Hedge Druidry | Magick | Natural Magick

Arthurian Archetypes of the Cross

November 5, 2012
As a druid I work with mental imagery to facilitate connections to sources of intelligence and wisdom beyond the confines of my own psyche. The format of those mental images, the focal points if you like, are fairly arbitrary for the most part. Although we have created some cultural thought-forms (many of which have energy and sentience all of their own due to that energetic input) I believe that the best use of these mental focal points is for them to be a visual gateway into The Otherworld. The cultural images we use are a sort of universal pass to get you into a frame of mind that allows a connection to one source or another of Otherworld information. This Otherworld is a realm of ideas and knowing that is beyond the ordinary five-sense reality that we spend most of our time in.
 
Druid Archetypes
I want to define a specific phrase to contain the ideas I am trying to express here. Let me call them “druidic archetypes”. You may call them Gods or The Goddess. You may call them any host of ‘mythical’ names such as from the Arthurian tales, or The Mabinogion. Whatever source you choose to derive your druidic archetypes from (you may even have created or found your own) let me define them here as “druidic archetypes” as a shorthand. I may refer to them as “sources” too, if generalising.
 
Archetypical druid (c) Chris Young/PA
 
I found some of these druidic archetypes useful at the time when I opened up my DNA to changes related to healing. During that process I employed Arthurian archetypes in order to work with energies that I discovered were available at particular sacred sites. During that process I was able to adopt their energies, utilise them, and gain a great deal of insight as part of that assimilation process. However, time moves on, and after that process had completed I pretty much forgot about all but the main archetypes I was using such as Merlin, for example. To be honest, I didn’t really know their extent, or how to use them as part of any kind of ritualistic or seasonal basis.
 
The Cross
As druids we tend to shy away from The Cross, given its associations, yet as Julian Cope always says we need to reclaim this icon. It’s far more useful for us than it is for ‘them’. It had a far older history than the current religious paradigm of the western world. For me, I have found that The Cross is a framework upon which to place the four main division points of the year. In this context The Cross also provides me with a means to place the druidic archetypes against these four annual divisions, and to link the two concepts together. Of course, it also allows for elemental associations, and for cardinal positions too. Such a useful framework!
 
Rediscovering the archetypes
Something prompted me to re-discover these sources. A task this year involving Merlin startled me into a recognition that these archetypes weren’t a one-off symbol that I was using – they were becoming part of the way I worked with the land and the elements. So I began to explore what benefits they could bring me. Certainly I will never be worshipping any of them as gods, but as psychological archetypes could it be possible to externalize their energy forms such that I could learn something about my own spiritual development by aligning myself with one of the Arthurian figures at a specific time of the year or for specific purposes?
 
Exploring the druidic archetypes
I discovered that the mental thoughtforms that we have created or discovered, or have mapped onto aspects of our own personalities. I think this association works both ways too – we begin to change ourselves to become more like the archetypes as we identify with them. It’s a symbiotic process, osmotic, integral.
 
One of my first ideas had been that these archetypes were some sort of grading system – e.g. you became an Arthur character, then a Merlin character, and so on. That’s not the way it works. They are not druidic grades, as I first suspected. There is no “progression” involved in working with the archetypes. Instead, one attunes oneself to their relative frequencies. It is possible to change one’s tuning, and therefore to move between the relative frequencies and to work effectively with each of the identifiable sources such as you find. If you wish to remain attuned to one particular archetype then you can become adept at using the qualities, properties, and the wisdom of that particular archetype. In this way you begin to adopt those characteristics. You begin to act like that archetype. In this way people come to associate you with those characteristics. The led me to understand a more accurate description of the various sources such as the Arthurian archetypes. They are titles.
 
You can have these titles bestowed upon you should you be worthy of them, if you live their attributes.  They are names that figures throughout history who have associated themselves with the known attributes of these archetypes, have given themselves or have been given the same names in order that those around them will know that they represent and embody these qualities. For example, a leader may name himself Arthur in order to associate himself with all the previous Arthurs, and because he already has proven to exhibit the same qualities as the Arthurian archetype. Where we have encountered places or historical figures names after these people, then we have discovered these history that has these qualities too.
 
Arthur, Merlin, Guinivere & Lancelot
 
Available Arhurian Archetypes
When i first set out to identify which druidic archetypes I could utilise and which called to me, I began intellectually. I started by searching the available resources – books, forums, web sites, ancient texts and poems. The archetypes I had identified initially were very general:
  • Arthur – acting as the Divine Father
  • Guinivere – acting as the Divine Mother
  • Percival – acting as the Spirit of Truth
  • Merlin – acting as the Spirit of Wisdom

I have to admit I haven’t really been working at all with Guinivere or Percival, but they did seem to “complete the set”. However, I have also been working with Gwalchmai. How does he fit into this Arthurian concept? Ross Nichols suggests a further four options for the Arthurian stations:-

  • Lugh (Lancelot of the Lance) – at the North
  • Peredur (Percival) – at the South
  • Gwalchaved (Galahad) – at the East
  • Gwalchmai (Gawain) – at the West

Now, these archetypes seem much more like the ones I’ve worked with, but they don’t include Merlin or Arthur. Could the archetypes instead be better serving me as a Trinity? Here’s one suggestion from Ross Nichol of a druidic Arthurian trinity:

  • Arthur
  • Merlin
  • Morgan

Now I was confused. Which of these “formations” could I use? They all had valid heredity, and all seemed to offer something for the druidic adept. I needed to dowse to find which forms might serve me best in the coming years, asking the following types of questions. Could I use:-

  1. All of them
  2. One of them
  3. None of them
  4. A combination of some of those figures

The answer was that a combination formation suits my psychology and spiritual framework best. This is the one I will now research and attempt to work with in future:-

  • Arthur
  • Merlin
  • Gwalchmai (Gawain)
  • Gwalchaved (Galahad)

The Qualities

So it is important to identify the qualities I am talking about. These qualities are multifaceted and they took a combination of research, tarot and intuitive dowsing in order to identify them for my own purposes. There is a social face, a psychological aspect, an astrological connection, and other aspects that have been drawn out of various knowledge sources.

  • Arthur – North/Light/Leader/Great Bear constellation/Motivation/ Tarot: Wands
  • Merlin – South/Darkness/Protector/Bootes constellation/Change /Tarot: Pentacles
  • Gwalchmai (Gawain) – West/Intellectual/Sirius/Steadfastness /Tarot: Swords
  • Gwalchaved (Galahad) – East/Wise Man/Venus/Emotiveness /Tarot: Cups

The Feminine

That’s not the end of the story, however. You will notice that the four archetypes are all male. What about the female aspects? Is there a corresponding set of feminine archetypes? Indeed there is, in fact there are five, not four. The feminine aspects are:-

  • Guinivere / Gwenhwyvar – wife of Arthur
  • Vivien / Niniane / Nimue (The Lady of the Lake)
  • Morgawse / Anna / Gwyar – mother of Gwalchmai, sister of Arthur
  • Igraine – mother of Arthur
  • Morgan le Fay – half-sister of Arthur

Time will tell as to which of these feminine aspects would suit my work. For now, I have some work to do to discover the four archetypes that I am going to work with for the forseeable future. I’m sure I will come to expand on these archetypes in time, and begin to reference them in my posts as I come to work with them. Perhaps there is something here for you to work with too? Even if only a personalised process. This is how I found my Arthurian Archetypes of the Cross.

Gwas.

 

Leave a Reply