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~ Vivienne ~
The Lady of the Lake
(Information provided by Rachel and Samantha)
Vivienne is also known as the Lady of the Lake and Nimue. She is the protector of the land's sacred waters and keeper of the earth's most precious treasures. She lived beneath the waves of a pristine lake that rested silently near the foot of a great mountain. Her mother was Danu, goddess mother of an ancient race called the Tuatha De Danann, her father the God of All, Dagda. Her sister was Brigit, goddess of fire and her brother Manannan, god of the sea. (1)
Vivienne was the foster-mother of Sir Lancelot and raised him beneath the waters of her Lake. She is, however, best known for her presentation to King Arthur of his magical sword Excalibur, through the intervention of the King's druidic advisor, Merlin, who was constantly worried that his monarch would fall in battle. She is also well known for her relationship with Merlin.
Mythologically, the Celtic Lady of the Lake was known as a Gwragedd Nnnwn (or Lake Faerie). These fae were often married to mortal men. They were lovely, blonde women who enjoyed female company and aiding mortal women and children. The Lady of the Lake was also considered the Queen of the Isle of Maidens.
Nimue was a lessor Celtic Moon Goddess. Her name meant "fate" and "she who lives" and was said to reside in the Fairy wood of Broceliande. She was also connected to the Goddess Morgan.
Archetypically, Nimue and the Lady of the Lake represented the primal initiation into the Otherworld. She reigned over knowledge, was the foster mother, and the mistress of wisdom. (2)
Information compiled by Rachel and Samantha from:
~ Who was the Lady of the Lake? ~
(Information provided by Janine)
The Lady of the Lake is thought to have been based on lake fairies in Welsh stories. Legend traditions say that the Lady of the Lake was the leader in Avalon. The Lady of the Lake was a water deity and water deities were extremely popular with Celtic Society for they controlled the essential essence of life itself. The spontaneous movement of springs, rivers and lakes clearly showed the supernatural powers of the goddesses who lived within; and offerings at such aquatic features were commonplace, especially of weapons and other valuables. The Lady of the Lake is known by many names, including Vivien and Nimue, Niniane, Nyneve; she is also said to be the one who locked Merlin away with his own spell.
The Lady of the Lake in popular conception is the high priestess of an older religion and the woman who gave Arthur Excalibur and then took it back when Bedivere threw it back into the lake. She is also said to have intervened when Morgan Le Fay gave Excalibur to Accolon, who tried to kill the king with it.
Many traditions, chief among them Marion Zimmer Bradley, say the Lady was the high priestess of Avalon and was responsible for educating Lancelot. In this story Vivian appears a cold and extremely ruthless character, but her motives are always understandable: she wants to save Avalon, the old religion and Camelot at all costs. She is the ultimate utilitarian character, and it is hinted that she has grown so cold because she never experienced happiness herself.
According to the Welsh Triads or Trioedd Ynys Prydein which are a mixed collection of triadic sayings that recount personages, events, or places in Welsh history, Vivian, or Nimiane,was a child, to whom Merlin promises to show "many wondrous plays." Merlin had once ruled England when it was just a land of flowery meadows. His subjects were "the little people" and their lives were all singing, playing and enjoyment. He also had a kingdom beneath the waters where all were happy, missing nothing but the light of the sun, which came so faintly through the water that it cast no shadows. Vivian was his favorite, being to him like a younger sister, "and ever she inquired of his meaning and his mysteries, each thing by itself, and he let her know all, and she wrote all that he said, as she was well learned in clergie and learned lightly all that Merlin taught her; and when they parted, each of them commended the other to God full tenderly." According to another story, Merlin had a magic tower in Broceliande, in Brittany, where Vivian alone could come through the magic walls. And here the story comes to a beautiful end . "It was toward this tower that Merlin was last seen by some Irish monks sailing away westward, with a maiden, in a boat of crystal, beneath a sunset sky."
Information provided by Janine from: