Report from the 2019 Symposium

Here's what happened at the 2019 Symposium... Report by Helen Sewell

Prefaced with an excerpt from the printed programme…

Here we are for the 29th Glastonbury Symposium. When this event began, incredibly almost three decades ago, there was a general wide-eyed wonder at fascinating possibilities and a belief that the world was entering a period of remarkable change. That certainly turned out to be true. What had perhaps not been anticipated was that, by the time we got to 2019, the Symposium would be one of the last bastions of free speech and broad-minded thinking of its kind. Even within the last year, there has been an onslaught from authorities and mainstream media to try to erase all ‘alternative’ thinking from public gaze, through draconian online censorship and the clever manipulation of algorithms which increasingly ensure that many people will now never find their way to information which challenges what the powers that be would prefer us to see instead. It has been a truly astonishing turnabout that has happened so rapidly that some observers within truthseeking realms haven’t yet realised what has been taken away. But try Googling certain topics that fall under our ‘truth, mysteries and new frontiers’ umbrella and see how far down the search pages they have fallen – if they feature at all – while debunking and mainstream propaganda now head the lists and truth videos mysteriously vanish.

With the online world, which for a while provided so many forums for free conversation, now compromised, physical gatherings like the Symposium may take on more importance again, as a rare opportunity to network with like-minded seekers wishing to look beyond the pervasive conditioning and hear from intelligent thinkers who know there are far more debates to be had than is allowed for in the now stagnant pool of contrived orthodoxy being foisted on the population. We must use our voices and gather to make stands in the hope that when the wheel of liberty turns again, which it inevitably will, then, by attending events like this, we will know we helped to preserve precious knowledge, waiting to be to be rediscovered by the wider world, ensuring that genuinely free conversations continue on.

Friday 26 July 2019

Following Sheila Martin and Andy Thomas’s chatty opening to the weekend, as they welcomed attendees new and old to the event, the Friday began on a serious note. As many Symposium speakers have touched on issues around modern education in recent years, this year the author of School: No Place for Children, David Adelman, was invited to open the 2019 event with a searing critique of current schooling trends. The tendency to funnel any real creative thinking into very narrowly controlled conduits which seem intended to restrict individual talents rather than encourage them, David argued that far from encouraging the ‘diversity’ that UN-influenced educational systems claim they want, in fact they are producing quite the opposite effect and are having long-term negative influences on our children by churning out robotic, heavily conditioned generations. Presented with a little disarming humour, amongst the very genuine concerns he was expressing, David ably offered some possible ways out of the current traps that schooling is falling into and made a plea for a new approach to our children’s very future.

UFOs have long been a fascination for Symposium attendees, often attracting our greatest audiences, and it is good to see that proper grass roots ufological research is still being carried out by the likes of the Swansea UFO Network (SUFON). With eyewitness testimony documented through detailed video interviews, Emlyn Williams and Steve Drewson, with the technical help of Mike Maunder, presented a series of cases they have investigated over the years which make very plain that strange aerial phenomena are very much alive and well in the Welsh towns and valleys. The authenticity of the witnesses and the sincerity of their team’s convictions came across very clearly, as they recounted tales of incredible sightings, often seen by several people in very populated areas. This is the kind of evidence that can only be gathered with true dedication, and that came across very strongly in this presentation.

In recent times the expression of any concerns some people have over the safety and effectiveness of vaccinations has been overtly condemned and censored, raising concerns about free speech and personal choices, and generating very emotionally-charged public debates. Magda Taylor, editor of The Informed Parent magazine was careful, therefore, to strike a balanced tone by examining the historical facts about vaccination, leaving the audience free to draw their own conclusions. It was a helpful and measured overview of the issues that gave clarity to why this is such a high-octane area to discuss in these times where ‘alternative’ health approaches are under great attack from the media and authorities alike. Magda’s comprehensive knowledge of her subject was clear and conveyed very well.

