, , , , , , , , ,

King_Arthur_II_concept_art_4Queen Morgana (or Morgan, Morganna, Morgaine, Morgane) Le Fay is one of the most famous witches ever. She has been depicted as the elder and evil sister of King Arthur of Camelot. The legend tells that she was a powerful enchantress. She lives in the Isle of Avalon and probably she was the heiress of Viviane, the former Lady of the Lake. Morgana is connected to England ancient pagans and the Druids. story is in Vita Merlini by Geoffrey of Monmouth and Gerald of Wales refers to Morgana as a healer and  in conjunction with the Isle of Avalon to which the wounded King Arthur was carried off after the battle of Camlann.

In Chretien de Troye and in other later versions, Morgana is  said to be the daughter of Arthur’s mother Lady Igraine and her first husband Gorlois, so that Arthur, the son of Igraine and Uther Pendragon, is her half-brother. She becomes an apprentice of Merlin and an adversary of Arthur and the Round Table. She has seen also with a special hatred for  Queen Guinevere, her half-brother’s wife. In Thomas Malory’s Le Morte d’Arthur and elsewhere, she is unhappily married to King Urien, with whom she has the son Ywain, and her sisters include Morgause. She has also many lovers and an unrequited love for Lancelot. Morgana is an indirect instrument of Arthur’s death, though she eventually reconciles with him and retains her original role, serving as one of the queens who take him to Avalon.

The famous novelist Marion Zimmer Bradley tells us a different story in her precious novel The Mists of Avalon.  In this novel Morgana is Arthur’s half-sister and they conceive a baby, Mordred, during the Beltane rite. Her teacher, Viviane, makes her the new Lady of the Lake and the villain in the book is Morgause, who’s Igraine’s and Viviane’s evil sister.

Since the late 20th century, some feminists have also adopted Morgana as a representation of female power or of a fading form of feminine spirituality supposedly practised by the Celts. According to a 2010 essay by Dr. Leila K. Norako of the University of Rochester, “in addition to her appearances in literature, television, and film, Morgan le Fay is also frequently mentioned in the context of neo-pagan religious groups. She is alternately worshipped as a goddess, hailed as a symbol of feminine power, and adopted as a spiritual name.” Norako says: “Like many characters in the Arthurian legends, Morgan le Fay has been consistently transformed and interpreted by authors and artists for nearly a millennium. [S]he is alternately cast as a healer, villain, enchantress, seductress, or some combination thereof, depending on the needs of the work in question. This versatility has no doubt played a part in the continued cultural relevance that this character has enjoyed across the centuries and continues to hold in contemporary culture as well.”

See also: The Camelot Project – Morgan Le fay (University of Rochester)