Die magiese boodskap van Merlin versus moderne materialisme

Die magiese boodskap van Merlin versus moderne materialisme



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Om 'n onderwerp soos die verhaal van Merlin the Magician te benader, is om 'n ou, ou verhaal wat in poësie, geskiedenis, musiek, kuns en letterkunde gegrond is, te betrek. Deur dit alles word 'n verhaal geweef wat die toets van die tyd deurstaan ​​het. 'N Digter, kunstenaar en musikant wat betrokke is by 'n esoteriese, verhelderende bespreking wat almal 'n transendente visie van die menslike toestand bied, kan almal die wêreld en die plek van die mensdom daarin sien op 'n nuwe manier wat op een of ander manier lyk. Omdat hulle nie die prosaïese taal het om hul insig in woorde te beskryf nie, kan hulle almal hul eie spesifieke medium gebruik. Die digter skryf 'n gedig. Die kunstenaar skets 'n prentjie. Die musikant komponeer 'n liedjie. Die gedig, die prent en die liedjie verskil heeltemal van mekaar, maar hulle produseer almal soortgelyke gevoelens in hul onderskeie gehore omdat hulle almal op dieselfde, gedeelde, transformerende tema gebaseer is. Hulle hoop om 'n belangrike insig oor te dra.

Keltiese/Galliese Druïde Oudheid en Middeleeue ( Erica Guilane-Nachez / Adobe Stock )

Merlin is meer

Is die mite oor Merlin gebaseer op 'n historiese figuur? Kan wees. Maar waarskynlik nie. Is Merlin 'n samestelling wat saamgestel is uit verskillende mense wat op verskillende geografiese plekke en verskillende historiese tye gewoon het? Kan wees. Is sy optrede gebaseer op werklike gebeure? Kan wees. Kan hy werklik towerkuns produseer bloot deur Merlin te wees? Kan wees. Maar waarskynlik nie.

Met verloop van tyd het Merlin se belangrikheid groter geword as die motivering, metodes en dade van enige mens. Dit is sy verhaal wat van ewige belang is, nie die historiese relevansie van sy dade nie. Soms is godsdiens nie genoeg nie. Mense het meer nodig. Soms is wetenskaplike verduidelikings onvoldoende. Soms is mitologiese relevansie nie heeltemal bevredigend nie. Soms doen sielkundige motivering dit nie meer nie. Soms skiet filosofiese bespreking tekort. Merlin het die 'meer' geword.

Bose toekoms ( Anneke/ Adobe Stock )

Merlin vs materialisme

Vandag leef mense in 'n ongelooflike letterlike tyd. Baie het die idee aanvaar dat as 'n karakter nie histories is nie, hy of sy nie 'eg' is nie. Mense het geglo dat as 'n historiese Boeddha 2500 jaar gelede nie in Indië gewoon het nie, Boeddhisme bloot 'n intellektuele struktuur is. As bewys kan word dat 'n historiese Jesus nie die paaie van die ou Galilea geloop het nie, sou die Christendom ophou om lewensvatbaar te word.


Die goeie en slegte kante van verbruikerswese

Die vele verkope van Singapoer kan die ekonomie bevoordeel deur produksie te verhoog en indiensneming te verhoog, maar oormatige verbruiker belemmer ook die natuurlike hulpbronne van die planeet. ST FOTO: DESMOND WEE


Satanisme en magie in die eeu van die Moulin Rouge

Hoe het sommige van die mees roemryke name van fin de siècle Franse letterkunde beland in 'n koerantstryd oor heksery en bose geeste?

In Januarie 1893, die betroubare Paryse koerant Gil Blas 'n brief aan die redakteur gepubliseer deur die topverkoper-skrywer Stanislas de Guaita. Daarin ontken de Guaita gerugte dat hy 'n towenaar en 'n satanis is, en beskryf dit in besonderhede wat ander oor hom gesê het:

[Daar word gesê dat] ek, persoonlik, van ver af, 'n aantal van my vyande, wat onder towery gesterf het, laat val het, en my as hul moordenaar genoem het ... ... giftige vapeurs [waff] na die neusgate van diegene wie se gesigte ek nie hou nie ...!

Die brief van De Guaita verskyn 'n week na die dood van die okkultis Abbé Boullan, van wie die gerugte dat de Guaita met towery vermoor is. Ter verdediging beskuldig de Guaita twee medeskrywers-Jules Bois en Joris-Karl Huysmans-dat hulle gerugte versprei het oor sy rol in Boullan se dood en dit in koerante gepubliseer het. (De Guaita se brief aan Gil Blas is sy reaksie op hierdie beskuldigings.)

Bok pentagram, van La Clef de la Magie Noire deur Stanislas de Guaita (1897).

In 'n skerp weerlegging wat in dieselfde uitgawe van Gil BlasBois beskuldig de Guaita daarvan dat hy die kontroversie gebruik het om sy nuwe boek te gebruik, dat hy nie die intellektuele strengheid het om okkultisme in enige diepte te bespreek nie, en dat hy agterdogtig en hardnekkig protesteer teen beskuldigings van Satanisme.

'Ons is nie politieke manne nie', sluit hy af oor homself en Huysmans, 'wat hom in die een of ander lomp oorlog in die klein perse beveg.'

Die twee het gereël om tweegeveg: Verskeie van die dekadente bewegings se literêre beligtings, waaronder Maurice Barrès en Gustave Guiches, is as sekondes ingeskryf. Alhoewel die tweestryd nooit plaasgevind het nie - Huysmans het 'n haastige verskoning gepubliseer - is die skade aan de Guaita se reputasie aangerig.

