The Celtic solar cycle, marked by the feasts dedicated to the Nine Ladies of the Lake, is compared with the Taoist scheme of the 8 Directions (Ba Gua) and the 9 Numbers (Lo Shu): two initiation paths of great charm and mysticism.
According to in-deep studies on different medieval narratives concerning King Arthur’s life and the feats of the Knights of the Round Table, first of all the famous Quest for the Grail, the female figures, who appear alongside the heroes and who play an important role in the various events, would represent nine different archetypes of divine Women.
Depending on the particularities and symbols that distinguish them from each other, each of these Ladies can be associated with one of the eight pagan festivities of the Wheel of the Year and therefore with a precise moment of the solar calendar which can be compared with the eight directions of the Chinese Compass.
So let’s see how the Nine Ladies of the Lake can be combined according to a coherent space-time scheme, as well as the magic square Lo Shu contains 9 Numbers and 8 Directions, together with a central point, an element that can be recognized also in the Celtic traditional wheel, as we will see in this article.
Ragnell: the Repugnant Bride and Lady of Riddles.
Celtic Festival: Yule.
Time: December 20-23.
Astronomical cycle: Winter solstice.
Ba Gua direction: north
Dindraine (Perceval’s sister): the Virgin of the Grail and Queen of the Wastelands.
Celtic Festival: Imbolc.
Time: February 2nd.
Ba Gua direction: northeast
Kundry: the Laid Maid and the Dark Lady of Knowledge.
Celtic Festival: Ostara.
Time: March 20-23.
Astronomical cycle: spring equinox.
Ba Gua direction: east.
Guinevere (Arthur’s wife): the Queen of Flowers.
Celtic Festival: Beltane.
Time: April 30th.
Ba Gua direction: southeast.
Enid (wife of Erec): the Lady of Joy.
Celtic Festival: Litha.
Astronomical cycle: summer solstice.
direction Ba Gua: south.
Igraine (Arthur’s mother): the Queen Mother.
Celtic Festival: Lughnasadh.
Time: August 1st.
Ba Gua direction: southwest.
Nimue: the Lady of the Door.
Celtic Festival: Mabon.
Time: September 20-23.
Astronomical cycle: autumn equinox.
Ba Gua direction: west.
Morgana (Arthur’s sister): the Enchantress and Queen of the Wheel.
Celtic Festival: Samhain.
Time: November 1st.
Ba Gua direction: northwest.
Argante, the Goddess and Lady of the Lake.
the Wheel of the Year Center.
the center of the Chinese Compass.
In both traditions, Celtic and Taoist, there is the symbol of the Wheel or Circle, which has a space-time value connected to the path of the Sun around the Earth and to the calendar associated with it. This path has an esoteric-initiatory meaning. In the case of the Celtic tradition, it is connected to the search for the Grail by Parsifal: the solar hero who, finding his soul dimension, heals the King, by uniting Heaven and Earth, with the help of the Nine Ladies of the Lake, who are none other than different aspects of the terrestrial female archetype.