek our tribe, our Sisterhood and places of compassionate belonging.

Find out more about the author – Melissa Min

We have been blessed to receive a few divine products produced by The Chalice Well in the UK which we have available for purchase in The Sound Temple Shop