Hoe het sommige van die mees roemryke name van fin de siècle Franse letterkunde-veral die van Joris-Karl Huysmans, wie se roman À herbegin is beroemd gekroon as "die breviary van die dekadensie" deur Arthur Symons - beland in 'n koerantstryd oor heksery, magie en moord deur bose geeste?

In fin de siècle Paris - die ouderdom van die Moulin Rouge, die cancan en absint - sny die ontluikende wêreld van wetenskaplike positivisme, opspraakwekkende joernalistiek en beroemdheidskultuur af met 'n skaduryke onderwêreld wat bestaan ​​het in teenstelling met en onlosmaaklik deel van 'moderne Parys' . ” Die fassinasie van die Paryse intelligentsia met satanisme, magie en die okkulte in die afnemende dae van die 19de eeu verteenwoordig die hoogtepunt van die intellektuele konflikte van daardie era: wetenskap versus godsdiens, positivisme versus mistiek, kommersialisering versus esoterisme, vooruitskouende optimisme versus geklosterde nostalgie.

Vir literêrgesinde Parysenaars het die wêreld van die okkulte-Swart massas, towery, die heidens-Christelike sinkretiese rituele van iemand soos wyle Abbé Boullan-hierdie teenstrydigheid beliggaam. Skrywers soos Huysmans en Bois was aangetrokke tot die esoterisme van die okkulte - tot die idee dat dit hulle spesiaal maak of onderskei in 'n era van massaproduksie - selfs as die meganismes van daardie moderniteit (dws populêre media, insluitend koerante soos Gil Blas) het die wêreld in die hoofstroombewussyn gebring vir massaverbruik.

* * *
Aan die einde van die 19de eeu was daar 'n gier na boeke oor satanisme, wat dikwels na bewering wetenskaplike of antropologiese studies van sataniese kultusse was. Bois se 1895 Le Satanisme et la magie was die grootste topverkoper, net soos de Guaita se 1890 Au seuil du mystère, en Bataille se 1892 Le diable au XIXe siècle.

Sataniese ritueel soos geïllustreer deur fin de siècle, Franse illustreerder Martin van Maële.

Ander skrywers, soos Papus (regte naam Gérard Encausse), wou okkultisme verdedig teen beskuldigings van volslae satanisme. In 1895 het Papus gepubliseer Le diable et l’occultisme, 'n verskoning vir okkultisme as 'n manier waarop 'okkultiste probeer het om die intellektuele elite van Frankryk terug te bring tot 'n geloof in die ander.' Ook okkultistiese of Sataniese romans het openbare belangstelling getrek. Huysmans Là-bas, 'n roman wat afspeel in 'n baie effens gefiksionaliseerde Sataniese onderwêreld gebaseer op die kringe van Boullan en sy medewerkers, was eweneens 'n omstrede sukses. Selfs die Katolieke Kerk het die La revue du diable om kerkgangers op hoogte te hou van moontlike gevaarlike Sataniese invloed. Die okkulte het die nasionale verbeelding aangegryp, dit was nie net skandalig nie, maar verkoopbaar.

Soos Matthew Beaumont opmerk in Victoriaanse resensie, As ons oor die analoog -okkulte rage in Londen skryf, sou dit 'n fout wees om populêre belangstelling in satanisme en magie te sien as bloot reaksionêre reaksies op 'n toenemende burgerlike, materialistiese samelewing. Beaumont sê eerder: "Dit was miskien nader aan wat Freud '' reaksievorming '' genoem het, 'n kompenserende reaksie wat die medepligtigheid van die verskynsel wat dit as die teenoorgestelde vorm, onderdruk ..." Met ander woorde, die obsessie met satanisme deur die Paryse intelligentsia kan gesien word as 'n manifestasie van sy liefde-haat-verhouding met moderniteit. Deur 'n valse tweespalt tussen 'n verbeelde, kwasi-Middeleeuse wêreld van okkultisme te skep (in teenstelling met 'n handelsmerk, gemeganiseerde hede), kon baie skrywers in werklikheid die mees aanloklike elemente van die hede ondersoek en kapitaliseer.

Dit is immers veelseggend dat okkultiste en teosofe van alle strepe die taal van wetenskaplike ondersoek gebruik het: op soek na 'bewys' vir geestelike en spiritualistiese konsepte soos telepatie en die hiernamaals. Syfers soos die beroemde neuroloog Jean-Martin Charcot-wie se behandeling van vroulike histerie, deur vroue voor manlike gehore in 'n operasieteater te stimuleer, die performatiewe sensasionalisme van die era beliggaam-het hulself tegelykertyd as wetenskaplike helde en kwasi-towenaars beskou. Charcot se belange het byvoorbeeld gewissel van neurologie tot mesmerisme.

En die wêrelde van die okkulte en 'nuwe wetenskap' het gereeld gekruis. In 'n Januarie 1893 -artikel vir die British Medical Journal-dieselfde maand as die de Guaita-tweestryd-beskryf die Britse dokter Ernest Hart sy besoek aan Parys om 'n paar van hierdie nuwe wetenskappe te ondersoek: mesmerisme-kwasi-mistieke hipnotisme-sentraal onder hulle.

Hart se kwynende beskrywing van Charcot se werk - wat destyds as wettige wetenskaplike praktyk aanvaar is - beklemtoon ook hoe dit verdubbel het as openbare vermaak. Die legitimiteit daarvan, net soos die wêreld van satanisme, was afhanklik van 'n skouspel. Hart skryf:

Ek is oortuig dat hulle [Charcot se behandelings] kunsmatig is, dat ek selfs waag om te voorspel dat hulle sal ophou om te bestaan ​​wanneer die opvolging, so te sê, van die opgeleide pasiënte van M. Charcot verbreek word, en wanneer die gewoonte om op te tree in die sale en Die teater van die Salpêtrière word prysgegee .... Daar is al gelukkig tekens van 'n reaksie in die skool van die Salpêtrière self. Ek glo dat joernaliste en die publiek nou uitgesluit is van hierdie optredes grande hystèrie, met al sy fases, word baie selder gesien, en daar is rede om te hoop dat dit sal uitsterf noudat die eerste opwinding van hierdie skilderagtige vertoning verswak het en die optrede eentonig en vermoeiend voel.

