While trying to get to know King Arthur, I’ve found myself very conflicted over the Grail mythos. I had felt worried that King Arthur might oblige me to worship God via the Grail. But for me, when I call on capital-G God, I get Lord Odin on the phone.
So today, I had an internal conflict about it and chose to keep today’s Avalon ritual as chill and simple as possible. I decided to interpret Queen Guinevere and King Arthur as an elven Lord and Lady. I found the dynamic worked very well. Funnily enough, my original inspiration for this was the small non-denominational Lord and Lady shrine-grove at Raven’s Knoll, a pagan campsite in Ontario.
I find the High King and High Queen change with the seasons: I get very wintry imagery from King Arthur and summery imagery from Queen Guinevere. There seems to be a sacred exchange there that I will be pursuing in the future but for now, Lady Guinevere wants me to prepare for my (hoped-for) work trip to Japan and our (equally hoped-for) wedding there. (For those who don’t know, Lady Guinevere and I are engaged to be married. <3)
For me, the vibe I get from this sacred duo is that of light, peace, and sovereignty. It is, dare I say it, a very “love and light” vibe. I used to shun that type of energy because of the weird stuff I’d seen from New Age communities, and just generally, an internal misunderstanding of what ritual could bring to me: Peace! Joy! Delight! So, for now, I want to keep the rituals very chill and basic.
When I think of King Arthur I think of bears, lions, dragons, and castles. Yes, I know, all very traditionally masculine things. But he has counseled me to try and get to know him through his values: charity and kindness. If you read his lore, he gives gifts to his knights a lot. He’s a patient and forgiving king to his friends. He is just and kind to strangers. He seems like an archetypal Good King to me.
When I think of Queen Guinevere, I think of sunflowers, roses, stars, gardens, deer, and ladybugs. Still, yes, very traditionally feminine things, but she is a woman of the fey who is gentle and strong. It’s true that the lore often portrays her really unkindly but I don’t interpret the lore that literally (I will admit, I find her lore has its distasteful moments depending on the writer and their outlook, but there are gems in there if you look!). I perceive her lover Sir Lancelot as a part of a sacred faerie queen/devoted knight dynamic. She is very much a muse for many besides myself. Of her values, I think justice and mercy are the strongest, although she does appreciate other things such as kindness. She often asks what good deeds I have done on that given day. ❤
The Ritual Itself
I found the Avalon ritual went very very well. I originally thought about using Glastonbury Tor and its surroundings to call on the four directions but then I realized it would feel too much like teleporting, which isn’t a healthy idea for me to hold in my mind in ritual space. So instead, I simply focused on gentle invocations* and excerpts from incredible ballads to commune with them. I did also use the ballads to invoke the Grail although I didn’t do anything particular *with* the Grail.
Unlike the first Avalon ritual I did, I chose not to meditate with them because I found myself vulnerable to astral junk last time. (I also accidentally tried to traverse the realms to Camelot whilst half-asleep this morning so I wanted to be really careful.)
So I focused on these hymns, the offerings, some heartfelt prayer, and a drawing of a tarot card. The card I drew, with my new Legends: Arthurian tarot deck, was the 10 of Swords. To me, this card symbolizes the past: the war of mental illness, faith, and delusion is all over. I can look forward to peaceful rituals in the future.
Research & Notes
In terms of the faerie faith directly, I feel like I could do more research there. I am slowly reading Emma Wilby’s book Cunning Folk and Familiar Spirits, but honestly, I am also really curious to know what modern practitioners are doing! My struggle is that I am not seeking to adopt Welsh, Irish, or Scottish deities. I’m more curious about what one might see from Unseelie/Seelie courts, faerie processions, the life/death faerie/ancestor vibes, etc, but I am not sure where to start.
I bought the e-book Arthurian Magic but it was so long that I found it completely overwhelming. (I honestly think that the physical book would be easier to read because then I could easily read excerpts as it pleased me.) I bought Avalon Within but then discovered this book catalogued a woman’s tradition. I’m wondering if researching druidry might help.
(Hmm, I just remembered that my friend G works with faeries. I am certain they might have a good book or two I could read up on the fae. Huzzah!)
Questions for the Future
– If I intend to continue communing with these two elven royals once a month, how can I keep the ritual fresh and exciting?
Seasonal poetry, spiritual songs, and alternating invocations.
– Do I want to keep pulling a tarot card during the ritual in the future?
Probably not. I found the Camlann card so jarring that it pulled me out of ritual headspace and made me feel less peaceful. It might prove useful to do after the ritual as food for thought. Or perhaps even the day before/after?
– Would I want to try meditation again?
No. The vulnerability to astral stuff and trauma downward spirals is too easy to fall into. It’s much better to stay centered and focused on communion through action rather than seeking visions. Plus, sometimes I can get better brief visions/sacred visuals through doing a thing anyway.
(oddly enough, while reading the Legends Arthurian tarot book, I got a brief visual of Lady Freya in white like Galadriel. I appreciated the reminder that She is a sacred goddess in my life and can survive astral junk. I am thankful for such a reminder!)
-Would I want to try and work more directly with the Grail in the future?
Sure! But, for now, simple communion is good. When I have more ideas on what a faerie grail is to me, as opposed to a Christian Grail, maybe then I’ll access it. (I know there’s a relation to Cerridwen and the cauldron but I’m not quite looking to bring in the Welsh pantheon.) Maybe, for now, it will simply be a cup of merriment and toasting. :]
Overall, I feel I had a good experience. I do not think I could have reached this state in my practice without having done multiple simple Hellenic rituals hosted by a pagan friend. Accessing gentle rituals with a fellow pagan really helped me see what I want in a ritual. I have a good framework for the future now.
Trying to worship a different pantheon every day was not a workable framework and drove me to exhaustion and despair. In the end, a small daily rite [of tea] with one consistent spirit only is what I needed. Now, worshipping one pantheon each Sunday has proven to be a calm, fun, and centering experience. I’m really glad of where I am at right now in my practice. I’m looking forward to the rituals ahead of me!
*for King Arthur, I wrote a poem to invoke him. For Lady Guinevere, I use a paragraph from Chretien de Troyes’ story of Perceval in the Arthurian Romances, p481. If anyone wants to see this, let me know and I’ll make a post about it.