Report from the 2017 Symposium

Here's what happened at the 2017 Symposium... Report by Helen Sewell

Prefaced with an excerpt from the printed programme…

Here we all are for astonishing 27th Glastonbury Symposium! In a world where it is easy to become overloaded by contradictory information, wildly fluctuating global events and decisions that don’t seem to make sense from leaders that appear to be working to questionable agendas, we have come together again to try to provide a haven of nuanced critical thinking at the eye of it all.

For where, in all of the bombardment from the mainstream media is the acknowledgement of other views, from truthseekers, of the metaphysical, of the spiritual, of the open-mindedness towards wider contexts that we surely need to employ to properly make sense of what is going on? If they can’t provide it, then events like ours must!

As we settle into the unique atmosphere of Glastonbury and our distinctive venue, beautifully decorated to create a womb-like environment in which all this balancing knowledge can be shared to its highest effect, the good news is that the best of the fascinating and wonderful presentations that we aspire to facilitate at the Glastonbury Symposium are now being seen much farther afield too.

Our programme of releasing archive presentations onto YouTube is now firmly under way and they are receiving many views around the world, sharing these vital insights with a huge number of people. As we sit in the Town Hall in our hundreds, we should remember, then, that we are in reality sitting there with hundreds of thousands of future viewers too.

This year, as ever, we have combined a mix of brand new and important areas of so-called ‘alternative thinking’ with classic subjects that retain their currency even in a changing world. Whether it’s the deeper truth on current events that you are seeking, unexplained mysteries, fresh thinking on crucial health and consciousness issues, knowledge of the esoteric realms or the importance of music to our development as a species, there is going to be something here for you at the Symposium.

Friday 28 July 2017

After the traditional jovial introduction from the weekend’s MCs Sheila Martin and Andy Thomas, the opening speaker for this year’s event, Joy Wisdom, lived up to her name by giving a truly helpful lecture on the reasons for trauma. Not only can it result from incidents in our own lives but sometimes from conditions going back to our time in the womb, the circumstances of our birth and even from genetic imprints coming down from generations past. These problems are not recognised sufficiently by authorities, and the cost to both lives, social structures and the economy is great. Joy has had tremendous success stories working through these issues with her clients and she gave some very helpful tips on identifying and clearing lack of self-worth, anxiety problems and other issues. Joy’s website:

The Glastonbury Symposium began as a crop circle conference and although we have diversified immensely over the past 27 years we still like to honour this phenomenon. This year Dutch investigator Roeland Beljon took us on his own intriguing journey with crop circles over the years and reinvigorated the audience to look again at a mystery which refuses to go away and which still excites even now; indeed this summer has been particularly spectacular, as Roeland demonstrated. But there was also plenty of nostalgia for those who have been involved for decades, while being equally fascinating for those new to the phenomenon. Roeland’s website:

After a lunch break, next up was Helen Sewell – me! As well as being involved in the running of the Symposium, it is always a privilege to be able to speak occasionally. This time I tried to convey some of the important astrological shifts which are influencing events right now, from the rise of Donald Trump and other US events to some of the unfolding and monumental British issues, from Brexit to the unexpected result of the recent general election. As we enter the Age of Aquarius, we can expect many other significant developments, especially over issues such as equality and technological advancements, which will, of course, bring their own enlightenments and dilemmas. Astrology is my passion and I hope I managed to show what a crucial tool it is in helping us to navigate these times of change. Helen’s website:

Paul Anthony Taylor followed and gave a barnstorming performance, expertly managing to soldier on despite a brief computer glitch at the start. Paul is an ex-musician who once worked with the likes of Paul McCartney but who has turned his attention to truthseeking, with particular regard to the importance of health issues and how the EU influences the way we deal with them. As he is keen to point out, his research is based on facts, not hearsay, and he provided a fabulous talk exposing the original Nazi influence behind the EU project and the ‘Big Pharma’ companies which have a surprising hold over it. Controversial material, then, but the long applause at the end showed that had Paul struck a nerve with the audience. Paul’s website:

At the end of a long and information-packed day, the fact that the hall was still packed for Neil Geddes-Ward goes to show that no matter how dismissive the likes of Radio 4 and other mainstream media are, there is still a phenomenal interest in ghosts, faeries and spirits. In his animated and often very funny style Neil shared many examples of experiences that he and other people have had that are very convincing, no matter how bizarre. Through claims of spirits walking out of cupboards and many other strange and often excitingly liberating weird events, Neil expertly made his case, all without the need for any visuals; the visuals were conjured perfectly in our heads. It is such a shame that this kind of subject isn’t given more credence in the mainstream when plainly we live in a world very different from the one we are routinely told we live in. Neil’s Facebook page:

As is traditional, the Friday afternoon closed with Jason Porthouse leading the room in meditation. His gentle, soft tones were perfect for winding people down from all the astonishing and sometimes full-on facts, figures and revelations of the day. Stilling and settling into quietness for a short while helps the mind and spirit absorb all this input and refreshes people to be ready for more!