Hart is twyfelagtig en voeg by: 'Ek is geneig om te dink dat dit eerder die skilderagtige eksentrisiteit van die verskynsels en die treffende mise-en-scène is waaraan die menslike outomatisme hom leen, wat soveel aandag getrek het, as enige werklike mediese of fisiologiese belangrikheid van die onderwerp. ” Wat die opvallendste van Hart se verslag is, is hoe onlosmaaklik die wêreld van Charcot - met al sy skittering, wat deur Parysenaars as werklike wetenskap beskou word - uit die wêreld van satanisme en magie kom.

Hart se navorsing oor mesmerisme het hom in 'n baan gebring van 'Madame W', wat hom voorstel aan 'die hoofkwartier nie net van 'n diepgaande hipnose en die groot hipnotisme nie, maar ook van die nuwe magie [waar hy] aan die literatuur van okkultiese wetenskap. ” Dit blyk dat die hoofkwartier gelei word deur die selfstyl "Dr." Papus (word binnekort die skrywer van 1895's Le diable et l’occultisme). Hierdie 'okkultiese wetenskap' - nie in 'n operasieteater nie, maar in 'n privaat klub - het bestaan ​​saam met en in dinamiese spanning met die wetenskap wat homself as hoofstroom geïdentifiseer het.

Dit blyk dat sulke spanning individue bymekaar bring wat deur die Franse intellektuele establishment erken word, met diegene wat stewig buite die grense daarvan staan. In een gedeelte beskryf Hart sy ontmoeting met ene Madame S., 'n selfstyl-geneser met ''n aantal swart katte ... wat haar bekendes was'.

Baphomet, die sabbatsbok, wie se arms die Latyn dra oplos (apart) en stolling (Voeg bymekaar).

Tog het Madame S. onlangs die pad gekruis met iemand wat as 'wettig' beskou word, die kolonel de Rochas, wat nie net 'n toonaangewende Franse historikus is nie, maar ook iemand wie se navorsing op die gebied van parapsigologie deur die akademie as 'n wettige wetenskap beskou is. Mevrou S. het aan dr. Hart gesê dat de Rochas “na my toe gekom het om my krag te verduidelik, maar hy was glad nie tevrede nie. Ek doen dit sonder magnetisme, en dit behaag hom nie. ” Sekere magiese metodes - met ander woorde - word as wetenskaplik geldig (saam met sy manlike praktisyns) beskou, en ander, soos dié van Madame S., word deur wetenskaplikes soos Hart afgemaak as 'kru en geskik vir haar lewensrang'.

Tog word Hart se verslag gepubliseer op 'n plek wat net so betroubaar is as die British Medical Journal—gee ons 'n momentopname van hoe die "hoofstroom" en die "okkulte", die "wetenskaplike" en die "sensasionele" mekaar kruis in fin de siècle Paryse (en in mindere mate Londen) lewe. Na bewering respekvolle akademici soos Charcot en de Rochas eksperimenteer met prosesse wat ons nou met magie kan assosieer, terwyl sommige towenaars - soos Papus - hul bevindings aan die hand van wetenskap verduidelik het. Charcot en Papus het hul reputasie opgebou deur die publiek se aptyt vir die makabere en surrealistiese te wek: Charcot, met sy mediese, dikwels seksualiseerde "optredes" en Papus met sy opname in 'n lang lys skandalige en topverkopers oor okkultisme in die hedendaagse wêreld. Dit is verre van teenoorgesteldes, maar dit is twee kante van dieselfde munt.

In 'n gedeelte in Huysmans se roman uit 1891 Là-bas, besin die mistikus des Hermies oor die voorkoms van okkultisme in Parys. 'Magie floreer as materialisme hoogty vier'. Maar die werklikheid is baie meer kompleks. Okkultisme in Parys was minder 'n teen-kulturele beweging as 'n volkome kulturele beweging, wat die uiters dubbelsinnige verhouding van Parys met die tegnologie en wetenskaplike ontdekkings weerspieël.

Om die 'sataniese gier' van Parys te verstaan, kan ons selfs help om soortgelyk skynbaar vreemde verskynsels te verstaan, soos die Sataniese skandale oor kindermishandeling wat Amerika in die tagtigerjare ontstel het, toe 'n toenemend wydverspreide oortuiging dat dagsorgverskaffers kinders seksueel misbruik in sataniese rites, gelei het tot 'n media waansin.

Ook daar vind ons voorbeelde van morele paniek as 'n reaksie op 'n veranderende, moderniserende sosiale landskap (bv. Die toenemende aantal vroue in die arbeidsmag, die uitkontraktering van kinderopvoeding na dagsorgsentrums). So vind ons ook die ontstaan ​​van hierdie paniek in 'n sensasie wat moontlik gemaak word deur 'n analoog landskap van mediadiskoers wat die diaboliese in die beroemdheid verander: gewilde obsessie met sataniese seksuele misbruik het begin met die topverkoper Michelle onthou, 'n verslag van 'n psigiater om sy pasiënt te help om vals herinneringe op te haal.

In Kalifornië van die tagtigerjare, nie minder nie as in Frankryk uit die 1890's, vind ons dat die Sataniese, die mistieke en die vreemde die slagveld word waaroor wyer oor kultuur, tradisie en moderniteit gestry word. Wat met die eerste oogopslag een van fin de siècle Parys se vreemdste subkulture lyk, vertel ons uiteindelik oor Parys self.


