Because of the pandemic lockdowns and lingering restrictions, we did not have full in-person gatherings in 2020 and 2021 but held two successful online events instead…
2020 (Sat 25 July)
With so many doubts about whether the first and worst wave of pandemic restrictions would be over or not by the time we were due to have our annual event, there was simply no way we could risk going ahead with an normal event in 2020. So, online it was … Although this wasn’t the 30th anniversary event we had expected, taking place on what would usually be the middle day of the Symposium this was nonetheless a very enjoyable five-hour series of live presentations in two sessions, morning and afternoon, conducted via Zoom. Although no substitute for a full event, of course, it was surprisingly sociable, retaining the friendly ‘family’ feel of the Glastonbury Symposium, and we have had many very positive responses.
Using the Zoom webinar mode (where speakers are heard and seen, but not the audience, who could, however, share their thoughts and feelings via the Chatbox facility), first up the team of Andy Thomas, Diana Brown, Jason Porthouse and Helen Sewell welcomed people to the day and chatted through how things would run. Then it was onto the first presenter of the day, as Andy Thomas retained his annual Saturday morning slot and talked through some of the many issues arising from recent times and all the debates over the pandemic and its huge consequences for truth and freedom. With populations being suspiciously ‘snowblinded’ by being told over and over again just how ‘unprecedented’ these times are, this feels ever more like a clever ploy to persuade us to go along with things we wouldn’t normally accept, as all usual calibration points are swept away and censorship reigns supreme. Watch the presentation at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VbwQOMkBRSU&feature=youtu.be
Next up was Helen Sewell, a familiar face at the Symposium but also a widely respected psychological astrologer. Taking a more celestial view of recent events, Helen conveyed the huge astrological undercurrents going on at the moment, which were always guaranteed to stir big things, and pointed out some of the clear correlations. Even if unfamiliar with the astrological context, viewers were left in no doubt that these were never going to be passive days, with a somewhat tumultuous coming autumn being likely. Watch the presentation at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GdPST3QpxpE&feature=youtu.be
An open forum followed (neatly taking the place of our annual Saturday Forum), with Andy, Helen and the team, as attendees easily offered their queries and thoughts in the ‘Q&A’ facility and ideas were talked through and debated. A break for lunch followed, but the session was kept open for those wanting to use the Chatbox or watch the long selection of archive images of past Symposiums, set to music, to mark our 30th anniversary, which ran in a continuous loop throughout, keeping something of the atmosphere of the usual event in our minds.
The first afternoon session was given over to our very special guest RUPERT SHELDRAKE, the renowned author, scientist and researcher whose work on telepathy, intuition and ‘morphic resonance’ has challenged the rejection of such things by the rampant scientism of modern times. Interviewed by Andy, Rupert talked through the many fascinating aspects of his work and highlighted potentially crucial areas that, if properly investigated by other scientists as Rupert believes they eventually will be, could change our entire conception of how the universe works. Rupert was lucid and inspirational, and spoke openly on what he calls ‘the science delusion’, entertainingly and insightfully challenging the increasingly unhelpful dogma of so-called ‘peer review’. Q&A followed, and there was no shortage of further threads to be picked up or expanded on. Many thanks to Rupert for an extraordinary contribution to our online day. We have tried many times in recent years to get Rupert as a speaker but our dates always clash with his annual stay in Canada, so we were very happy to have him this way instead! Watch the presentation at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mAScLVy4GT8&feature=youtu.be
The day closed with a heartfelt presentation by Jason Porthouse, who looked more closely at the implications of some of the current social movements and pandemic upheavals, taking a more spiritual view of how to approach otherwise unsettling days. Taking up his usual mantle of the Symposium, Jason led a very peaceful meditation, which worked very well in this new online environment, calming everyone down for some closing conversation and a very lively Chatbox, which suggested that people had been very engaged and stimulated by the whole day.
2021 (Sat 24 July)
Although lockdowns were less severe in 2021, we decided to go ahead with an online event once more rather than risk an in-person one that might be cancelled at the last minute. Also, the uncertainty about seating restrictions, fears over Covid spreading, arguments over mask rules and the not insignificant inability of many of our overseas visitors to travel at this time meant there was a risk of mounting a very unsatisfactory and ill-attended event had we gone ahead as normal. So, after much deliberation, we decided to go for online only one more time…
In this presentation, entitled Nutcases! – Truth, Lies and Balance, Andy Thomas anticipated the themes of his forthcoming book The New Heretics and looked at the key so-called ‘alternative’ views of our times and how both the media and authorities are continuing their efforts to remove them from public view with censorship and ridicule. He also suggested ways in which all sides could find a better balance of approach when definitive answers remain elusive and everyone is trying to sell their own version of ‘truth’ without facts or certainty. Watch the presentation at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X52S5_u2w9U
Thank you to everyone who supported these events, making them such valid and enjoyable days, despite having to miss the full thrill of in-person events for two summers running. Here are what some of our attendees thought!:
‘A sincere, heart-felt thank you to everyone who worked so hard to make the occasion so very enjoyable and informative. It was just what I needed to re-connect to the world!‘ – Hillary
‘Thank you all organisers of this excellent day. It is many years since I attended, and I really enjoyed all the speakers … Let’s hope that next year it might possibly be for real, but the Zoom was much better than I was expecting.‘ – Sheila
‘Rupert Sheldrake was excellent. The way Andy conducted the interview was outstanding.‘ – Liam
‘My son and I regularly attend the Symposium and always leave feeling one step further up the ladder of knowledge, experience and wonder – and on a high! It was incredible that the same feeling was experienced at the closure of Saturday’s presentations. Thank you and your team so much for all of your efforts. It was nice to welcome [you all] into our house. You always make everyone feel like ‘Friends of Glastonbury Symposium’; for us, it was especially so this time. And all for less than the cost of three days parking. Marvellous!‘ – Bob
‘Your recent Zoom event was very good and interesting.‘ – Roy
‘Fantastic day. Not a hitch. So smoooooth. The interview with Rupert was SO professional I was squealing with delight. Helen was amazing. Very clear, easy to understand and immensely interesting. I just knew her astrological take was going to be riveting. You guys did a wonderful job.‘ – Sally
‘I enjoyed it very much and in particular Andy and Rupert Sheldrake stood out as being very good.‘ – Gay
‘It was so sad not to be at the Symposium as always in Glastonbury, and to be with all our old friends, but hey, it was great that you and team were ‘up and running’ on Zoom.‘ – Jan
‘Huge heartfelt gratitude and appreciation to the entire team for organising such a wonderful space where we could gather together. All the components just fit together beautifully … It was really touching and a brilliant treat to have several opportunities to enjoy the archive of photographs which triggered even more stellar memories. I was also deeply appreciative our session culminated with Jason’s meditation … I found it incredibly powerful and it actually reminded me (as it always does at the end of those Sunday afternoons) that the link through our hearts is 24/7, so it’s not an ending but a continuation.‘ – Nancy
‘We really enjoyed the Symposium day today – many thanks to the team for all your efforts. My Dad came round and we watched it via the projector so we created our own ‘mini’ symposium here!‘ – Melanie
Thank YOU all.