Thursday, October 18, 2012

Ladies of the Lake

“The Goddess does not shower her gifts on those who reject them.” 
― Marion Zimmer Bradley, The Mists of Avalon

I have begun my course for the 'Ladies of the Lake' study group.  I just know I am going to love it.  Avalon has always been close to my heart, and although it is believed to have been a mythical place, I believe that Avalon once existed.  Perhaps it wasn't the Avalon that we read about, in my heart I know that such a place once existed, and Marion Zimmer Bradley's books awakened some long-forgotten memories in many of us.  

I remember my first experience with Avalon.  I was still deeply into Yahoo groups at the time, had never even heard of Blogger.  Ladies in the groups were all 'oohing and aahing' over 'The Mists of Avalon'.  I'd not read it and didn't plan to.  This was  during a time when I scoffed at fiction.  Well, to make a long story short,  I walked into Barnes & Noble one day and sitting there right in front of me were stacks and stacks of this famous book.  "What the heck", I thought as I walked over to the table, picked up a copy, and began flipping through the pages.  Needless to say, I walked out with a copy and forgot the book I had gone for.

Right from page one I found myself mesmerized, unable to put the book down, and before I knew it, Avalon had begun invading my dreams.  I was there.  It wasn't exactly the Avalon in the book and none of the characters were in my dreams, but when I awoke, I know that I had been there before. This was more than 'just a dream' to me.

After finishing the book, I bought the entire series: "The Forest House", "Ancestors of Avalon", "Priestess of Avalon", "The Fall of Atlantis", and "Lady of Avalon".  I read the series first backwards from the 'Mists' to 'Atlantis' and then forward from 'Atlantis' to the 'Mists'.  I kept a notebook beside me and became obsessed with tracing the main characters through their series of incarnations.  And, throughout the years I began to read much on the Arthurian and Avalonian traditions.  I especially loved Dion Fortune's 'Avalon of the Heart' and 'Avalon Within' by Jhenah Telyndru.

And now, here I am, seemingly coming full circle as I once again delve into the mystical world of Avalon.  The book for this course is, very appropriately chosen, "Ladies of Avalon" by Caitlin and John Matthews, two of the most prolific and knowledgeable writers I know of. I can't seem to put it down and find myself getting ahead of the lessons.  The course itself involves studies of the nine ladies of Arthurian legend--Igraine, Guinevere, Morgan, Argante, Nimue, Enid, Kundry, Dindraine, and Ragnell. It involves using intuition, the Arthurian tarot, and going within, for Avalon is, indeed, found within.

As I said before, the course itself is free although you have to buy the book.  I found it at Amazon for $14.  They also have used copies at a much cheaper price.  The 'sponsors' of the training is the "Daughter's of the Sacred Grail"on Facebook.  They also have a website  

“They have not forgotten the Mysteries,' she said, ‘they have found them too difficult. They want a God who will care for them, who will not demand that they struggle for enlightenment, but who will accept them just as they are, with all their sins, and take away their sins with repentance. It is not so, it will never be so, but perhaps it is the only way the unenlightened can bear to think of their Gods.'

Lancelot smiled bitterly. ‘Perhaps a religion which demands that every man must work though lifetime after lifetime for his own salvation is too much for mankind. They want not to wait for God's justice but to see it now. And that is the lure which this new breed of priests has promised them.'

Morgaine knew that he spoke truth, and bowed her head in anguish. ‘And since their view of a God is what shapes their reality, so it shall be–the Goddess was real while mankind still paid homage to her, and created her form for themselves. Now they will make for themselves the kind of God they think they want–the kind of God they deserve, perhaps.'

Well, so it must be, for as man saw reality, so it became.” 

 Marion Zimmer Bradley, 
The Mists of Avalon


  1. "They want a God who will care for them, who will not demand that they struggle for enlightenment, but who will accept them just as they are, with all their sins, and take away their sins with repentance."

    Love that line. I agree with Joseph Campbell... That most people just want to go along, and never take the time or energy to have to search for enlightenment... That's why they stick to whatever they were brought-up-with. -sigh-

    And it's hard to talk to these people.... About certain things...

    ENJOY your course!!!


  2. "The Mists of Avalon" had that same effect on me, Mary. When I first read it 30 years ago, I wanted to run away from my life and become a Druid priestess, LOL! And I did, kind of, eventually . . . . I am going to check out that website. Your course sounds marvelous!

  3. Since I was a young teenager, I have loved all things Arthurian. When I read the Mists of Avalon the first time, I was astounded! The impact of that book has never lessened for me.
    I would love to hear more about your course. And it is lovely to know so many years later that there are many of us who found each other in this blog world who are kindred spirits.

  4. Avalon has also always beckoned to me. I can say that there have been a handful of books that have changed my life and "Mists...." was one of them. Really excited to hear more about your course.

  5. Oh I love that series!!! I went on to read her Darkover series which was also fantastic and I'm collectinng maany more of her books.