Water [wysig | wysig bron]

Water is die element van suiwering, regenerasie en genesing. Water wat uit die beker van die lewe gehaal word, kan byvoorbeeld enige besering genees, en die Vilia, geeste van die beek en strome, beskik oor kragtige genesende magie (Le Morte d'Arthur, Die donkerste uur).

Water word ook geassosieer met intuïsie en waarsêery. Een van die mees algemene soorte skree is hydromancy, waarmee Sieners gebeure deur 'n watermedium kan sien. Daar word gesê dat die Disir byvoorbeeld die wil van die driedubbele godin in 'n antieke poel (Die disir). Die teenoorgestelde element daarvan is vuur (Die merk van Nimueh).

Hierdie element word tipies gemanipuleer met die gebruik van waterspelle, wat gebruik kan word om storms en miswolke uit 'n dun lug te lok en selfs om boodskappe te skryf (Le Morte d'Arthur, Die nagmerrie begin, Die vure van Idirsholas, Arthur's Bane).


Waarvoor is die historiese studie van wetenskap en magie goed?

Christian Jarrett, 'n redakteur by Aeon tydskrif, het my genader nadat ek my reaksie op 'n Japannese koerantnavraag oor spookgeloof in die Weste verlede jaar gelees het om 'n kort artikel oor 'n soortgelyke onderwerp te bestel. Ek was bly om te voldoen, en my Aeon 'n stuk oor die verborge geskiedenis van hallusinasies en visioene het in Januarie aanlyn gegaan.

Klik op die prentjie vir my Aeon artikel, "Redes om nie met spook, visioene en naby-dood-ervarings te spot nie" (Beeldkrediet: J.R. Korpa/Unsplash).

Alhoewel ek eksplisiet as historikus geskryf het, was ek miskien 'n bietjie lig op die werklike geskiedenis, ten minste oor die tydperke waarna ons gewoonlik hier kyk Verbode geskiedenis. Om die waarheid te sê, ek het slegs 'n paar voorbeelde gegee om tipiese reaksies van die Verligting op 'gemelde' geestes-siening 'te illustreer en kortliks studies van hallusinasies en verskynings van dooies in nie-patologiese bevolkings deur William James en Engelse kollegas in die uitgaande negentiende eeu genoem.

Die res van die kort stuk handel veral oor relatief onlangse mediese bevindings rakende konstruktiewe funksies van sekere hallusinasies en 'mistieke' ervarings. Terwyl vorige generasies dokters hallusinasies, verskynings van dooies en soortgelyke ervarings as inherent patologies en ongewens beskou het, het hierdie sienings in die vroeë sewentigerjare drasties verander met nuwe navorsing oor sogenaamde 'hallusinasies van weduweeskap'.

Van toe af het dit gelyk asof vriendelike spoke en ander wêreldse visioene geleidelik toegang tot die algemene mediese literatuur betree het, nie net in die vorm van troosvolle besoeke van die wat in weduweedood gegaan het nie, maar ook in dikwels diep ontroerende ervarings aan die einde van die lewe in palliatief en hospiesorg. Omtrent dieselfde tyd het die algemene medisyne erken dat mistieke ervarings wat soms plaasgevind het tydens noue borsels met die dood, dikwels konstruktief transformerende effekte het. Dit is bewys dat soortgelyke, maar sielkundig geïnduseerde (eerder as spontaan) ervarings effektief is in die behandeling van ernstige toestande, insluitend behandelingsbestande depressies en posttraumatiese stresversteuring.

Na 'n opsomming van hierdie kliniese hersienings, raak ek 'n punt wat gewoonlik nie aan die orde kom nie: vrae oor die uiteindelike werklikheid van geeste en 'magie' ter syde, as ervarings uit die ander wêreld konstruktiewe en selfs terapeutiese funksies kan hê, ten minste vir 'n deel van die mensdom, kan dit nie wees skadelik om die verouderde historiese standaardvertelling van die Westerse moderniteit blindelings te volg (om myself aan te haal),

"Waarvolgens 'materialisme' is nie net die standaardmetafisika van die wetenskap nie, maar 'n verpligte lewensfilosofie wat vereis word deur eeue van vermeende lineêre vooruitgang gebaseer op beweerde onpartydige navorsing?"

'Die gevare van liggelowigheid is duidelik genoeg duidelik in die tragedies wat deur godsdienstige fanatici, mediese kwaksalwers en genadelose politici veroorsaak word. En toegegee, geestelike wêreldbeskouings is nie vir almal goed nie. ”

Tog is nóg die fundamentele verskuiwing in pragmatiese mediese sienings oor 'vreemde' ervarings in hoofstroomgeneeskunde, nóg die professionele historiese geleerdheid oor wetenskap-magiese skakels hier bespreek Verbode geskiedenis is algemeen bekend. Trouens, beide het ook nie daarin geslaag om voortgesette debatte oor die wetenskap en die 'bonatuurlike' in te lig nie. Daarom het ek my kort artikel afgesluit deur te impliseer dat, eerder as om uitsluitlik te fokus op die onbetwiste skade wat onkritiese benaderings tot 'magie' veroorsaak,

'Dit is dalk tyd om 'n gebalanseerde perspektief te herstel, om erkenning te gee aan die skade wat aangerig is deur stigma, verkeerde diagnoses en verkeerde of oormedikasie van individue wat' vreemde 'ervarings rapporteer. 'N Mens kan persoonlik skepties wees oor die uiteindelike geldigheid van mistieke oortuigings en behoorlik teologiese vrae ter syde stel, maar tog ondersoek instel na die heilsame en profylaktiese potensiaal van hierdie verskynsels.