After a dinner break, the Friday night began with music from Torbz – this time very different to anything we have had before. Torbz, a renowned Glastonbury musician – and social activist – plays the ‘handpan’, a relatively new instrument that resembles a flying saucer but which makes a compellingly evocative and beautiful sound of tuned percussion, somewhere between a steel drum and tabla. Everyone was mesmerised as Torbz played and sang some of his own excellent compositions and a very memorable rendition of Peter Gabriel’s Mercy Street. This was a real treat to begin the evening programme. Torbz’s website:

For our special Friday night guest, this year we welcomed the Dutch author (one of three Dutch presenters this year, by chance) Marja de Vries, who presented the findings of her bestselling book The Whole Elephant Revealed, which uses the metaphor of blind people touching a compenent part of an elephant and thinking it the whole thing, not realising it is all part of a greater whole. Through this, Marja reveals what she describes as the “seven laws of the universe”. These principles revolve around the idea of the ‘golden ratio’, which suggests that the best way to live is to follow nature’s tendency to flow around and with things, and not push uselessly against obstacles. We were exceptionally lucky to have Marja with us and she shared her wisdom in a friendly and thoughtful style which was much appreciated. Marja’s website:

Saturday 29 July 2017

The Saturday morning began, as is now customary, with Sheila Martin giving out the notices and introducing the usually stage-elusive Diana Brown, our main ticket secretary, getting her some much-deserved applause. Sheila then went into her now nicely-honed and very entertaining routine of seeing how many people in the packed audience come from which countries. From the shout-outs and shows of hands it was clear just how much of an international conference the Symposium is, with a surprisingly large number of countries represented from all around the world.

This was followed by the annual Saturday 9.30am appearance of Andy Thomas. In a talk intriguingly entitled Posttruthfakenewstrumpandbrexit, Andy soon revealed what was meant by this, giving a fantastic talk on how all the subjects buried within that title are now being thrown at us all day, every day, in a congealed manner almost guaranteed to create confusion and fear. By pointing out that a pre-‘post-truth’ era has actually never existed, and that ‘fake news’ has always existed and yet is also entirely subjective, Andy used the examples of the fuss around Donald Trump, Brexit, recent terror attacks and claims that maybe some of them never happened at all (the ‘crisis actors’ theory), to make the point that we need to be very discerning about how we react to what we hear in both the mainstream and alternative media. If we are plainly being prodded to instantly react to something, we should always ask ourselves why. Andy’s website:
The Symposium has always provided a platform for people who don’t just talk about interesting phenomena but actually go out and do some serious research. The next speaker, Pierre Beake, very much fell into that category, sharing many fascinating photos and videos of strange objects and glowing lights that he has filmed in his years of UFO and crop circle research. His down-to-earth style, conviction and obvious personal enthusiasm was a refreshing reminder that we need more people out there collecting such evidence, which demonstrates that something very odd and interesting is surely at work. His last piece of footage, not seen before, showing clusters of small white orbs flying over a crop field, stunned many viewers and left them amazed. Pierre’s website:

The annual Saturday Forum saw a panel of three presenters from this year – TorbzMarja de Vries and Joy Wisdom – and two from former years, Nexus Magazine’s  Marcus Allen and remote viewer and astral-projector Todd Acamesis (whose wife Skylar was speaking later in the afternoon – see below), discussing the issues of the moment. Stimulated by questions from the audience and chaired by Andy Thomas in Question Time-mode, lively debate followed and topics ranged around the pros and cons of out-of-body experiences, lunar conspiracy theories and crop circles, to wider social issues and visions for a better world. The Forum makes for the perfect centre-point to the whole weekend and provides many opportunities for spontaneous insights and unexpected avenues of thought.

