Order of the White Moon Presents
Lady of the Lake
Enchantress - Queen - Healer - Shapeshifter - Goddess
Clare Johnson (Mystic Amazon)
The Lady of the Lake is the most mystical character of any in the Arthurian tales. Much has been written about her and the land of Avalon, Ynes Affalon, which means the Land of Apples. Morgan le Fay is one of these women, and she herself is a half sister of King Arthur, an enchantress, healer, queen, and goddess. Morgana is sometimes regarded as one of the aspects of the goddess Morrigan.
The Lady of the Lake is the name of several related characters who play integral parts in the Arthurian legend. These roles include giving King Arthur his sword Excalibur, taking the dying king to Avalon after the battle of Camlann, enchanting Merlin, and raising Lancelot after the death of his father (hence calling him Lancelot du Lac). Different writers and copyists give her name as Nimue, Viviane, Elaine, Niniane, Nyneve, Nimueh and other variations. The Lady of the Lake's origins are probably ancient and pagan, like Morgan le Fay's, and she and Morgan may have ultimately derived from the same tradition.
Alfred Tennyson adapted several stories of the Lady of the Lake in his "Idylls of the King." He said that the Lady of the Lake was the good fairy queen Vivian that raised Lancelot, and gave King Arthur Excalibur by holding the sword up from the middle of her Lake. Then he 'demonized' Morgan le Fay as another part of the Lady, who was Arthur's evil half sister and tried to destroy him. Morgan also was said to have stolen the scabbard to Excalibur. Excalibur could never be defeated. The scabbard could heal anyone and Morgan stole that and threw it back into the lake, so that Arthur could be killed. Yet another aspect of the Lady in Tennyson's tales was Nimue, who seduced Merlin into teaching her all of his magick, and then trapped him in an oak tree or cave. It is likely that all three of these aspects, or queens, were the ones who took King Arthur in a boat to Avalon to be healed after his final battle.
In Caitlin Matthews book, "Ladies of the Lake", there are nine sisters who are priestesses, queens and enchantress-healers, who live on the island of Avalon. Morgana, Igraine, Guinevere, Argante, Nimue, Enid, Kundry, Dindraine, and Ragnell. Argante is the head Lady of the Lake here, although Morgan is the head Lady in other books.
To me, the Lady of the Lake is a caring goddess, and a very strong healer. She is wonderful to work with for almost anything. Some of her symbols are: apples or flowering apple branches, an enchanted boat or barge that pilots itself, and an Avalonian castle. A gold apple is for immortality, and a red apple is for transformation...either of these are good symbols for her. She is also linked with the sovereignty of the land, water faeries or mermaids, the Green Lady, and of course, Excalibur and its scabbard. The Lady's home of Avalon is no longer in the real world, but resides just outside of our world. It is possible to go through a portal, usually filled with mists, to get there.
She and Her sisters are there waiting to help and advise you, if you will but ask.
"The Lady of the Lake"
Sangorski, Alberto (1862-1932), "The Lady of the Lake" from:
Morte D'Arthur: A Poem by Alfred Lord Tennyson.
THE CALL OF THE LADY OF THE LAKE
Arthur Receives Excalibur
Maclise, Daniel (1806-1870) (J. Thompson engraver). "Arthur Receives Excalibur" (Illustration to "Morte D'Arthur") from: Tennyson, Alfred. Poems by Alfred Tennyson, D.C.L. London: Edward Moxon, 1857
|Garrett, Edmund H. (1853-1929), "The Boy Arthur and the Lady of the Lake" from: Francis Nimmo Greene. Legends of King Arthur and His Court. Boston: Ginn & Co., 1901.|
The Lady of the Lake sits by the Fountain in Arroys
Pyle, Howard (1853-1911) "The Lady of the Lake sits by the Fountain in Arroys," from: The Story of King Arthur and His Knights, written and illustrated by Howard Pyle. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1925.
THE LADY OF THE LAKE
THE CALL OF THE MISTS
I came for you,
You must come with me,
But would not pass farther
You cannot see what comes,
We will send our fairy boat
You will swim in our lakes
Let our Queen, Morgana
You are close to the Otherworld,
© September 21, 2008
Tile Designed by
John Moyr Smith
From a set of twelve tiles illustrating the Idylls of the King designed by John Moyr Smith for Minton, c. 1875.
Idylls of the King, by Alfred, Lord Tennyson 2
Ladies of the Lake, by Caitlin and John Matthews 3
The Once and Future King by T.H. White
The Mists of Avalon by Marian Zimmer Bradley
to the Gallery | Join
Back to the Gallery | Join a School