Aelfgyva: The enigmatic woman of the Bayeux Tapestry – a mystery solved

I’m entitling this article A Mystery Solved to make a play on words over the meaning of the word ‘mystery’. This part of the 11th century Bayeux Tapestry, which illustrates the Battle of Hastings of 1066, features the woman Aelfgyva who has long been a mystery to many scholars, by which I mean in the sense of an unsolveable conundrum; but the other meaning for ‘mystery’ refers to the Mystery Teachings which, when followed, are the sacred path to Sovereignty.

For those with the eyes to see, who’ve been trained in those latter Mysteries,  this section of the Bayeux Tapestry seems to represent a metaphorical reference to Sovereignty – to the Sovereignty of these isles – and now that I’ve seen it, I believe it calls into question the historicity of King Cnut; I’m wondering if he and his wife Aelfgyva are the centre of a mythological story about Sovereignty, and not necessarily a historical one, for reasons I’ll go on to explain.


Few scholars when discussing this part of the Bayeux Tapestry mention the twin serpent-entwined columns – perhaps because they only make sense within the teaching of the Mysteries. If they do mention them, they describe them as topped with lion heads. But it looks to me as if they are quintaurs – lion-headed sea serpents. Quintaurs were certainly symbols of kingship in Saxon times, and as explained in an earlier article (Fire and Ice: The real revolution that we’ve been waiting for) the twin columns they surmount represent the duality of the fabric of the universe. They are the Boaz and Joachim twin pillars of Solomon’s Temple,  through which the adept has to pass – like the twin clashing rocks of Dante’s Symplegades – on the journey of the hero through the Underworld. The purpose of this mythological journey is to win the hallows of kingship and thus the Sovereignty of the land.

Below one of the twin pillars of the quintaurs we see the archetypal symbol of the sacred sex rites which lead to Sovereignty: the naked, erect, ithyphallic figure that was represented by the Greeks as Pan, and the ancient Egyptians as Min. I don’t think this chap is just there for decoration!


There’s also a fire-breathing dragon to the right of him – definitely, then, a mythological creature and not one found in history.

What other clues to the sacred sex rites of the Mysteries are present? The scene is entitled Ubi unus clericus et Ælfgyva  or “Look here! It’s a clerk and Aelfgyva” – making Aelfgyva the only named woman in the whole tapestry. ‘Aelfgyva’ meant ‘elf-gift’. What was the gift of the elves, one wonders?

I believe that the clerk or priest stroking Aelfgyva’s cheek represents the divine godhead who, the history books tell, partly sired one of her sons, Sven. The same sources all recount that her other son was sired by a labourer, Harold Harefoot, and was thus wholly human. This story about the mismatched twins – one semi-divine, one wholly human – goes back to the Sumerian Epic of Gilgamesh and is also found in many other cultures such as the Judaic – Cain and Abel, Jacob and Esau – and in many Celtic myths too. The natural wisdom our ancestors were trying to convey with this motif, I believe, is key to Sovereignty and kingship, which the semi-divine brother only attains when he comes to realise his true nature through the trials of the hero.

In a scene to the left of the one featuring Aelfgvya, on the Bayeux Tapestry (see below), the throned William, Duke of Normandy and Harold II are in conversation about that very subject, the Sovereignty of the British Isles, which William believes is rightly his. Harold is pointing to this scene, as if to disagree with him. The Sovereignty, I believe he is saying, belongs to him through Aelfgvya’s Godwin line.

God-win – now there’s a word to conjur with! What did this god or otherwordly spirit win for them? The gift of the elves – of Sovereignty?


Scholars unversed in the Mystery Teachings have misinterpreted Harrold signalling towards Aelfgyva in the above scene to mean that he is agreeing with William, that the Sovereignty should rightfully go to William, because of Aelfgvya’s ‘unfaithfulness’. But if he agreed, why was the Battle of Hastings fought? I think my interpretation makes more sense.

I’d like to see the whole of the Bayeux Tapestry re-examined from the point of view of the Mystery Teachings. I just wish I had the time!

To understand more about sacred sex rites and Sovereignty within the ancient Mystery Teachings, these books of mine go into much more detail. 

Grail pictures 3

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Read more here about The Bright World of the Gods

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Read more here about Reclaiming Sovereignty

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