Most of us grow up with the legend of King Arthur, the Knights of the Round Table, Guinevere, Sir Galahad, Percival, Merlin, and of of course Lancelot. Between all the fairy tales, legends, and movies that have been created around this legend it’s not difficult to convince yourself that the entire Arthurian universe actually did exist. Sean Connery as King Arthur and Richard Gere as Lancelot were a dream team, but so were Clive Owen and Keira Knightly. The list of interpretations is endless and so are the portrayals. The point is, our imaginations have clung to this “once and future king” whose life centred around the eternally utopian Camelot.
Every little girl who reads the story is inevitably drawn to the idea of being a princess and being loved unconditionally by the noble king, or rescued by the knight in shining armour. As we grow up and become wiser about the ways of the world, life gets in the way and we realise that Guinevere et al were figments of our imagination.
Some political analysts and historians will argue that given the current condition of the world and the deplorable state of governments and public administrations, we are in desperate need of a King Arthur to charge in and save the day. If you ask me, certain leaders are under the delusion that they are the much-awaited knight in shining armour, but the truth is that they are no better than the hollow Tin Man with no heart. So where does that leave us?
Women’s empowerment and feminism have taken on entirely new dimensions over the past four generations, pushing aside the classic image of Guinevere as the ideal wife who stood by her husband, king and kingdom till the bitter end, forsaking her true emotions and refraining from speaking her mind. More modern interpretations of Guinevere have of course cast her in a very different light, making her a strong independent woman with her own voice. Is there still hope or room for Guinevere in future generations of little girls? How are we raising our daughters? Simply to be direct counterparts of the boys or to rise up to the challenge of embracing her full potential and still remain feminine? Or has femininity been completely eradicated as well for the sake of feminism? Questions upon questions that lead further and further away from Guinevere.
It has taken me decades to realise that my mistake all along was to pin my ideals on King Arthur when what I really should have been doing was building up my very own Camelot. Camelot is the ultimate goal: to be strong but not isolated, unique but united with others, vulnerable and yet indestructible, live and thrive among equals but also shine on individual merit.
Camelot is all about resilience and protecting your identity, safeguarding values, culture, heritage, and individuality above all else. It is the very definition of what a truly balanced life is, embracing all parts of life, the good and with the bad, the evil with the sacrosanct, the generous with the selfish, but more importantly, allow magic to flourish among the harsh realities.
The photograph I included today is obviously not a castle simply because I don’t identify with castles. My Camelot is an island surrounded by water, vulnerable yet strengthened by water, and subservient to none, except the elements of nature, resilient after each storm. Those of you who have been following this blog and my photography know my affinity for water and clouds. I may be a bit of an island adrift on most occasions, but I’m never really far from the mainland.