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Avalonian Magic Grail Mysteries, Arthurian studies, all magic and study related to Avalon and the Matter of Britain

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Old 04-27-11   #1
ffetcher
 
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Default Brosceliande

I thought I'd float this separately to avoid sidetracking the 'feminine influence' thread any further. In fact it's a question about how far I've sidetracked it, more in terms of what anyone thinks is included in or peripheral to the topic.

The thread is 'the feminine force in Arthurian mythology', and it's in 'Avalonian Magic'. Who includes stuff like Chretien's Perceval, and the Elucidation? In the former, Arthur is mentioned exactly twice - once by a character who he knighted five years previously and once in the narrative as being Uther's son. He doesn't appear in person anywhere. In the Elucidation, a prologue but written later, Arthur and the knights only appear in the third section, which may have been added separately. There's even earlier stuff that doesn't mention Arthur at all, but is clearly related to the later 'Arthurian' material.

And in the Foret de Paimpont, they do about as good a job of selling the mythos to the punters as does Glastonbury, but Arthur is downplayed, with the Grail material being centre stage, and the setting is Broceliande rather than Avalon per se. (The third difference is that the shopkeepers open on time in Paimpont)

As I mentioned on the other thread, the feminine leads (and probably their attributes) are subtly different in the earlier, and particularly the French, material as well.

For me, none of these differences matter, all the material provides a rich source for meditation and ritual, but then I'm not a mainstream Avalonian, so I wondered how anyone else feels.

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Old 04-28-11   #2
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Default Re: Avalon, Arthur, Chretien?

As usual, there's always something you should have read first. In this case, although I'd found Fera's posting of "The Arthurian Formula by Gareth Knight" before posting my question. It's dense (and somewhat lacking in paragraph structure ), so I'd only read the first and last bits and flagged it for further study. It is, however, well worth pressing through.

Since it's already up here, There's no point in summarising Knight's position in detail, but this morning I found halfway through part two a pretty good discussion, which he summarises:

"Like all esoteric Mysteries, the Legend develops with the souls it trains and is not intended to be static either in psychology or in geography. Its 'countries' and 'events' are those of the soul itself..." It follows that it can therefore be very rewarding, if we take the trouble, to view this country of the soul through l2th century as well as 20th century eyes. The material obviously meant a great deal to them, so much so as to suggest that by some law of cycles, astrological or otherwise, the conditions of their society struck a powerful resonance with the legendary Atlantean times. The particular interest that we have in it today likewise suggests that echoes of this resonance are potentially applicable to us."

So, I reckon that the early stuff counts (I've pasted his discussion of the difference between troubadours and trouveres into my online notebook) and will, in very slow time (the French stuff gives me eyestrain very quickly ), look at the Fae Mistress/Fae Queen elements in more detail, whether they're from Avalon or Broceliande. If I get anything relevant I'll post it in this forum and we can move it if it's deemed better to do so.

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Old 05-16-11   #3
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Default Re: Avalon, Arthur, Chretien?

As I said on the Zodiac thread, and following from 'Feminine Force' here are two versions of 'my Brosceliande'.

The journey begins at a locked gate, giving onto woodland with a scattering of wildflowers. Beneath the umbrella of leaves, we cross the Holy Brook twice, before walking along the brook and crossing a clearing. We ascend some steps and walk a short distance to an avenue of trees. Between the lines of trees we ascend a steep rise to another gate, and out onto a drove-road. We pass a small round building with a thatched roof and go through another locked gate into woodland. Now the way is clear and easy going, until finally we find a way deeper into woodland and up a very steep incline to a hill fort surmounted by a leafy glade. The glade, or the place to which it leads, is home to the Queen of the Fae. After our visit we keep on through the woods to return to the drove-road.

That's the Zodiac version. That's what I'll be working with, that's what we'll walk.

Here's the harsh reality.

Starting from the smaller of the two sports centre car-parks in Dunkirk Road, we go either round or through (I have a key, lots of people have, there's only one type of lock) the emergency access gate, into a strip of woodland through which runs Hollybrook. The flowers are real, as are the two crossings, but one of them is where the stream exits from a culvert. We walk across a strip of grass that was once intended for a picnic area but is usually too wet to be comfortable, and up some steps towards the ice-cream hut. We turn left on the vehicle access to the hockey pitches, and up more steps to the avenue. The trees exist but it's a metalled track giving access to the golf course and tennis pitches. We actually cross Hollybrook again, but it's about twenty feet beneath us in an unremarkable concrete pipe. We go through a pedestrian gate into Coxford Road, which is indeed a drove road - there are three across the woodland - but this part is metalled and running through a housing estate.

