Long ago, in the Before Time — before Breixt, before Trump, before COVID — I began writing a fantasy/adventure series for my grandsons. Any dedicated reader of Postcards… will be aware of this, as I keep banging on about it. Previously, however, I have only talked in general about the series; today I am going to mention something quite specific.
The series involves Arthurian legend and a stone—an obsidian Scrying Mirror called the Talisman—that holds the power to save the Land or, in the wrong hands, destroy it. The good thing about writing fantasy (something I had never envisioned doing) is that you can make shit up. So, I did.
The Talisman gets its power from Brighid (an actual goddess, supposedly the origin of the goddess Britannia) and becomes even more powerful when placed in the Sacred Temple hidden deep beneath the Glastonbury Tor.
The Tor is a place imbued with mystery, which made it the ideal location to hide a sacred temple. But how does one get at that Temple? What I came up with was the idea of a big, round stone, set into the side of the tor. The stone would mark the entrance to the underground temple and, to open the gateway, they had to…but that would be telling. What I can tell you is, I arbitrarily set it on the south side at the 5th level, simply to make it hard to get to as well as to avoid having it at the top, a location where there is, quite obviously, no large, round stone.
Earlier this year, while writing the final book, I needed to take another look at the Tor to help set up a scene, so I fired up Google Maps, as I have done countless times in the past. This time, however, I noticed something new: a location indicator pointing to something called the Egg Stone. A quick check revealed that this was the stone I had been writing about all along, without even knowing it was there.
The Egg Stone (said by some to be the “Dragon Egg” laid out by the Dragon of Avalon) has been there probably as long as the tor, and over the years has become mythologized as the gateway to the underworld, which is exactly what it is in my books. Even more coincidentally, it is in the same location as the stone in my books—the south side, on the 5th level.
It was a weird feeling, discovering that the fictional stone I had been writing about for eight years actually existed. I felt I needed to go see it in person so, on a lovely, sunny day in September—while my wife and I were on holiday in Somerset—we made a side trip to the Tor.
|Level 5 on the South Side|
We walked to the top, enjoyed the views, and then I set off to find the Egg Stone. It wasn’t difficult locating it—I’ve known exactly where it sits for years—but getting to it wasn’t easy, which is how it is in the books. I scrambled up a nearly vertical slope, dodging sure-footed sheep, prickly bushes and stingy nettles, to find it as I imagined, nestled in the slope rising from the fifth level. I was really chuffed, but there was no one to share my moment with. Then a woman came down the slope, wearing sandals, a psychedelic tee-shirt and glittery harem pants. She descended to the level ground and gave me no notice, even when I greeted her. Instead, she placed her hands on the Egg Stone and just sort of stood there, touching it.
|The Egg Stone, right where I said it would be.|
I figured that must be the thing to do, so I joined her, placing both my hands on the rock, but I didn’t feel anything, just cold stone and a rising embarrassment. Having achieved my goal, I left her to it, not bothering to say, “Good-bye” as I left.
Good thing, too, as I later found this review of the Egg Stone:
“A very peaceful and very spiritual place. I wouldn’t disrespect it by taking photos. The best way is to go and experience it quietly and respectfully.”
So, I was a New Age Boor because I did both. But then she didn’t feature it in a fantasy/adventure epic, so I guess we’re even.