Twice in recent weeks I have had the honour of helping Morgana West, the Unity Candle’s Handmaiden, at public events. The first – to send a message of Light, sympathy and love to all citizens affected by recent atrocities in London and Manchester – was filmed by Laura Zaky Wolfers and is up on YouTube. The second, last Sunday’s Mayoral Procession and service at St John’s Church, I shall write about in a sister post to this one.
But first, I share with you Morgana’s words – for she knows far more about the history and purpose of this beautiful and sacred Candle, and its distinctive lantern home, than I do.
The History of the Glastonbury Unity Candle
In 2009, Morgana West explored the idea of creating candles that could be used to represent Glastonbury. Starchild, a local shop, offered to source and sell them on behalf of Glastonbury Pilgrim Reception Centre. The colour was chosen and, in 2010, the initiative was launched. Each 12 x 2 inch candle is charged with a unique magical herbal infusion made with herbs, trees and flowers including the Glastonbury Thorn. These have been collected in tune with the cycles of the moon from various sites in and around Glastonbury. Blue was chosen because there is a deep spiritual significance to it and is seen in many cultures and beliefs, representing faith, devotion, peace, inner knowledge, love, tranquillity and harmony.
MW – Diary entry – Thursday 15th July 2010
The Glastonbury Unity Candle was activated today in a moving ceremony that was attended by the PRC team; each one representing a different faith, path or belief.
Everyone took turns in anointing the candle which was then placed in its splendid ‘house’ and lit by the Chair of the PRC, Elisabeth Tham. Her opening words were: “We ask that the Glastonbury Candle will be a constant reminder to all of us that we are all part of the One and help us to be accepting, open and loving towards all the people we meet, regardless of our different backgrounds and opinions. Let us learn to work together in a creative and non-competitive way to do what is best for Glastonbury and the wider world.”
Everyone in the circle then spoke a few words focusing on the intent of the candle to represent the weaving together of all the different, glorious threads that make up this remarkable place. Without each unique thread, Glastonbury would not be what it is.
As we all joined hands and silently focused on the Intent, a powerful wave of energy rolled through the ceremony, physically moving everyone as if on a tidal surge of the Avalon waters. It is our hope that this wave of energy will continue throughout the town and into the wider world.
We are all unique; we are all different – yet the Light that resides in us all is the Divine Spark that links us into the One Whole. May the Glastonbury Candle represent the Whole; may its Light shine out into the world; may we all work together in peace, love, harmony and unity and enjoy the differences that make up this wonderful microcosmic representation of the macrocosmic universe.
Since then, the Candle has visited hundreds of events and, in its familiar lantern, has been taken to ceremonies and events of all kinds, attending churches, temples and sacred venues, weddings, anniversaries, christenings, funerals, talks, workshops, conferences, civic events, festivals and concerts. It also stands on the Glastonbury Town Council table every month – and all members of the council and public are asked to stand and, following its lighting, observe a Minute’s Silence. A key harmonising factor in Glastonbury, it has also been used to bring the community together in vigils for peace and understanding. Hundreds, if not thousands, of replicas of the Candle have been taken to countries all over the world, perpetuating its light and its message.
Each host lights the Candle in a way that is appropriate to them so they are personally and energetically engaged in the physical process of igniting the light…and their own light within. Being pro-actively involved in the journey of the Glastonbury Unity Candle, and the bringing the flame to life, reminds us that our individual thoughts and deeds are a vital and integral part of the whole. The flame has been ceremoniously lit by people of many different faiths and beliefs, all bringing their energy into this simple representation that speaks a common language.
Apologies for the font differences: Despite working on this for three hours, I have been unable to correct the problem.
Part 2 to follow…