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Arthurian Legends Endure
Great legends come to us from actual facts and incidents throughout history. Some legends are about real people and their conquests, others are about imaginary characters based on actual incidents and facts. The legends of King Arthur, Merlin, Lancelot, Guinevere, the Grail Seekers, and all the knights of the Round Table give us a look into a fascinating and very romantic period in history. Whether these particular characters are based on real people is still a scholarly debate -- but, real or not, the Arthurian Legends endure the sands of time.
What better way to escape today's struggles and concerns than to put yourself back in time to the Dark Ages and into a world of heroes, heroines, romance, battles against evil, and a peek into the ways of Pagan Priestesses and Sorcerers. It was a time when Christianity began branding paganism as wrong and sometimes evil. Yet the Arthurian legends find a way to allow Paganism and Christianity to exist in the same world. Without Paganism and their mysterious and beautiful ways, the Arthurian legends might just be another series of boring reads. The personalities of the people and their daily lives are enhanced by the influence and mysteries of Paganism.
King Arthur, Merlin, all their beloved friends, as well as their enemies, are considered by many to be in the realm of mythology -- according to some scholars, they seem to be based on actual people in history. There are four main characters in all Arthurian legends: Merlin, King Arthur, Guinevere, and Morgain. These are the people who defined the history of the legends and all the other characters.
He was known by different names (Myrrdin, Ambrosius Merlinus, The Emrys) however, as Geoffrey of Monmouth claimed in the year 1134, Merlinus qui et Ambrosius dice-batur, "His name is Merlin" -- and that is the name most people use for him. Who was Merlin, really -- more intriguing, what was Merlin? Was he a sorcerer? A Seer? A magician? A prophet? A warrior? Merlin was all this and more. He was also the author of "Prophecy" which Geoffrey of Monmouth translated for the world. Merlin, a trusted counselor and emissary to the High Kings, including Arthur, was loved by many and feared by most.
Arthur, Arturus, was the son of the High King, Uther Pendragon and Igraine of Avalon. Merlin had prophesied and engineered the right people together to bring about the birth of Arthur, who would save Britain and build Camelot. When Arthur was born, Merlin spirited him away to safety. Merlin knew that the son of Uther Pendragon would always face the danger of being killed while young and vulnerable, so he would not be a threat to others who wanted the throne of the High King upon the death of Uther Pendragon. The boy was raised by an old and trusted friend of Merlin's, and trained in the ways of a warrior. When Uther died, Merlin brought Arthur, now old enough and wise enough to defend himself and prove his worth, to the counsel of Kings to claim his birthright and the throne.
Guinevere was a very controversial figure in the Arthurian legends. She was the High Queen, wife of Arthur, and reputed to have been the lover of Sir Lancelot. Lancelot was Arthur's closest and most trusted friend. Lancelot would lay down his life for Arthur -- yet his love for Guinevere was just as strong. Depending on which scholar or author you read, Lancelot and Guinevere swore an undying love to each other and consummated that love in union, or denied the physical aspect of love because of their love for Arthur. Guinevere and Arthur never had children, either because she was barren or because they never consummated their marriage with the physical act.
Guinevere was raised in a very sheltered environment by her father. She led a very devout Christian life. Many say she brought about the downfall of King Arthur and Camelot. Being Christian, she could never tolerate Merlin and his Pagan ways. This caused Arthur to be torn between his love for his wife and his honor and duty to his land and people. It was Merlin who guided Arthur in the way to save Britain and his people under the Banner of the Dragon, Pendragon -- which was the Banner all the people of the land had always followed, and they believed in the ways of Paganism. Because Guinevere openly showed her disdain for Merlin there was a constant inner battle for Arthur as to which way to go.
Morgain, sometimes referred to as Morgan le Fay, is usually portrayed as the half sister of Arthur. She was the daughter of, Igraine of Avalon, Arthur's mother, and Duke Gorlois of Tintagel. When Gorlois died, Igraine married the High King, Uther Pendragon, and Morgain was sent to her Aunt Viviane to be raised in Avalon. There she was taught the ways of the Pagan Priestesses. Apparently, during a Pagan festival when Morgain was chosen to be the next Priestess , she had to go through an initiation which included the ritual of giving up her virginity to the slayer of the King Stag (deer). The very young man who won this conquest, happened to be Arthur. This encounter spawned the birth of Modred, who in later years killed, and was killed by, his father/uncle, King Arthur.
Mythological or actual historical figures, these heroes and heroines live on in the hearts of people throughout the world.
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