Wednesday, February 11, 2009

The Rise and Fall of King Arthur

Promenade #9

    The Rise and Fall of King Arthur


Amitakh Stanford 

14th August 2008

The legends and myths surrounding King Arthur and Camelot are numerous, varied, astonishing, and, partially true.  Over time, the story of Arthur and Camelot developed into a fantastic fable, with all kinds of fanciful inventions woven into the factual fabric.  What remains is a very distorted history, so veiled in mystery and clouded with fiction, that many have reasonably pondered whether Arthur and Camelot ever existed.

Historians have been extraordinarily kind to Arthur; there is wide acceptance of him and many have elevated him to a godlike status by mistakenly accrediting him with altruistic, just, mystical, magical, visionary and spiritual characteristics.  However, he was indeed a king of England and a conqueror.  He expanded his kingdom into a huge empire centred around Camelot - and he decimated that kingdom himself.

First, I will dismiss some of the ludicrous myths surrounding him.  He had no real clairvoyant power - he was a very physical-minded person.  He trusted in what he could touch and see.  He was very much a five-sense oriented person who greatly doubted esoteric things and was a tremendous sceptic in regard to supernatural occurrences.

Arthur's scepticism was shaken when he met Merlin, who tutored him on many esoteric matters.  However, Arthur lacked the inner experiences and connections with the Divine that Merlin had.  In other words, Arthur had to take esoteric matters on faith because he had limited first-hand experiences with spiritual things.  Hence, he ultimately lacked inner strength and relied greatly on Merlin.  This made him vulnerable, and his faith could easily be shaken.  No matter how much Merlin showed him, without the inner nous, Arthur could not hold it.  Arthur was envious of Merlin's spiritual powers, but he was opportunistic and recognised the benefits to be gained from Merlin's advice and assistance on various things, including political, military and other personal issues.  Thus, Merlin became an important advisor at Camelot.

Due to Arthur's enormous scepticism, he would never have pursued anything remotely resembling a Holy Grail or a spiritual quest.  He was very physically orientated and used brute force to take what he could.  With Merlin's guidance, Arthur became an opportunistic conqueror who built his dream empire.

Arthur had moments of aspiring to spiritual pursuits, but he lacked the inner strength and discipline to persevere.  Therefore, he was vulnerable to external distractions and temptations, which blocked him from awakening.

Arthur never pulled a sword from a stone, despite the widespread acceptance of this fanciful incident.  "Excalibur" is symbolic - it represents Gwenevere - who joined Arthur in a pre-arranged marriage.  Once Arthur had Gwenevere at his side, his power increased greatly.  Gwenevere was an "incarnation" of the Divine Mother.  She attended to Arthur and showered him with Divine Love, as did Merlin and Lancelot.  Merlin and Lancelot were both aspects of the Divine Mother, who were on Earth to help Arthur pull himself from the mire of Darkness.  Arthur had yet another friend who was also an aspect of the Divine Mother nicknamed "Thomas", who assisted him in many ways and cheered him up when he felt down and depressed.  Moreover, Lancelot's cousin, Benevere, also befriended Arthur.  Never before had anyone had such a core of Divine aspects of the Mother surrounding him.

Merlin was with Arthur as his kingdom grew in size and power.  His subjects were proud to be a part of this very famous empire and were extraordinarily loyal to him.  The call of this growing empire crossed the English Channel and attracted many knights from the European continent to become a part of this glorious endeavour.  Some were drawn by ambition, whilst others came for altruistic and spiritual reasons.

With the influx of foreign knights, Arthur's fame grew far and wide.  Lancelot was spiritually guided to leave his homeland to join Arthur and become a member of what later became known as the Knights of the Round Table.  Lancelot was a prince in his own right, who chose to serve Arthur for spiritual reasons.

Lancelot was very much a loner who had few real friends in England.  Benevere and Merlin were amongst his closest companions in the early days of Camelot.  Lancelot was so different from the others that he was initially ostracized by most of the knights, who were mostly hedonistic.  Lancelot had a gentleness about him and he strove for spiritual purity, which intimidated and annoyed many.  However, his prowess in battle earned him the respect of Arthur, who eventually made him the first knight of the Round Table.  This led to his acceptance by many of the knights.

Merlin advised Arthur to seek the hand of Gwenevere, a foreign princess.  A marriage with her was negotiated and pre-arranged.  Arthur sent a party led by Lancelot and Benevere to bring Gwenevere to Camelot for the wedding.

When Lancelot first saw Gwenevere, he was awestruck by her presence and dumbfounded because he recognized her as the woman in his visions over the years.  He was broken-hearted because he had always loved the woman in his visions, and believed that he would be led to her one day, and that they would wed.  Instead, he realized that she was to be Arthur's queen, and he dutifully vowed loyal service to her and Arthur, even though it tore his heart and he never stopped loving her.

Gwenevere arrived in Camelot with mixed feelings.  She missed her parents and her homeland, and was apprehensive about the future because she could sense that there would be turmoil and betrayal in her new life.  Gwenevere loved her mother and her "long-time" father dearly.  She married Arthur on her parents' orders, who knew that the marriage would benefit their nation.