Nog 'n moontlike geleentheid om hierdie gedagtes buite te lug Verbode geskiedenis het 'n paar dae gelede ontstaan ​​toe lede van die History of Science Society (HSS) 'n e -pos ontvang het van sy uitvoerende direkteur, Jay Malone, voor sy besoek aan Washington, DC, volgende week. Dit is 'n krisistyd vir historiese navorsing, aangesien staatsfinansiering nie net in die VSA ernstig afgeneem het nie. Daarom sal Malone tydens sy besoek aan Capitol Hill probeer om wetgewende hulpverleners te oortuig van die belangrikheid vir die kongres om die National Endowment for the Humanities, die Library of Congress en ander Amerikaanse Amerikaanse geesteswetenskappe programme en inisiatiewe te finansier.

As voorbeeld van die konkrete relevansie van die geskiedenis, beplan Malone om 'n brief aan die New York Times deur Hannah Marcus aan Harvard, wat onlangs aanlyn gepubliseer is as 'Wat die pes ons kan leer oor die koronavirus'. Haar brief spreek die onlangse gevalle van diskriminasie en geweld teen Asiërs aan na die angs vir koronavirus en angs wat verband hou met COVID-19 in die uitdrukking van haat teen Sirië en ander migrante in Italië, en herinner haar aan hoe uitbrake van siektes gelei het tot vervolging in die verlede, soos anti-Joodse pogroms in die laat-Middeleeuse Europa tydens die plaag.

Die hoofdoel van Malone se e -pos aan HSS -lede was egter om ons uit te nooi om boodskappe in te dien waarin ons verduidelik hoekom ons dink ons ​​werk saak maak, en, soos hy dit stel, "hoe dit ons help om die menslike toestand te verbeter". Malone is van plan om van ons missies te gebruik om sy besprekings op Capitol Hill te ondersteun en om 'n keuse op die HSS -webwerf te plaas. Aangesien ek nie weet of my insette die deurslag sal gee nie, het ek gedink dat dit nie skade doen om die grootste deel van my boodskap hier aan Jay te plaas nie, ongeag:

Ek dink een van die gebiede waarop wetenskap en wetenskapwetenskap 'n verskil kan maak, is deur die aanhoudende geskille oor wetenskap en godsdiens en die verwante gebied van wetenskap/medisyne en 'magie' in te lig.

Deur die groot kompleksiteite in historiese debatte oor hierdie kwessies aan te toon en historiese geleerdheid te gebruik en die konkrete redes vir die 'agteruitgang van magie' in Westerse wetenskap en medisyne te ondersoek, kan historici 'n leersame bydrae lewer tot die onderrig van kritiese denke.

Wat praktiese relevansie betref, moet kritiese waardering van wetenskap/medisyne-magiese verhoudings simmetries wees as hulle nie net skade wat deur charlatane en kwaksalwers veroorsaak word, wil voorkom nie, maar ook sommige selde aangespreek, maar werklike kliniese en sosiale skade as gevolg van wydverspreide verwarring van metodologiese met ontologiese naturalisme.

Ek het afgesluit met 'n verwysing na my Aeon stuk en noem dat ek hierdie gedagtes sedertdien meer volledig ontwikkel het in 'n artikelmanuskrip. Die titel "Konflikte en kompleksiteite: mediese wetenskap, uitsonderlike ervarings en die gevare van simplistiese geskiedenis" verskyn in Spiritualiteit en geestesgesondheid in alle kulture, 'n interdissiplinêre bundel wat saamgewerk is deur die huidige voorsitter van die afdeling oor spiritualiteit van die World Psychiatric Association en 'n voormalige president van die Royal College of Psychiatrists in Londen, en gepubliseer as deel van die Oxford Kulturele Psigiatrie reeks.

Ek hoop om toestemming te kry van die Oxford University Pres om 'n PDF van my hoofstuk hier te plaas sodra dit gepubliseer is. Intussen sal sommige van u dit nuttig vind om 'n lys te hê van sommige van die studies wat ek vir die empiriese en kliniese deel van beide my Aeon artikel en die komende hoofstuk. Historici van, byvoorbeeld, klimaatwetenskap of 'wetenskaplike rassisme' sal na verwagting op datum wees met regstreekse relevante huidige empiriese studies en wetenskaplike debatte. En ek dink dieselfde vereiste moet geld vir historici van ander wetenskaplike kontroversies wat nog aan die gang is, insluitend debatte oor die mediese wetenskap en sy verhoudings met die 'bonatuurlike'.

Nodeloos om te sê, hierdie verwysings is nie veronderstel om volledig te wees nie, maar slegs bedoel as moontlike beginpunte. Sommige van hierdie literatuur is weggesteek agter betaalmure van akademiese perse. Die meeste kan egter vrylik afgelaai word en ek het skakels na artikels verskaf wanneer PDF -lêers met oop toegang beskikbaar was.


Die (ietwat grillerige) omslag van 'n belangrike geredigeerde bundel wat deur die American Psychological Association gepubliseer is, waarvan die hoofstukke die empiriese en kliniese nuutste 'vreemde' ervarings ondersoek. Hoofstukke bevat relatief algemene ervarings soos sinestesie en helder drome, maar ook baie meer omstrede probleme, insluitend naby-dood en mistieke ervarings, sowel as beweerde reïnkarnasie-herinneringe en 'uitheemse ontvoering'-ervarings.
[Koop op Amazon] (vrywaring van aangeslote skakels: aankope wat op hierdie webwerf gedoen word, kan klein kommissies oplewer, sonder ekstra koste)

'Hallusinasies van weduweeskap' en verskynings

Olson, P. R., Suddeth, J. A., Peterson, P. J., & Egelhoff, C. (1985). Hallusinasies van weduwee. Tydskrif van die American Geriatrics Society, 33, 543-547.

