Glastonbury Abbey Meditation and Prayer Walk
Glastonbury Abbey is a place of Christian hospitality. In that spirit, we welcome people of all faiths and of no faith. And we invite you to enjoy our Prayer and Meditation Moments.
For hundreds of years this beautiful abbey was a place of worship, of learning and of sanctuary. As you enter its grounds, you may want to contemplate that your life is a spiritual journey.
Wherever you approach one of the areas indicated on the map, slow down and pause. Take the opportunity to breathe calmly and find peace within yourself. Then, if it feels right, follow the brief instructions.
You can do as many or as few of these Prayer and Meditation Moments as you choose. There is no particular sequence to them so you can do them in any order that works for you. We have however mapped two walks – a short one and a long one – which you might want to explore.
ST PATRICK’S CHAPEL
Many people came to Glastonbury Abbey for healing. Sit quietly in this chapel. As best you can, breathe calmly and allow your body to sink and be at ease. Quietly say this prayer:
I am open to receive the gift of healing.
May all people and creatures be blessed with good health.
This Glastonbury Thorn tree flowers twice a year in Winter and in Spring, like a Middle Eastern thorn. Legend suggests that it is a cutting from an ancient line of trees that dates back to the visits of Joseph of Arimathea, the uncle of Jesus. Quietly contemplate:
How wonderful that the cells of this tree carry its history and its future.
May I always see the connections and wonder of all life.
LADY CHAPEL Upper Level
This chapel is dedicated to the worship and celebration of Mary the mother of Christ. The divine female can be found in many spiritual traditions. Quietly say this prayer:
Mother of the world, help me to love and care for all beings.
ST JOSEPH’S CHAPEL Lower Level
There are legends that Joseph, the uncle of Jesus, came to this very spot bringing the chalice from the Last Supper. Walk slowly and mindfully towards the altar. Quietly say this prayer:
I am grateful that I am safe and have a home.
May all people have a safe home.
Legend states that King Arthur and Queen Guinevere are buried here. Their court was home to the Round Table of chivalrous and brave knights. Quietly say this prayer:
In a world of injustice may I have the strength, courage and wisdom to support and champion the weak and vulnerable.
Here in the cloister the monks walked slowly, praying and contemplating life. See how slowly you can walk around the cloister and at the same time calm your breathing.
May I be slow and calm. May I be wiser and more loving. Help me understand life’s difficulties and guide me into clarity.
In this kitchen food was prepared daily for the Abbot’s visitors. Quietly say this prayer:
The food I eat comes from nature, plants, animals, farmers, transporters, traders and cooks. I give thanks to all of them.
May everyone be fed and well.
A monastic Herb garden would have supplied medicines, aromas and flavours. Quietly say this prayer:
I give thanks for the beautiful diversity and healing power of nature; and I give thanks too for the gardeners and their care.
Every year this beautiful orchard gives an abundant harvest of apples. Quietly say this prayer:
Thank you mother nature for your beauty and your abundance. May I always remember and care for you.
FISH POND (Lower)
Water is one of the four ancient elements. Earth. Water. Air. Fire. This beautiful pond is cradled by earth. It is filled with water.Airand wind play on it. Light from the fireof the sun reflects from its surface. Quietly say this ancient prayer:
Earth my body. Water my blood. Air my breath. And Fire my spirit.
I am one with All That Is.
WILDLIFE POND (Upper)
‘Ask the animals,’ said St Francis, ‘and they will teach you the beauty of this earth.’ At this pond we find fish and fowl. Pause. Calm your breath and be at ease. Notice the fish, the birds, and the insects. Be aware too of the sky and the hills around you. Feel the air against your skin. Quietly say this prayer:
I give thanks for the blessings and gifts of all animals. May all creatures be treated with care and respect.
PARK AREA – BODY PRAYER
There is a beautiful tradition of moving your body in tune with a prayer.
Slowly raise your arms above your head and stretch upwards:
The universe is filled with mystery and love.
Slowly bring your hands down and place them over your heart:
I too am filled with mystery and love.
Lower your hands so that your palms face the earth – or kneel down and touch the earth:
I bless the Earth and all living beings.
Repeat the action as many times as you like.
In this area we celebrate untamed nature – God’s garden. Be quiet. Imagine our whole planet and humanity living in complete harmony with the natural world. Quietly say this prayer:
From the tiniest insect and wild flower, out to the greatest ocean and mountain, may I celebrate the beauty of all creation.
Choose any tree that you like. In many spiritual traditions, trees are a symbol of strength and wisdom. Pause and imagine that you are a tree. Imagine and sense that you have roots growing deep into the ground. Feel the strength of your trunk. Feel the flexibility and movement of your branches.Quietly say this prayer:
In a world of endless change and noise, may I be like this tree – strong, flexible and wise.
You can view and download a PDF of this leaflet on the Glastonbury Abbey website: https://www.glastonburyabbey.com/resources/glastonbury_abbey_meditation_and_prayer_walk.pdf
Thank you so much for sharing these beautiful meditational prayers – really lovely and very inspiring!
Thank you for these prayers. I like the way that they encompass everybody, everything, every space, Very grounding for me as I read them, I can use some of these prayers on my walks in the beautiful landscape where I live.
Thank you for these meditations. They touched me so deeply, soothing, calming, healing and inspiring me in profound ways.
I want to do this precious Glastonbury Abbey Meditation and Walk. I visited Glastonbury briefly a couple of years ago.
As a very young woman I left England to go to a country faraway. On that outbound journey I sense I carried the seeds of the inbound trip that sought their flowering away. Now in my seventies I sense my ‘work’ is to bring back myself and what has bloomed, through all sorts of challenges, to my first home. The feelings of my heart.
Meditations such as you have written also help to strengthen this leap forward. The Law of Gestation has been very precise insisting on ‘slow…’ of time itself being transformed.
Thank you William for these beautiful prayers. They have left me with feelings of Peace & Hope.
Thank you William for this beautiful meditation, which weaves the history and meaning of the Abbey into moving around the space. Reading through it rooted me to the spot here in my living room, but transported me there if you know what I mean.