The Arthurian Legends 4 - The Fisher King of Arthurian Legend (Notes on the Fisher King synthesized from Jessie L. Weston’s From Ritual to Romance. Mineola, New York: Dover Books, 1997.) The Fisher King of Arthurian Legend: Is wounded sexually (in the thigh), in the same way Attis (a Phrygian vegetation god) and Adonis (a Greek vegetation god) and, it could be argued, Osiris (the Egyptian vegetation god) were wounded. Unless he can be healed, the land he governs cannot be fruitful. (This is similar to the need for Inanna and Dumuzi to have sexual union in order for the land to be healthy.) Fish and doves were sacred to various of the Great Goddesses of the ancient world, most notably Astarte (a descendant of Inanna/Ishtar) and Aphrodite/Venus. Concerning the eating of fish, Weston says, “At certain mystic banquets, priests and initiates partook of this otherwise forbidden food, in the belief that they partook of the flesh of the goddess.” From association with those who worshiped the Mother Goddess, the Jews while in captivity seem to have adopted a Friday fish meal, Friday being the day dedicated to the goddess.  From the Jews the custom spread to early Christianity and is still seen in the modern period in Christian cultures where Friday is the day for eating fish, “its true origin, needless to say, being wholly unsuspected.” Though Christian readers would likely connect the legends that contain the visit of the knights of the Round Table to the Fisher King’s castle with Jesus’ injunction to the apostles to become “fishers of men,” the more likely reason for this figure’s appearance in Arthurian legend is his relationship to the far older tradition of the vegetation gods of the ancient world. Hence, the Arthurian legends may have had associations with the fertility rituals of paganism. However, as Starbird points out, Jesus and Mary Magdalene, if they were married, fit the pattern of the hieros gamos or sacred marriage from ancient times, and Jesus is the sacrificial god-king whose death mirrors that of earlier semi-divine rulers, including Dumuzi/Tammuz, Attis, Osiris, Adonis, Dionysus, etc. Starbird speculates that because the church buried the knowledge of the marriage of Jesus to his true bride, the grail (the feminine) is lost and the king (the masculine) is wounded. Another associated celebration still extant is the British maypole dance on the 1st of May (Beltane), and the mock death at that same celebration of John of the Green, a figure who comes out all dressed in green leaves and vines, and who is ritually "killed." Made with Xara Website by Susan Smily