The vision of Chalice Centre was born when I lived in Carmel-by-the-Sea in California for a number of years. I was walking along the shoreline one day, noticing how the white sands curved around the bay like a cup, filled with the turquoise waters of the Pacific Ocean. Earth and Water together made this numinous symbol in a most beautiful way.
In the Middle Ages, the sacred cup of the Celts became the Holy Grail, an icon which could assume many shapes, but which is best known to us as a chalice. The Grail is filled with an unearthly radiance of divine origin, can heal wounds, and bestow immortality upon those who gaze into it.

Because of its feminine nature, the Grail is also a symbol of the soul, a rounded container that seems to invite us to gaze into our own hidden depths and drink deep of the waters of wisdom within. Many early chalices are works of exquisite craftsmanship, made of gold and silver, and decorated with enamel and precious stones chosen for their color symbolism. the beauty of such treasures illuminates the primal meaning of the chalice as a vessel that, like our own souls, both conceals and reveals the Mystery of life itself.

Some years later, I read of a vision experienced by the 20th century mystic Wellesley Tudor Pole by another bay. WTP is most well known for having established the Chalice Well Trust around the sacred spring of that name in Glastonbury, England. The well is famous for the rust-red waters that pour copiously down into exquisite gardens. For centuries, pilgrims have taken the waters for their healing properties, and local legends tell that the Holy Grail was hidden in the well-shaft or somewhere within nearby Chalice Hill.

WTP's vision, however, did not take place in Glastonbury, but further west in Cornwall. While staying at a friend's house overlooking Carbis Bay, he saw the figure of St Michael, flanked by a great semicircle of his angels and backed by a radiant light, standing over the bay. The vision unfolded even more remarkably: an immense cross appeared, reaching from sea to sky, and over it was superimposed a golden chalice, a faint crown of gold above it.

An intense, dazzling light poured from on high and streamed through St Michael down into the cross, filling to overflowing the chalice that rested on its crossbeam. Gradually, the cross became more transparent and finally disappeared, while the chalice became more vital and imposing. When this happened, the angelic hosts began to sing in celestial harmony and triumph, as if in celebration of a great victory.

This vision contains a wealth of messages from the angelic kingdom about the nature of spirituality in our present time and what we must do to cultivate it. In the Christian context, the cross is a symbol of duality, of the descent of spirit (the vertical bar) into matter, (the horizontal bar) and the inevitable separation and conflicts that ensue within the world of opposites. An esoteric truism is that those living in the physical plane are, like Christ, crucified on the "cross of matter." Yet in this vision, the cross becomes illuminated, shot through with the light of spirit, as matter "remembers" its original nature, and all suffering is redeemed. As the cross disappears into the light, the chalice emerges as the primary symbol for our times. The cross of suffering and discord is to be replaced by the chalice of joy and unity. The chalice is, moreover, a feminine symbol, whose progress to the foreground of the emerging spiritual stage shows the restoration of the Divine Feminine to our world.

As a result of my own vision of the Carmel Bay chalice in the 1990s, I named my spiritual teaching and counseling practice, "Chalice Centre," and later it became the name of this website. But there was more to come. For years I had been wanting to return to the British Isles, and in 2003 I bought a house in Wales which has subsequently become an actual Chalice Centre, where I now live and teach.

Strangely, the house is just a few miles from the sea at Cardigan Bay. I’m not sure what it is, but there must be some meaning in the Car-mel, Car-bis, Car-digan pattern! Although etymologically, there is no known connection between these names, all three places are on the west coast of their respective countries: California, England, and Wales. In many cultures, the West, being the place where the sun goes down, is associated with the journey to the spirit world.

The Chalice Centre happens also to be set within the cup of a beautiful hidden green valley, a peaceful sanctuary frequented by wild birds and other creatures.

CLICK HERE to see a gallery of pictures of the Chalice Centre, West Wales

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Western Esoteric Wisdom
Celtic Magical Traditions

The website of Mara Freeman