Necro-Nuptials: The Myth of the Virgin Queen/Corpse Bride Embedded in the Royal Wedding of Kate and William
By Tracy R. Twyman
(With inspiration from Clyde Lewis.)
As I shall demonstrate, everything about the bride that Prince William has chosen, as well as the date they have picked for their wedding, evokes the archetype of the “Virgin Queen” and the “White Lady,” i.e., Lilith, the corpse bride. The universal archetype is that of the Queen of the Underworld, and her sister, or doppelganger, the Queen of Heaven. When one is reigning on the surface world, alive in the flesh, the other is locked in her labyrinthine prison in the Underworld, the kingdom of the dead. Let us first build the case for the “Virgin Queen” archetype.
The future wife of Prince William, Catherine Elizabeth "Kate" Middleton, was born in 1982 on January 9th. This is the feast day of St. Basilissa, from the 3rd century AD, who famously convinced her husband Julian to remain chaste with her on their wedding night. They both went on to a martyr’s death as virgins.
The root word in “Basilissa” is “Basil” which means “king,” and is also the name of another saint with a feast day in January -- New Year’s Day, to be exact! I mentioned St. Basil, and the feast day that celebrates him, Vasilopita, in my essay “Regnum in Potentia, Part 1” where I show that this is another version of the Saturnalian ritual of choosing a temporary king by lot through hiding a toke representing a sacrificed baby in a slice of cake. The chosen king is later sacrificed as part of the fertility rituals described in that article. A similar ritual takes place traditionally on Walpurgis Night and Beltane/ May Day (April 30-May 1), which will come two days after Kate and William’s scheduled wedding, on April 29th. I explained in a previous article that William will be consuming a special cake at his wedding that echoes this ritual also.
But there are more interesting facts about the days surrounding this date. April 28th is the feast day of St. Catherine, Kate Middleton’s namesake. St. Catherine was famous for refusing to marry because she was already wedded to Christ -- literally. There are many traditional depictions of this miraculous ceremony that purportedly took place, in which Jesus, sometimes in the form of an infant, actually wedded St. Catherine, slipping an “invisible” ring on her finger. Catherine is usually shown at this wedding wearing the crown of a queen. Although there are technically two St. Catherines, as is often the case in saintology, their myths are inextricably intertwined. Some paintings actually depict the wedding, with Jesus marrying both Catherines at the same time! Both Catherines, like most saints, died a martyrs death, virginal.
Kate’s middle name Elizabeth of course evokes the image of Elizabeth I, the “Virgin Queen” of England’s Tudor Dynasty, who, at least according to her public image, was celibate. She also kept herself decked out in snow-white face makeup and dawned the traditional costume of the Virgin Mary, as well as simultaneously, the costume of the more ancient Queen of Heaven, the goddess. This name, and all of the imagery that goes with it, was implicitly taken on by Prince William’s Grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II, with the choice of her name, which actually means “Consecrated to the House of God,” a description of a vestal virgin who serves the gods in the temple as a young maid.
But there’s more. William’s mother is named after Diana was one of three Roman goddesses who vowed never to marry. She lived in a sacred grove and would kill anyone who attempted to woo her, or, like Venus, anyone who saw her naked. Her grove was thought to be in the midst of a thick wood were anyone who attempted to penetrate it would become lost. In Jean Cocteau’s film depiction of Beauty and the Beast, the unfortunate main character becomes trapped in a castle of illusion and turned into a half-animal chimera after stumbling upon Diana’s grove.
Significantly, May Day is celebrated by the Catholic church as the day of “May Devotions to the Blessed Virgin Mary.” They call her the “Queen of May” and celebrate her crowning as the Queen of Heaven on that date. But according to Sir James Frazer and so many others, it is Diana whose wedding to the “King of the Wood” is celebrated at the more traditional pagan May Day celebrations, with mock wedding ceremonies and a variety of fertility rituals. They were often chosen by lot a la the Beltane Cake ceremony mentioned previously.
In Britain these May Day rituals sometimes included the performance of plays about “Robin Hood” (an incarnation of the King of the Wood, a.k.a. “The Green Man”) and his marriage to “Maid Marion.” These were often accompanied by group orgies in which young men played “Robin” and would metaphorically “wed” the young girls of the village as “Maid Marions,” before deflowering their maidenhood in an entirely unmetaphorical manner. Usually mocked sacrifices of the King and Queen of the May followed at the end of the festivities.