Psychopathy is not an easy subject but Thomas Sheridan, who followed the lunch break, has spent a long time researching it and has reached a balanced perspective. Speaking with a good dose of Irish humour – indeed, he likened the Trump presidency to an episode of Father Ted! – this was a perfect antidote to the very dark nature of some of the material he was dealing with. Thomas explained the danger signs that might reveal psychopaths in one’s personal life, as well as teaching us how to identify them in world leaders and authority figures (not understanding humour being one of the signs). He expressed the importance of never underestimating the peril that can result from exposure to people capable of real “evil” and gave useful advice as to how to deal with them – the most basic strategy being always to run away in the opposite direction if at all possible… This subject was an unusual but highly valuable addition to the Symposium’s repertoire, presented very well. Thomas’s website:

From the dark to the light, Skylar Acamesis then effortlessly changed the direction of the afternoon with a presentation about healing, miracles and manifestation, reminding us of just how powerful we all are, once we learn to reach beyond our learnt behaviours and the restrictions we place upon ourselves – in other words, all of us! Using her own wisdom and higher spiritual intuition, Skylar gave the opportunity for members of the audience to share some of their current issues so that they could be opened up to deeper healing in their lives. The heartfelt gratitude of the questioners moved many listeners, who were able to relate Skylar’s advice to themselves. Still in her 20s, it is very encouraging to see speakers from Sky’s generation involving themselves in such positive work, offering hope for the future. Skylar’s website:

It is always nice when people share their personal experiences and how they have led to a sea change in life. The next speaker, Philip Kinsella, described experiences of a different kind when he told of his memory of being abducted by ‘grey’ extra-terrestrials. Despite the more frightening aspects Philip spoke with great positivity, not in regard to the event itself but as to how it opened up a whole new universe of love for him. He discussed different aspects of the ‘alien abduction’ phenomenon, what these beings might be and why they need us (the extraction of genetic material, for instance, perhaps to aid their own reproduction, but also a desire to reconnect to soul, a gift they may have lost). His talk, presented in a very convivial and generous spirit, was illustrated with amazing artwork from his twin brother Ronald, and Philip left the audience with many profound thoughts to ponder. Philip’s website:

After dinner, the Saturday night began with the annual appearance of the Avalonian Free State Choir. Dressed in their new and rather fetching purple garb (having been red for years), this brilliant local choir showed why they are still appearing at the Symposium after two and a half decades, their joyous and compelling songs from around the world soaring into the rafters as the perfect opening to the evening. The choir’s website:

Our original speaker for the final Saturday slot was geopolitical journalist Gearoid O’Colmain, but unfortunately he suddenly had to pull out due to unforeseen circumstances. Therefore it was very good that the Symposium’s old friend Palden Jenkins was able to step in at extremely short notice and, being a true pro, still managed to give a brilliantly informed and interesting talk on the way the world is heading. Whether it be political, environmental or technological changes, changes there will be – and they will be profound and arrive rapidly. How we choose to respond to them will be what makes the difference to creating a positive future for humankind and the planet. Palden is renowned for speaking off the cuff and from the heart and he did not disappoint, with his fluid and deeply insightful commentary. (Let’s hope there was nothing prophetic in the fact that when he said “we haven’t blown ourselves up – yet” there was instantly, by coincidence, a loud blast of interference over the speakers!) Palden’s website:

Sunday 30 July 2017

The last day of the Symposium began with Nancy Polet, wife of Roeland Beljon who spoke on Friday. As well as researching crop circles for many years, Nancy has become fascinated with ancient Egyptian history, and she recounted a very personal tale which began when she unexpectedly found a close spiritual affinity with the goddess Sekhmet while observing a statue of her one day in a museum. Nancy recounted the deep journey that resulted from this encounter, and her gentle energy was perfect for a Sunday morning. With the arrival in 2016 of a vast crop formation that echoed Sekhmet symbolism, and the recent archaeological discovery of many buried statues of the goddess, it would seem that Sekhmet’s presence is making itself known again. Perhaps we should beware, though, as Sekhmet apparently once tried to destroy humankind…  (With my astrological hat on, Nancy’s talk awakened me to the idea that this lion-headed goddess could be coming more to the fore now as the sign of Leo is the opposite sign to Aquarius and we are now entering the Age of Aquarius!) Nancy’s website:

With the continuing controversy over the UK’s attempts to break away from the European Union, Terry Boardman‘s presentation, which examined the deeper history of how the EU was set up and of how the USA was at the heart of encouraging it into being, was a revelation. Terry’s understanding of history and the unseen undercurrents that underpin huge events, together with his ability to explain this accessibly and dramatically, is spellbinding and he held the audience enrapt. His ability to paint vast landscapes which uncover the bigger picture of how underlying geopolitical movements have shaped the world is second to none. Terry believes that only a reformed free (“threefold”) Europe, not the federal nightmare it currently risks becoming, will offer a real way forward if it is ever to really work. This was a truly compelling lecture and the fact that it received the longest and most heartfelt applause of the whole weekend is testament to Terry’s powerful performance. Terry’s website:

