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Dulcimer  Dulcimer is offline
Join Date: 17 Oct 2005
Location: Yorkshire, UK
Posts: 192

Originally Posted by Windhorse
Celtic and Greek weren't the only cultures to have this. Excellent sources for this are of course JG Frazer's "The Golden Bough" which is essentially a study of magic religion inspired by Frazer's fascination with the ritual death of the king and associated priestess-queen.
Joseph Campbell also wrote quite a bit on this, scattered throughout most - if not all - of his work. There is a bit in his "Masks of God" series.
The other thing to remember is that the consort was both Priestess and Empress (more often than not, Priestess - especially in Sumerian/Babylonian times; see the Epic of Gilgamesh). I think you'll find in the celtic/briton/arthurian context she was the Priestess (Morgaine of Avalon), and the Empress was someone else (Gwynyfyr). But far be it for me to contradict such outstanding work thus far from yourself.....
Oh you silver tongue! You're quite right of course, Celtic and Greek aren't the only cultures. I mention them because they are my main lines of study. Frazer's "Bough" was my bible when I was young. Largely dismissed by Folklorists these days, sadly, but I think many of his ideas are still to be disproved. Robert Graves in "The White Goddess" expands on Frazer's work in some remarkable directions. I've only read Campbell's "Hero with a Thousand Faces" many years ago. Used to have a copy, don't know where it is now. I didn't much like his "Masks of God" books. Thought they sounded too contrived. I haven't read O'Neil's book, but I shall find a copy and do so. Thanks for pointing it out to me.

In British Celtic tradition the ruler's consort was connected with the land. Most of the important women were connected with this idea; mother, daughter, sister, bride, they were all aspects of Sovereinty i.e. the land. Morgan la Fey and Gwenwyfar, as well as other figures like Careddwen and Bridget from Welsh and Irish myth, are aspects of that Soverienty. With regard to Arthurian myth, Gwenwyfar represents Sovereignty as the "empowering" aspect. Marriage to her means Kingship of the land. In Welsh stories she is abducted by various characters such as Medrawt (Mordred) and Gasozein who, by doing so, lay claim to rulership of the land. Arthur has to overcome them to win her back. Thus she tests his worthiness for she is not an unwilling accomplice in these abductions. In another story she is abducted and killed(!). Her kinsman Madeglans of Oriande comes to court and demands that Arthur yield up the Round Table and soveriegnty to him because, now that she is dead, Arthur is no longer entitled to them. Don't forget that the Round Table belonged to her family, coming to Arthur only as part of her dowry.

I might add that it was the failure of Arthur to give Gwenwyfar a son that brought the downfall of the kingdom and the end to Arthur's reign; as she sought out a progenitor elsewhere (Lancelot, Gwalcmai, the "abductions") Morgan tricked him into providing an heir. These ladies were hooking fish everywhere!

As for Morgan, to be fair an Enchantress rather than a Priestess since she was not connected with a religion, she was a late invention in Arthurian literature, as I'm sure you know. She became the synthesis of many Otherworldly Goddesses from the Morrighan, the Irish Battle Goddesses, to Arianrhod, the Welsh Goddess of the Dead. It was she who provided the final challenger to Arthur's rulership, his own son Mordred. Frazer would approve. But, being the Goddess of the Underworld, she becomes Arthur's deliverer and healer; escorting him to the land of the dead, healing his wounds so that the Once and Future King can rise again - somewhat better experienced next time round one hopes.
To Test and to Teach, Morgan became the dark aspect of the Sovereignty Goddess; to Empower and to Love, Gwenwyfar was the bright Flower Bride aspect of the Sovereignty Goddess.

So, yes they were "separate" in that their duties differed, but in an overarching sense they were two sides of the same Goddess.

This is much too deep a subject to give it justice in a couple of paragraphs. If you are at all interested in the Celtic Soveriegnty idea then I urge you to read Caitlin Matthew's two book study of the Mabinogion, "Mabon and the Mysteries of Britain" and "Arthur and the Sovereignty of Britain", from which I have drawn much of the above. If you liked Frazer and Campbell you'll love these.

Originally Posted by Windhorse
Got any more sephirotic notes to share?
All in good time. Truly sorry to hear about your problems getting Stargate. I'll wager its down to that Murdoch bloke.

Originally Posted by Windhorse
the Emperor as being the just and fair version of masculinity/patriarchy - which of course many of us post-feminist goddess-worshipping pagan types do....
Right with you there buddy!
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