“The Goddess in Glastonbury at Samhain”: a film directed by Kathy Jones
Reviewed by Miriam Raven
This DVD was filmed in 1989 at Samhain, marking the special time of year when the veils between this world and the otherworld are thin and the dark Goddess is visible in the land. This film is a rare and visionary treasure for all Goddess-loving people who want to experience her nature in the mystical landscape of Glastonbury-Avalon. In 90 minutes, it weaves a tapestry of myth, storytelling, stunningly intense scenes of ceremony and ritual dance, landscape impressions, and scholarly explorations of the nature of the Goddess.
We are taken on this magical journey to Annwn, the Celtic underworld, by a swan, one of the Goddess' sacred creatures. This story of the Lady's transforming touch which ultimately leads to regeneration and an expansion of personal consciousness frames the film.
When the mists veil the Isle of Avalon, the sacred landscape of the Goddess is presented in all its magic. Watching the film makes one feel as if being completely immersed in the nature of the dark Goddess, the Lady of mists and mystery. The heart of the film is the initiation in the dark cave of the Goddess at Samhain when Avalon is shown all its beauty and wonder as the legendary Western Isle of the Dead, a place of deep spiritual transformation and rebirth, of death and the promise of regeneration.
This collage of information, ceremony, and Celtic myths provides an introduction to the dark and light aspects of the Goddess, embodied as Bridie and Mary Magdalene. The yearly cycle of the Goddess is shown and explained and we encounter her as Maiden, Mother, and Crone as she shows herself in nature.
Wonderful inspired music (among others by Oshia Drury and Lydia Lite), and otherworldly scenes of ritual and shamanic dance are blended with interviews with artists and scholars involved in the revival of the Goddess. We encounter sculptor Phillipa Bowers in her studio creating statues of the Goddess. Author Geoffrey Ashe explains the historical and spiritual significance of the Mary Chapel in Glastonbury Abbey, both for Pagans and Christians, while scholar Dr. Serena Roney-Dougal talks about the geographical and psychological feminine power of Glastonbury-Avalon. All this is linked by a pilgrimage to sacred sites of the Goddess as she manifests herself in the landscape of Glastonbury, in the seasonal activities of those who live in tune with her nature, and in her sacred animals. We are taken on an inspiring, mythical, otherworldly pilgrimage which leads to Bride's Mound, into the gardens and to the red water of Chalice Well, to the ruins of Glastonbury Abbey and the Tor labyrinth. The pilgrimage finally culminates in an initiation into her mysteries.
Everyone curious about the nature of the Goddess and the Isle of Avalon will enjoy this journey to the feminine side of the divine. At times weird, mystical, and inspiring, the film mirrors the quality of the dreamtime one enters when entering the Lady's Avalon.
The Goddess in Glastonbury at Samhain: The Light and Dark Goddess as She makes herself known within the landscape, wildlife and culture of Glastonbury and Annwn. Available from Kathy Jones.
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