Another area where science has become overly self-protecting, possibly to its own detriment, is in the realm of physics, especially in regard to anything concerning Albert Einstein’s theories of relativity. A number of scientists have spotted anomalies in his thinking over the years but have brushed them aside because of his perceived genius. Not so Patricia Dean, whose long background in science and computing has left her despairing at what she sees as glaring problems with some of Einstein’s equations. Knowing that everyday folk struggle to grasp deep mathematics, Patricia was careful to keep her extraordinary presentation light and entertaining, using a whiteboard and marker pen rather than a screen – but she also conveyed very well the gist of the key issues. The main problem lies in the conflict that results from Einstein uneasily mixing his relativity ideas with Newtonian physics, when in fact the two approaches ought to cancel each other out if his theories are as correct as we are told they are… Patricia made a convincing case that a serious reassessment is called for.

Another potential scientific peril is the current rolling out of the new ‘5G’ mobile phone network, which is concerning many campaigners, who believe that what will have to be greatly increased numbers of transmitters in much closer proximity to homes and populations to make the signals work pose serious health risks through intensified exposure to electromagnetic frequency (EMF) radiation. Alan Cooke has been trying to raise awareness of this issue for years, and has equal concerns about Smart Meters and wireless technology in general – but 5G adds yet another layer of risk. Alan gave a comprehensive trawl through some of the effects associated with EMF emissions, but also gave good advice on ways to limit our exposure to potentially harmful devices, turning off routers at night, not keeping phones in pockets, etc. Ironically, for a talk about electronic devices, part way through his presentation the sound unexpectedly went off! Alan valiantly raised his voice and ensured that the rest of his message was conveyed loud and clear to the room, and he should be congratulated for his determination all round. 

With so much information to digest this afternoon, it was perhaps appropriate that this was followed directly by a very calming meditation led by the Symposium’s very own Jason Porthouse, in his traditional Friday slot, leaving people centred and ready for dinner. 

With the sound restored, and dinner had, the evening was begun by another uplifting annual performance from the Avalonian Free State Choir – who have no need of amplification, rest assured. Their voices soared up into the rafters and set the atmosphere buzzing for the speaker to follow.

Our Friday evening speaker, William Bloom, inspired the audience in his own unique way. Having stepped in at short notice to replace our original speaker who had to postpone at short notice, William packed the hall with his spiritual overview, taking as his theme the deep insights he has gained from the very serious illness he endured a few years before, which saw him coming close to death. His reclamation from that state has made him appreciate more clearly the blurred boundaries between different states of consciousness and has enrichened his appreciation of life. His honest sharings clearly connected with the audience, who left feeling emboldened and encouraged that every day on Earth is another gift that we should always appreciate. This was the perfect end to the first day of the 2019 Symposium.

Saturday 27 July 2019

The day began with Sheila Martin’s traditional Saturday opening notices, as she mixed useful information with her fun routine of raising shows of hands from visitors from all the many different countries that make up the Symposium audience. Joined briefly by a rare stage appearance from Diana Brown, the atmosphere was thus set for the day ahead. 

Although he has been co-presenter of the Symposium for two decades, Andy Thomas began as a speaker and has always retained this role too, giving his annual Saturday morning openings to packed halls of people eager to hear what theme he is going to focus on this year. A more sombre tone was struck today, as Andy bravely and lucidly tackled the rapidly growing problem of online censorship, which is seeing much ‘alternative’ material being removed or made harder to find by internet platforms running scared of authorities demanding they remove supposed ‘fake news’. Unfortunately, this has allowed a general assault against free speech on a scale never witnessed before during the lifetime of the Symposium. Andy listed the current restrictions being implemented and gave examples of areas now branded ‘sensitive’ and which must be heavily controlled – and that means many of the subjects that the Symposium covers! He admits that we have currently “lost the battle” for truth – but not the war, which must continue on. His conclusion that our main role must now be to preserve this increasingly hard-to-get information for future generations so that it is available again once the pendulum swings back towards freedom moved some people to tears and Andy received a standing ovation at the end. A sobering, but necessary, start to the day, then.

