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BARBARA WADDELL reports on this year’s annual Glastonbury event, the longest-running conference on crop circles and beyond…

At the eleventh Glastonbury Symposium: Investigating Crop Circles and Signs of our Times this year, a link was provided with last year’s event via Andy Thomas’s now traditional extravaganza that opens the Saturday. He began by theatrically evoking last year’s controversial after-dinner speaker... But wasn’t it Oscar Wilde who said that nothing could be taken seriously if you couldn’t laugh at it?

Andy was setting the theme of the Symposium – the importance of not giving away our power – especially to gurus, but also to the “paraphernalia” of “alternative” nostrums that we can allow to take over our lives. With his opening act, he demonstrated that not only had last year’s after-dinner speaker (temporarily?) given up his power to alcohol, but he had allowed his attendant acolytes to give up their power to their idea of him by doing his every bidding – though when sober, we gathered from Andy, he had later regained some of his power by attempting to explain. Stanley Messenger felt that the guy had actually been trying to say the same thing as Andy but in his inebriated state just got it hopelessly wrong. So, in a way, the compassion shown by Andy and Stanley enabled him to make a point in absence that he hardly made at the time!

On the Friday, there was, as always, an alternative programme. Good, that. We have to take responsibility for our choice: attend the lectures or go on the coach trip to view new formations.

I opted to attend all the daytime talks, but conserve my energies on the Friday and Saturday evenings. Thus it was that I denied myself the opportunity to enjoy Steve Alexander’s photo gallery of the latest crop circles to music, Karen Douglas talking about the philosophy she sees in them, and even a sight of some of them on the ground.

However, I was not alone in getting the impression that this year’s Symposium dealt much less than previously with crop circles as such. We certainly wasted little time on sterile, if heated, debate as to whether or not any are man-made! We could therefore focus on the realization that – as someone said during the weekend – crop circles are a portal. A portal, or gateway, leading to other vibrational dimensions of being. So I am interested in looking beyond them.

This indeed was the message of Janet Ossebaard’s talk on the Friday morning. For it seems to her that, while “the phenomenon doesn’t have the magic this year, we must look beyond the patterns” and find the circlemakers, who “show themselves as balls of light or however they choose.” Because of a copyright problem, she was almost unable to illustrate this with some original film footage until just a few days before. This circumstance pointed up for her the battle going on between intuitive trust and rational fear, and she urged us to overcome our fears. She believes that unless we do something – with passion – the phenomenon won’t develop further.

This need for passion had been emphasised by Denni Clarke, the opening speaker on the Friday, whose trust in the universe had been awakened by the phenomenon. Barbara Lamb agreed with them both on these issues before touching upon another theme that ran through the weekend – the vibrational frequencies of creative energy expressed in geometry. “We all have our own geometric frequencies, which activate the symbols of the circles.”

My intuition tells me that, if only because it would have no frequency, there can be no such thing as “nothing”, a concept I see as having been introduced into our culture for the sake of the pragmatic mathematics (with its clumsy irrational numbers) that superseded sacred geometry. The fear of nothingness is at the root of many of our rational fears. For this reason, many people responded warmly to Palden Jenkins, who spoke to their hearts when he talked of the struggle to get beyond a belief in the possibility of nothing.

Stanley Messenger compared us to butterflies, ready at last (with wings on the outside of the chrysalis) to enter the next phase, or dimension, or frequency, of our being. Unable, perhaps, to follow all his thought processes, some of the audience happily gave up listening to his words and slid into a blissful state of being embraced by his love, “on the bridge” between dimensions.

Nick Nicholson’s personal testimony to the existence of UFOs, and their connection in his experience with crop circles, was balanced by Nancy Talbott’s impressive stream of hard objective evidence for some of the physical effects of the formations – not “proof”, of course, of what they are or how they are produced, for such things cannot be proved. But scientific evidence is helpful in enabling sceptics to at least perceive the portal.

Members of the scientific community might perceive it if they could bring themselves to look at some remarkable film footage shown by Graham Birdsall, which provided conclusive evidence of UFOs accompanying a tethered satellite disappearing into space. The fact that the evidence is conclusive would, of course, be the reason why scientists cannot bring themselves to look at it. It would blow apart the world view on which they have built their lives (if only because removal of research facilities would no doubt follow their acceptance of the evidence).

Sadly, many “scientists” who have given up their true power in this way will, I predict, find that sooner or later the world moves on without them into a greater understanding of reality than the beliefs imposed by Church or science. And this will be in spite of the Vatican’s plans, reported by Graham Birdsall, to develop a “speculative theology” in anticipation of an official announcement of the existence of extraterrestrial life. After all, in a meeting with heads of religions on 11th December 1996, it appears that then President Clinton initiated a five year project to look into the possibility of “places where people might live” – and the Vatican has always undertaken a missionary role in new colonies… But such plans surely belong to the limited world view which our acceptance of extraterrestrial partners will render obsolete.

Another phenomenon that “challenges our everyday reality” is the crystal skulls found in Mexico, which Chris Morton and Ceri Louise Thomas talked about. It would appear that people can obtain information that must have been stored in them in some way. This implies a skill practised at an elementary level by a friend of mine. He injects an idea into an object which others later identify with a high rate of success. Perhaps more of us can learn from these artefacts to revive that kind of skill in the 21C.

