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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in Mists of Avalon

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
To Those Who Stay

I think of the Big Names of the American Craft who, before they died [bitterness alert] went crawling back to the Church: Eddie Buczynski, Jesse Wicker Bell (a.k.a. Lady Sheba)*, Marion Zimmer Bradley. I don't doubt that among the rest of us, we of the little names, there are others, locally known, who went the same way.

I'll be the first to admit, it hurts. Even to those of us who didn't know them personally, what the leavers did comes as a betrayal. To those who were their friends and students, I can only imagine the dissonance. What do you do when your mentor in the Mysteries, in the end, betrays those very Mysteries?

At the end of The Mists of Avalon, after fighting spiritual imperialism all her life, Morgaine realizes that maybe, as her elders have been telling her all along, All Ways Are One. Bradley's own cowardly defection demonstrates why this is such a poisonous belief. If all ways are equal, why take the harder?

I'm sure that, in the early days, Christianity had its share of defectors, too. Their stories haven't come down to us, but—human nature being what it is—we can be sure that they were there. In the end, the defection of a few Big Names, and unnamed others, proves nothing about the Craft itself, only that in extremis even the strong can be weak, the which we already knew.

That some, even among the leadership, should choose to go should be no surprise to anyone. What is perhaps even more surprising, under the circumstances, is that so many should choose to stay.

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  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham says #
    I enjoyed Bradley's Darkover series, especially Darkover Landfall. I tried reading one of the Avalon books but couldn't get into
  • Chas  S. Clifton
    Chas S. Clifton says #
    An article on her collaboration with Carl Weschcke, etc. could be really interesting.
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    She was before my time, but I'm in the process of interviewing some of the few remaining community elders around here who still re
  • Chas  S. Clifton
    Chas S. Clifton says #
    Bell, really? I don't know much about her biography.

It’s been a busy time for me lately. As a magical mother I’m always doing two things or more at once, every day an endless list of practicalities, and my spiritual life is by necessity deeply enmeshed in the mortal physical world. I see no separation between magic and the mundane, I walk through the worlds seamlessly.  But there are times when I feel particularly blessed, when the realms of spirit come to me and I am given space, connection, without purpose, without focus, other than to touch and feed the soul, just a time to revel  in the love of the Otherworld.

Yesterday I walked the dog and child through endless meadows filled with knee high golden buttercups, purple clover and wild white cow-parsley, like sea-foam, as the glorious heat of the day began to subside, and the mists rolled and billowed from the many rhynes, or watery ditches that lace the fields around my home, in the marshes that surround Glastonbury Tor. I waded through clouds of gold and green and white flowers all wrapped in the white mists of Avalon. Soon the Tor ahead of me vanished into clouds, and the meadows became wreathed in their own eerie shimmering light. A buzzard, my ally and kin from the realms Above swooped overhead and vanished into the white encircling walls of mist, and it seemed we had wandered into Faerie. Dog and child leaped and played, and I gathered armfuls of fresh herbs, and the sound of crickets grew still. I breathed and felt the earth beneath me so full of life. We walked for a time in some blessed realm. And my heart was full to the brim.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Ted Czukor
    Ted Czukor says #
    Glad you mentioned Diana Paxson; she and MZB collaborated on an entire series of Avalon books predating Mists, that start all the
  • Hunter Liguore
    Hunter Liguore says #
    Thank you both for your comments. Yes, it is one of those tough questions regarding responsibility, a theme I see often in MZB's b
  • Heather Kaminski
    Heather Kaminski says #
    This is my favorite novel and I've given some thought to all you have talked about here. Ultimately as is the case with most leade
  • Heather Kaminski
    Heather Kaminski says #
    Good article. Just want to point out error at the end of the seventh paragraph. "Uther was born" should be "Arthur was born."

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