Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Review of Merlin Shaman, Prophet, Magician by John Matthews

The oldest stories of Merlin are from Celtic origin, much earlier than the French and Germanic influenced Arthurian legends.  John Matthews states in the Forward:

"I have set out to explore the complex figure of Merlin through several of the different guises
he has worn in his long career: as a possible historical figure, as a character from literature and, above all, as a carrier of ideas and dreams that still move us today.  Trends come and go, but Merlin's story outlasts all such ephemera, making him as fascinating to use in the 21st century as he was in the fifth."

The medieval authors who made him famous saw him first as a Magician, then Prophet.  Modern
researchers lean toward the oldest roots of Merlin - the Shaman.   Mr. Matthews investigates all three of these titles, along with Merlin as Lover and Sage.

The contents of the book:
Merlin the Shaman
Merlin the Prophet
Merlin the Magician
Merlin the Lover
Merlin the Sage
The Return of Merlin
APPENDIX:    The Poems of Myrddin Wyllt
Further Reading

At the time, 2004, this was the first fully illustrated book on Merlin.

On page 146 there is a picture of Alderley Edge in Cheshire, where a carving of Merlin's face is found in a mossy outcrop.  This is just one example of the wonderful pictures in this book.
The Poems of Myrddin Wyllt are translated by John and his wife Caitlin in an attempt to provide versions that give an idea of the original poems.

purchase on amazon

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