Reviewed by Mike Gleason
Priestess of Avalon, Priestess of the Goddess
by Kathy Jones
Published 2006 by Green Magic
Paperback 530 pages
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As a general rule, I try to steer away from books which are extremely
radical, as I feel that the "average" reader may have difficulty relating to such concepts and the "average reader" in my intended audience. Many strongly feminist works fall into this category (witness the use of "herstory" for "history" and other unconventional terms in the introduction). However
, what the author of this book has to say is so relevant, and so important, that I put aside my own personal bias and submerged myself in what she had to say.
Ms. Jones' use of the feminine form of words to include the masculine ("priest" as included in "priestess," and "God" as included in "Goddess" being two examples) takes a bit of getting used to for more conservative readers, but is quite logical. It also avoids the common usage of "priest/ess" and "God/dess" by stressing the inclusiveness of these concepts.
From the point of view of this author one of the unique things about the Lady of Avalon, whom she names Avallonia or Nolava, is that there are no pictorial representations of her. As well, there are no myths or legends specifically connected to her. Her name is unrecorded, as are her attributes. This permits each of her followers to experience her in their own, unique way. Ms. Jones does explain how SHE perceives this Lady, but accepts the fact that her vision may well be unique.
Ms. Jones ties the Nine Morgens (sisters associated with the isle of Avalon) with a cross-cultural selection of feminine principles (Valkeries, Furies, faeries, dakinis, etc.). Personally, I find this a bit unsettling as each of these principles has its own characteristics which are not necessarily shared by the others.
Admittedly, this is not a topic to which I am personally drawn (although perhaps the arrival of this book is an indication that I should look deeper into the topic), and therefore was not something which immediately caught my attention and drew me in. I did find it kind of slow going in the beginning. Still, I resolved to give it a fair hearing
The exploration of the Lady of Avalon, and the experience of becoming one of her servants must be approached via the imagination since there is no documentation, no paintings or carvings, no songs or myths or legends to serve as a template. Ms. Jones and her compatriots are creating (rather than re-creating) a way of life which has been missing from our world for a very long time.
Although the Isle of Avalon is mythical its physical presence in our world has, for a very long time, been embodied in the physical location of Glastonbury. There are many sacred sites in the vicinity, representing various mythic cycles, both Pagan and Christian. The presence of these sites is capable of stirring up emotions, and revealing insights for many people, of various religions and philosophical backgrounds. Each individual receives their appropriate revelations in terms they can understand and relate to.
Ms. Jones is an excellent story teller. Her "Creation Herstory of the Isle of Avalon" is fascinating and compelling.
This book is not one to be approached lightly or in an off-hand manner. You need to be able to devote some time and energy to this book. Such devotion, however, will be more than amply repaid.