A gentler session followed, making for a good balance with the power of the opener, as Peter Knight and Sue Wallace gave a heartfelt presentation about their recent pilgrimage around the ancient natural sacred sites of Britain, including wells, waterfalls and rock formations which many people believe have magical properties. This was done with the aim of “re-enchanting” these places using shamanic drumming, poetry and song, as documented in their recent book Albion Dreamtime. Peter and Sue have been working together, as husband and wife, for years, but this was the first time Sue had joined him onstage, sharing thoughtful and inspirational insights while Peter set the scene of each visit and why they chose those sites. In times when large numbers of people feel in their bones that we have got out of balance with the natural world, this was a very good way of reconnecting the audience with the importance of re-synching with it, and it was clear that many attendees left the auditorium with a determination to seek out some of these places for themselves and follow Peter and Sue’s example.

The Saturday Forum is now a well-established and popular feature of the Symposium, allowing more interaction between members of the audience and a guest panel, to discuss the latest issues and intrigues, hosted with fairness and a desk bell (!) by Andy Thomas to ensure everyone gets a say. This year the panel comprised Nexus Magazine’s Marcus Allen, Friday’s EMF speaker Alan Cooke, Feng Shui expert Nina Elshof, health campaigner (and Sunday speaker) Courtenay Heading and sound therapist (and another Sunday speaker) Elaine Thompson. With the recent 50th anniversary of the Moon landings, Marcus, as one of the world’s best-known questioners of the lunar missions, was inevitably given the chance to share his thoughts about why doubts still linger over these otherwise historic events, but everyone got to share their lively views on subjects surrounding their fields of expertise, and Alan was given the chance to say more about his concerns over the recent introduction of 5G, as discussed in his presentation the day before.

Our next speaker introduced a new area to the Symposium – life as a paparazzi photographer. Some may see them as enemies of privacy but Jack Ludlam made it very clear that in fact there is a mutually symbiotic arrangement between celebrities and their professional stalkers, and it was clear that he was respected by many stars and had become a friendly face to them. The point of the presentation, however, was to make clear how corporate forces and authoritarian restrictions have been gradually infecting journalism, actually taking people away from truthful reportage and creating an ‘us and them’ culture that serves no-one but the controllers. It became clear to Jack, from his many years on the streets of London and beyond, how attempts to raise awareness of these ever-more draconian restraints always fell on deaf ears, and how the media were being forced into an anodyne state where blind eyes always had to be turned to where things were really going. Now retired from his profession, Jack’s gentle cockney honesty was endearing and gave everyone a refreshing insight into a world which many of us never see.

We then returned to classic Symposium territory, as Alan Foster gave a very professional overview of why many people believe extra-terrestrial contact is now a real and ongoing presence in our world. Through a montage of encounters with UFOs, tales of direct ET interactions and interpretations of some of the more astonishing crop formations, Alan made clear his conviction that, contrary to the word of authorities, that alien species are in fact speaking loud and clear through several different mediums, building us up to be ready for full open communication in the not-too-distant future. This is something that many people have longed for, especially those who hope that higher beings may be able to solve some of our more intractable human problems, and Alan gave encouragement that this may yet occur. His striking visuals and calm, centered presentation made for a good solid summing up of a subject that will hugely change the world if the truth of our celestial neighbours is finally revealed.

A lady who knows all about the esoteric realms is Geraldine Beskin, who has for many years been running London’s Atlantis Bookshop, a Mecca for seekers of alternative material of many kinds. Keen to show that restrictions on knowledge of the mysterious has long been an issue, she chose to focus on the story of Helen Duncan, the renowned medium who was getting such accurate information from psychic realms that her predictions of events during World War II attracted the attention of even Winston Churchill. Unfortunately she was also seen as a threat by other members of his government, who began to undermine her work and reputation in an attempt to silence her. When Roman Catholic enemies launched a plot against Duncan, accusing her of witchcraft, their methods of stopping her involved dangerous interruptions of seances and, eventually, imprisonment. Geraldine’s thoughtful presentation was a sobering reminder that getting too close to the truth can sometimes be dangerous – yet people should never waver from their deeply-held beliefs in the face of immoral opposition.

