Thursday, February 19, 2015

In Search Of Dion Fortune.

On Monday morning I was lying in bed as usual and reading a book I had found in a charity shop which was called 'The Battersea Park Road Road To Enlightenment' by Isabel Losada. I had only bought it because it was a signed copy and I thought it might be worth a few quid. I found it very funny and readable. In the first paragraph it said,'I want to find out how to live life completely, abundantly, joyfully, stupidly. This is my quest, Enlightenment. I'm not doing very well so far'.                                                                                 The words struck a chord with me. It seemed to be about me. It was all about this adventure of self discovery and personal growth involving Insight Seminars,Ta'i Chi, Astrology, Tantric Sex, Re-incarnation, Hypnotism, and loads of other stuff. " I want some of this", I thought to myself. I was thinking more of the tantric sex. Anyway I decided that if the weather was nice on Tuesday morning I would get out of Westbury and where better to go to than Glastonbury, the world centre for spiritual growth and new age alternative life-styles. I only live 25 miles from Glastonbury and I have been there loads of times so I needed a new reason to go. To do something that I had never done there before.Then I remembered another book I had read a couple of years ago called Glastonbury,Avalon Of The Heart by Dion Fortune. I had discovered this book because of being a Van Morrison fan. On Van's album Enlightenment  there is a song with a similar title and I am convinced that the book was the inspiration for the song. Glastonbury is situated in the Vale Of Avalon which was a huge influence for Van in the 1980's. Dion Fortune lived in a tiny house at the foot of Glastonbury Tor and when she died in 1946 she was buried in Glastonbury cemetery. I decided that I would go and see if I could find her grave. I put my copy of the book in a plastic bag and  and put a little note in it saying whoever finds the book is welcome to it and I sealed it with sellotape to keep out the rain. This is what I was going to leave on the grave of Dion Fortune. Crazy I know but as Van might say, " It ain't why, it just is". If you have never heard of Dion Fortune then I suggest that you read about her on Wikipedia, I can't be bothered to tell you all about her here when you can find it all at the click of a mouse.
 I stayed out of the pub on Monday night and woke up Tuesday morning feeling really good and the sun was streaming through the window. It was a beautiful day as I set out for Glastonbury. I arrived there about 11.45 and I couldn't check into my hotel till 2.00 so I wandered the streets taking photos of the crazy shop signs. One shop was called 'Enlightenment' which reminded me of the Van album. Glastonbury has a very strong feminine vibe to it. Lots of goddess's walking around dressed in hippy type garb. One or two smiled at me. "I bet they are getting loads of tantric sex", I thought to myself wistfully. Then I had a look in a museum that I had never visited before. It was really interesting, all about the Iron Age people that used to live around here. Some of the pottery and tools they used were amazing and they even had an Iron Age canoe which had been discovered locally. The Tourist Information Office was in the same building and I asked the lady if she could direct me to the cemetery. She gave me a bit of a funny look. I think it is because tourist information ladies usually get asked about hotels  or bus timetables, not cemeteries. Anyway,she told me to go to the top of the High Street and turn left and it was about half a mile.

          Fifteen minutes later I arrived at the cemetery entrance. Inside the deserted graveyard there was a really peaceful atmosphere, not a cloud in the sky and just the sound of birdsong disturbing the tranquillity. I had expected my intuition would lead me to the grave like a holy magnet but after a few minutes I realised that I had a major problem. There were hundreds of graves, a lot of them covered in lichen and so worn that you couldn't hardly read the inscription. I wandered up and down the rows for about half an hour looking at graves that looked about 70 years old. "This is impossible", I thought to myself and was beginning to despair.
                                                                             Then I noticed a van parked nearby with a man in it eating sandwiches. " He must be a gravedigger or a sexton or whatever you call them", I thought, "He might be able to help". He put down his sandwich and gave a cheery smile. "I wonder if you can help me, I'm trying to locate a grave but I don't have a clue where it is. Violet Mary Evans better known as Dion Fortune". " I know exactly where it is", he replied, "You're not the first person to ask me about that grave,I'll show you it". " Oh brilliant, thanks mate".

 He led me up towards  the far end of the cemetery and then down a few rows and there it was, my quest was over. I had found the grave of Dion Fortune. I thanked him and shook hands and he left me alone at the graveside. Even after 69 years she obviously still had visitors because there were recent flowers left there and various trinkets and things. I took a few photos and then I noticed just a few feet away the grave of  her patron and secretary in the Fraternity Of The Inner Light Charles Thomas Loveday who died in 1948 so I took a photo of that as well.

 Then I got the book out of my bag and placed it on Dion's grave. The book she had written all those years ago. I hope somebody finds it soon and enjoys it. Then I made a little video which you can see below if you scroll down. I left the cemetery feeling quite pleased  with myself. Mission accomplished. Walking back down the High Street I spotted a second-hand bookshop and thought I would have a look in. There was a huge range of books on all sorts of topics such as the occult, mysticism,theosophy etc and guess what was almost the first book I saw in there?. Yes,Glastonbury, Avalon Of The Heart by Dion Fortune. The rest of my 24 hours in Glastonbury was good fun. The 15th century hotel The George And Pilgrim is nice. Kim and I stayed there a few times previously. I had a nice meal and saw a band in the hotel next door. Next morning I climbed the Tor which was beautiful and then I sat in the Chalice Well gardens for about an hour basking in the sun which was amazing for February and I had a drink of the cool water to quench my thirst and then I hopped in a taxi to Castle Cary and caught the train to Westbury. Today it is back to being dark, rainy and miserable so I am really pleased I chose the best two days to go away and I have even started writing again so thank you very much Dion Fortune for inspiring me from beyond the grave.