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  • Writer's pictureAndreas Kornevall

The King with Two Altars

The three "first" Christian English Kings were Ethelberg, Seabert and Readwald. Ethelberg and Seabert were strong in their faith and evangelical, wanting to convert the people quickly.

King Readwald followed another path.

He built two altars in his Shrine. One Christian, the other for the old religion (Pagan). He allowed all to come with their sense of awe. His two altars became a channel for reverence and nourishment of the soul-life of all people. People met in reconciliation and peace at this shrine and I am sure the birds joined in their singing. His two altars stood for many generations. Something that would be unthinkable today. When he finally died, in the 7th century, people gave him the greatest burial that this side of the world has ever known or seen and equal to the Taj Mahal in beauty: an entire ship was buried with him in the ground, filled with precious gifts and sailing him in

to the other world. Yes, many today believe he is the one whose spirit still lays in the Sutton Hoo burial ground. The gifts can still be seen in full display at the British Museum in London. Readwald's main ceremony was called the Acerbot, a land blessing ceremony where the "Earth Mother" named "Erce" was invoked alongside the Trinity, all to bless the landscape.

I am bringing part of this beautiful Acerbot ritual on the 28th of May to the Apocathery Gardens in Glastonbury, where we we will also be building a seven-armed labyrinth in stone that will stay on the land indefinitely afterwards. Once we reenact a ritual with symbolic meanings it has the potential to become dynamic and bless the land: an idea as old as humanity itself.

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