Another personal witness to some of what lies beyond the portal is Ian Baillie, who produced overwhelming evidence for a past life. His lively and idiosyncratic presentation ensured that his hearers will not readily get him (and his 19C look-alike) out of their minds, which may then be triggered to recognise glimpses of their own far memory.

Geoff Stray got us to look at the Mayan prophecy that the “flaw in our DNA” will be corrected on 20th December 2012. That should re-enable some of our lost skills. But dowser Sig Lonegren reminded us of the continued need for a blend of the rational with the intuitive.

James D’Angelo focussed on the healing quality of sound. Consciousness, he said, is pulsation. He got us to join in OMming and also gave a virtuoso performance of individual overtones while intoning a single note. My hearing aids quarrelled with these vibrations but, when it came to the shamanic drumming by Lydia Lyte and Friends as the first part of the Sunday evening entertainment, I felt I was able to become one with the rhythm of everyone present. Not so for all of us. At least one person felt threatened. In other words, she discovered an area where she might be tempted to give up some of her power – but need not in future, now given the opportunity to recognise it.

Speaking of the Glastonbury Zodiac – an arrangement of fields that some people perceive in the landscape as depicting the signs of the zodiac – Paul Weston referred to Madame Blavatsky’s statement that “the pattern is in the heavens first”. And this concept of “as above, so below” would have been reflected in Adrian Gilbert’s evening talk on “Signs in the Sky”. All “signs of our times”?

Michael Glickman, illustrating the insights he has gained from the pictures of crop circles on his kitchen wall, says they vibrated at him to arrange them in threes and so on, so that he could demonstrate the fivefold and sevenfold nature of their geometry. I always get the feeling when I hear him that I am on the verge of understanding the intricacies of the subject.

When, however, I listened to Robin Heath, I was completely foxed. Although I knew that he was saying something very important about the stone-circle makers and the practical materialization on this planet of their understanding of the physical cosmos, I just couldn’t follow him from point to point. This was, I think, because he was trying to get a quart into the pint pot of a one-hour slot. That cannot be said in litres, can it? Just as our ancestors’ skills come to be understood only when properly expressed in megalithic yards rather than metres. Anyhow, as he assured me I would understand it all from his books, I have got one for quiet evenings with a cold compress.

David Elkington was another speaker who was trying to get a lot over in a short space of time. But he appeared to be carried away by the brilliance of his discoveries in a variety of intellectual fields. Because I love language, I was delighted by his saying “In the beginning was the word and we are the emanation of that word” - in the sense of energy vibration. “The gods sang everything into creation.” But this conflicted with a later statement that seemed to imply that plasma is the source of consciousness – for that would mean that consciousness grew out of the physical, rather than breathing the physical into being. Elkington’s belief is that myth and religion are an old language for science, whereas I believe that myth, religion and science are different attempts to understand a greater reality, the truth of which is only partly glimpsed by any one of these approaches. And he must surely believe this, too: for why else is he exploring all these different paths? When he brings them all to a point of convergence, it could be mind-blowing. And perhaps we shall have to develop new language…

Christopher Knight also covered a wide range of ideas while demonstrating that it is worth learning to appreciate the technology of the past, which we have been taught to believe was inferior to our own. This is not to give up our power to ancestors who built pyramids and stone-circles and similar monuments. It is to recognise – in order to build on it – what they achieved, for instance, with the practical expression of their knowledge of astronomy in the construction of New Grange in Ireland. He and co-author Robert Lomas have worked back to earlier truths by way of the message carried by the apparently meaningless rituals of Freemasonry.

The after-dinner speaker this year was Robert Bauval, whose talk was everything a presentation should be. Following the famous advice given to comedians, he told us what he was going to do, then did it, and then told us he’d done it – by springing a memorable surprise at the end.

Speaking on the day of the heliacal rising of Sirius (!), he explored with us the significance of the hermetic tradition and how what has been called the underground stream has, in fact – particularly in France, where the revolutionaries wanted to return to the “natural” religion of Ancient Egypt and where, even in the 20C, a pyramid was erected in the forecourt of the Louvre – been flowing above ground all the time, but we haven’t noticed it. We need to think in magical terms.

And his little magical trick at the end was to flip from one slide to another that appeared the same – and then reveal that one was a street plan of Paris, the other a street plan of Luxor! We just haven’t been looking. We need, he emphasised, to keep on our spiritual track.

Now, for me, the French Revolution did what all revolutions do: they go round in circles. As the attempt to return to a “natural” religion had to be secret, it has never got off the ground. In order to keep on track, we need to recognise the symbolic importance of the spiral, as depicted at New Grange, where every circuit moves up a notch to new horizons.

Organized by Andy Thomas, Karen Douglas (very effectively balancing Andy as co-MC) and Sheila Martin (coolly ensuring that what sometimes looks like chaos isn’t), Glastonbury 2001 did a magnificent job in confirming us on our individual paths through the portal of the crop circles. Roland Pargeter, the founder, confirmed that they will go on running it – while he returns to his work in India.

[A gallery of photos from the Glastonbury Symposium will soon be available on the Symposium website at]



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