Report from the 2016 Symposium

Here's what happened at the 2016 Symposium... Report by Helen Sewell

Prefaced with an excerpt from the printed programme…

Welcome to the 26th Glastonbury Symposium. With the world already very different to where we left off with our big anniversary event last year, it seems more appropriate than ever to be here exploring Truth, Mysteries and New Frontiers to help do our tiny part in driving things forward towards a more positive, mindful and open-minded approach to life.

Global currents certainly feel as if we are entering a very different chapter in history, with many things in flux. The recent vote that Britain took to begin to leave the European Union is just one big change among many, and with a new female prime minister and a major shift coming with the upcoming US presidential elections, there’s almost a sense of disorientation at the moment, as if we are suddenly waking up in a new world.

The best way to go into these times, then, is with a sense of fresh opportunity and a determination to create something better than what has gone before. With everything social, political and spiritual increasingly ‘on the table’ for public discussion and reconsideration, we hope that many of our presentations this year will, as ever, help encourage deeper thinking and conscious forward motion, even as we reveal some of the areas the mainstream still pretends aren’t there.

We have a very varied programme this year. We always try to find a balance between the spiritual and paranormal, social issues, new science, health and consciousness, and the truthseeking element that takes a sideways look at some more ‘real world’ topics. Of course, all worlds are real, and we need to give voice to many different viewpoints, however weird and wonderful some may see them as!

Friday 22 July 2016

After friendly introductions to the weekend from MCs Sheila Martin and Andy Thomas, our first speaker for the day, the Symposium’s own Jason Porthouse, successfully set the scene for the whole event. Looking at the issues the world is struggling with as a whole, he focused on a growing lack of identity and connection, seeing how men in particular are struggling with knowing what true masculinity means, while at the same time femininity is being denigrated. In calm, measured tones, Jason explained well how this is creating many problems in our society, and how it desperately needs to be addressed. It was a great start to the Symposium.

After coffee, Peter Knight gave us some good evidence as to how Christian festivals and symbolism were blatantly superimposed onto old Pagan rituals and images. At the end of the day, it’s all about fertility! He showed some wonderful images and illustrated what a shame it is that such a natural and sacred thing as copulation, once honoured and revered in our ancient past, has been reduced to something either shameful or pornographic in our lives today. Peter’s lively and down-to-earth style helped make a convincing case for the reconsideration of many religious icons and symbols that we now take for granted.

After lunch, Pippa King shared a riveting account of her personal journey into ‘biometrics’ after her children started to be fingerprinted at school without parental permission. Pippa is one of those remarkable people who doesn’t just sit back and tut-tuts but gets off her backside and does something! She is angry with the way things are going in terms of increasing surveillance in our schools and wants it exposed. Her journey of research has uncovered everything from secret police collaboration with schools to nationwide plans for far more draconian control of children. A very revealing, if worrying, talk, but the world is certainly a better place with people like Pippa campaigning for freedom and truth.

US speaker Douglas Taylor then gave us a lively and wonderful vision of the lost continent of Atlantis, using his own amazing artwork to illustrate the channelled information he has received, which is very relevant to some of today’s global issues. Douglas explained something of his own background by telling the remarkable story of how a surfing trip gave him an unexpected encounter with a UFO and extraterrestrial contact. The connection he made with that experience left him open to receiving further information about Atlantis, together with other insights that he now shares around the world in his ongoing inspirational lectures and paintings.

After tea, Ewan Irving delivered a fascinating presentation on the paranormal, asking the question ‘are we all psychic?’. With his lovely lilting Scottish accent he shared stories that just cannot be explained by the rational mind, involving everything from ghost encounters to reports of animals sensing oncoming tsunamis long before any geological event had occurred. Using these examples, Ewan drew the conclusion that all of us must have the same ability to access other dimensions and levels of knowledge if we can but learn to open ourselves to them.

Following on directly from Ewan, Jason Porthouse returned to lead a much needed meditation as a soothing counterbalance to all the amazing information we’d been absorbing all afternoon. Attendees then headed out for dinner in a relaxed and focused mood. Then, to open the Friday evening, Nick Ashron‘s guitar and vocals (with backing) transported the audience on a magical journey, as he performed excerpts from his forthcoming musical/concept piece The Seven Winds. Accompanied by a toy pixie friend sitting in a chair nearby, the positive message of the lyrics and floating chords was a nice introduction to our next speaker.
Todd Acamesis is an upcoming talent on the spiritual/alternative circuit and it is easy to see why. An American living in London, his introduction to the idea of ‘multidimensional consciousness’, told through his encounters with out-of-body experiences, remote viewing and synchronicity experiments, held a wowed audience entirely spellbound for 90 minutes. Todd’s friendly but authoritative tones make his fantastic tales of astral adventuring exciting and down-to-earth enough to be meaningful to all, leaving many attendees wanting to try the same thing. Earlier in the day, Todd had given organisers Andy Thomas and Di Brown a quick blast of his ‘PandoraStar light machine’, which can generate entirely safe psychedelic images in the mind, opening people more to their astral selves. He didn’t use it on the audience, but he didn’t need to, so uplifting and extraordinary was this presentation in its own right. This was the perfect finish to the first day of the Symposium.

