3759 – Morgan le Fay Goblet

Physical description:
Silver coloured pewter goblet chalice with raised images of scenes from the Legends of King Arthur. Celtic snake knot motif on the base.
Museum classification:
Images of Witchcraft, Goddess
16.5cm x 10cm diameter

In Marion Zimmer Bradley’s retelling of the Arthurian legends, The Mists of Avalon (1983). Morgaine or Morgan Le Fay has come to be associated with the goddess Modron, a figure derived from the European Dea Matrona, and the Irish goddess Morrigan. Early versions of the Arthurian stories envisage Morgan as a magical enchantress and healer of the Isle of Avalon, but later versions tend to recast Morgan as a seductress and megalomaniacal witch.  Bradley helped to fuse Arthurian legend with Goddess-worship. Morgaine is seen as protector of the native Pagan religion against an imported Christianity.  In the book, she sacrifices her personal happiness and power for a doomed political/religious compromise and enters the monastery at Glastonbury where, in the nuns’ veneration of the Virgin Mary, she realises that some of the values of Avalon and the Goddess have been preserved in Christianity.

“…the mysterious enchantress and healer [she]...can be seen as a form or version of the Queen of Elfhame…Although the medieval Arthurian romances depict [her] as an evil figure…her true esoteric nature and role is revealed when the king is killed in his final battle.  It is Morgan who retrieves his mortally wounded body and carries it in her barge or boat in the shape of a crescent moon to Avalon (the underworld) to be healed.  Excalibur is returned to the faery Lady of the Lake…while Arthur became the once and future king sleeping in a hollow hill with his warriors.”

From The Book of Faerie by Michael Howard


‘All this is through the power of Morgan le Fay,

Through her knowledge and skill in the craft of magic;

For the mistress of Merlin has learnt many arts,

And had pleasant dealings with that great magician.

Morgan the Goddess is her name,

And no one is so proud she cannot make him tame.

She sent me in this monstrous shape to steal your reason,

To torment Guinevere and cause her to die….’

From ‘Sir Gawain and the Green Knight’  (late 14th century)


See also 981.


Copyright ownership:
Franklin Mint/Excalibur Goblets