|Street entrance to the Chapel|
Yesterday I attended a friendly celebration of Lammas, first harvest, held in the tiny, virtually hidden chapel of St Margaret and Mary Magdalene here in Glastonbury.
When I arrived, Diana, the minister was in a bit of a flap, as she described it, she was experiencing, "Oven malarky".
She, her volunteers and visitors had been symbolically kneading and shaping bread dough by hand, but the oven, specially purchased for the event, had tragically failed to perform due to electrical malfunction.
Resolute, undeterred, Diana was making arrangements by telephone to use the oven at St Benedict's close by, but was gracious enough to pause and welcome me with warmth, interest and personal attention.
|View of chapel and garden|
And I was intrigued by a note on the chapel's facebook page:
'At a loose end on friday afternoon? Come and join us. There may well be some Jesus Deck reading as well.'
Jesus deck readings!?
I needed to know more, and rummaged around online for some background information on the deck, which is a reprint of an original edition from 1972.
Diana led me along the short length of the chapel lawn, bordered by stunningly well attended flowering plants; it felt to me to be one of the most beautiful and balanced gardens in Glastonbury. The rear bench grants a generous view of the chapel and a true sense of seclusion and safety, though we were only yards away from a heavily trafficked main road.
Diana explained that she didnt perceive the cards to have a divinatory function, but that she did give 'readings' whereby would invite a person to select a card and give a commentary on the episode of the Christ story in question, and that maybe this would be helpful in assisting that person with any current life situations.
She performed this service for me. It was helpful and the card I selected felt pertinent and meaningful. Diana found significance in the colours and imagery and this gave almost a Jungian flavour to her commentary. We discussed my spiritual journey, the cosmopolitan composition of the Glastonbury community and I received a personal prayer.
|Symbol of the first harvest|
We used our hands to 'break the bread' and then eat some. Which was warm, crusty outside, soft inside, a little salty, light and good. The feast was completed by a basket of plump, sweet summer berries and enhanced by the steady sunshine and blue sky above.
I took a peek into the main chapel, which I had visited once before, at night, for a session of the Dances of Universal Peace.
I noticed two delightful icons of female saints that had surely issued from a small painting studio that presently occupies one of the former almshouses. And picked up a copy of the prayer booklet from the ceremony, which I had missed, having arrived late.
|Icon of St Margaret|
The next formal event at the chapel will be another from the Celtic calender, at Autumn equinox.
The Jesus Deck is available exclusively from The Diocese of Chelmsford Resource Centre:
Tel: 01245 294405
Stay up to date with Chapel news and events
May your harvest be bountiful!