Saturday 23 July 2016

In her traditionally comedic and warm introduction to the Saturday morning, Sheila Martin culminated this year’s ‘performance’ (which was threatening to run short) with a spontaneous audience singalong of Jerusalem, a song very dear to Glastonbury with all its thematic connections. This lifted the energy up just right for the first presentation of the day.

Andy Thomas, in his own traditional slot, kicked off the Saturday speakers with a brilliant talk on post-Brexit Britain and how ‘divide and rule’ tactics may be being used to destabilise society. He brought his wealth of knowledge on history to help give context and understanding to what has happened, which was particularly insightful for the many international attendees, still puzzled as to our collective decision. Andy’s positive message of revitalising democracy, promoting unity and letting go of the Remain/Leave divisions in a spirit of moving forward was powerful and uplifting. If anyone has experienced any conflict with friends or family, download this talk (it will be free to watch on YouTube and on our online viewing facility) and show it to them!

Following the coffee break, Dutch Feng Shui expert Nina Elshoff gave a nicely varied and comprehensive presentation which made us aware of just how important our environment is to us. What real psychological issues are going on when we cling on to what others would regard as junk..? The title of the lecture, House and Soul, gave an indication of Nina’s belief as to how crucial our attachments are to the spaces and objects around us, and why we must all put some energy into getting it right. She had some great advice for everyone.

This year’s Saturday Forum panel saw weekend speakers Mark Devlin, Pippa King and Peter Knight joining extra guests Lucy Pringle (renowned crop circle researcher) and Richard Smith (author of A Future World Vision) to discuss questions and points raised by audience members. Chaired by Andy Thomas in Question Time-mode, many interesting (the growing disconnection between children and nature, for instance) and sometimes unexpected topics (flat earth theories) were raised, with some fascinating insights coming from the panel, who made for a dynamic mix of styles and views.

After lunch, with an incredibly moving talk Matt Campbell began the afternoon speaking about the ongoing fight he has had getting justice for his brother Geoff, who was murdered in the Twin Towers on 9/11. Matt does not believe the official story and has been trying to use his status as a relative to help open up a new inquiry. It has obviously been very tough because of the personal loss his whole family has suffered, and Matt has been up against some pretty dark forces. His talk had an unexpected climax as he announced that he no longer felt able to continue the fight personally, but that he hoped others would use his work to carry on the campaign for justice. Many had tears in their eyes as Matt exited the auditorium with great dignity, to a standing ovation.

In amongst its usual areas of interest, the Symposium likes to give coverage to some less-discussed but vital subjects, and Mary Mellor fulfilled this remit well this year with a revealing talk on what she calls ‘ecofeminism’. Mary investigated how we could create a new modern economy that is respectful to nature and works with a better balance of the feminine and masculine. Without denigrating the role of men, she demonstrated how the unsung and often unpaid work of women around the world actually underpins the entire economy. Until this is addressed, and new and fairer ways of distributing money are found, we will never have a truly stable system; huge reforms are needed. This was an important subject, very well explained by Mary.

Traditional Symposium subjects still continue to draw crowds, and UFOs remain a particular source of fascination for our audiences. Without a shadow of doubt, UFOs are real, whatever they may be. On this subject Dave Hodrien gave a very informative talk on the different kinds of sightings, and reported on some high-level cases as a ‘101’ guide to the phenomenon. As leader of the Birmingham UFO Group, Dave gave a very enthusiastic and well-informed presentation, and we were grateful to him for stepping into the shoes of Rendlesham Forest witness Larry Warren, who was sadly unable to join us as hoped. The Rendlesham incident was just one of many intriguing cases covered here.


As the opener to the Saturday evening, the uplifting singing of the Avalonian Free State Choir soared into the rafters, delighting all listeners. As brilliant as ever, the Symposium’s continued support of this key community choir roots it very much to Glastonbury, making it something that simply couldn’t take place anywhere else and still be the same event.

The special guest evening speaker was journalist, peace activist and truthseeker Patrick Henningsen, making a welcome return to the Symposium after a few years. Patrick is doing good work in exposing the real truth of world events, and he illustrated his recent travels around the Middle East with photographs showing some of the hope emerging in countries often written off by the West, such as the Lebanon. Patrick exhibited some of the surprisingly insightful art and ‘graffiti’ that is springing up in such places, illustrating that beneath the surface of chaos there is a wisdom and psychological development rising that could serve humanity well if tapped into. He questioned the veracity of recent terror attacks, concerned that they are being used to control us, and used the analogy of a single blade of grass pushing up through concrete to demonstrate the power of singular determination. We would encourage people to support Patrick’s work and, like that image, be one of those blades of grass.