In his book The Golden Bough anthropologist Sir James Frazer discussed the Roman model of this sacred marriage, and how it was celebrated annually around May Day. The ritual has its origins in an older rite involving the real king and queen of the land, and it really did at one point include the sacrifices of “temporary kings.” The ritual was thought to be integral to the continuance of the harvest, as the health of the land was thought to be tied in with the life of the king and queen, as well as their relationship to their otherworldly counterparts. Frazer wrote:
When we remember how very often in early society the king is held responsible for the fall of rain and the fruitfulness of the Earth, it seems hardly rash to conjecture that in the legend of the [king] Numa and [the water-nymph] Egeria we have a reminiscence of a sacred marriage, in which the old Roman kings regularly contracted with a goddess of vegetation and water for the purpose of enabling him to discharge his divine or magical functions. In such a rite, the part of the goddess might be played either by an image or a woman, probably by the Queen. If there is any truth to this conjecture, we may suppose that the King and Queen of Rome masqueraded as god and goddess at their marriage, exactly as the King and Queen of Egypt appear to have done. To be more explicit, it is possible that [the Roman kings] reigned not by right of birth, but in virtue of their divinity as representatives or embodiments of a god, and that as such they mated with a goddess…
The names Diana, Elizabeth, and Mary all have very similar and very connected meanings having to do with the great goddess of the ancient world, who represented the power of both heaven and Earth, the sovereignty upon which the rule of the king metaphorically rested. As we have seen, it was the king’s symbolic marriage to the goddess that was seen as what really gave him his right to rule. It was his marriage to her that legitimized his kingship, and indeed the throne was seen as an embodiment of the goddess’s lap.
So when the king and queen got married, they ritually took on the guise of god and goddess. As such, they were each really marrying not the other person, but the divine personage that he or she represented. So it was a dual wedding -- the human king marries the divine goddess, the queen of the underworld, while the human queen marries the king of the underworld. This divine queen was, according to Sir James Frazer, sometimes called “Dione.” In pagan Britain, Diana was one of the most common epithets for the May Queen.
Princess Diana was called by the press the “Queen of Hearts.” This obviously evokes the image of the Queen of the underground, otherworldly “Wonderland” in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, where she rules from a castle surrounded by a labyrinth. This is the same as the realm of non-existence which I compare to Wonderland in “Regnum in Potentia, Part 2”, and compare to “Saturn’s kingdom.” I also mentioned the idea that Venus is the queen of this land, lying, like Saturn, in a death-like slumber.
This is the story of the Venusburg, the mountain at “the center of the Earth” where the tomb of Venus can be found . As she dreams, she sends out magical vibes that create enchantments drawing men into her realm. When they discover her lying naked in her tomb, they are punished with a curse. Each man who stumbles upon her thusly (although persuaded by her tricks to do so) is forced to serve the goddess in the underworld as her husband, until someone else comes along to take his place.
One of the oldest names for this dark underworld aspect of the goddess is Lilith. I explore the myth of Lilith in-depth in my Baphomet article series. Lilith was, according to various myths, the first bride of Adam, and also married to a demon named Samael. Both as the bride of Adam, and as the bride of Samael, she is thought of as one half of a hermaphroditic serpent-being.
With Adam, she originally formed the female half of the “Adam Kadmon,” the primordial man mentioned in Genesis in the first telling of mankind’s creation. In the second telling, the male and female halves of Adam Kadmon have split apart, forming a male Adam and a female Eve.
As I hypothesized in those Baphomet articles and others, I believe that this separation was one and the same event as the Fall from the Garden of Eden. It created a set of demonic doppelgangers of Adam and Eve in the underworld that were remembered in the mythos as the serpents who tempted them to split apart in the first place, so that they could achieve forbidden sexual “knowledge.”
Lilith and Samael are thought of in Jewish myths and cabalistic literature as being, like Adam and Eve, both brother and sister as well as man and wife, and as having been originally hermaphroditic. But they suffer because now they are separate beings, and Samael has been castrated. He can no longer have congress with his wife, except through an intermediary called “Taniniver.” One can think of this as a dildo, perhaps, like the artificial penis that Isis fashioned so that she could have sex with her dead husband Osiris and conceive the royal heir, Horus.
