This is the second post on the book club discussion of the Mists of Avalon.
You can find the first discussion on the Sacred Feminine, here
For today’s discussion I’d like to start with the religious connotations inherent in the text. Duality seems to permeate the story in many ways, and my reading of it almost seems to take the pagan ideal of both male and female, god and goddess, and transplant that into the dueling philosophies discussed in the text. While the Priestesses of Avalon centered solely on the goddess, only making passive mention of the horned god and almost relegating him to a position of doing their bidding and then going away... the Christians and their one God became the Patriarchal symbol.
I found it interesting that the women, though possibly on purpose as the main idea was to focus on the female perspective... but the women were painted in the more accepting, less judgmental light. The character of Viviane said repeatedly that the God of Christianity wouldn’t allow for any other gods, while their view was that there was room for all belief... The thing I found interesting here is that their obvious contempt for all things Christian, marked their words as hypocrisy... at least for me.
We talked at length about the bending over backwards for the feminine perspective in this rewrite of Arthurian Legend in my last post. I do love the writing and I think the story itself was ingenious in bringing a new light to an old tale... But because the focus on the feminine permeates all aspects, I think that topic will come up here, and in any discussion about the text. Here’s what I’m wondering. Do you think it was intentional, to show these female characters hypocritically in relation to their behavior toward the male dominated religion? And what do you make of the negative inferences that Christianity bound its women to a life of powerless servitude? Do you find that to be an honest rendition of the time period or as another means to draw negativity toward Christianity while highlighting pagan virtues?