Our high-powered close to the Saturday evening came courtesy of Mark Windows. Mark has long been a truth campaigner at the genuine coalface of exposing the way the world really works through his ongoing series of podcasts and online shows. In this breathless and densely information-packed presentation, he revealed how all the restrictions on freedom endlessly talked about by ‘conspiracy theorists’ can now actually be seen being put into action on very local levels. It is theory no more. Mark showed how councils and other local authorities in the UK (and, by default, beyond) are actioning exactly the kinds of controls that many have long feared would come about from the oft-discussed ‘Agenda 21’ proposals, which curtail liberties and corral populations together into urban sprawls, all in the name of – apparently – protecting the environment. Although a lively Mark kept a keen sense of humour as he went one by one through endless examples of the new chains being put onto the population, there was no doubting the seriousness of what is now going on. The concern is, will anyone outside of the put-upon truth community listen or call it out while there is still time to change things..?

Sunday 28 July 2019

The Sunday morning began with another lively presenter, this time returning the event to one of its other mainstay areas – earth mysteries and ancient knowledge. Fionn Rawnsley told the fascinating and often amusing story of how his discoveries led him to believe that the entire landscape around Wiltshire’s famous Stonehenge monument might be one vast series of astrological diagrams, not unlike Glastonbury’s own famous ‘zodiac’. While some of Fionn’s observations could be seen as subjective interpretations, his observation that various important sacred sites across the south of England appear to mirror different ancient positions of the pole star in the sky is a persuasive one. Were the people of those times trying to recreate the heavens on Earth by embodying them with physical structures and topographical features? Although such ideas have been proposed for the likes of Egypt, it would seem that more focus on our own sacred landscapes might yet unveil further hidden truths that deserve more scrutiny.

The power of sound has been explored by a number of Symposium speakers over the years, but it has never been presented as such a definite healing tool before today, as Elaine Thompson shared the thinking behind her pioneering of ‘sound therapy’. Elaine believes that by tuning into the frequencies of our voices – every one utterly unique – that we can help heal ourselves. As brainwaves and our voices have been shown to be connected, by reflecting the relevant sounds of them back to us using electronic means and adjusting the parameters to correct any sour notes of anxiety or stress, the body itself will then in turn correct itself. In her friendly and efficient manner, Elaine took the audience through some toning sound exercises and demonstrated, using her personally-designed device (rather resembling a sound cannon) the types of frequencies she uses with her clients. Many people who have used sound therapy have sworn it has made a dramatic difference to their wellbeing, and Elaine shared some of the stories and cases she has helped with over the years, encouraging people to take more control of their own health.

Reinterpretations of ancient myths has been another recurring feature of the Symposium over the years, but this time metallurgist and archaeologist Robert Feather brought a new angle to this theme by putting the magnifying glass onto the story of Moses and the Exodus of the Israelites. Considered by some scholars to be complete invention, largely due to an absence of clear records or archaeological finds, Robert argues otherwise and believes that in fact many artefacts and ‘missing’ places are standing in plain sight but have not been seen for what they are. His own careful examinations of the evidence make clear to him that the Exodus was a real event, taking place around 1350 BCE, and he is calling for a reassessment of the stories, irrespective of their religious connotations. Robert was careful to navigate his way through potentially sensitive material by not claiming that any of this proved one way or the other whether the events were driven by Jehovah, but simply stating that the basic components of the tales recorded in the Old Testament may be rooted in at least some kind of reality. Robert’s calm, authoritative tones certainly helped make a good case for his claims.