Rees, William Dewi. (1971). Die hallusinasies van weduwee. British Medical Journal, 4, 37-41 [oop toegang PDF].

Stevenson, Ian. (1983). Het ons 'n nuwe woord nodig om 'hallusinasie' aan te vul? American Journal of Psychiatry, 140, 1609-1611 [oop toegang PDF].

Streit-Horn, Jenny. (2011). 'N Sistematiese oorsig van navorsing oor kommunikasie na die dood (ADC). (Ph.D. -verhandeling), Universiteit van Noord -Texas, Denton, TX [oop toegang PDF].

Sterfbedgesigte en verwante ervarings in hospies en palliatiewe sorg

Devery, K., Rawlings, D., Tieman, J., & Damarell, R. (2015). Sterfbedverskynsels gerapporteer deur pasiënte in palliatiewe sorg: Kliniese geleenthede en reaksies. International Journal of Palliative Nursing, 21, 117-125 [oop toegang PDF].

Fenwick, P., Lovelace, H., & Brayne, S. (2010). Troos vir sterwendes: vyf jaar retrospektief en een jaar voornemende studies oor lewenservaring. Argief van gerontologie en geriatrie, 51, 173-179 [PDF by academia.edu-registrasie kan nodig wees].

Kerr, C. W., Donnelly, J. P., Wright, ST, et al. (2014). Uiteindelike drome en visioene: 'n longitudinale studie van hospiespasiënte se ervarings. Journal of Palliative Medicine, 17, 296-303.

Renz, D., Reichmuth, O., Bueche, D., Traichel, B., Schuett Mao, M., Cerny, T., & amp Strasser, F. (2018). Vrees, pyn, ontkenning en geestelike ervarings in sterwende prosesse. American Journal of Hospice & Palliative Medicine, 35, 478-491 [oop toegang PDF].

Transformatiewe naby-dood ervarings

Greyson, Bruce. (1983). Byna-dood ervarings en persoonlike waardes. American Journal of Psychiatry, 140, 618-620 [oop toegang PDF].

Greyson, Bruce. (2014). Naby-dood ervarings. In Etzel Cardeña, S. J. Lynn, en Stanley Krippner (red.), Variëteite van anomale ervaring: ondersoek die wetenskaplike bewyse (tweede uitgawe, pp. 333-367). Washington, DC: Amerikaanse sielkundige vereniging.

Klemenc-Ketis, Zalika. (2013). Lewe verander by pasiënte na hartstilstand buite die hospitaal. International Journal of Behavioral Medicine, 20, 7-12.

Psigedeliese induksies van mistieke ervarings

Carhart-Harris, R. L., Bolstridge, M., Day, C. M. J., Rucker, et al. (2018). Psilocybin met sielkundige ondersteuning vir behandelingsbestande depressie: opvolg van ses maande. Psigofarmakologie, 235, 399-408 [oop toegang PDF].

Griffiths, R. R., Johnson, M. W., Carducci, M. A., et al. (2016). Psilocybin produseer aansienlike en volgehoue ​​afname in depressie en angs by pasiënte met lewensgevaarlike kanker: 'n gerandomiseerde dubbelblinde proef. Journal of Psychopharmacology, 30, 1181-1197 [oop toegang PDF].

Mithoefer, M. C., Wagner, M. T., Mithoefer, A. T., Jerome, L., & amp Doblin, R. (2010). Die veiligheid en doeltreffendheid van 3,4-metielendioksiemetamfetamien-geassisteerde psigoterapie by vakke met chroniese, behandelingsbestande posttraumatiese stresversteuring: die eerste gerandomiseerde gekontroleerde loodsstudie. Journal of Psychopharmacology, 25, 439-452 [oop toegang PDF].


Vermoëns

Magiese vermoëns

Merlin se oë gloei as sy towerkuns gebruik.

Een van die kragtigste wesens in die wêreld van towerkuns, Merlin se vermoëns het veel verder gegaan as die van normale towenaars. Alhoewel die meeste oor baie jare hul vaardighede moes bestudeer en vervolmaak, het Merlin se magie ontwikkel sonder opleiding en het dit met 'n merkwaardige tempo gegroei.

Gedurende sy eerste jaar in Camelot kon Merlin talle teenstanders verslaan wat baie ervare was as hy. Na twee jaar het hy genoeg beheer oor sy magte gekry om dit in 'n geveg te gebruik sonder dat iemand dit opgemerk het, en na drie jaar kon hy relatief maklik vier Knights of Camelot verslaan (Die trane van Uther Pendragon, 'N Dienskneg van twee meesters).

Toe hy vir die eerste keer in Camelot aankom, kon Merlin sy magie gebruik om instinktief tegnieke uit te voer, soos om die beweging van 'n voorwerp te vertraag, moontlik tot tyd self te strek, en voorwerpe met telekinesis te beweeg (Die draak se roepstem). Met verloop van tyd het sy magte gegroei tot die punt dat hy telekinetiese ontploffings kon genereer wat sterk genoeg was om sy vyande te verdoof, te verwond of selfs dood te maak. Hy kan hierdie ontploffings ook oor 'n wye reeks projekteer om verskeie teenstanders gelyktydig te tref, by een geleentheid ses mans dood te maak en 'n ander een kortstondig te verslaan (Die swaard in die klip).

