Sunday, May 10, 2009

Goddess of the Week

No, you're not seeing things. Evidently I am to get my wish, the one where I said I thought I should pick the card, mull on it a week, and then write the post. That, or Gwenhwyfar's decided that She wanted to get in on the repeating action, like Kamrusepas, Ishtar, Blodeuwedd, and Pele. Or, it's my own energy interfering here, given that I tend to take my time with things.

Or, most probably, She simply still has something to say to us.

So, Gwenhwyfar it is, the Lady Whose name means 'White Phantom.' She is the Welsh precursor to the Arthurian Guinevere, and like her, Arthur's Queen even in the earliest mentions of Her; She is a sovereignty figure, one Who embodies the power of the land Whom the King must wed if he is to rightly rule. She isn't ever explicitly called a Goddess in the tales we have, but if the land personified is not a Goddess then what is?

Though it is not mentioned in the Welsh versions of the legend, one of the most famous symbols of the Arthurian cycle is the Round Table, the great table in Arthur's court at which all his knights were seated. It is a symbol of wholeness and cycles through its circular shape alone; but it is also specifically said to represent the equal standing of the knights who sat at it (and I would assume the King as well), as a round table has no head and no favored position. It is interesting to note that Arthur only acquired this symbol of wholeness and equality through marriage to Guinevere, as it was part of her dowry.

Gwenhwyfar's name is etymologically related to the Irish Finnabair, daughter of the fabulous Queen Medb, herself a thinly veiled Goddess of the land, sovereignty, and sexuality, known for her many, many lovers, and so called 'Medb of the Friendly Thighs' in the tales. Though Medb has a husband, King Ailill mac Máta, in her most famous legend, it does not stop her from exercising her right to take other lovers; when Ailill, however, is found to be unfaithful, Medb has him killed. Though that might sound like a double standard, it is probably more a commentary on the fact that while kings come and go, the earth remains, or, in mythological terms, the Goddess is constant in Her change while the God dies and is reborn with the year.

Echoes of that idea can be found in Guinevere's love affair with Lancelot, as well as Guinevere's not-infrequent abductions by upstarts bent on the throne, as I mentioned in last week's post.

Gwenhwyfar is in my piece depicted as the May Queen, the Bride to whom the King is wed; and all around us at this time of year (well, in the North where it is the season of Beltaine) the flowers and the birds and the trees and the bees are, well, consummating that union. Last week I asked how you were wedded to the Divine. This week, how is the Divine wedded to you? How are you the Queen, the Earth, the one who is constant in Her cycles? How does the Year come to you?

As always, I ask, what does She say?

Now I am the Bride. Be merry! Dance in the grass; better yet, make love in the grass, in the woodland, in the fields beneath the apple tree. I am the flower that becomes the fruit, in time; but right now I am newly wed, the honey-mead in the mouth. Celebrate, and toast my health. It is toasting yours.

I am Blodeuwedd and Rhiannon; I am the Great High Queen, the Mother of Souls, Queen of Phantoms and the Otherworld; I am Queen of the Shades moving within you even in this season of warmth and light. I am the overlapping shadows, the sun and the moon and the earth aligned in the long cycle. I am the hawthorn, the may, great majestic Maia; and the king is my consort. Not I his. That is important for you to remember, both for my story and your own.

What do you think?

1 comment:

ked'a said...

All this fertility has got me chasing my libido up and down the walls.

I want the seven lovers at my feet -- not seven veils to cast off. I want to feel the wholeness of my own Divinity through the joining of flesh.

But here I am held hostage to my honor, 7 years of almost unbedded weddedness craving so many others' caresses. How is that honoring Her?

Ah! I hear that I do the work before me. And I am healing.

I guess it's health before orgies for me!