In times when questioning medical authorities on almost anything is becoming a dangerous taboo, supported by a compliant media and the growing powers of Big Pharma, the world may yet need the likes of Courtenay Heading, who slammed into many assumptions being made about what he calls the ‘top five medical myths’. Using his own discoveries made while working for the Isle of Man government, Courtenay expressed his personal disquiet over much-promoted issues such as cholesterol problems, exaggerated prostate and cervical cancer ‘epidemics’, the harm some think is caused by breast screening, and annual flu-jabs, amongst other areas. He believes that many of these problems have been inflated in the public eye to make money rather than cure people. Inevitably a presentation like this will always be controversial, but there was no doubting the sincerity of Courtenay’s intentions and his hope that by raising awareness people might come back to paths of maintaining general Wellness, rather than being slave to the oft-encouraged management of symptoms. He also took the opportunity to make a plea for ‘Restorative Justice’ and the establishment of natural courts that don’t answer to the usual authorities, but directly to the people. It may be an uphill struggle – Courtenay explained how his attempts to use this technique to register his car on the Isle of Man resulted in a few days being held in the local police cells! – but his dedication and admirable resolve are undeniable.

UFOs returned to the Symposium curriculum to round off the Sunday afternoon speaker schedule, as renowned ufologist Gary Heseltine took to the stage to promote the imminent arrival of the new film Capel Green, an intensive and professional investigation into the famous events at Rendlesham Forest in Suffolk in the early 1980s. These sightings, which involved soldiers from the nearby US air base witnessing unexplained physical craft and aerial lights, have become the subject of so much controversy ever since, seeing accusations, denials and counter-accusations, that Gary and the production team have created the film to try to create as definitive an account and analysis of the events as possible, using first-hand witnesses and going back to the exact locations of the encounters. The clips Gary showed looked very impressive and left everyone champing at the bit to see the whole final film. One thing is for sure – something very odd indeed occurred at Rendlesham Forest, and the objects that were witnessed were very much NOT lighthouses or mundane phenomena, as have all been suggested as brush-off explanations.

Gary was followed by Symposium organisers Sheila and Andy giving their usual thanks to everyone responsible for putting this whole wonderful event on, and Di made another quick appearance, before all the technical crews – the ‘men in black’ – came out and took a much-deserved bow. 

Then it was off to the ruins of Glastonbury Abbey after tea for the traditional close to the main part of the weekend, as Jason Porthouse led another meditation, with many people joining hands to create a huge ring of human power in the beautiful grounds of this sacred site. The weather was kind, and sunshine smiled on us, leaving everyone to roam, drink or dine afterwards, before getting ready for the last leg of the Sunday evening speaker…

Sunday evening

In this age where official science must not now be questioned or challenged in any way no matter how contradictory it may be (which is why, of course, the Symposium tries to maintain its commitment to free speech within reasonable bounds), speakers like Piers Corbyn are brave to speak out about their doubts over the causes of climate change. Brother of Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn, Piers is aware of the extra scrutiny that this creates around him, but he doesn’t waver from his personal view that carbon may not be the driver of the current strange weather patterns and that other factors, such as solar and cosmic influences – and simple misunderstandings of wider atmospheric cycles – may be more to blame. He also holds that man-made climate change is being used to foment yet more agendas of control and worries that movements like Extinction Rebellion might be open to easy manipulation by governments and Big Business. If Piers was a fool with no standing in the climatology world, it might be easy to dismiss his views in the face of so much contrary information which saturates the media and our schools – but given that he is a respected scientist and that his weather prediction abilities have been shown to be correct on more occasions than many other climatologists, it is impossible to dismiss his views without proper consideration. His clear explanations and arguments, and his easy-going and friendly demeanour, remaining calm and affable even when dealing with the criticisms he has received, was infectious and it was clear by the long Q&A at the end that the majority of the packed audience had realised that there is certainly a case to be made that the big picture of climate change is far from straightforward. Piers was rapturously received at the end, making for a suitably climactic end to the very satisfying Glastonbury Symposium of 2019.

And with that, the countdown to our 30th anniversary in 2020 began…

Report by Helen Sewell, photos by Andy Thomas

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