At this point we curse how much longer the route is than we remembered, then check and find we've only been going fifteen minutes, it just feels longer. We're also less than 400 yards from where we started, although we've walked about a mile. At the end of the housing estate we pass the gas pressure reduction plant, and the 'real' drove road is in sight. By the next emergency gate is a small circular enclosure, largely ploughed out by forestry commission plantings, but there if you squint your eyes. It's just about possible to imagine a robbed out barrow or a small individual building if you ignore the Vodafone mast. The access gate gives onto the drove road proper, but we immediately turn into pine woods, and now the route is pretty much as advertised. We follow a path of soft needles, down hill. Below us is the second drove road and we descend almost to that level, eventually spotting a distinctive tree stump in the undergrowth. It really is a forty-five degree climb up the steep side of the 'hill fort' to the glade in the centre and the home of the Fae Queen. This is probably an enclosure rather than a true fort, there being another less than a mile away which would be more spectacular if it weren't in the gardens of a housing estate.

Rather than retrace our steps, we exit fro the other side of the fort, which leads back to the drove road, only about twenty yards further on. At this point the road looks pretty much like it would have done 200 years ago, except that the Forestry Commission clear-felled the trees beyond it in the 1950s and planted a conifer monoculture. We turn right and after a hundred yards we're back to the gate and the rather sad-looking circular thing by the gate.

For writing up, we have the choice of the pub on the corner of Coxford road or the clubhouse in the sports centre, or, simply go home, which streetmap.co.uk tells me is just less than 1.5km.

Personally, I can drop into the 'imagined' Brosceliande fairly easily unless there are boy-racers on Coxford road.

blessings
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Last edited by ffetcher; 05-16-11 at 01:52 PM. Reason: Out by one error on waypoints
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Old 05-16-11   #4
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Default Re: Avalon, Arthur, Chretien?

I had discussed the route with a friend over the weekend and she took a look at an early (C17) John Speed map, and convinced me that I'd made an error in my description of the hill fort - right target but in the wrong place. She called up a 1946 map and took an educated guess at the route, which I then walked under her instruction from her desk at work. Spot on, after a few false starts converting OS grid references to UTG, since she doesn't really understand the latter. 'Our glade' is actually the centre of the hill-fort.

rather than re-post, I've edited it. No big for anyone not local, just makes the story work better.

She's borrowed my GPS overnight - says she's found a nice pond for throwing swords into, which she'll waymark for me after dark. Guess I'd better get cracking on the story then.

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Old 05-18-11   #5
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Default Re: Avalon, Arthur, Chretien?

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Originally Posted by ffetcher View Post
She's borrowed my GPS overnight - says she's found a nice pond for throwing swords into, which she'll waymark for me after dark. Guess I'd better get cracking on the story then.
Since this is rapidly turning into a 'blog (something I said I'd never have) and I need to comment on that last point, here's today's progress.

I made my own start, looking out a display book (bound sleeves that take printer paper, designed for commercial presentations but work being what it is at the moment I have a few spares ones), making a piece of cover art, and filling it with sheets with a small piccie for each gate, bridge and static stuff as well as each route between the static points. I can carry this around without it getting too tatty, and make notes on the sheets as the whim takes me.

Then I retrieved my GPS. The end result was less satisfactory. We'll start with the fact that my aged Gecko is tricky to use and although my friend and her husband had waymarked each crucial turn, one hadn't been saved correctly. I blundered into barbed wire: fortunately my Tet was up-to-date so I could raid the first aid box at the clubhouse for some butterflies, and equally fortunately the damage is to my left hand and for tasks where I'm not ambidextrous I'm right handed.

That's actually the less bad news. I don't want to take down my directions, which were just enough to let anyone else local reproduce the original walk with a bit of effort. I enjoy it and want to share. But, if you work out where the 'castle' is, the 'lake' will be fairly obvious. Please, please...

There is no legal access to the lake. The route my friends used and the one where I made my blood sacrifice are only there because the fences have fallen into disrepair. The access from the other drove (that will make sense to anyone who needs to know) was only ever a permissive path, not a right of way, and is now fenced to protect new saplings - please respect this. The guy was very nice about it, and explained that these are mixed deciduous replacing conifer monoculture, and thus vulnerable to all manner of local fauna, including mountain bikers, but the hundred and fifteenth querent will most likely get a rougher reception.

