“The fairest thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion which stands at the cradle of true art and true science.”
So I was thumbing through a guidebook and ended up on the page for Lourdes (which sounds like a pretty serious pain in the a$$ to get to), when I got the idea to maybe make make mini-pilgrimages to all the “notable” healing spots on my route (or kind of off of it: see Lourdes). In trying to figure out where these places may be, I haven’t come up with much.
It looked a little new age-y, and I’m not entirely sure what its primary function is as a site, but beliefnet.com was kind enough to list the top ten most healing places in the world. They are, in countdown order (drum roll, please…)
10. Russian Banyas Sandunovskie Banya, Moscow
9. Shrine to Pele, Hawaii
8. Japanese Onsen, Shikoko Island
7. Lago Atitlan, Guatemala
6. Table Mountain, South Africa
5. Chichen Itza, Mexico
4. Matha Amritananandamayi Mission, Amritapuri, India
3. Lourdes, France!
2. Sedona, Arizona
1. The Dead Sea, Israel
So basically, that was not helpful at all. I did a little more (pointed) rooting around and came up with:
Glastonbury, in Southwest England’s county of Somerset, was once known as the Isle of Avalon. The place has been sacred long before the dawn of recorded history. Ancient Celtic religious leaders performed rituals here, and legends tell of tunnels leading into the realm of the elves and fairies. Glastonbury is associated with Jesus, King Arthur and UFOs.
Dominating the skyline is St. Michael’s Tower on Glastonbury Hill, where there have been several reports of mysterious lights. A local policeman saw “eight egg-shaped objects … hovering in formation over the hill,” and another observer reported “several green and mauve lights hovering around the tower.” Martin Gray, a renowned expert on sacred places, says he slept in the tower one night, during which he saw “the interior of the tower radiantly aglow with a luminous white light.”
A Christian legend says that, as a child, Jesus visited Glastonbury with his uncle, Joseph of Arimathea. It is also said that Joseph returned with the Apostle Philip in 37 c.e. Joseph supposedly leaned on his walking stick, which took root and grew into a thorn tree that bloomed every Christmas until Puritans chopped it down in the17th century. Joseph and Philip are credited with building the first Christian church in England, on the site where Glastonbury abbey was later constructed.
In Chalice Well, Joseph is said to have hidden the chalice of the Last Supper, the Holy Grail. Miraculous cures have been credited to the well’s healing waters. The design motif on the well cover is the vesica piscis, an ancient pre-Christian symbol which evolved into the Christian fish. It represents the blending of masculine and feminine, the yin and yang, and the meeting-place of the conscious and unconscious.”
Jesus, King Arthur, and UFOs (!) – sounds like an Indiana Jones movie! Or the rantings of a crazy person. Or anything to do with the Masons… Regardless, if this is all the healing Europe has to offer, I guess I could knock these two out during my three month journey. I kind of wanted to go to Loch Ness because “Nessie” and I (more or less) share a name in common, no harm in also dropping in on the Holy Grail while I’m in the neighborhood.