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3Sir Thomas Malory and the Rivers tradition

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  • Antioch Lusignan Rivers
    Nov 22, 2006
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      Thomas Malory was a young English knight garrisoned at the Castle of Rouen during the Occupation known as "Lancastrian France". He was approximately of an age with both Joan of Arc and Jacquetta duchess of Bedford, or, approximately nineteen. He had to watch the execution by burning of Joan of Arc in the castle courtyard at Rouen together with the young French duchess and became her lifelong devotee. Some historians and writers have made much of his feudal connexions to the Nevilles ( he held his land in fee from them) but have ignored evidence of his other loyalties. Loyalties in the Middle Ages were not comanded by feudal overlords alone. Loyalty to royal dynasties and to religious movements sometimes superceded those born of feudal tenure and secret religious movements and societies were no exception.
      For all that some have sought to prove parallels between members of the Neville family and characters in Malory's book, "Le Morte D'Arthur", nevertheless the true models for his characters were members of the Woodville or, Rivers family. His Sir Launcelot was drawn largely from the life of Anthony Woodville. The joust before King Arthur nearly replicated word for word and blow by blow Anthony's joust before Edward IV against the Bastard of Burgundy. The incident where ladies accosted Laucelot after church once, tying a rose onto his thigh with a ribbon, was an actual event in Anthony's life. Also, despite the fabrication that two monks delivered Malory's ManuScripts from Newgate to Caxton Press, in fact the publisher issued receipts for the MSs to Anthony Lord Scales, their actual deliverer. Besides these, there exist notes from Queen Elizabeth Woodville (Rivers) to Malory editting his original MS and suggesting the deletion of multiple negation, which was done and made a mark on the development of English grammar, just as she made a less permanent mark on fashion when she changed the traditional two-horned hennen (headdress) to a single horn. Elizabeth was undoubtedly Malory's true inspiration for his Quenevere, as the imitation of the founding of the Order of the Bath and the queen's role in that procession, down to her blue dress, was followed slavishly in the book for the founding of the Order of the Round Table.
      Add to this that it was Anthony Woodville, Lord Rivers and Lord Scales, who actually gave the order of knighthood to Sir Thomas Malory ;and that, it was Richard Rivers (Anthony's younger brother and eventual successor and heir) who was Malory's drinking buddy and frequently gaoled in London Gaol with the aging author.
      It was Jacquetta's children alone (and not the Nevilles) who continued to visit the old man in prison to the end of his days and who provided practical succour and help to him while there, and so it is unlikely indeed that Malory was trying to immortalise the Nevilles by his writing.
      What is more, some knowledge of both genealogy and arcane lore are necessary in order to appreciate the more subtle influence of Jacquetta and her children on the author, who was indeed their devotee in a very religious sense. Genealogy because, Jacquetta, born about three hundred years after the First Crusade of 1099-1100, was the direct descendant of all of the major players in the Crusades. Not only representing the family lines but, of the major players themselves. She was as near a direct descendant of Godfroi de Bouillon and his brother Baudouin I as one could hope to find, being directly descended from their adoptive heir, Baudouin II. Also a direct, lineal descendant of Bohemond of Antioch, Conrad, Fulk and Montferrat, the various queens of both Jerusalem and Cyprus (sometimes by more than one line), the Comnenid princesses of Byzantium including Anna Comnena credited with the first treatise on the crusade and heraldry, Richard the Lion-Hearted (more than once) and indeed every one of Eleanor of Aquitaine's sons as well as from the French royal line, having Saint-King Louis, Eleanor's first husband and her lover-uncle Raymond of Toulouse to boot. She also descended directly from Hugh de Payen, Grand Master of the Templar Order. In short, you could not find anyone in history with more direct genealogical connexions to the major male members of the patriarchal establishment in Christian Europe. But, there was also the hidden, invisible female hierarchy and the occult Gnostic tradition of the Goddess. Her grandmother was the Italian Duchess of Apulia immediately south of Rome, and high priestess of the Mysteries of Isis in Rome. This princess was also a close relative of the Orsini popes who probably attended the Isis Mysteries.
      Jacquetta was herself a Luxembourg, a cousin of the Holy Roman (Germanic) Emperour Sigismundo and, as such, also a relative of the Luxembourg emperour whom Dante exhorted to re-establish a Gnostic Church in the West! Directly descended through Eleanor of Aquitaine--several times over--as well as through Eleanor's uncle Raymond, from the Counts of Toulouse, she was thus also from the "uncrowned kings" of the Albigens movement, as well as the Counts Comminges who built the Gnostic abbey in southern France, and thus a close cousin many times over of Esclarmonde de Foix, high priestess at Montsegur (Mont Salvasche) when it fell to papal troops (led by yet another ancestor, Simon de Montfort!) in 1244.
      Things less easily established are there to be looked for in those three centuries of Jacqueline de Luxembourg's antecedents, already so crowded with the men who ran Christendom:
      things relating only to the Goddess cult and with survival of pagan female power in the royal families of Europe, which are never salient in any genealogical text, are her multiple descents from all of the various manifestations of the Melusine. The official history of Luxembourg traces the duchy to 963 AD and the Count of the Ardennes, but there was a strong mediaeval legend of its foundation by the shapeshifting mermaid or siren (sometimes a dragon!) Melusine, a late Mediaeval manifestation of Aphrodite. Ditto the house of Lusignan in Poitou, where the Mere Lucine or "Mother of Light" served that royal house as a banshee famously heralding the approaching death of her descendants for many centuries. And also the origin of the house of Angeou (Angevins) where she turned into a dragon (in Poitou it was usually a swan) and fled into the sky!
