The Holy Regalia Mists of Avalon

Essay by karohariCollege, UndergraduateB+, February 2014

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The Holy Regalia in The Mists of Avalon

One of the more compelling parts of the various Arthurian legends is that of the the Holy Grail and Excalibur with scabbard. This collection is what Bradley describes in The Mists of Avalon as the Holy Regalia, that is the sword (Excalibur), spear, dish, and cup (identified as the Grail) that are the artifacts of Avalon in her story. Also, of importance in Bradley's novel is the scabbard that encases Excaliber. The focus here will be on the Grail, Excaliber, and the scabbard. Using Bradley's modern feminist take on Arthurian Legend, we can explore these item's symbolism, and how this impacts the story. Bradley's novel is infused with a lot of feminist ideas that would be hard to ignore. The sword is obviously male as it embodies phallic symbolism not only in shape, but in use as a weapon. The grail is female in shape and used as a restorative and creative artifact.

Excalibur is a very important and highly recognizable symbol in pretty much all the Arthurian tales. In The Mists of Avalon, Bradley claims that the sword Excalibur originates in Avalon. Excalibur was a powerful sword forged on the Isle of Avalon. It had a scabbard with protective powers. Unlike previous authors, however, Bradley explains the creation of Excalibur from the Avalon point of view. Bradley describes the otherworldly smiths who forge the sword, "Fallen to earth in a falling star, a clap of thunder, a great burst of light; dragged still smoking to be forged by little dark smiths who had dwelled on the chalk before the ring stones were raised; powerful, a weapon for a king, broken and reforged this time into the long, leaf-shaped blade, tooled, and annealed in blood and fire." (Bradley). "She had...