Accompanied by her closest ladies-in-waiting, Gwenevere set sail for Camelot with Arthur's escorts.  When she arrived, she was excited to find Camelot even more glorious than the stories she had heard about it.

Although Arthur was attracted to Gwenevere, he was unable to recognize her Divine Energy.  Merlin had hoped Arthur would recognize this in time, but he never did.  Hence, he treated Excalibur like any ordinary human.

Life in Camelot was a challenge for Gwenevere, with fleeting moments of happiness interspersed with much sorrow.  Arthur's half-sister, Morgana, was running the castle as if it were hers.  Arthur encouraged this because before he had married Gwenevere, Morgana had mothered his illegitimate son, Mordred, who was raised in the castle as a potential prince.  This caused undue tension between Gwenevere and Arthur.

After the wedding, Morgana continued as Arthur's mistress, but more discreetly at times.  She was always in competition with Gwenevere and felt insecure because she was so much older than Gwenevere.  Besides, everyone was enamoured with Gwenevere's beauty and kindness, which infuriated Morgana.  Arthur always defended Morgana whenever Gwenevere expressed concerns about her.  Morgana was a scheming, manipulative, two-faced intruder in the castle.  She was always concerned that Gwenevere might give birth to a male child who would displace Mordred in the royal line.

Arthur had a weakness for women.  He needed many different partners to satisfy his ego.  For a while after marrying Gwenevere, he stopped his carousing, but it soon commenced again.  The knights and others knew about his infidelity.  Morgana did not care about it because it suited her scheme to put Mordred on the throne.

Mordred was lustful and ambitious.  He had designs on everything that Arthur possessed, including Gwenevere.  One day he was angry with his father, so he raped Gwenevere.  This horrible deed went unpunished.

Although it had been a pre-arranged marriage (which was common in those days), Gwenevere did her best as wife and queen for Arthur and her newly adopted country.  Though Arthur appeared to love her and admired her qualities, he was soon influenced by Morgana, Mordred and their conspirators.

Merlin encouraged Gwenevere, Lancelot, Benevere and Arthur to work together as a team.  The four of them were close to Merlin in their own ways.  They formed a unique circle of friends.  Merlin was hoping that Gwenevere would be the catalyst to help Arthur lift himself out of the mire which Darkness had engulfed him in.  Esoterically speaking, Gwenevere, Lancelot, Benevere and Merlin worked together to try to assist Arthur.  The four of them, with the aid of Thomas, poured love into Arthur to help him try to overcome Darkness.

Gwenevere bore Arthur twin sons.  Morgana had planned to have the newborn killed if it was a male.  To her consternation, there were twin boys, which made it even more complicated to dispose of them.  Morgana ordered the nurse to secretly kill the twins and tell Gwenevere that the twins had died.  Arthur was away in battle at the time of the birth of the twins and was ignorant of the plot to kill them.  The nurse took pity on the twins and risked her life to save them by hiding them in separate foster homes, but led Gwenevere, Arthur and Morgana to believe that they were both dead.  The apparent loss of the twins caused great pain and many more problems in the marriage, which, along with the prodding from Morgana, Mordred and others, eventually resulted in a rift between Gwenevere and Arthur.

Arthur had worldly power and fame, which attracted lots of temptations and enemies.  He succumbed to the temptations, and indulged in womanizing behaviour.  He fell in with the wrong crowd, who were threatened by his queen and his friendship with Merlin and Lancelot.  They plotted against Gwenevere, Lancelot and Merlin by spreading slander about them to cause Arthur to doubt them.  Arthur was unaware that the evil ones were plotting against him, and could not see through their insincere flatteries and fraud.  Ultimately, Arthur chose to believe the evil ones and reject his real friends, who loved him without ulterior motives.  This ultimately led to Arthur's downfall and the collapse of his kingdom.

Arthur listened to the lies of his supposed friends and came to believe that Gwenevere and Lancelot were lovers and that Merlin was not on his side either.  Arthur's mind was "poisoned" by the evil plotters, and he soon became jealous of Lancelot, angry with Gwenevere, and doubtful of Merlin.  His emotional love for them turned to hate.

Arthur became so consumed with jealousy, anger, doubts and hatred that he began plotting against all three.  Before Arthur enacted his plans to punish Gwenevere and Lancelot, Morgana killed Merlin with poison to get him out of the way.

Arthur was encouraged by Mordred's supporters to frame Gwenevere and Lancelot, and a plot was hatched to make it appear that they were lovers.  Even though Gwenevere knew how deeply Lancelot loved her, they never crossed the line.  Even though Gwenevere also loved Lancelot, she remained faithful to Arthur as long as she was the queen at Camelot.

Gwenevere was arrested, but Lancelot escaped from the conspiring mob.  After the arrest, Arthur taunted Gwenevere and repeatedly told her, "See what a coward Lancelot is!  He ran away and left you to face the charges!"