      For those who doubt a literal interpretation of such manifestations by divine, shapeshifting aliens, the only explanation can be residual traces of the French fairy cult, of which Joan of Arc was considered the last head or, incarnate "Maid" (Maiden Goddess). And, for those, we have had since 1935 the monumental work of Katherine Maltwood who flew over Glastonbury in Somerset in her biplane and gathered photographic evidence of an ancient system of earthworks which she herself termed, "The Glastonbury Temple of the Stars" but which, interpretted in terms of the Rivers tradition and Malory's 'Le Morte', can only be one thing: the holy lake of the "Lady of the Lake". Maltwood herself drew her parallels mainly from 'The High History of the Holy Grail' but, an intimate knowledge of Malory and of his patroness Jacquetta's genealogy can draw many more. Here, in the centre of what was once an artificial lake ten miles across, was an artificial island which Kate Maltwood herself termed a Giant Effigy, shaped like a Dove and acknowledged to be a symbol of the Sumerian goddess Semiramis or Shamuramat. Who else was this other than the Melusine of Avalon herself?
      Among those things to be looked for in Malory is the thread of the "Holy Grail" or Sangreal. Jacquetta was (again) a direct descendant of the Embriacci boys from Genoa who captured the holy grail at Caesarea and deposited it in the Cathedral of San Lorenzo. Still famous today, it was extremely well-known to Christian Europe within the first three centuries of its display there. This is not a connexion to be ignored any more than the other interpretation: that, the Sangreal was a code word for "sang real" or royal blood. Whether this was the descent from St. Odelia of the Heiligeburg at Niedersheim and her kinsman Eticho or Adelrich of Arles (which Jacquetta had, and directly too) or reference to the descent through the Bouillons from Lohengrin the Swan-Knight of the Grail Castle (himself a descendant of Sir Launcelot of Avalon, ninth generation from Jesus Christ) she could lay claim to any of the relevant descents and appertaining heritage.
      Also not to be missed are things subtly implicit in Malory:
      the hand holding the sword above the water. Too often over-interpretted, what is salient is that this was the hand of an acquatic being--such as Semiramis or Melusine--with the authority to bestow mortal kingship upon an earthly man. That is so obvious and, too often ignored . She was the Goddess. And this image, so often seen on covers of the Morte during the past five centuries that it has been in print, is an enactment of the glyph of Juno Lucina: to wit, an upright line (representing the sword) crossed at its base by a shorter horizontal line (the hand or wrist of the goddess) and at the top by crossed rays representing light gleaming from off the sword (symbolising the goddess of light).
      The dragon imagery too, is often associated only with Uther and Arthur's paternal descent, but, it has everything to do with the Goddess of Avalon and the line of the Ladies of the Lake as well as pagan, feminine-empowered religion before the christianisation of Britain that was being finalised under Arthur. (Compare too, contemporary survivals of local legend in the region of Cornwall, that has it a mermaid came every Easter to a church Arthur attended on one of the last remaining channels, to protest the draining of the artificial lake!) Arthur's half-sister Morgainne le Fay (being "fairy", as much a reference to the tradition in Britain as it was to the cult of Diana at Domremy, Joan of Arc and Gilles de Rais). There is the significant passage in the book wherein a lady riding a serpent comes and is interpretted as the "old church" or Old Religion and contrasted to the lady who comes riding a lion who is interpretted as the "new church" or New Religion riding the Lion of Judah. And the "Pentangle" shield, also associated with the older cult, is the pagan pentacle, every bit as much as the Green Knight was the Green Man or god of vegetation.
      There is more knowledge of the tradition of the Lake and of "the stars on the ground" than can be easily explained away by familiarity with The High History. Malory includes Arthur's last dream, in which, he is seated upon a throne which is mounted upon a wheel, and, it is turned over causing Arthur to fall from the sky into the Lake (whose Goddess and whose cult he has betrayed) to be torn by the creatures of the Lake--i.e., the islands which are shaped like like Giant Effigies of various creatures from ancient religious traditions. There is a sensitivity to this matter that could only have probably come from a female member of the Goddess cult, very high placed in European royalty, and it was almost certainly not the pious Cecily Neville!
      Jacquetta was thrice-accused and thrice-acquitted of charges of witchcraft during her lifetime, and finally attainted after her death together with the Woodville children, by a Parliament of Richard III in 1483. There is a now little-remembered story of her daughter's coronation as Queen Elizabeth Woodville in Westminster Abbey, at which Jacquetta's brother Jean de Luxembourg (betrayer of Joan of Arc) arrived at the abbey en masse with her Luxembourg kindred: they had re-painted their shields to represent the young queen as the melusine and there were immediately thereupon whispers of "witchcraft" among the congregation of English present. (This was tantamount to a visual accusation.) Wherefore Anthony Woodville, Lord Scales drew his sword and charged the entire Luxembourg host, driving them back single-handedly all the way to Ship's Green where, before he would allow them to re-embark, he jousted and unhorsed each Luxemburg knight, afterwards challenging each man to single-combat upon the ground until he had bescratched every Melusine-painted shield! Thus he cleared his sisters and mother of a charge of witchcraft by combat. But, the Rivers family connexions to the Gnosis and to the Witch-cult of Western Europe were too strong to hold off forever revelation.
       


      Dynasty and House of Antioch-Lusignan-Rivers


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