Sunday 24 July 2016

What a truly positive start to the Sunday we had with Vanda North. All of us get stressed and overburdened sometimes, but knowing quite how to deal with it in the moment isn’t always so easy. Vanda’s daily eight-minute relaxation exercises based on ‘Mind Chi’ were a revelation. Taking the audience through the method, with plenty of humour, a light touch and a very human compassion, the talk, culminating in the said eight-minute demonstration, worked wonders for many people there, making them feel relaxed and confident for the day ahead. What a shining example she is to us all – literally, as she demonstrated at the end with her special flashing light-up shoes! Vanda was a highlight of the weekend in all ways.

Following the coffee break, heading from lighter to darker issues, DJ and truthseeker Mark Devlin went on to dispel a few fantasies we may have around the whole music industry. Behind the fun and glamour sits a potential programme of psy-ops and mind control via both the artistes and listeners, according to Mark, who expounded on some of the themes of his new and impressive tome Musical Truth in a brilliant talk. His powerful re-evaluation of people promoted as rock and roll gods and goddesses to us, but who may really mask occult messages and foment New World Order agendas, was a well-constructed and well-delivered lecture; a real eye opener.

Although the crop circles were once the central focus for the Symposium, they haven’t gone away, and neither has the interest of our audiences! Although several speakers referenced the circles throughout the weekend, this was their main moment in the spotlight. These beautiful patterns in the fields still keep coming and Austrian researcher Guenther Schermann delivered a really incredible talk on the connection between crop circles, fractals and sacred geometry. His highly animated, humorous and genuinely enthusiastic style reminded everyone of the excitement and enlightenment that following the circles can bring. Guenther has never lost the fire for his subject, as was very clear from this presentation, and it was a joy to watch.

After lunch, we had another researcher whose enthusiasm for his subject was clear, as Anthony Beckett, founder of the ‘Exopolitics’ event and journal, gave a very informative talk looking at new angles on the UFO phenomenon. His quick-fire delivery, which left some listeners breathless, crammed many fascinating observations into a single hour, exploring the notion that not all UFOs may be structured craft but could instead be malleable energy forms that interact with human consciousness. From accounts of recurring mysterious lights at the famous Hessdalen site in Norway to the psychological aspects of the said mind-matter interaction, all angles were covered by Anthony, who certainly brings something new to the UFO subject.

One subject not covered in detail before at the Symposium is the belief that real giants once walked the Earth in ancient times. Hugh Newman, renowned for his ‘Megalithomania’ events, is now one of the experts on giants and shared an amazing insight into long-lost and often clearly covered-up evidence of real archaeological finds of giant skeletons and related artefacts around the world. In his friendly, confident tones, Hugh discussed why certain institutions such as the Smithsonian museum may have vested interests in wanting to keep quiet the existence of giants in our former evolutionary lineage, even though the evidence is becoming overwhelming. Fantastic research backed by a fantastic presentation.

For those not able to stay for the special Sunday night speaker, the afternoon is their close to the event, so at this point Sheila Martin and Andy Thomas thanked all helpers (most especially administrator Diana Brown) for their contributions, and the technical crew came onstage to take their now annual bow. Without these people, there would be no Glastonbury Symposium and all those thanked more than deserved their credit.

After a tea break, a large number of people braved a light drizzle to attend the closing meditation ceremony in the old Abbey Grounds, literally a stone’s throw from the Town Hall. Just walking through the old ruins to the meditation site reminds everyone of the heritage underpinning this magical town. Given the rain, this year we all encircled a beautiful beech tree, sheltering under its branches for a blissful meditation led by Jason Porthouse.

Sunday evening

Following the dinner break, this year our special Sunday night closing guest was The Barefoot Doctor, a.k.a. alternative journalist, presenter and musician Stephen Russell, renowned for his pithy assessments of modern life as seen through a Taoist philosophy. Barefoot/Stephen delivered a very lucid and heartfelt performance as he shared his thoughts on the current state of the world and what we can do to ride the stormy waters in the most positive way. He wisely brought the audience in on his own concerns and insecurities about things, promising no easy fixes yet promoting empathy and providing a curious kind of comfort by doing so. Nations don’t really exist as entities, he stressed – they are only stories and collective histories we choose to believe in; so deciding instead to believe in different stories could change the future. Stephen’s honest and very likeable sharings were the perfect end to another weekend of meaningful presentations that we all hope will help the world along just a little bit somewhere along the way.


With the evening done, the happy audience melted away, the hall decorations and equipment were deconstructed and the Glastonbury Symposium was placed in stasis again – until its 27th event in 2017, of course…

Report by Helen Sewell, photos by Andy Thomas

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Phone: + 44 (0) 1278 722000
Address: Glastonbury Symposium, Ivy Cottage, Stawell,
Somerset, TA7 9AA, UK

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