In Arthurian legend, the Lady of the Lake is usually depicted as a beautiful woman. However, she is clearly not human (as she seems to spend most of her time hanging out underwater). One might think mermaid, but I don't recall any mentions of fins or similar typical mermaid characteristics.

Is there any clarification, in Arthurian mythology, about what the Lady of the Lake is, or anything about her physical capabilities?

  • When not human, she is either a fairy or a generic water deity. Jul 19, 2022 at 17:49

2 Answers 2


Many early Celtic legends apply male and female characteristics to geographical features.

If you take Mary Caine's works on the areas around the Isle of Avalon, the hills of Glastonbury, then the location of the lake is female.

Where the Michael ley line (red male energy) intersects the much shorter Mary ley line (white female energy) at Glastonbury Tor, the Mary ley leads to Pomparles Bridge. This was said by the Monks of the Abbey to be the place where Excalibur was returned to the lake. The lake therefore being female energy.

Sir Thomas Malory is the first to use the phrase "Lady of the Lake" in his poetry. This has come into popular culture as anthropomorphising the lake itself. He does however give us the physical description of "An arm in white samite" which takes the sword.


I have often wondered if the 'Lady of the Lake' was a relative or decendant of Telekhines: Telekhines invented the art of metal-working and were said to have crafted the scythe that Kronos used to castrate his father Ouranos. They later made a Magical Trident for Poseidon which the god used to level mountains into the sea and form the islands. Their malignant use of dark magic, particularly, their production of a mixture of River Styx water and sulfur—which killed plants and animals—angered Zeus, who cast them beneath the sea or into the very depths of Tartarus. Telekhines were sometimes described as having the head of a dog and fish-flippers for hands. They're also known as "fish children".

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  • Hi and welcome to Mythology and Folklore! While interesting, I cannot deduce a clear answer on why the lady of the lake would be related to the Telekhines.
    – Tom Sol
    Jul 22, 2022 at 18:42

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