There's a footbridge over the stream about 400m downstream of the 'lake', access is from a steep downslope out of the fort, crossing the lower drove at pretty much ninety degrees and walking the same distance again. My friends didn't throw anything into the lake anyway, figuring that it was something you'd do at the end of a quest, whereas it's not started yet. There's another candidate pond I don't have time to investigate for a bit, meanwhile, if you really must, the bridge crosses the same water and I'm sure the Lady will understand.

I'm thinking that the earthwork by the third gate was a hut occupied by a solitary who set crazy riddles for travellers to solve. There's no evidence whatever for this, but that simply means I can believe what I like.

blessings
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Old 06-09-11   #6
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Default Re: Avalon, Arthur, Chretien?

Thought I might as well update this, partly because at this point I'd welcome feedback, ideas and so on.

I've made a little progress, but it's slow going. Finding that the lake was off-limits (and dangerous anyway if you're careless, as I proved) was a bit of a setback. The other 'lake' in those woods turns out to be such that Excalibur would bounce rather than sink and the Lady of the Lake would die of poisoning. There are several other options, but the only one that doesn't involve a fairish stretch of main road is a long way on foot. Of course the lake didn't figure at the beginning anyway, and only needs tackling right at the end, if at all, but it's a niggle.

Worse is the feeling that the quest/meditations just won't gell. I think the problem is related to TT's "Arthur" thread. What's happening is this:

It all looked good at the start - I had three physical gates, a bridge and the Queen's castle, perfect for a quest to meet the Queen herself and request a boon. Then I started thinking about the Grail, which was originally a descendant of various earlier transformational vessels from Ireland, Wales and even Latin and Greek classics. I think it was Geoffrey Ashe who called it the 'Unholy Grail' because magic or witchcraft was always involved. So I thought about the Fae Queen being a guardian, and that solving the quest would give the quester the ability to 'sanctify' the grail, unleashing healing for the world.

But if you graft that bit onto Gyngalyn's quest, the tale stops working (for us at least), for some reason. Although the various bits are all based on genuine sources, they don't work well together - there are various continuity errors. Gyngalyn gradually 'wins' a number of gifts (mostly by killing things) but he knows the Queen will want/like them because he has the messenger and her groom along with him to tell him that. Our gallant questers in this Brosceliande tisk having a Gerfalcon, a Stallion, a white Hare and so on that the queen may not want.

The questers have to do something to justify the queen letting them get at her precious Grail (or even to grant them some other sort of boon). Now, at the first gate, the trick is to leave behind all the baggage that you don't need for the quest - in this case emotional baggage. That might be letting go of the story having to make sense, which is difficult in the extreme for me. At the bridge, anyone who's been in computing as long as we have is going to have difficulty not wanting to pay a fee (to the troll), so today I may go and drop one of our roses into the stream and watch it flow under the bridge. If it's accepted, that gets you onto the magical path proper. I can't work out whether it's okay to take Lord Ruthven's approach of throwing the hematite into the lake and seeing what happens - at the two gates and the last turning, look for something that fits the bill; a white feather, fallen blossom and so on, hoping that the queen will like them - it may take several trips to find three things that make sense together, but I guess that's just the price we pay. At the third gate I've already decided that there'll be a riddle the quester(s) have to solve: the only way I can see to do this is one each, posed by the other quester. Then finally we just have to hope that the queen will tell us how to consecrate the chalice.

Anyone got any alternative ideas?

blessings
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Old 06-24-11   #7
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Default Re: Brosceliande

"And whether the king was there or not
He never knew, he never colde
For never since that doleful day
Was British Arthur seen on molde."

http://www.earthsongforums.com/forum...81&postcount=5


http://www.magicalways.com/Glastonburyzodiac.html

The Glasonbury zodiac would take a few aeons of sundays for man to conceive & ececute the design of.Yet it would take the Merlin less than a second.

Has anyone ever considered the Glastonbury Zodiac to be a *very early,very big* crop circle type construction?(as compared to more *modern* types)?
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Old 07-21-11   #8
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Default Re: Brosceliande

Well, it's been three weeks since I posted last so an update is probably in order. (there's a response to a couple of points in TBE's post at the end) Progress is slow, which for me usually means I'm heading in the wrong direction, but I think it's not having resolved the issue of the Fae Queen at the end. So, I've decided to adopt Lord Ruthven's approach of 'see what happens', although anyone who followed my NaNoWriMo posts will know that this isn't the way I normally work.