Merlin het later ander instinktiewe vermoëns getoon, soos telepatie, wat hy kon gebruik om met ander magiese gebruikers te kommunikeer en selfs spel te leer, en die vermoë om die toekoms te sien in die Crystal of Neahtid en die kristalle van Crystal Cave (Die begin van die einde, Die vloek van Cornelius Sigan, Die heks se versnelling, Die Kristalgrot). Hy kon ook bronne van kragtige magie aanvoel, insluitend artefakte soos die Mage Stone en die Spirit of the Cup of Life, soos die Druid -seun wat Elyan besit het en towerkuns soos die een wat Morgana gebruik het om Gwen in 'n takbok te verander (Om die koning dood te maak, Die koms van Arthur, 'N Herald van die New Age, Die Jagter se hart).

Merlin was ook vaardig in die gebruik van elementêre magie. Hy was veral lief vir vuur en kon dit op verskillende maniere gebruik, insluitend die aansteek van fakkels wat vuurringe toor om 'n teenstander te omring wat sy vyande se wapens verhit, sodat hulle te warm word om aan vas te hou en 'n inferno te skep om sy ontsnapping te bedek wanneer hy , vermom as Dragoon, sou uitgevoer word (Excalibur, Die oomblik van waarheid, Queen of Hearts). Hy was selfs in staat om 'n vuurspul deur Morgause, 'n hoëpriesteres van die ou godsdiens, te manipuleer en te laat ontplof (Die kasteel van Fyrien).

Alhoewel hy dit nie so gereeld gebruik het nie, was Merlin ewe vaardig met die ander drie elemente. Voorbeelde sluit in die skep van 'n miswolk om te ontsnap uit Arthur en sy manne wat 'n straal water toor om Gaius te laat herleef deur weerlig en stormwind te veroorsaak en rotsstortings en aardbewings te veroorsaak (Die nagmerrie begin, Die vure van Idirsholas, Le Morte d'Arthur, Die oomblik van waarheid, 'N Dienskneg van twee meesters, 'N Ander se hartseer).

Sy bevel oor sy magie was veral effektief as sy emosies verhoog is. Byvoorbeeld, nadat hy sy alliansie met die Groot Draak verbreek het, kon Merlin 'n magiese skild genereer wat sterk genoeg was om sy vuur te weerstaan ​​('n prestasie wat veral opgemerk is deur die feit dat hy nog nie sy pa se Dragonlord -magte geërf het nie), en later bemeester die mag oor lewe en dood om Nimueh te vernietig en Gaius te laat herleef (Le Morte d'Arthur). Hy was ook in staat om Cornelius Sigan se poging om hom te besit te weerstaan ​​en sy siel terug te dwing in die juweel waaruit hy ontslaan is, en Morgana se leër tydens die Slag van Camlann (Die vloek van Cornelius Sigan, Die Diamant van die Dag).

Merlin skep 'n skoenlapper met sy magie.

Nadat hy sy status as die laaste Dragonlord geërf het, het Merlin verskeie nuwe vaardighede begin besef. He was able to command any Dragon (including their cousins the Wyvern) to do whatever he wished by speaking to them in their language, even if they were separated by a great distance force multiple enemies away from him with a dragon-like roar and call a hatchling forth from its egg (The Last Dragonlord, The Tears of Uther Pendragon, The Eye of the Phoenix, Aithusa).

Merlin could also use his magic to influence creatures besides dragons and wyverns. Examples include transforming a statue of a dog into an actual dog revealing the snakes on Valiant's shield sharing a brief moment with a Unicorn summoning a frog from the Witchfinder's mouth and commanding a snake to startle Morgana's horse (Dapper, The Labyrinth of Gedref, The Witchfinder, The Castle of Fyrien). Merlin was also able to establish a rapport with Freya while she was in her Bastet form, though the reasons for her docility are uncertain and may have been unrelated to his magic (Die dame van die meer).

Magical Combat

Merlin uses his magic to throw a spear.

Merlin was very skilled in magical combat, as he was able to defend himself from numerous sorcerers and creatures of magic with far more experience than himself. For example, he was able to not only stop Edwin Muirden's attempt on his life, but repel his attack back at him (A Remedy to Cure All Ills). He was also able to defeat Tauren's men before he was overpowered by the Mage Stone, and to destroy both Nimueh and the Sidhe Elder (To Kill the King, Le Morte d'Arthur, Die veranderende).

Merlin's success against Nimueh is particularly notable due to her status as a High Priestess, a powerful and important figure in the Old Religion. Merlin later defeated another High Priestess, Morgause, with the help of his mentor Gaius (The Coming of Arthur). Though often handicapped by the need to keep his magic a secret, Merlin also proved capable of overpowering Morgana after she became a High Priestess in situations where he was able to use his magic freely, incapacitating her with a whirlwind spell on one occasion and decimating her army with lightning on another (A Servant of Two Masters, The Diamond of the Day).

He was also proficient in the use of magical weapons such as Sophia's Sidhe staff, which he could use to fire blasts of raw magical power (The Gates of Avalon). Merlin later learned to fire similar blasts of energy with his bare hands. However, these blasts could be deflected by powerful sorcerers such as Nimueh, or endured by creatures with a natural resilience for magical attacks such as pixies (Le Morte d'Arthur, Die veranderende).

Merlin faced and defeated many magical creatures over the years, including an Afanc, a Griffin, and the Questing Beast (The Mark of Nimueh, Lancelot, Le Morte d'Arthur). He also helped kill a Troll who was disguised as the Lady Catrina outmatched a Goblin, though he was unable to kill it while it was possessing Gaius defended himself against a Lamia and overpowered the Dochraid with Excalibur (Skoonlief en die Ondier, Goblin's Gold, Lamia, With All My Heart).

Magical Resilience & Immortality

Merlin was shown to possess considerable magical resilience. He was able to survive a number of attacks meant to kill him, both magical and otherwise. Examples include withstanding the effects of Nimueh's magically accelerated poison long enough for Arthur to return with an antidote the force of his own killing spell when it was reflected back at him by the Mage Stone and the touch of a Dorocha, though he was still badly injured and likely would've died if the Vilia hadn't healed him (The Poisoned Chalice, To Kill the King, The Darkest Hour).

