Finding Gawain – Act One
The last of the sunlight has gone. The light of the torches flickers in the great hall. The Table Round has assembled for more Yule merriment, but the room has turned to ice. The giant, green figure rides on his equally mighty horse into the sacred space of Camelot’s inner chamber. It is a monstrous sight; a circle of King Arthur and Queen Guinevere’s most famous Knights and their Ladies, brought to a stunned silence by the apparition before them.
Among them are Bedivere and Lady Dindrane, Lord and Lady Grene, King Uriens with the enigmatic Morgan le Fay, Gareth and the Lady Liones, Pellinore and the Lady Yglais, Lancelot and Lady Elaine. At the far door, the Guardian of the Threshold stands, bruised and pushed aside by the monster’s horse; and in the shadows, stand Mordred and his ‘mother’ Queen Morgause. The young pretender to the throne has been soundly chastised for his attempt to force his attentions on the Maid of Elmet – an attempted rape, by any other name, interrupted only by the arrival of two of the knights.
Beyond the flickering circle, as though in another time and place, pace The Lady of the Lake with her watery powers, and Merlin – the Kingdom’s high mage.
As though awakened from an icy sleep, Gawain feels pulled into the present, into the now, by the might of the giant, green figure and his ridiculous proposal: that one of the Knights use the giant’s own axe to sever his head…a contract to be concluded in a year’s time if the proposer fails to die…
Gawain tenses his limbs to step forward, sensing the presence of powerful dark magic, but two bright eyes seem to bore into the back of his head. He turns and there stands a brighter apparition – a Veiled Lady looking straight into his eyes with a power of vision that leaves him naked in mind and emotion. The eyes close and he turns, confused, to see that Sir Gareth has stepped forward to accept the deadly challenge on behalf of his King; but, as his reluctant feet move, his beloved Lady Liones pull him back, their new and mutual passion too strong to deny – when there are bolder knights in the chamber.
Seeing this, The foliate green giant laughs in Arthur’s face. He sneers at the King, “Come now…will none of your famous defenders wield my axe?”
Arthur gives life to the words of doom, saying that the challenge has been made and must be met. Even the royal eyes are deeply troubled. He curses Merlin for his absence in this time of great need. Around the outer ring of the Court, in another time and place, Merlin remains silent, watching the tableau with inner eyes, knowing the sinister nature of the trap that is being set for the King of Camelot…
Arthur steps forward, troubled but honour-bound, and raises his head to accept the Green Knight’s challenge…
The Veiled One has eyes that see, too. The eyes that penetrated Gawain’s mind, seconds ago, now fill his heart with light. His King is in deadly danger–this is no play on words, this is dark and high magic from afar.
Gawain’s forward stride is heard by all. He takes the breath from his beloved Arthur’s opening mouth and accepts the challenge on his behalf, gazing into the green heart that mocks, the smiling mouth with teeth that goad his aged prowess, now well past the days of his glory.
It has begun, he knows that…. It has begun.
Gawain feels ghostly fingers at his back. He does not need to turn around to know that the Veiled Lady has both caressed and propelled him into his destiny. Around him the very air turns into a viscous liquid which restricts his movements in the direction of anything but the mocking giant’s double-headed axe.
The fluids shifts and swirls, and the light in the Court of the Table Round changes to monochrome dark and light. As though behind a lighted screen, Gawain sees himself raising the huge axe and bringing it down with all his might to sever the challenger’s neck…
For a moment, there is a feeling of glory; an act of defensive riposte, cleanly done. He steps back, looking at the blood and the gore before him…and then the eye on the floor flickers, the the grin turns to a rictus of green teeth. The Green Knight’s body rises, collecting it’s head – a speaking head that would be a wonderful thing under other circumstances.
But the severed head speaks nothing but exacting and merciless condemnation when it tell Gawain that, a year from today, he must present himself at the Green Chapel to be executed with the same blow.
Gawain staggers, still carrying the giant axe, into the centre of the nine-sectored court, where the stone tiles radiate lines outward from the centre. There is no time that accompanies the falling of the axe as his outraged fingers let the weapon slide from his grasp to clatter on the polished pattern below.
The fluid of destiny picks up his agonised mind and body, and, beyond the grasp of even the Veiled Lady’s ghostly but loving fingers, marches him staggering towards the injured Guardian who opens the portal. As he passes through the might door of Camelot’s inner space, his mind is filled with the unseen but clear vision of the headless Green Knight behind him, walking, gloatingly, around the chamber of the Table Round, and offering to each Lord and Lady in turn, from his own gory, severed head, a card on which is painted the image of a magical animal spirit.
Gawain passes from champion to hunted as the gates of the inner chamber close to lock him out…
The Silent Eye uses a combination of magical ritual and psycho-drama to illustrate its teachings on the journey to the Soul.
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Details of next year’s workshop (April 2017), The Feathered Seer, will shortly be published on our website events page. Everyone is welcome, all you need to bring is your self…