However, there is another way of looking at the concept of the “Taniniver” or “intermediary,” and that is as a human surrogate. For if you look at the myth of Lilith, it is all about the dark goddess breeding with human men. Throughout the Middle East, going back to the beginning of history, Lilith was thought to visit men in their dreams for sex, and to impregnate herself with their nocturnal emissions, thereafter giving birth to demons.
This is seen in the myth of Lilith as Adam’s first wife before Eve, and the mother of an entire race that should have inherited the kingdom of Earth instead of Eve’s children. Lilith always remained jealous of the woman who supplanted her, which is why she was thought to haunt the cribs of newborn babes, especially boys. She wanted to kill them to prevent them from inheriting what she believed rightfully belonged to her descendants.
As I describe in my Baphomet series, there are several women in the Old Testament that cabalists believe were incarnations of Lilith. I hypothesized, and demonstrated amply, that the stories of these women (such as that of the Queen of Sheba, mysterious consort of King Solomon) always seem to indicate a demoness of the bloodline of Lilith reincarnating and attempting to marry into the royal bloodline of the kingdom of Judah in order to put one of her sons back in the line of succession.
Stories hinting at the same basic concept can be found throughout world mythology, such as that of Beowulf. In that tale, a king has a secret marriage to a demoness, a dragon who lives in a cave and can take human form. He sires a child with her that turns out to be a monstrous man-eating giant -- linking this tale to the stories of the Nephilim, and the human-angel breeding that created a cursed race of giants. The giant, and later the dragon herself, torment the king, killing his people as punishment for his refusal to acknowledge the birthright of their son.
The king’s successor, Beowulf, is likewise seduced by the dragon in his turn, and like the king before him, is eventually killed by her. At the end of the story it is indicated that she will forever continue to curse the kingdom, and she will also continue to try to breed a royal heir with whoever is king. In the story it is hinted that the dragon in fact chooses who will be king, by bestowing upon her chosen one a golden cup, representing sovereignty.
As Howard Schwartz demonstrates in his book Lilith’s Cave, Jewish folk tales are full of stories about such demonic marriages to Lilith. In these stories, any man may fall prey to being seduced by Lilith and, once married to her, cannot betroth another without incurring her perpetual curse. The seduction of the young man is most likely to take place just when he is about to be wed, which is the origin for the superstition that a man cannot see his bride before his wedding day. He must be kept under watch during this vulnerable time, for Lilith may take the form of his bride and seduce him.
In one recurring version of the story, a boy who is about to be wed is walking through a forest with the wedding ring, and in jest slips the ring on the branch of a log, or on a finger sticking out of a log, whilst saying the wedding vows. After saying the words, the log either comes to life as Lilith, or else the finger is revealed to belong to that of a corpse that was buried in the log. Either way, the boy is now married to a lady of the underworld, an incarnation of Lilith. This was dramatized in Tim Burton’s film Corpse Bride. In most versions of the tale, Lililth curses the young man’s family until they all agree to share him. He is condemned to spend half of his time in the underworld with his demon wife, and half of his time on the surface with his other wife.
The story is very similar to the myth of Persephone, who was captured and taken to the underworld, where she was forced to spend half of the year with him as his wife. Her presence on the surface was thought of by the Greeks as being tied to the seasons, and this was the explanation for why half of the year was cold. An earlier version of this myth involves Inanna, the queen of heaven in Sumerian mythology, her husband Dumuzi, and her sister Ereshkigal, another name for the Sumerian version of Lilith: Luluwa.
In these myths, Ereshkigal, although the eldest sister of Inanna and the true queen of the gods, has been condemned to the underworld, where she rules over a spider-web-shaped labyrinth kingdom. Like Lilith she resents her sister on the surface world and considers the title of Queen of Heaven to rightfully be hers. At one point, Inanna visits her sister in the underworld, and is tricked into taking off all of her clothes, including her tiara and other royal signs of office. When Inanna gets to the lowest realm of Hell, where her sister’s throne is, Inanna sits upon that throne as if to claim it as hers.
