Igraine–it originally appeared like an awkward, unwieldy name to this reader & it took me quite some time to puzzle out how to actually pronounce it. The extra nouns clashing against my young untrained eyes. A name that stands out from Arthurian legend that seemed to have so many other lovely female names to reveal, like Guinevere or Morgan or Nimüe or, my very favorite, Lynette. And yet, despite the matronly air to her name, Igraine is a character who does not quietly allow herself to be relegated to ‘mother of the King.’ She gives birth to two equally important children of legend by two different men–a wrinkle that future texts struggled with as they wished to emphasize Arthur’s gallant practice of Christianity & noble birth.
Igraine–the grain–the rebellious spring daughter of the fields that invites order (‘sew on the grain, cut with the grain of meat, pet the fur with the grain’) or inspires challenge (‘go against the grain’). I, ever the uncertain girl, usually ends up on the other side of that dynamic, on the cross-tendency side, mainly because I don’t pay attention, too wrapped up in my own perspective to see properly. And so, the dress comes out with an odd stretch, the roast looks like it’s already been chewed and the cat is hissing at me in the corner. The worst sin growing up was being “a space cadet” & “having no common sense.” I sinned frequently & eventually stopped asking for forgiveness.
And so, I still find my thoughts caught up on that name–Igraine–the name meant to invoke a Goddess and the strange history that leads from something wilder and difficult to a bright shining moment of dreams nearly true and exuberant hope. Does her name remind me to look past the façade of accomplishment? Or do I trouble myself with doubts that the story of my life as I’ve told it to myself has overlooked something?