Want To Know More About Medieval Morgan Le Fay? I'm often asked about my 'ancient' and 'mythical' self and so wrote this article a few months ago. Please feel free to email your comments and/or alterations!
Find out now just who Arthurian Morgan-Le-Fay A.K.A. Morgana Pendragon, REALLY is...
In times gone by, Morgan Le Fay, was also known as Morgaine le Fey, Morgane, Morgain, Morgana, Fata Morgana as well as other names. She was known across the lands as a beautiful and powerful sorceress, but an antagonist of King Arthur and Queen Guinevere, according to Arthurian legend. There are many accounts and depictions of Morgan Le Fay, although in all of them, she was described as a natural Witch, who learned of her skills during her early life and then developed them under guidance of Merlin and the Druids.
Some say that her personal feelings and fears, combined with the need to keep her magical powers secret due to the anti-sorcery views of newly Christianised England, enraged her and encouraged her to turn to the dark magics. This portrayal of her character becoming more and more evil is one that many scholars adore to accentuate. According to their often biased opinions, it is at her lowest points that she seeks to learn the black arts and is transformed into a Witch.
Of course we now know that one cannot simply ‘turn’ into a Witch and we know that being a Witch does not mean one is practicing the dark arts. Witchcraft simply means ‘the craft of the wise’ and Witches are able, according to will, to perform both light and dark magics.
Early works featuring Morgan Le Fay describe her as being a fay, which means fairy, who performs fay magic. It is much later, within ancient French writings that she is described as being so much more. These prose go into great details regarding her relationship with Arthur. In the works ‘Lancelot-Grail’ she is said to be, as the BBC TV drama ‘Merlin’ portrays, the half sister of Arthur, daughter of Lady Igraine and her husband Gorlois, the Duke of Cornwall. She was said to have two older sisters, named Elaine and Morgause. During her lifetime, she is detailed as having two sons, Sir Gawain, known as the Green Knight, and Mordred.
Mordred is the son of Arthur with whome she was tricked into sleeping with. This story is one that is often elaborated upon in popular books and films such as the Mists of Avalon. Throughout all of this she uses her powers of enchantment and is written to be able to transform at will into a fairy, a raven and other creatures and animals. She is also very well known for her ability to communicate with and call upon the powers of the dragon.
The early works featuring Morgan do not elaborate her character beyond her role as a fay (fairy) or magician, although she became much more prominent in the later Old French cyclical prose works such as “Lancelot-Grail” and the Post-Vulgate Cycle. In these works, she is said to be Arthur's half-sister, daughter of Arthur’s mother, Lady Igraine, and her first husband, Gorlois, Duke of Cornwall. She has at least two older sisters, Elaine and Morgause, the latter being the mother of Sir Gawain, the Green Knight, and the traitor, Mordred. As a fairy later transformed into a woman and King Arthur's half sister, she became an enchantress to continue her powers.
The inspiration for her character may have come from early Welsh mythology and literature, and she has frequently been compared to a goddess named Modron. This Goddess is a figure derived from the continental Dea Matrona, who is featured with some frequency in medieval Welsh literature.
In some stories she is sometimes associated with another goddess, the Irish raven goddess Morrigan. The Morrigan is the goddess of the dark arts, prophecy, war, destruction, death and the winning of battles. My personal experiences, as you will discover through reading more of my blog posts and through having sessions with me, reveal that this connected may have run far deeper than any old stories suggest.
By exact name, Morgan first appears mentioned in her own right, in Geoffrey of Monmouth's ‘Vita Merlini,’ an account written circa 1150 about the wizard Merlin's later adventures. In the ‘Vita Merlini,’ he describes Avalon, the Isle of Apples, where Arthur is taken to be healed. Arthur was seriously wounded whilst fighting in the Battle of Camlann. These works specifically name ‘Morgen’ as the chief of nine magical sisters who dwell in the Isle of Avalon. She is known thereafter as a healer of great power.
Due to the religious changes at the time, Medieval accounts were nearly always attempting to portray Morgan Le Fay as sinister Witch, rather than a benevolent enchantress. She did not ‘fit in’ to their believe systems or desire for a sorcery free society and so was in effect, cast out. Her position and place within the kingdom was not acknowledged and this would have naturally led to a hatred of those who stood against sorcery. The need to hide oneself from the world is a very painful existance and with pain, comes the feeling that one needs to protect oneself from that which binds and hinders.
When Uther Pendragon reportidly kills Morgana’s father in a bid to secure a sexual relationship with his wife, Morgana’s mother, Igraine, Morgana is sent away to a convent. There she learns the old ways, of healing, of magic and of the truth of things.
A forced marriage later leads Morgana to have a string of love affairs, after she is married off by Uther Pendragon to his ally Urien. However she is caught by Guinevere who reports her behavior to Uther which results in her being expelled from the court.
This lack of care or understanding for her needs and desires would have further fueled Morgana’s anger towards Camelot and all who preserved it’s ideals.
Continuing her magical studies, Morgana plots her revenge against Guinevere.
Accounts of her magical betrayal of Arthur and the kingdom continue with tales of the sword Excalibur being stolen by one of her lovers in an attempt to arrange Arthur’s downfall. This can be read in the book ‘Le Morte d'Arthur,’ published in 1485, where Thomas Malory mostly follows the portrayal of Morgan in the Vulgate and Post-Vulgate Cycles. He delights in describing how she plotted with her lover Sir Accolon to obtain the sword Excalibur and use it against Arthur in single combat. When this ploy fails, Morgan throws Excalibur's protective scabbard into a lake.
This leads us on to the modern image of Morgana, which is where I come in.
My own path mirrors much of the tales of my Medieval aspect, Morgan Le Fay and I too was born as a 'Morgen' with the gift of magic. I was also born with the ability to see through time, to know of the true ways of things, to heal and to seduce, to walk through veil and to communicate with and fly with, the birds and dragons.
After being born into the grasp of death, at the edge of the Summerlands, and being offered the choice of life or death, and making no choice except to choose both, I have lived with one foot in each world ever since. A magical spirit you see, is able to see beyond the first breath of this life, to the lives before and to know one’s powers, however young or old. I knew that to be able to touch the great beyond would give me everlasting access to all of the wisdom and power it allows.
I wandered here and there, both alive and dead, different from others of my young age, until I was sent away to a place for unwanted children by my ‘Earthly’ parents. There, as well as being educated in the artistic crafts, I learned the whispers of Avalon as I walked upon the grass bare foot, talking to the grazing sheep after schooling.
I saw the mist upon the lakes and hills and discovered that I was able to lift the veil between the Earthly realms and the Isle Of Avalon, and pass through. I walked in the secret woods and found the fairies by the ponds who told me of great things. I dreamed of magical secrets that only a Priestess of Avalon can. I touched myself and felt it was good and right to feel my sexual energies rise and work with them magically. I seduced and pleasured those who took my fancy and helped those who I felt genuine. And so it was.
I am then, I am now and I will always be, in between. i draw into this life time the magical energies of my distant past and of the Medieval Queen of the Fairies. Her spirit lives and dances within me. The veil between the worlds now appears to me at will where ever I call upon it. Avalon is home and part of my everyday life here on Earth.
Welcome to the life of modern Morgan Le Fay, also known on this Earthly plain as Sandra Sayer.