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Excerpted from Crossing to Avalon by Jean Shinoda Bolen. Copyright © 1994 by Jean Shinoda Bolen. Excerpted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.  All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.  HTML and web pages copyright © by SpiritSite.com.

"Glastonbury was also the fictional location where one could cross through the mists to Avalon, the realm of the Goddess."

Jean Shinoda Bolen
Crossing to Avalon
, Part 1

Invitation: Pilgrimage

I opened the bulky envelope that had come in the day’s mail and found an invitation that would change my life. A total stranger was inviting me on a pilgrimage. She intended that I might "experience my spiritual sources" and so was proposing a pilgrimage to sacred sites in Europe. I recognized the names of some of the places she suggested I visit – Chartres Cathedral in France; Glastonbury, England; and Iona, an island off the coast of northern Scotland. And she had timed the trip so that I could meet the Dalai Lama, who would be in the Netherlands when I arrived. 

The packet contained the letter of invitation, dated February 6, 1986, from Mrs. Elinore Detiger of the Tiger Trust, the Netherlands; a check; and a beautiful handmade gold pendant in the shape of a vesica piscis. I would later find that this was the same design as on the wellhead of the Chalice Well at Glastonbury, the well in which the Grail was once supposedly hidden.

Glastonbury, England, was a place that had been alive in my imagination for years, ever since I had had a dream through which I made a connection with this site. Here exist the ruins of what was once the greatest Christian abbey in Britian, which was reputed to be the site of the first humble church to be consecrated to Mary, the mother of Jesus. Glastonbury was also the fictional location where one could cross through the mists to Avalon, the realm of the Goddess.

This amazing gift of pilgrimage actually had its origins in Glastonbury, where though a series of coincidental events, my book, Goddess in Everywoman had reached Mrs. Detiger. A woman from Glastonbury had visited San Francisco several months before and had been given a copy of Goddess in Everywoman by a friend who also knew me. She had then taken it back to Glastonbury and was in the midst of reading it when Mrs. Detiger paid her a visit, discovered the book, and decided to bring its author to Europe. Originally, she had thought that she was supposed to bring me to Europe to speak about the women’s movement, and then something – call it her intuition – made her extend this invitation to go on a pilgrimage instead.

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