I end so that I may begin.
Morgana, also known as Morgan le Fay, is a fairy queen and sorceress of Arthurian legend. She is one of three elder half-sisters to Arthur who are the daughters of Ygraine and Gorlois, the others being Morgause and Elaine. Morgana hated her half-brother Arthur nearly from the day he was born, and the legends are full of her attempts to bring his downfall. Like Vivian, she is said to have been a pupil of Merlin, and she is much associated with the magical island of Avalon.
Avalon, which means "Apple Trees," is a magical paradise-type island or joyous land of the dead which is usually described as an island in the seas of the west, and Morgana may originally have been a sea Goddess. Avalon is also identified with Glastonbury, a great hill or tor in present-day Somerset England, which in modern Welsh is called Ynis Afallach, "Isle of Apples." (Glastonbury Tor was once an island in a shallow marshy lake before the land was drained). An earlier name for it was Ynys Wydrin, or the "Isle of Glass" (though, oddly enough, the English word "Glastonbury" is not a translation), and glass is a substance associated in the Celtic mind with the Otherworld. Many legends speak of fantastic castles or towers made of glass, i.e. made from air or sea water, and Otherworld castles are frequently said to be islands in the sea or the sky, like Caer Arianrhod.
The Irish legend of Emain Ablach is a probable antecedent for Avalon. Emain Ablach (ablach means "apples" in Irish) was another magical Otherworld island in the sea off Scotland, which was said to be the home of Manannán mac Lir, the God of the sea.
Morgana may have roots in a Celtic sea Goddess. Her epithet "le Fay" translates to "the Fate" (or "the Fairy," itself derived from "fate"), aligning her with a Goddess of the ending of cycles.
And beginnings. For though Morgana is forever trying to destroy Arthur, she also has powers of healing, and in the end she takes Arthur in to Avalon, to be healed of his wounds. According to prophecy, Arthur will wake, reborn, from an enchanted sleep to return to Britain in the time of its greatest need. Her predecessor Argante, called queen of Avalon in earlier legends, was also famed as a healer.
This card in a reading indicates great magic and the ending (and beginning) of a cycle. The situation may provoke anger and thoughts of revenge; try to access your great powers of healing in this trying time, and aim them first and foremost upon yourself.
Alternate names: Morgan, Morgan le Faye, Morgain la Fée, Morgaine
This design is available on prints at Society 6.