Since I was a young teenager, I’ve been fascinated by Arthurian legend and the mythical Isle of Avalon. For awhile, it was an obsession of mine. I read all of Marion Zimmer-Bradley’s fiction on Avalon, including her posthumous works, and I held a deep longing in my heart for Avalon to actually be a real place. I never actually believed it could be real until I had a conversation with an old friend of mine years ago that changed my perspective on what “Avalon” might actually be and where I could find it.
I remember my friend telling me about a mountain that she lived near where new species of plants and insects were being discovered all the time. She said that it seemed and felt as though there was a magical quality to this place and that time seemed to slow down when you were there. She spoke of it so dreamily, almost like it was an Otherworld. Nearing the end of her narrative, she told me that she was convinced that she had found an Avalon. I stopped her there; “AN Avalon?” I asked. She smiled and said that she has this theory that Avalon isn’t a place subject to our concept of time and space and that a person will stumble upon it when they need it most. This conversation nevertheless sent me into a somewhat obsessive search for an Avalon and, needless to say, I never found the physical location that I was looking for. She wouldn’t ever tell me which mountain it was that she experienced her Avalon because, she said, “It isn’t a place that needs too much attention from humans.” She was afraid it would be spoiled. I don’t blame her.
Years later, while in college, I was doing some research on pagans who believe in Avalon. I Googled everything from “pagans and Avalon” to “do pagans believe in Avalon” to “please tell me I’m not the only pagan who believes Avalon exists”. Eventually I Googled “Wicca and Avalon” and boom — links for websites that talk about Celtic Wicca began popping up. This eventually led me to links on Celtic Neo-Druidry which then led me to links on Avalonian Traditions. One of the first sites I visited was the Sisterhood of Avalon, a religious organization for women who desire to experience the Mysteries via the Avalonian landscape. I then found the Daughters of the Sacred Grail – another site for women who wished to experience the Mysteries steeped in Avalonian lore.
From there, I bought several books recommended by those sites, including Avalon Within by Jhena Telyndru. I attribute much of my personal spiritual practice with great thanks to this book. Its roots are in depth psychology, as well as some neo-shamanic journeywork, and it so beautifully paints a picture of what Avalon could be for each individual. Each imramm (journey through visual meditation) encourages the student to dive deep into her psyche. These imramms are performed in a cyclical manner, often corresponding with the lunar cycle. At the end of each cycle, the student should have gained a better understanding of herself and also tools for reclaiming a part of herself that may have been lost to painful experiences (heartbreak, disappointment, guilt, anger, etc). The idea is that we should no longer be a victim to our experiences but an active participant who seeks to change how those experiences are perceived and then use them to better ourselves.
I completed two or three full cycles before putting the book down. I found an interest in shamanic witchcraft and wanted to explore that for awhile. That “awhile” became 3 years and here I find myself now being drawn back to the shores of my own personal Avalon locked away in my Mind’s Eye. Just last night I told my High Priestess that I feel another transitory time beginning. I can’t put my finger on any one thing, but I do feel the tides beginning to change once more. Another cycle is getting ready to begin and I wish to be an active participant this time. I’ve been hesitant to engage in change in the past and it always resulted in that change being forced upon me regardless of my feelings toward it.
We are in the Waxing Phase of the Moon at this time, so it would be the perfect time to begin another cycle of imramms. While my Gardnerian practice works with both male and female deity, this Avalonian Tradition focuses mainly on the Divine Feminine. Obviously I will keep my practices separate, but it will be interesting to see how each tradition influences the other. Anyway, wish me luck. Talk to you soon!