"If I find in myself desires which nothing in this world can satisfy, the only logical explanation is that I was made for another world."

-C.S. Lewis

Sunday, November 8, 2009

The Many Faces of Merlin

Michael Byrne as Merlin in The Mists of Avalon

I have recently been inspired by several events (one of them being a blog post by Athena's Armoury) that have brought up one of my very favorite books, "The Mists of Avalon" by Marion Zimmer Bradley. If you have not read this book, I HIGHLY recommend it! I have been a collector of Arthurian items since I was a teenager. I have paintings, statues, shirts, jewelry boxes, and yes- books. I have read about 15 different versions of the Legend of King Arthur. Some of them I have loved, some of them I haven't.

But through all of my reading and exploring, the one character that I have always loved is Merlin. He and Morgaine le Faye are the two that I find myself dreaming about. In every version of the Legend Merlin is always a Druid. He is always wise. He is always surrounded by mystery. In "The Mists of Avalon", Merlin is not a man's name, but his title... The Merlin of Britain. He is the Druid High Priest. In other books I have read Merlin is his first name, or in Welsh "Myrddin". Sometimes he is portrayed as having mystical powers, sometimes he is portrayed as being misunderstood. One version of the Legend that I read had Merlin as an alchemist with knowledge of chemical compositions. In that story, he was experienced with the use of gun powder (among other things), and others believed he was a magical wizard because of this.

I love reading and learning new versions of my favorite story. My eyes glaze over and I stare dreamily at any art that I find on the subject. And always, at the center of the tale, is this amazingly mysterious and wise man they call Merlin.

"Merlin's Mistress" ring by Gypsy Moon Art Studio


ruthie said...

merlin is a favourite of mine too and i love "the mists of avalon". i can never resist anything to do with athurian legend and am just noe reading another book i found the other day " the arthurian legends -an illustrated anthology" *ruthie

mermaiden said...

ok, here's another thing we have in common. (i think we are bff's, but only if you love kate bush, actually)
i am an arthurian devotee. but you could probably have guessed that from my blog, maybe.
i have read countless re-tellings and love the variations since i was a teen (many years ago!). i have a merlin and morgaine barbie couple :D

Gypsy Moon Art Studio said...

Wow, this is quite amazing. Yes, I agree we may be bff's (my husband and I have known each other in past lives, maybe you and I have, too). I actually have just recently been introduced to Kate Bush, but am completely overwhelmed by her. Where on earth did you get a Merlin and Morgaine couple? I would love to see them!

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