The Magic of Merlin
To me, Merlin symbolizes the archetypal wizard. I remember watching The Sword in the Stone as a child and instantly falling in love with sorcery. Merlin represents so much more to me than simply a royal advisor, or anything of the sort. Don’t get me wrong, the legend of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table is a classic tale that is best told when it includes Merlin, but I like him as a kind of stand-alone figure in many ways.
This is because, in one form or another, that wise old mage has inspired me to want to understand everything. I was so eager to emulate him, as if drawn to mystery by some unseen force. Like I said, I see Merlin as far more than a mere court magician. After all, he knows the ultimate secrets of the universe. More importantly, he made me want to know them too. This has influenced my interest in countless different studies for years on end.
The way I recall it, as a teenager I became so enamored with the concept of Merlin that I obtained every book I could find on the Arthurian legends and Celtic magick, along with anything and everything else that might pertain to him. I had even planned to do what is known as a Wild Hunt, but I never actually got around to performing the ceremony. I did develop a lifelong affinity for all things esoteric though, and that’s the whole point.
As far as I’m concerned, it doesn’t even really matter whether Merlin is a mythological character or if he was a real historical figure. Although, as it turns out, there may be significant proof of the existence of Merlin, possibly even more than there is of King Arthur. Either way, there seems to be quite a lot of verifiable proof indicative of a man behind the myth.
Myrddin Wyllt, or “Merlin the Wild”, was a figure in medieval Welsh legend. According to folklore, he was a child prodigy born from the supernatural union of an otherworldly incubus and an earthly maiden. Some have even gone so far as to claim that he was an incarnation of the god Lugh. In reality though, this rather obscure seer will forever remain a bit of a mystery, and rightly so.
There is, of course, a great deal of evidence that seems to point to the fact that Merlin may have been a bard who served under the pagan royalty of the north, centuries ago. Apparently, Merlin went insane at a battle in the year 573 and fled to the wilderness to survive off of the fruits of the land in self-imposed exile, having been driven mad by the grief of the sudden unexpected loss of his king. There, he lived among the animals for years, communing with the natural world in the process. As a result of this, deep in the enchanted forests of the British Isles, he began a sort of druidic revival of archaic shamanistic practices.
The thing is that, regardless of what may or may not have actually happened, I’m far more concerned with what Merlin means to me than who he really was. The whole point is not whether or not there was ever some naked hairy madman running amok in the wilderness of old. Like the notion of Jesus, Merlin is far more important as a symbol than as a person. In this way, I see him as a kind of role model. Like I said before he’s the archetypal wizard, much like Socrates is the archetypal philosopher, and for that I remain eternally grateful to him. May his spirit live on forever…