Joyous Gard – What is it?

Arthurian legend has it that Joyous Gard was Sir Lancelot\'s castle

Consider the things that you may have discovered or met in the course of your life that have proven to be of profound significance – the things that have brought meaning and purpose to your life. Maybe it was the apprehension of religious truths or the offerings of a great teacher or mentor. Maybe it was the nurturing of wonderful parents that gave you a sense of rest and safety, a place of return and joy.

It was during a rather sad time in my life that I made one such discovery. In my parents’ home I found an old book entitled Joyous Gard. Its pages filled my mind with freshness and vitality. Its words spoke to me in a penetrating and beautiful way, confirming things that I knew and then making a place for new and lovely ideas.

At first I was inclined to think of this book as merely a collection of essays, which concentrated on the life and art of the poet. But after further reading I found the book to have a much deeper meaning. In essence, the words spoke to me as a call to return home, a home that in my mind was most real, a place the author calls Joyous Gard.

Arthurian legend has it that Joyous Gard was Sir Lancelot’s castle. It was his home and the place to which he would return from his many and various exploits. There he found peace and restoration. He found beauty. And it was at Joyous Gard that he would find his soul again.

The author of the book Joyous Gard, Arthur Christopher Benson, uses this mythical place as a metaphor for the place where we should all return, a place in the mind full of beauty, insight and great restorative power. It is the place that, at one time or another, each of us has visited. Its many rooms and corridors aren’t, therefore, unfamiliar. It is the place (or frame of mind) from which the world seems to hold a high purpose and heavenly beauty. It is the place from which “everything seems okay,” where there is safety and joy.

For me the book Joyous Gard stands as a guidepost and a testimony to the rich and beautiful life that can be our own. And it can be yours, too. My mission is to give that to you.

— Levi Hill