Director of Gothic Image Tours, Jamie George, left his native Scotland for London in the early 1960s to pursue a career in television and media. “After a while, I took a year off to study areas that had always interested me – the myths and legends of Britain, the sacred landscape and folklore. As the year went by, I decided to live in Glastonbury and in some ways it felt like coming home.”
Jamie and his partner, Frances, went on to establish the Gothic Image bookstore, the grandmother of the many esoteric shops that followed in their wake, quickly followed by Gothic Image Publications. Then came guided tours around Glastonbury, which expanded to include longer tours around other parts of Britain and Ireland under a new arm of the business, Gothic Image Tours.
Jamie was a major influence in the inspiration for Marion Zimmer Bradley’s best-selling book The Mists of Avalon. As a token of her appreciation, Marion gave Jamie a first edition copy of the book with the inscription “For Jamie George who helped it all happen – affectionately” Marion Bradley.
“I’ve been taking spiritual pilgrims on tours for over 30 years. It’s been an honour to journey with so many interesting and inspiring people. I love helping them tune in to the history, mystery and magic of ancient sacred places, where every site has a story to tell. For me it’s always a revelation to see how people’s lives can be transformed by travelling with kindred spirits. When our hearts open to the numinous and luminous, we open up and become much more at one with ourselves and the land. And what’s more, we have a jolly good time!”
Professional Tarot reader, teacher, author and founder of Global Spiritual Studies, Linda Marson, has been in a working partnership with Gothic Image Tours since 2013. “The Tarot cards tell a story about the universal human journey..from the big challenges in life to the mundane,” she says. “Travel is a way of life for me and those 78 cards are my favourite travel companions. Consultiing the Tarot as you travel can yield amazing insights into stuff that’s going on in your life. A journey with Tarot is a journey enriched!” During tours, Linda facilitates a process for using Tarot to explore the messages sacred sites and landscapes have for each person.
Click here for information about TarotNav – a GPS for Life, Linda’s multimedia package of videos and e-book which show you how Tarot can be used to navigate your way through life. Here you’ll find her blog post, Personal transformation through travel, where she describes the experiences leading to her partnership with Gothic Image Tours. “In life, the Wheel of Fortune often turns to bring people of like mind together. After travelling with Jamie on two tours in 2013, I could see that he shared my passion for providing travel experiences that connect people to the spirit of place in a relaxed, supportive environment.”
These blog posts on Global Spiritual Studies give you more insight into the Gothic Image travel experience.
- Soul journeys through sacred landscapes with Jamie George
- Personal transformation through travel with Linda Marson.
Eimear is a practising Druid and works both as a Psychologist and a Celebrant. As a Druid she is the Chosen Chief elect of The Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids, a role she assumes in 2020. With her late husband, Howard Campbell, she founded the Kilkenny Druid Grove, which is based at their home in 3 Castles in Kilkenny. Their Grove hosts celebrations for all eight festivals in the Wheel of the Year. The ceremonies are attended by Druids and Pagans of all paths, as well as by people from all sections of their local community. Their aim was to promote Druidry as a creative way of living in balance with the natural world.
Her work as a celebrant means that she creates and facilitates rites of passage for people, marking all the important events in life from baby-namings to funerals. She particularly enjoys performing handfastings, and is licensed to carry out legal marriages in the Republic of Ireland. As a Priestess of The Fellowship of Isis, she works to honour the Goddess and the Divine Feminine in all her forms. As a storyteller, she takes a particular pride in continuing the oral tradition of Irish folklore, and focus on Irish mythology.
Mary K. Greer
With more than ten books and 48 years experience in Tarot, Mary K. Greer pioneered many of the Tarot reading methods used today, including reading Tarot for yourself and methods that are interactive, transformational and empowering. She joined us on Tarot Magic tours in England and Scotland in 2017 and 2018 and may well be with us in 2020. Preparing for the first tour, she said “I’m so looking forward to this Otherworld journey where we’ll use Tarot and other divination methods to commune with Pamela Colman-Smith, the artist who created the wonderful images of the Waite-Smith deck and who lived in Cornwall for 30 years.
