One Year as a Keeper at the White Spring

One Year as a Keeper at the White Spring December 18, 2023

Exactly a year ago, I began my first shift as a Keeper in training at the White Spring. It has been both amazing and really tough. It has tested me, transformed me, left me crying on my knees, exhausted me, and shown me some of the most amazing magic of my life. It has both shaken and strengthened me.

The White Spring - Glastonbury (Image by Annwyn)
The White Spring – Glastonbury (Image by Annwyn)

A Keeper is what the volunteers at the White Spring are called. I really like this term. It is humble, it implies that we are there to be of service and to keep the place safe and clean. Our duties include things like opening and closing the spring. Lighting all the candles. Cleaning the altars. Emptying the rubbish bins and sweeping the floors. While it seems to be more of an unspoken duty it is also our responsibility to keep the energy of the place peaceful and calm to the best of our ability. However, this is not always the case. This means that some of us do energy work, others play music and I am pretty sure that we all burn incense to protect, cleanse, and purify the space.

I began on a Friday. I remember how I felt back then. I was so nervous and so timid. I wanted to do everything right. I didn’t want to step on anyone’s toes. I wanted to serve in peace and enjoy the magic of the sacred spring. I began in the depths of winter. When the days are short and when the energy of Glastonbury is sleepy and peaceful. The days were short, grey, and misty and it truly felt like living on the Isle of Avalon. I am glad for those quiet magical months. They helped me really ground in and appreciate the energy of the place.

My first public ritual experience was at Imbolc. I was thrown into my first ritual and called in fire, which is strange for this Watery Woman! But I was just happy to participate, and I’ve called many quarters in my lifetime and was happy to jump in! It was such a beautiful day and I got to bask in the gentleness of being part of something but not being in charge. I am so glad I did this as things would drastically change by Samhain. If you would like to see a quick video recap of the day, click here.

The winter spoiled me. I remember basking in the glow of the sacredness of the place. The quiet days were filled with lighting candles, and burning incense and resin. Cleaning the altars and listening to musicians play their soft songs in the spring. The days were short and so were the shifts. It was beautiful bliss. I missed Beltane because I was on a pilgrimage in France and when I returned everything shifted.

The White Spring – Glastonbury – Image by Annwyn

The Keeper volunteer team shifted. One day I woke up and in an instant, one of the Keepers who had volunteered at the spring for years handed her duties over to me. She asked me to gather all the supplies from her house and to take her shifts. So, I took on another shift just as our summer extended hours (because of private bookings) went into effect. I also took over the duties of ordering candles and receiving shipments as well as ordering other supplies for the spring. That, combined with extra opening hours, shifts on the sabbats, monthly meetings, and cleaning days. I went from a short 5-6 hours in the spring per week to somewhere between 12 and 25 hours a week. In the summer it was more like 20 hours on a regular basis.


With the summer came longer hours, more people at the spring, and shenanigans. I went from being timid to having to stand firm in my power. I stood up to tourists, people trying to sneak photos of the spring. (One of our most sacred rules) I confronted folks who were drunk, on power trips, and even caught a woman who collapsed into my arms. The week of the Glastonbury Festival was exhausting. It felt like I was running a marathon just trying to keep the spring in order and ground the energy of the space. In the summer folks like to treat the spring as their personal party place and pool and this is not in alignment with the space, the vision of leadership, or the keeper team. The weeks that followed weren’t any easier.

The White Spring - Glastonbury (Image by Annwyn)
The White Spring – Glastonbury (Image by Annwyn)

I battled with a bard who decided to come to the spring one day and do as he pleased. To keep a long story short he was asked to leave only to show up the following day with his guitar to sing the same threatening words he had hurled at me the day before. It was a jarring experience, but the spring was teaching me to be more resilient, to be humble, but also to stand firm in my power. Now I laugh when I tell the story of the guy who tried to get rid of me by singing the song of my demise. Thankfully I haven’t had to interact with him again.


By the fall I really felt like I had figured it out. I had found a balance volunteering in the spring. However, there are some days when I can feel the swift kick of Glastonbury’s strange energy trying to push me over the edge. I am rooted and grounded in my life and work here. Then in another strange twist of fate, I took on even more responsibility.

10 days before Samhain we had a meeting to discuss what we would be doing for our Samhain Ritual that year. Interestingly the Ceremonial Custodian (Manager) stepped down from his duties a few weeks before and the Keeper Team wanted to have someone else take over. After the question was asked and a few moments of silence I spoke up and volunteered to be the new Ceremonial Custodian. Thankfully I have held space at large gatherings before. Pagan Pride Days in Phoenix Arizona and Portland as well as the Mermaid Parade prepared me to be able to take the reigns immediately. With only a few days to plan I reached into my tool bag of magic and hosted a really wonderful ritual. Max, the former custodian embodied Gwyn ap Nudd the King of the Faery. I spoke about the sacred apple and moving into the dark half of the year. I led them through an ancestral rite that my teachers had taught me years ago. They were actually there to see it too which was lovely! They had flown in for a week of witchcraft and magic and were able to attend the Samhain ritual at the spring. 

Now we move into Yule Tide and I am preparing to facilitate the Winter Solstice Ritual. I am still volunteering two days a week, plus cleaning days, meetings, and sabbats. The days are once again misty, grey, and short. The White Spring is in a blissful state and has very few visitors. It has been a wild and crazy year, but I loved it! It’s not as glamorous as I had expected. I went in thinking it would be a beautiful and sacred duty filled with fantasies of lighting candles and twirling around the space. The truth is it’s more about sweeping floors, scraping wax with a flathead screwdriver, and being ready for anything that could happen.

As a Water Priestess, it doesn’t get better than this though. This was a dream of mine and last year when I first got here, I was just hoping they would let me help out. One year later I am an important part of the Keeper Team and I serve the spring almost every day in some way. I am filled with joy, but it is also balanced with a good dose of grounding, humility, and a few reality checks here and there. I am strengthened by the tests the spring has given me and I continue to serve and live this wild and crazy life!

The White Spring - Glastonbury (Image by Annwyn)
The White Spring – Glastonbury (Image by Annwyn)
About Annwyn Avalon
Annwyn Avalon is a Water Priestess and Celtic Witch. She is the Author of The Celtic Goddess Grimoire, The Way of the Water Priestess and Water Witchcraft: Magic and Lore from the Celtic Tradition. She is the founder of Water Priestess Training, The Water Priestess Confluence, Bewitching the Waters Symposium, and Triskele Rose Witchcraft a Avalonian Witchcraft Tradition. She has devoted her life to the study of Esoteric Water Mysteries, art, witchcraft and magic. Her path is one of sacred service to the waters of this world and her ancestors. She is an initiated Witch and Priestess, Reiki Master Teacher, award-winning Dancer, published author and has a BFA in sculpture, BA in Anthropology.. She has also received an apprentice certificate in Herbalism. She writes for the Magical Times Magazine in the UK and has contributed to other published works such as The New Aradia a Witches handbook for resistance, Brigid's Light: Tending the Ancestral Flame of the Beloved Celtic Goddess, This Witch, and Witchology Magazine. She is the author of the Patheos Blog The Water Witch. She now lives in Glastonbury as the sacred steward of Chalice Orchard, the former home of the famous occultist Dion Fortune and is a Keeper and Ceremonialist at the White Spring. One of the sacred springs located in Glastonbury. You can read more about the author here.
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