The Velvet Chamber
An Anthology of Revisioned Myth and Fairy Tale

Explore the dark side of the female psyche --A CALL FOR WRITERS supports The Velvet Chamber

Thursday, July 15, 2010


Women need to name themselves and their experience, and determine their own connection to cultural myth and revision them, in the words of Thelma Shin,“as the cultural myths of patriarchy are questioned, researchers and creative writers alike begin to reread the old myths and to reexamine old and new discoveries in their efforts to uncover the ancient myth behind the surface stories.

If we do this Carol Pearson asserts, “we have the potential to step off the edge and fall into ourselves and into an alternative utopian world by moving outside of concepts of linear time and casualty into the elliptical present of infinite potentiality" (35). That is, out of the straight jacket, and into a world where storytelling and mythmaking, could fall back into the hands and voices of women as a corrective to the all encompassing paradigm of male homogeneity. Out of the straight jacket into a liminal space, where time is not linear, where women are not punished for their agency, or silenced for their sexuality.

Hecate for example becomes not an ugly old witch, but a wise woman. The story of Camelot told for centuries through King Arthur, then Marion Zimmer Bradley, tells the story through Arthur’s sister, Morgaine, in The Mists of Avalon: “Bradley has chosen to examine the internal rather the external struggles of Arthur (Shinn 35). Not only the psychology but the powerful aspects of the Goddess as well. In Zimmer’s version, a whole new element is added; the waning of a female centric ideology, a polytheistic belief system and replaced by the monotheistic, male driven, Western Christian tradition.

Here are women to emulate; Morgaine isn’t evil, instead she is a wise priestess collaborating with the Merlin and with Arthur. It is her story as much as his story, the feminine and the male principle are intact. It is dynamic and fluid. Even the island of Avalon, where the old ways are worshipped, is a liminal and evanescent place. In the hands of male authors perpetuating the male paradigm, “goddesses don’t come down to us in their pure ambiguous form, but in a static dualistic fashion.

1 comment:

  1. The duality of it is what fascinates me. We need heroines and goddesses and characters who can be whole, not divided into all good or all evil.