Arthur held a trial and convicted Gwenevere of treason and ordered her burned at the stake.  Some have said that Arthur was trapped by his own legal system and forced to follow the strict example of the law and burn the queen.  However, being the king, Arthur could have pardoned the queen, especially since Gwenevere was innocent of the charge.  Arthur set the execution date several days after the conviction in an attempt to trap Lancelot, whom he suspected might try to rescue Gwenevere.  The execution site was swarming with armed guards, who disguised themselves as ordinary onlookers to try to make it appear that it would be easy to rescue the queen from the pyre.  The trap for Lancelot was set.

Arthur, Mordred and Morgana had severely underestimated how many people in the kingdom truly loved Gwenevere, or else they would have had more guards at the execution site.  When Lancelot started raising a rescue party, even he was astonished by how many knights loyal to Gwenevere came forward.  Due to the undying love and loyalty of so many knights, Lancelot was able to muster a huge rescue party that far outnumbered Arthur's guards.  Nobody at the castle had anticipated the size of the rescue party.  The trapper was about to become the trapped.

The rescue party stormed the castle gates and charged into the courtyard where Gwenevere was tied to a stake.  When Arthur heard the hooves of the huge army approaching, he shouted, "Burn the Queen now!"  A violent and bloody battle ensued.  Nobody dared light the pyre under the circumstances.  Arthur was so consumed with anger and hatred that he grabbed a torch and ran for the pyre to light it himself.  Lancelot came crashing down upon Arthur and the two tumbled on the ground.  Both drew swords and a fierce fight ensued.  Arthur realized all was lost and he ran away in fear.  Although Lancelot really wanted to run Arthur down and run him through, he instead cut Gwenevere free and the two of them galloped to safety.

Arthur's kingdom suffered a serious blow during the rescue and it was forever divided thereafter.  Once he lost Excalibur, he was totally swamped by evil and Mordred's supporters.  Benevere and Thomas lamented how far Arthur had fallen.  Thomas cried many tears of sadness and disappointment over Arthur's deeds and downfall into Evil's trap.  Arthur never took responsibility for his actions that led to the rift in his kingdom, even though he was an active conspirator in the framing and attempted murders of Gwenevere and Lancelot.

Gwenevere and Lancelot moved their forces to a retreat and eventually expressed their love for each other.  After being together for about two years, Gwenevere was carrying Lancelot's child, which both were unaware of.  Due to the complexity of the situation, Gwenevere and Lancelot realized that they would have to either fight Arthur or separate.  They reluctantly accepted that they would have to separate rather than destroy Arthur's remaining kingdom, although it was extremely painful for both of them.  Gwenevere went to live in a convent.  She and Lancelot planned on seeing each other before he left for France.

Lancelot went to Arthur and told him that Gwenevere was living in a convent and refused to ever see Arthur again, and that Lancelot would be returning to France.  However, he gave Arthur an ultimatum that if ever Gwenevere was harmed, he would raise an army in her name and sack all of England.  Arthur realized the seriousness of the situation, and knew that Lancelot could easily raise an army in Gwenevere's name that would take over his ailing kingdom.

Arthur, in his dilemma, agreed to these terms, but added the condition that Lancelot would leave England immediately, without ever contacting Gwenevere again.  Lancelot sent a trusted messenger to Gwenevere with the terms of the truce, but the message never arrived.  Unbeknownst to Lancelot, the messenger was killed on his way to the convent.  Lancelot very reluctantly agreed to Arthur's demand that he not contact Gwenevere again in order to keep her safe, and the two never had a chance to say "good-bye".

Although Arthur's kingdom was crumbling, he wanted to hold onto its remnants.  Therefore, he made sure that no harm came to Gwenevere for the rest of her life.  By this time, without Excalibur, Merlin, Lancelot and others who truly loved him, his enemies became more and more bold, and fought Arthur for power and his kingdom.

Gwenevere soon realized she was carrying Lancelot's baby and later delivered his son, Jeffery.  Gwenevere kept knowledge of Jeffery's existence secret to protect him from Morgana, who had already plotted to murder her twin sons.  Thus, Jeffery was secreted with a kindly and trusted couple, who were brother and sister.  They raised Jeffery in a loving home in the country.  Lancelot remained single in France and was oblivious to the birth of Jeffery.  Many years later, after the boy grew up, he was told who his parents really were.  By then, Gwenevere had passed away.  Jeffery immediately visited his father in France, much to Lancelot's joy and surprise.  Finally, father and son were united.

The esoteric story of Camelot is far deeper than the physical history of it.  It is about the rescuing of trapped True-Light beings and the battle between Light and Darkness.  Sadly, many have been lost to Darkness.  The battle to separate Light from Darkness continues to this day, but the ultimate removal of all viable True-Light beings from Darkness will soon be accomplished.  All those who hold onto their Divine Will can resist Darkness until they are retrieved and safely returned to their True-Light Home.

The joyous day of freedom from Darkness is fast approaching.

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© 2008 Dr. Amitakh Stanford & AHSAF

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