But then Ereshkigal kills Inanna, and hangs her corpse on a hook. Later Ereshkigal agrees to bring Inanna back to life, and allows her to visit the surface for half of the year if someone takes her place as a substitute. Inanna chooses her own husband, Dumuzi, to play the part of the sacrifice on her behalf. So she is his corpse wife, and he is her corpse husband, although from this point forward they are never actually together anymore.
Dumuzi is probably one of the most ancient versions of the King of the Wood, Wild man, Green Man, or Robin Hood who married the Queen of the May. According to some versions of the tale, he was actually the goddesses own son, whom she had originally cast out to the wilderness to die. But when he came back to her as a young man, virile strong, and wild from having been raised by beasts in the forest, she fell in love with him and seduced him.
However, Dumuzi was at first resistant to her advances because she had a reputation for killing her consorts after they mated. Inanna was called the “Queen of Harlots” and associated with illicit sexual encounters. Like Dianna, she didn’t want to be tied down to marriage.
In pagan Britain, Diana (sometimes called “Dianus”) was celebrated as the May Queen. To modern neo-pagans and Wiccans in Britain, she and Lililth are considered the main goddesses worshipped, and their epithets are often combined as “Diana-Lilith,” for they are considered just two aspects of the same goddess, who is both virgin and whore. This is how Sophia, the goddess of wisdom, is described in the Gnostic text Thunder Perfect Mind.
So now let us examine again the myth of the virgin queen of May. How can she be a virgin after her marriage, especially after she mates with the King of the Wood to breed a royal heir? Because it is never really her having sex. Or if she does have sex, it is never with a real man. In other words, by virtue of the fact that both of the spouses are really marrying and breeding with the god or goddess of the underworld, it negates the taint of the human sexual congress. It is instead a heiros gamos, the sacred marriage of the gods.
While the king and queen are possessed by the god and goddess, their souls are down in the underworld, dead, holding the places of the god and goddess as substitute sacrifices. In alchemy, this is spoken of as the chemical wedding of the king and queen. They represent opposing universal energies which annihilate one another when they unite in marriage. Out of this, the new king, the “gold,” is born.
Because of these connections, the specter of death hangs over the royal wedding. It is traditional for both the King and Queen of the May to be sacrificed at the end of the festivities, something foreshadowed by the ritual of the Beltane Cake that they appear to be observing. Perhaps this is why William has wanted to postpone this wedding for so long.
Not only that, but considering the traditions involved, it may very well be that it is his mother Diana that William will really be marrying in this ritual. After all, he did give Kate the same engagement ring that his father gave to his ill-fated mother, perhaps foreshadowing the role Kate is about to play. As the dead mother of the king, and named after the virgin May Queen, Princess Diana fits all the ritual criteria to be William’s first bride, the corpse bride Queen of the Underworld, to whom the temporary king must be sacrificed, just as Inanna demanded the sacrifice of her husband and son Dumuzi. All of this is too much to take when you consider that William was born on June 21st, 1982, on the Spring Equinox, date of another important temporary king sacrifice in old Britain.
I just wonder if Prince William knows what he’s involved in, and what his fate is destined to be.
There are some interesting parallels between the archetypes examined here and the television program V. In that show, there are three royal females: “Anna,” “Diana,” and “Lisa.” First Queen Diana is betrayed by her daughter Anna and locked in a dungeon in the basement on the Mother Ship. On the surface, Anna rules as queen, with everyone thinking that Diana is dead. Eventually Diana is rescued with the aid of her granddaughter Lisa, the princess, and tries to reclaim her kingdom. But Diana is then killed by Anna, who afterwards locks Lisa in the dungeon as punishment for her betrayal.
Throughout the series, Lisa has been courting a human boyfriend, Tyler, whom Queen Anna had chosen to produce a human-V hybrid granddaughter for her to inherit the throne. However, Lisa and Tyler never do end up consummating their relationship, and after Lisa is imprisoned in the dungeon, a clone of her is created to mate with Tyler. After the breeding occurs, Tyler is sacrificed and eaten by the clone princess.
The name “Lisa” is another form of “Elizabeth.” In Old English it translates to “consecrated to God,” while “Elizabeth” specifically means “consecrated to the House of God.” This indicates that she takes the form of the goddess as the “Virgin Queen.”
Note: I will be on the radio program Ground Zero with Clyde Lewis later tonight, Monday, April 18 2011 to discuss the contents of this article.