Morgana Le Fay
Morgan is commonly known for her involvement with #KingArthur, but she goes back much farther than that. Her name, Mor, in Celtic means sea and her last name has two meanings of fairy and fate. She is often seen as a #Celtic triple #goddess of maiden mother and crone. Originally an ancient goddess, she later becomes a water #fairy until being recast as an increasingly antagonistic character in the christian Arthurian legend.
Our #treeteaching this week has come from a hawthorn. A tree often found by many #holywells and springs as a cloutie tree. That is, a tree where prayers are offered up in hopes of a cure for illness by tying small strips of fabric to its branches. A famous example is at Madron Well in Cornwall. Lone hawthorns are often known as Fairy Thorns.
About these wild wisdom soul stories. You take this as you wish as a mythic exploration, spiritual gift, positive psychological programming whatever … but I offer it to you in the hope that it will serve you some good purpose. The tree teachings, #forestbathing #meditations and wild wisdom soul stories are not pre-planned, I don’t have the year ahead mapped out with neat little diagrams and to do lists and pre-prepared old last years’ materials. No ... these are the fresh green shoots of inspirations sent forth from the trees. The goddess archetypes are chosen blind after the tree teaching has been written. I don’t care what your belief system is … in times of mass extinction, and #climatechange , my conviction is that if we connect personally with trees and nature this can only serve both us and the #earth well … I hope you agree. Each being and story featured each week is of course a brief glimpse. If you feel drawn to a particular one you could study it in greater depth and pay homage to the culture within which it arose.
Morgen is originally associated with many gifts including healing, astronomy and mathematics. Being a water goddess she would have been associated with the tides and in turn the moon phases.
She is also associated with the number 9 having 8 sisters. The #nine planets discovered in our solar system, are in the order starting from Sun: Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, Pluto. Man takes nine months to develop in the womb. There are nine ladies in the stone circle at Stanton Moor in England for example.
The nine sisters, of whom Morgan was the leader, ruled over Avalon and were known as great healers with the ability to shape shift into any animal form. It has been said that these nine sisters are memories of an ancient cult.
She has some very interesting ancient connections. For example, her first lover is cited in the Livre d'Artus as Bertolais. This is a name associated with Bertilak, the knight who was cursed and transformed by Morgan into the Green Knight.
Interestingly Morgan in the romances is said to have learned the ‘dark arts’ in the nunnery where she grew up. Here we see at once a contradiction that she should learn the arts of healing and magic in a Christian institution. This is a recasting of the earlier cult. In which it is reminiscent for example, of the cult of Artemis and her maiden followers who dressed up as bears. There is a great deal more to say on this subject but I will post on my other blog on Jack In The Green.
As a water or sea Goddess Morgan would have been associated with the movements of the astral bodies in particular the moon. Looking up to the light and gauging the timing of the month and year would have been a natural part of the worship of this goddess. I met the hawthorn the day before the full moon. This extract from #Gawain and the #GreenKnight mentions #hawthorn. All the trees mentioned here were sacred to the old pagan religion. Hawthorn itself was known as the Fairy Tree. In this respect the medieval audience being familiar with old pagan belief and its demonisation, the story would have created a sense of unease, mystery and magic by describing these trees.
“…Merrily in the morning by a mountain he rode Into a wondrously wild wooded cleft, With high hills on each side overpeering a forest Of huge hoary oaks, a hundred together. The hazel and the hawthorn were intertwined With rough ragged moss trailing everywhere…”
Translation taken from Brian Stone (trans.) Medieval English Verse (1964).
Morgan is cast and recast as deeply #magical. In all the stories this is the common thread. Her magical ability to heal and shape shift remain constant even through the Christian #stories. Even though by medieval times the role of women was very much reduced, #Morgan remains as a very powerful female character.
Holding The Light
So, what does Morgan have to say about holding the light?
Morgan listens to natures rhythms, she watches the passage of sun and moon across the sky and on the day of the hawthorn #treeteaching both were strongly in evidence.
In this weeks’ tree teaching I spoke about animals #reclaiming the streets from Jaguars in Mexico to Goats in Wales. I spoke too, about places in Japan where man has learned to live in harmony with the animals.
The hawthorn I met was a lone thorn and as we know lone thorns are known as ‘#FairyTrees’ and Morgan Le Fay is as her name says a fay or fairy in the folk tales. So, we could say, that the lone hawthorn I met has cast its’ fairy magic.
We also see in what has been handed down to us through the stories of Morgan is how our relationship with her is one of ambivalence. We recognise she is powerful yet at the same time have been conditioned to think that her natural affinity with nature as something evil. Yet, at the same time she is a powerful healer who ultimately saves Arthur taking him to the Isle of Apples where he will sleep until called upon again to save the country. This ultimately is our relationship with nature. We destroy it yet we depend upon it for our food sources, building materials, medicines and so much more. Morgan could punish those who misused her most severely just as nature can bring storms, ice and droughts.
So, we walk in the shadows yet holding the light. How do we balance these parts of ourselves? How do we move beyond our social conditioning to make the cultural changes needed to move beyond a society of destruction to one of integration?
We look at the light through the tree branches, just as Morgan also looked to the light to mark the tides and seasons. Only by growing our awareness of the rhythms of life can we begin to improve our understanding of the natural world and its seasons. Only by acknowledging the light and dark within ourselves, and moving beyond snap judgements, can we start to integrate the parts of ourselves that we have ignored for long. Only by reintegrating our original #wildnature can we start to move towards greater resilience and good #mentalhealth. We need nature for our well being both physical and mental as it has been proven over and over and over again.
Jaguars, civets, wild boar, bison, goats, deer, buzzards, song birds and more all walking our pathways, our roads, our streets. While we are under siege from a #virus #covid19 of our own making nature is #reclaimingthestreets.
Soon at AST we are going to do our bit. Here on this website we are launching a new online tree planting platform. Armchair activism never looked so good. You will be able to buy a tree have it planted and raise money for charity.
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Amanda Claire x
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