After such an electric slot, Dirk Campbell’s presentation was the ideal way to calm things with something very different. Dirk has the incredible ability to combine a talk on the nature of music and dance in remote antiquity with actually bringing along a large and varied collection of instruments and playing them throughout. By comparing modern ethnic instruments with illustrations and descriptions of ancient musicians, we can reasonably approximate their sound today, as Dirk showed, with various pipe and string devices echoing evocatively around the Town Hall, atmospherically reconnecting us to the deep past and to what people might have been listening to then. His expert ‘overtone’ singing was also impressive and gave rise to spontaneous applause, as did a number of his demonstrations throughout this unique and much appreciated presentation. Dirk’s website:

After lunch, Brian Stein‘s talk wasn’t easy listening, but essential listening. For all the benefits, we can’t bury our heads in the sand and pretend there isn’t a risk that mobile phones and wi-fi might have ill-effects on our health. With calm tones and sometimes wry humour Brian expertly presented his personal story of realising that he was becoming ‘electrosensitive’ to such devices in a way that made it hard for him to continue working as the CEO of a major company. His campaign to raise awareness of the issue has met suspicious resistance from authorities, which are demonstrably covering up concerns over the effects of the electromagnetic soup that now surrounds us. Brian has put together an impressive amount of research which strongly suggests we have a problem. If there is even a small risk that we might be endangering our long-term health and the environment (bees may well be affected too, for instance), then it surely needs addressing – now. Brian’s webpage:

The last speaker of the afternoon was Scilla Elworthy. She has been nominated three times for the Nobel Peace Prize and has made a name for herself with her TED talks; listening to her here it was easy to understand why. Though less ‘alternative’ than some Symposium speakers, Scilla is a true and genuinely effective light-worker who doesn’t just talk but acts and now spends her life travelling around the world campaigning for peace with visionaries like Desmond Tutu and Peter Gabriel, trying to create new forms of “awakened leadership” based on real communication and understanding. She demonstrated how this works by initiating a series of animated conversations within the auditorium, where people discussed with each other how they could combine their hopes, desires and ideals to help create real change. Flying in directly from Prague to speak for us, Scilla’s positive and practical attitude was a real inspiration to all. Scilla’s website:

After a round of thanks from Sheila Martin and Andy Thomas, a reappearance of Di Brown and the now traditional stage appearance from the large and wonderful technical crew that make the Symposium possible, following a tea break around 70 attendees made their way to the nearby and beautiful Glastonbury Abbey grounds.
In the time-honoured way, a circle of people was formed and Jason Porthouse led a soothing yet invigorating meditation to end the main proceedings of the weekend. It always feels good to centre in and quieten down under a big sky after all the hard cerebral exercise indoors. And, after a weekend of sometimes heavy showers, the rain stayed away!

Sunday evening

On the Sunday night the Symposium always welcomes a special guest speaker to close the event in style. This year Dr David Hamilton drove all the way from Scotland to share his wisdom with us as to how to get an emotionally healthy heart and help the mind heal the body. David did this in a very entertaining and often comedic way, holding the attention of the audience for more than two hours without any let-up or wavering of the audience’s attention. With no visuals (except the very beautiful backdrop of floating clouds over the Symposium logo which accompanied a few of the presentations this weekend, kindly put together by Martin Potts and Jason Porthouse), David painted pictures in the mind instead and brilliantly presented real medical evidence that some simple healthy living and positive visualisation really does have the power to improve health and turn around many serious conditions for the better. David’s website:


“Repetition, repetition, repetition” was David’s advice for the successful outcome of positive visualisation. Over the years, the Symposium, too, has learnt this lesson: by continually pushing to give coverage to subjects generally ignored by the mainstream, the hope is that gradually, gently but persistently, these important areas will filter out to the world and leave a permanent mark somewhere in the collective psyche, however modest.

From the vast collection of archive presentations from the last 27 years, our videos have begun to circulate on YouTube and beyond from this summer onwards, so hopefully this effect will become ever stronger, justifying the existence, and persistence, of the Glastonbury Symposium even more. Thank you to everyone who plays a part in its organisation; long may it continue.

Report by Helen Sewell, photos by Andy Thomas

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