For today’s post I want to take a look at the Arthurian figures of Guinevere and Morgan Le Fay as aspects of goddesses. Guinevere can be seen as the flower bride and light goddess, while Morgan can be seen as a darker aspect of a death goddess. This can also explain some of the contention and strife between the two that is often shown to be a natural part of the relationship between the two in the tales of the Arthurian legends.
Guinevere is at the onset of her marriage to Arthur the flower bride, maiden goddess of sovereignty, whose marriage truly insures the rightful reign of the monarch! She later becomes the mother aspect, even though in most versions of the legends she does not become a mother! Her mother aspect is one associated with sexuality, and the allure of this beautiful faerie queen. Morgana is often seen as the enchantress of Avalon, and even acts as the ferryman taking the wounded Arthur to await the time when he must come again. This ferrying of Arthur to Avalon is mirrored by the Greek myths of the ferryman Charon taking souls across the river Styx! In this way Morgana can be seen as a goddess of death, as she was taking the soul of the king off to the magical Otherworld of Avalon!
Guinevere is, then, the light half of the goddess, and the representative of birth, life, and eternity. Morgana is the dark half of the goddess, and representative of wars (specifically if we view her as the Welsh equivalent of the Irish Morrigan), death, and the Underworld. Both of these goddesses (in the Arthurian legends) have Avalonian origins. In many ways we can presume that they were both educated on the magical island, perhaps side by side, but each took a different path of magic. In some modern fantasy literature based on the legends, having them educated together is part of the plot! A prime example of this is Nicole Evelina’s The Guinevere’s Tale Trilogy.
Together Guinevere and Morgana are the dual sides of the goddess. Light and dark, day and night, birth and death, and can together provide the balance needed in the universe! In ancient times before the Arthurian legends came to be, when both were goddesses, it is likely that they found a way to work together in a way to provide greater temperance in the world.
It is interesting to consider where these powerful women of the Arthurian legends first originated. The power once wielded by the women of the Arthurian world was even greater than the power they possessed in the legends themselves! I hope you have enjoyed this brief look at Guinevere and Morgan Le Fay as aspects of the goddess. Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!
Note on Image: The image at the top of the post is Morgan Le Fay. I found the image on witchcraftandwitches.com.
- Arthurian Magic by John & Caitlin Matthews with Virginia Chandler
- Le Morte D’Arthur by Sir Thomas Malory
- The Arthurian Romances by Chretien de Troyes
- The Guinevere’s Tale Trilogy by Nicole Evelina