In essence the first three meditations are finished to the level where they'd be usable, but the idea is to perform the ritual(s) - it'll probably take several trips but that's no problem - together, so I'm not doing the whole walk until then, just visiting single points, and mostly I' a detailed photo-survey I made last year, and my GPS waymarks.

The 'first gate' represents leaving behind what you don't need for the journey. It will be physically enacted by leaving an object (quite possibly something for the birds to eat) but of course the meditation is about discarding emotional baggage and so on. This looks like a really good way to start any ritual.

The 'woods' meditation represents dedication to the task - statement of intention. The guide arrives at this point and the dedicants agree to join the quest. I don't have a physical enactment yet and may be reduced to using chalice and blade, although I'd prefer it if the muse strikes and I can find something that really matches the site.

The 'bridge' meditation involves recognition that there will be sacrifices, and this is based on the first of Gygalyn's tasks - I can't use all of them but it was, after all, where I started. The enactment will involve dropping flowers into the water and watching them float under the bridge (yep, pooh-sticks, who says ritual can't be fun) and away out of sight downstream.

I have sketches for the clearing and the avenue, but they haven't 'gelled' yet so they're not going to get written down until they do.

I realise that my other problem is going to be the 'third gate'. I really want this to be a riddle but I simply can't work out how to do that.

Anyone got any ideas?

Quote:
Originally Posted by The Black Elf View Post
"And whether the king was there or not
He never knew, he never colde
For never since that doleful day
Was British Arthur seen on molde."

Has anyone ever considered the Glastonbury Zodiac to be a *very early,very big* crop circle type construction?(as compared to more *modern* types)?
the quote, by the way, TBE, was a useful prompt at the time: as for the 'crop circle' idea, I keep not wanting to give away plot spoilers for PHil Rickman's "Bones of Avalon" but it's difficult. If you can't chase down a copy of the book, PM me and I'll spill on the zodiac as a plot device.

blessings
ffetcher
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Old 07-21-11   #9
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Default Re: Brosceliande

Was talking about Broscielande the other day,it is marked on a mystic map I saw in a very cool book .........

Saw the mists of AVALON the other day too,make much more sense than a lot of the other sychopahntic trash written about the place.

Loved ot how the Orcadians are given their place. The Eagle of Power was with them before Rome & Greece.

What came first,King Arthur or Excaliber? har har har.

The old map was in a book by YWNH guy.VERY COOL BOOK! Mists if Avalon got me thinking Very heavily of VOID! actually.

I have a theory on part of the zodiac plot,would love to hear all other interpretations.

Cool thread Ffetch!
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When things No Longer seem contrar',discoveringis of t'other ar'!John Barbour(14thc)

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Old 07-29-11   #10
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Default Re: Brosceliande

Quote:
Originally Posted by The Black Elf View Post
Was talking about Broscielande the other day,it is marked on a mystic map I saw in a very cool book .........

Saw the mists of AVALON the other day too,make much more sense than a lot of the other sychopahntic trash written about the place.
Mists is not my most favourite, although I admit it's quite fun. As you're aware, my own vision of Broscielande is coloured by Paimpont. Where was it marked in the book?

Quote:
Originally Posted by The Black Elf View Post
Loved ot how the Orcadians are given their place. The Eagle of Power was with them before Rome & Greece.
...redressing the general attitude to a much-wronged minority...

Quote:
Originally Posted by The Black Elf View Post
What came first,King Arthur or Excaliber? har har har.
Now that, my friend, is a very good question. The answer probably depends on how good your mediaeval French is. But being serious for a second, the equivalent question about the miraculous cup, cruets or Graal is one of the problems I'm having with this whole exercise. Opinions, Commander Data?

Quote:
Originally Posted by The Black Elf View Post
The old map was in a book by YWNH guy.VERY COOL BOOK! Mists if Avalon got me thinking Very heavily of VOID! actually.

I have a theory on part of the zodiac plot,would love to hear all other interpretations.

Cool thread Ffetch!
As I've said, I don't want to post plot-spoilers for what I think is Rick's best book to date, but if you want, PM me.

blessings
ffetcher
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Last edited by ffetcher; 08-03-11 at 01:16 PM. Reason: typos
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