The vessel that has come to be known as the Cup of Peace came to light at St Bride’s Well, Glastonbury in the autumn of 1906 at a spot not far from a site known from earliest times as the Salmon’s Back. The fish symbol was in prevalent use in Gnostic and early Christian days and was associated, in the minds of many with the significance and purity of the pristine ‘Jesus Message’. The fish is also the zodiacal sign for the Piscean Age now closing. Some very early Christian inscriptions show the fish sign standing upright with side fins outstretched in the form of a cross. The latter symbol is of course of very ancient origin, subsequently to be taken over as the principal symbol of the Christian faith.
We are now entering the Aquarian Age for which the central sign-manual is the Cup or Chalice, its zodiacal sign being the water carrier usually shown as the figure of a messenger carrying a pitcher of water or as a gardener with a water-can.
The emergence of the Cup of Peace in our times signifies the promise through which the Cross of duality and suffering will be gradually transmuted into the Cup of unity and peace. It also emerged as a reminder of the value of the Grail traditions of Chivalry, Purity and Courage. It is interesting to note that the sign-manuals both for the Piscean and Aquarian Ages are associated with water. In the Piscean Age the fish (humanity) was completely immersed in water and could not exist outside it. In a general sense this fact symbolises the manner in which humanity has been so entirely enmeshed in material circumstance and environment as to become their slaves. In the Aquarian Age, however, humanity will learn to live outside the ‘water’ of the previous Age and instead to carry it about with him as its master and controller. That is to say that in due course Man will receive his release from the domination of materialism and become inheritor of the energies and inspirations of the spirit world, and so he will be able to share the water (the gift) of the Spirit with his fellows in love and understanding. Symbolism of the Cup, Chalice or Pitcher therefore is of supreme significance in relation to the Aquarian Age.
In K.M. Maltwood’s illustrated ‘Guide to Glastonbury’s Temple of the Stars’ the sign for Aquarius is given in a somewhat recondite and unusual form. It is portrayed as the Phoenix flying towards the sunrise and turning its head to drink from the blood-spring, which is the Cup of this Aquarius. Maltwood’s aerial survey gives a clear indication of the way in which a giant zodiacal circle, some 10 miles in diameter is inscribed on the land area, with Glastonbury itself as its centre. Markings on the ground, including streams, hills and mounds and ancient tracks, outline the configuration of the 12 zodiacal signs of the Heavens. The configuration of the Aquarian sign in this zodiac occupies the area known as the Tor and Chalice Hill. The Chalice Well itself being the focal point for this Aquarian design. The whole of the Chalice Well property is therefore ruled by Aquarius! The sign of the New Age! And the Aquarian Well is the centre of inspiration. The immense esoteric significance of this remarkable fact will not be lost on the friends of Chalice Well. Those whose inner vision has been awakened will perceive and understand the important spiritual role that this holy site is surely destined to fulfil.
Wellesley Tudor Pole 22.5.1958