Anthony Thorley is a retired psychiatrist who has been researching landscape energies, myths and traditions for over thirty years. He joined forces with John in March 2009 to create the new Alchemical Programme in Glastonbury, which now includes Anthony’s sacred walks in The Glastonbury Zodiac, as a core component of the course. In 2006, Anthony graduated (along with John) with an MA in Cultural Astronomy and Astrology at Bath Spa University and currently he is completing a book, ‘Sacred City, Secret City’ on the Masonic vision of the development of eighteenth-century Bath. In summer 2008 he commenced a PhD at the University of Kent on the conceptual basis of landscape zodiacs as sacred space. Anthony is particularly interested in the idea that landscape ‘speaks’ to those who live close to the land and that sacred landscape is the product of a complex co-creative dialogue in which man is only a single participant in a crowded theatre of animate activity which often seems to create more mystery than meaning.
Together with his wife, novelist and writer Celia Gunn, Anthony has recently completed a major world overview of sacred sites and their protection for the Gaia Foundation (see www.Gaiafoundation.org.uk ). It is hoped that this document will have practical impact at an international level in raising awareness about the importance and significance in a wider ecological and spiritual context of placing sacred landscape in the centre of effective environmental policy.
Over the last few years Anthony and Celia, whilst living in the West Country, have founded Earthskywalk (see www.earthskywalk.com ), which, following the example of our indigenous British ancestors has chosen pilgrimage and ritual journey as a way of exploring and honouring the fundamental healing and transformational process present in our human connection to the land and sky and their changing energies through the seasons. This is seen as an active and mutually nourishing dialogue between our own creative consciousness and those ‘persons-other-than-human’ who occupy and constitute the living landscape. Through this active service Anthony considers that we are challenged to accept not only that seeing is believing but that believing is seeing. Anthony has wide experience of the ways in which focussed journey in the sacred landscape can facilitate personal growth and fundamental transformation.
Earthskywalk pilgrimages follow our ancestors’ footsteps in the ancient kingdom of Wessex, particularly in the counties of Wiltshire and Somerset. Anthony and Celia have also collaborated on landscape studies in Ancient Egypt, Northumberland and the Scottish Borders and books on their work are forthcoming.
Over the next few years, partly under the auspices of the Gatekeeper Trust (see www.Gatekeeper.org.uk ), Anthony will be leading a series of pilgrimages and workshops which explore the mystery of the national landscape zodiac known as the Gypsy Switch culminating in a focus on London as a sacred city and its role in hosting the Olympic Games in 2012.