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RedMaple  RedMaple is offline
Join Date: 10 Aug 2004
Location: New Hampshire, USA
Posts: 886

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I have always had problems with Gwenevere - she was difficult to like. On the one hand, she seemed the dutiful daughter, soooo Christian, who then succumbs to her passions, which seems liberating, then repents and becomes a nun. Yikes. Not much to like for a young girl growing up catholic.

The Mists of Avalon presents a different image, one who is truly caught between the worlds of the Old Ways and the Christian ways. One who is destined to marry the king, although her love leads her another way. She is portrayed also, as a woman who has the sight, but who mistrusts it because of her christian upbringing. And she struggles over and over again, unsuccessfully, to give Arthur an heir.

I found it interesting in the Keepers book, that in the Welsh tradition, she was fertile, and did give birth to sons. It is difficult to see how she would have the people's allegiance otherwise, as her fertility was so tied to the fertility of the land.

I want to think of this Guinevere, the fertile, prescient Guenevere, who embodies the Goddess and the land, in this card.

The eagle, for me, is not about maleness at all. Birds were often used as symbols of divinity in Britain, and the eagle simply offers a contrast to the Raven or Crows intimately connected with Morgan. This bird is the regal bird, of leadership, and it clearly holds a symbol of femaleness -- thus female leadership.

I think this card is essentially feminine, as is Nimue, while the Merlin and Arthur cards are essentially male, so that when we get to the Lovers cards, the merging of the two principles is so dramatic. In the Empress, HP, Emperor, and Magician we see them separate, in all their strength.

Especially in a reading, I would not see this as carrying anything of the male energies. I am hoping this new Cymric image of Guenevere will allow me to read this card as fertility. (Cymric (KIM-ric) = Welsh -- a student of mine encouraged me to use the word Cymry, as the other word is actually an English word)
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