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Posts tagged ‘Matter of Britain’

“Save Seven, None Returned” : Arthur, Kinship and Kingship

It was around the 5th century that a synod was called to bring Britain’s Celtic Christian Church into line with Rome. In Britain the church owed as much to Druidry (and by inference, paganism) as it did to Christianity. Rome was not pleased with our Isles and many hitherto honoured Gods and Goddesses were either Canonised – like Bridget – or, became the butt-end of nasty folklore, such as Wayland, Freya and Cerridwen. Much the same happened to our sacred sites. The most popular sprouted churches. The less popular, sprouted scary legends.

The oral traditions suffered much the same fate as god/desses and sacred sites and, though scribed in Medieval times, they were given a 5th/6th century back-drop. The tales were, of course, much older than either of these times and were probably of Druidic origin. (Perhaps coming from an age before Druids were called Druids – though this is pure speculation.) The Arthuriad, the Matter of Britain, was part of those oral traditions. It is possible that the Arthur of the 5th/6th century was no more than an inspired creation of Geoffrey of Monmouth, as some people claim. Maybe all that so-called history was just a re-telling of bardic tales, a modernisation of old stories, as authors such as Mary Stewart, Parke Godwin, Marion Bradley and Guy Gavriel Kay have done in our age.

Of course Arthur could have been a tribal leader or Roman soldier who lived in, or around, the 5/6th centuries. Who become the Ard-Ri (High King) of our Isles. Who did heroic deeds. Who married a Queen, had a sorceress sister and was advised by a wizard. He may even be the one who built Tintagel. And maybe not.

The rest of this article by Kate Westwood, which was published in White Dragon at Samhain 1997, can be read on the White Dragon website.

“Save Seven, None Returned” : Arthur, Kinship and Kingship


Sorting Out the Articles

One of the distinctive features of the WD website is the library of articles published in the earlier editions of the magazine which are now available online for anyone to read. I counted them up today and found there are over 100 of them, though admittedly some of those from the earliest editions are fairly short, ie 1,000 words long or less. Nevertheless, the sheer number of them raises questions as to how to organise and manage them within the pending site redesign.

After some thought it seems most appropriate to simply classify them under various topics such as “Arthurian”, “Heathen”, “Folklore” and “History of Magic and Witchcraft” and that is what I have been doing in recent days. Needless to say, articles don’t always belong entirely in a single category, and around half sit equally in two categories and a few in three or four so some duplication is inevitable.

We’re also planning to have a more efficient search function on the website which, combined with the categorisation of the articles, should make it easier for users to find what they’re looking for.