“Standing stones and magical landscapes in Cornwall form a major part of the itinerary and give us a wonderful opportunity to call in her spirit. Merlin and Arthur will be all around us as well. We’ll be listening for whispered messages in Merlin’s Cave at Tintagel, at Stonehenge and on the ancient Isle of Avalon (Glastonbury). One morning we also visit the hill fort of Cadbury/Camelot. It would be wonderful to be there under the light of the full moon, when, I’m told, you can hear the thunder of hooves as Arthur’s knights ride forth on their next adventure… something we’ll just have to leave to our imagination!”
Helen and Mark Woodsford-Dean
Helen and Mark live on Mainland Orkney, where, through their company Spiritual Orkney, they offer a range of sacred and spiritual services to visitors, guests, seekers and pilgrims, as well as to local communities. “We are the Scottish Pagan Federation (SPF) Local Organisers for Orkney and are active members of an interfaith dialogue group here,” says Helen. “We facilitate open rituals for the eight major Pagan festivals at The Ring of Brodgar, all of which are open to anyone with a warm heart and open mind.”
Helen is an experienced archaeologist and teacher, as well as a published author. Mark’s background is a combination of Druidry and shamanism. He is currently undertaking training through the Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids, at Druid grade, and Shamanic training with Twobirds at Anam Cara, Inverness. He has also trained with the Scandinavian Centre for Shamanic Studies. Mark is qualified as an arborist, health care professional and archaeologist. Helen and Mark join the Sacred Scotland tour on Orkney.
Penny and Arthur Billington
Penny has been the editor of the magazine for the Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids (OBOD) since 2003. She is an author who regularly speaks on all aspects of Druidry, and leads ceremonies and workshops in England and Europe. She has also devised and led a six month course for students into the living relationship of Druidry and landscape, called The Druid’s Hide.
Penny’s books include The Path of Druidry; walking The Ancient Green Way, a best-selling practical Druid study course and guide; The wisdom of birch, oak and yew and The Keys to the Temple, which unveils Dion Fortune’s Mystical Qabalah through her occult novels, in collaboration with Ian Rees (all published by Llewellyn Worldwide). She has also written a series of Druid detective novels and has contributed to books on Druidry, ancestral connections and meditative practice. For more information, visit Penny’s website.
Arthur Billington is an honorary Chief Bard of OBOD, leading music workshops and playing at major events. As bluesman, ZZBIRMINGHAM, he plays clubs and festivals nationwide and presents the weekly Blues Cruise for Glastonbury FM radio. His CD, Kozmick, is a magical blues/Druid fusion. Penny and Arthur join us for the first two days of the Merlin’s Britain tour.
Steve Marshall was a professional musician for 30 years and a sound engineer. But now, he is an independent researcher in the field of archaeology, having spent close to ten years researching and photographing the Avebury landscape and monuments. The result is a ground-breaking book, Exploring Avebury, the Essential Guide, which was published in 2016. New areas that Steve explored in depth, are sound and acoustics and the connection between the siting of prehistoric monuments and moving water.
“I visited and recorded over fifty springs within a five mile radius of the Avebury Henge,” he says. “During the winter of 2012-13 when water levels were unusually high, I made significant discoveries around Avebury – notably that the great ditch surrounding Silbury Hill is lined with springs that supply most of its water. The springs had never been seen before.”Steve joins the Merlin’s Britain tour at Avebury. Click here for a blog post where Steve talks with Linda Marson about his research into Avebury.
Jack Roberts is an independent researcher, publisher and author of Sheela-Na-Gigs of Ireland and Britain: The Divine Hag of the Christian Celts and The Sun Circles of Ireland. He joins the Enchanted Ireland tour where his wealth of knowledge and lively mind bring the ancient sites of this megalithic wonderland to life.
“My wide knowledge of the archaeological and historical heritage of Ireland is the result of more than three decades of research. So you’ll find that my publications cover some of the more important and often less well understood aspects of Irish history and archaeology,” says Jack, who embodies the old Irish word Samhildánach, which means “equally skilled in many arts.” In addition to being a researcher and writer, Jack is also a designer and artist. You can find his work at Bandia Design, where his books, illustrated maps, and jewelry are available for purchase.