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Lesley Cooper

“As I write, my son-in-law is sending me pictures of the family – daughters and granddaughters, chilling out, listening to bands and having a great time at this year’s historic Glastonbury Festival. Glastonbury holds a particular significance for many of us Brits. It has always been one of the biggest and best festivals on the UK summer scene, and it was one of the first of its kind. Every young person has to have notched a Glastonbury experience on their belt to be anywhere near cool.

Yet, it is not just the headline acts or the size of Glastonbury that brings crowds of more than 200,000 people to its fields this year. It is also something else. Somehow, ever since the first Glastonbury in the summer of 1971, there has been a magic about the place that seeps into everyone’s consciousness and it is this magic that I first experienced in 1970 even before the first festival ever took place.

Like the Knights in the Arthurian Legends and like many of my peers, in my later teenage years I felt I was on a Quest – with a capital Q. I had a feeling for what I needed – a way to tap into my inner self, so I could practically experience my true nature. I had experienced something like this in rare flashes when I was younger, and like many of my peers I had tried all kinds of weird spiritual practices. But it still didn’t fill that hole in my heart.

“When I visited Glastonbury Tor on June 21, 1970, I felt very much in touch with some kind of powerful earth magic. And yet when I came home, the magic had disappeared and I was still left with my quest to know my true heart, my own Holy Grail.

“Moving onto the spring of 1971, the Quest became more urgent, as a budding romance had ended in disaster and I remember crying my heart out and saying to the universe – ‘please, please, if there is someone who can help me find my heart, just come!’

In June 1971, I heard from a fellow student that a 13-year-old Buddha was coming to Glastonbury. Something clicked, and I knew in the deepest kind of gut feeling that this young boy was going to be the real key to my heart. So off I went with a van load of hipsters.

Unfortunately, as the festival wore on, I became distracted with the people around me and somehow missed what I know now was the main event! When I found out later, I was heartbroken, because I knew I had missed something really important. But in a way it was the best thing that had happened to me because from then on, my Quest developed. I had to learn more about who Prem Rawat was, and most importantly what he was offering.

I did not have to wait long.

“One day in late 1971 an official-looking letter arrived in my letter box. This letter wasn’t addressed to me but to another person who didn’t even live in the house. Despite the fact that the letter was not addressed to me, I intuitively knew it was for me and opened it. In it I found out where the nearest meeting about Knowledge was and went straight there. I knew immediately that I had come home and found my heart.

“After that meeting, I went to hear more about Prem Rawat’s message of inner peace and was given the key to my true nature and shown techniques of turning within called ‘Knowledge.’

“So here we are some 50 years later. 

“Last week, I found out that there was going to be a special ceremony for Prem Rawat. I knew nothing more than it was to be shown live on YouTube. That day I was scheduled to visit my middle daughter, Katie, and granddaughter, Edie, along with my youngest daughter, Charis. Katie and family were very excited to be going to the Glastonbury Festival the following week, so I told her my Glastonbury story, including the Quest.

“I asked if it was okay to watch the ceremony with her. And then the magic happened again, just as it did all those years ago. A feeling of love and joy seeped into the room. And there we all were, watching the special celebration of Prem Rawat being given the ‘Key to Avalon.’  He had given me the Key to my Holy Grail all those years ago – a gift for which I am eternally grateful, and now he was being given the Key to Avalon by the town of Glastonbury. A beautiful circle of magic and grace was completed.”