Christianity in The Mists of Avalon
When Christianity comes to Britain, it comes with fire and sword. Bradley contrasts the peaceful Druids with the intolerant Christians, who force the Druids and their religion into the mists of the fairy world. When Kevin Harper becomes the Merlin and allows Arthur to use Excalibur for Christian purposes, he is executed in Avalon as a traitor. The division that Christianity has brought to Britain spread conflict everywhere, a complete change from the Old Ways.
Highly significant to the entire novel is the theme of the mist. The Holy Isle of Avalon is physically the same island of Glastonbury. But Avalon is a metaphysical place, not separated by a “door” as the Christians believe, but through supernatural mists. Indeed, Avalon is retreating into these mists, becoming less and less real and more of a dream as Christianity edges Druidism away from the hearts and minds of the common people. The mists are the frontline of a war between Druidism and Christianity, and the women in the novel struggle to keep Avalon and Druidism from fading into the mists. “Then perhaps the tide will turn, and Avalon will return from the mists, and it is the monks and their dead God who will go into the shadows and the mists, while Avalon shines again in the light of the outer world”.
Morgaine and Gwenhwyfar serve as the principle opposing forces for the soul of Arthur, the symbol of Britain. Arthur is the one who will decide the ultimate fate of the struggle between Druidism and Christianity; brought into the world at the behest and planning of the High Priestess Viviane. Gwenhwyfar, is a pious Christian who attempts to control Arthur and sway him toward Christianity.