We are in England. It is one of the greatest mysteries of Avalon, the legendary island featured in the Arthurian legend, that two different healing springs, one touched red with iron, the other white with calcite, should rise within a few feet of each other from the caverns beneath Glastonbury Tor, and both have healing in their flow.
The quaint sculpted gardens of the Chalice Well surround Glastonbury’s most famous natural water source, the Red Spring, so called for the iron oxide it deposits in its basin. But just opposite this famous site there is its counterpart: the White Spring.
Its name come from the calcite stains that the water leaves behind, and it is housed within a huge stone pump house from the Victorian era. Built to collect the natural waters of the spring, the well was soon abandoned because the high calcium content of the water constantly blocked up pipes.
The well house is windowless, and very dark, with the only light that comes from the doorways and from the hundreds of candles lining the walls and adorning the pagan shrines which fill the space. Most popular are shrines to Brigid (a Celtic fire goddess) honoured as guardian, Our Lady of Avalon, and the King of the Realm of Faery.
Benches line the walls, allowing visitors a (mostly) dry place to sit and soak up the unique ambiance: the archways of twisted branches above the shrines, its constant temperature, the sound of the perpetually flowing water, and the occasional prayer or chant.
The water flows out of the back wall and passes through a series of pools and channels all built with the principles of sacred geometry, before collecting in a wide central basin. Bathing is permitted there, though the water is very cold and the uneven stones can be slippery.
On the outside of the building is a tap where visitors and locals can collect the water of the White Spring.
A sign at the door warns visitors to enter at their own risk, citing the dangers of naked flames, deep water, and faerie portals.
Images from web – Google Research