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Legend: The Empress Guenevere

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WalesWoman's Avatar
WalesWoman  WalesWoman is offline
Join Date: 22 Nov 2003
Location: the Pacific Far East United State of Alaska
Posts: 11,136

In the Legends books, Arthur took one look at her and decided she was going to be his bride, with Merlin wasn't happy about at all. But I think her dad had a match in mind long before Arthur had the idea.
This is a link to Tennyson's poem,, my, my what a long read.

This is a modern day story, This gives a brief history of when Arthur met Gwenevere. King Laodegan, of Carmalide, presented his daughter to the King, having her serve him the welcoming feast, as well as bath him (all the ladies of the court bathed the warriors) as they stopped on their way back from battle. Meanwhile, neglecting Merlin's prediction of her latter infidelity and outcome of , the two were united as one.

The last sentence in this little bit says that they had several sons and daughters together, and Arthur had several illegitimate children by Morgan Le Fay, Morguase, and many others. I just don't understand why there isn't more mention of thier children, it seems Mordred is the only one that anyone pays attention to. Of course...he's the bane of her and Arthur. According to the following link, her sister married Mordred and the two sisters had a fight, which led to Mordred "snitching" on her and Lancelot and basically it was the sister's fight that caused the Battle of Baddon. According to this link she had a sister, the one above says she was an only child ????
The last paragraph of this is very interesting, referring to a triad and since the Empress is 3, adds a bit more spice to this card and her legend.
Giraldus Cambrensis says the cross claimed Guinevere as Arthur's "second wife". This appears to echo the story of the False Guinevere of French Romance: an identical half-sister of the Queen fathered on the same night who persuaded Arthur that she was his true wife. For two and a half years, the King was separated from the real Guinevere until the deception was uncovered. There is also an ancient Triad of the Island of Britain which records Arthur's "Three Chief Queens": Gwenhwyfar daughter of Cywryd, Gwenhwyfar daughter of Gwythyr ap Greidiol and Gwenhwyfar daughter of Ogrfan Gawr. This may further indicate the confusion over the lady's parentage as already alluded to. Alternatively, the three Guineveres could show a common Triple-Goddess motif at the root of many later Celtic characters.
Well, that stirred up the pot...but I think all I did was just confuse myself and didn't add anything really to the understanding of this card. But was a fun way to spend the evening and find lots and lots of Arthurian links and source material.
Top   #11
inanna_tarot's Avatar
inanna_tarot  inanna_tarot is offline
Join Date: 28 Jan 2004
Location: Devon UK
Posts: 5,233
Random feminist ponderings for your enjoyment/ranting

Just having another pondering on this card.
I can see Guenevere as being a sort of empress that isn't allowed to have it all. The monks have made her into this sort of Eve, temptation, the reason for the fall of Arthur and the utopia that is Camalot.
On the same thinking I think i've come across a modern similiar - the business woman.
Here is a woman that fights and rules on the same ground as men (equal to Arthur) using her intellect to be on the same management level. She is intouch with her own sexuality, creativity and insight and keeping all these parts of her intricut self all grounded together and working in harmony, a constant balance. She has risen to the place where the queens and warriors (the feminist movement) have fought for her to be but yet she is not whole.
The ticking of the body clock, her own happiness and love in her relationship and in her job makes her feel its the right time to have a child. But, if she allows herself to have one of gifts that Nature has given us, she might lose out on her authority at work, her intelligence and will be another career woman that could have had it all if she didnt have a child. Rather than the monks that is re-writing the story , it is the government, the patriarchal nature of the business world that prevent her from having it all, that make her feel barren and maybe even not as creative and grounded and happy that she did.
The queens before Guenevere could have it all, and the modern Empress wants to have it all, will be ever have it all - or is that one of the reasons why its an archetype and not just reality lol. ]

Top   #12
Sophie-David's Avatar
Sophie-David  Sophie-David is offline
Join Date: 11 Dec 2004
Location: Ucluelet, BC, Canada
Posts: 2,813

Yes, I would see Arthur and Lancelot as every bit as responsible for the fall of Camelot, and perhaps Arthur most of all.

I agree with your implication Sezo, many jobs for both men and women could be reorganized to allow a lot of the work to be done from home, its a matter of trust and control. Or some work could even be done in a community in which children were not excluded from the central workplaces.

Actually, if anything the Empress as an archetype is much less than what any one of us have the potential to be. She is but one aspect of the even more wonderful whole that is our destination.
Top   #13
Lifeisabutterfly  Lifeisabutterfly is offline
Join Date: 15 Sep 2011
Location: New York USA
Posts: 177

The only problem I have with Guinevere being shown as the Empress is that she was barren...whilst the Empress card is always associated with fertility and abundance. Why is she chosen so often as the Empress?
Top   #14



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