Merlin also possessed some degree of immortality, as evidenced by his survival into the modern age, and could only be killed by a sword forged in a dragon's breath. His immortality appears to be intrinsic to his magic, a view supported by Balinor's remark that he had always been and always would be, though it's also possible that he discovered or created some kind of immortality spell to stop himself from aging. If so, Merlin may not have discovered or created this spell until he was around 80 years old (The Diamond of the Day).

Proficient Swords & Crossbowman

Merlin fights off one of Kanen's men.

Merlin was shown to be a fairly proficient swordsman. Though initially clumsy and unskilled, after months of training with Arthur, he improved to the point where he was able to defend himself against Kanen and his men when they attacked Ealdor, even managing to kill a few (The Moment of Truth).

During the siege of Camelot, Merlin was shown to possess enough skill to both hold his own against a skeleton warrior and temporarily fend off Morgana, though he was disarmed twice by the latter. However, it should be noted that his main goal was not to defeat Morgana, but to get past her to destroy the Rowan Staff (The Tears of Uther Pendragon).

Merlin was shown to have become fully competent with a sword when he wielded Excalibur against Morgause and Morgana's immortal army (The Coming of Arthur). He later used a sword to fight alongside Arthur and their allies during the second retaking of Camelot, and wielded Excalibur twice more to fend off the Dochraid and kill Morgana (Die swaard in die klip, With All My Heart, The Diamond of the Day).

In addition to his swordsmanship, Merlin was also handy with a crossbow, as shown when he and Arthur covered Tristan and Isolde while they were running away during Agravaine's attack on their camp (Die swaard in die klip).

Surprisingly, despite his skill in combat, Merlin proved to be a very incompetent assassin when Morgana enchanted him to kill Arthur. However, many of his failures had more to due with luck than lack of skill, and the fact that he never once attempted to use his magic may suggest that he had only limited control of his faculties (A Servant of Two Masters).

Skilled Physician

Merlin tries to heal some villagers.

When Merlin first went to live in Camelot, he had no knowledge of the healing arts and little interest in learning. In fact, Gaius once confessed he feared Merlin found physician work boring (Love in the Time of Dragons).

As he matured, however, Merlin developed more of an interest in the subject and began making more of an effort to hone his knowledge and skills. After serving as Gaius's assistant for several years, Merlin had learned enough for the physician to recommend sending him to help a village stricken with illness when he himself was unable to go (Lamia). He also remembered that honey was needed to fight infection sewed up Leon's injuries after he fought with Gwaine and treated Isolde's injured arm (Gwaine, Lamia, Die swaard in die klip).

Curiously, though skilled in many types of magic, Merlin did not possess much of a talent for healing spells. He failed to heal Arthur on numerous occasions, including when he was bitten by the Questing Beast, shot by bandits, and received a poisoned wound (Le Morte d'Arthur, Die Kristalgrot, The Coming of Arthur). He was also unable to heal the villagers of Longstead from the Lamia's effects, and failed to heal himself after Morgana attacked and poisoned him (Lamia, The Hollow Queen).

However, Merlin's healing skills greatly improved over time. He was able to heal Gwen's father after he was stricken by a plague heal Morgana's skull fracture with Kilgharrah's assistance cure Arthur and the Knights after they were poisoned by Julius Borden treat Gwen's leg after she was shot by Princess Mithian during a hunt and save Arthur from Gwen's poisoning attempt (The Mark of Nimueh, Die Kristalgrot, Aithusa, The Hunter's Heart, A Lesson in Vengeance).

Secrets & Intrigue

Though infamous for his clumsiness and lack of coordination, Merlin was capable of surprising stealth. He frequently followed and spied on people he suspected of being enemies of Camelot, such as Morgana when she snuck away to meet with Tauren and Alvarr (To Kill the King, The Witch's Quickening). Other examples include the Sidhe Aulfric, the Lady Catrina, the pixie Grunhilda, and the Shade Lancelot (The Gates of Avalon, Skoonlief en die Ondier, Die veranderende, Lancelot du Lac).

Merlin was usually able to observe people without being detected. However, there were times where his activities were discovered, such as when he tried to spy on Morgause and Morgana, or when he tried to follow Arthur to both his meeting with Queen Annis and to the Druid Shrine (The Tears of Uther Pendragon, His Father's Son, A Herald of the New Age). He was also caught trying to use a mirror to spy on Catrina (Skoonlief en die Ondier).

Merlin was also very talented at keeping secrets. He was able to keep his magic hidden from everyone in Camelot except Gaius, and though his secret was almost exposed on several occasions, he always managed to prove his innocence in the end (The Witchfinder, Goblin's Gold). Merlin was also good at keeping the secrets of others, including Morgana's magic, Gwen and Arthur's romance, and Gwaine's noble heritage (The Nightmare Begins, Lancelot and Guinevere, Gwaine).

The people who knew about Merlin's secret include Hunith, Gaius, Kilgharrah, Lancelot, Mordred, Will, Freya, Balinor, Grettir, Gilli, Iseldir, Aithusa, Alator, Daegal, and Finna. Of these people, Will, Freya, Balinor, Lancelot, Daegal, Alator, Finna, and Mordred are dead.


Merlin in Sir Thomas Malory’s Le Morte d’Arthur

Sir Thomas Malory’s epic work, Le Morte d’Arthur, was completed in 1470, slightly later than the mid-fifteenth century Prose Merlin. Malory’s central character is Arthur, not Merlin (who disappears from the story in Book 4 out of 21). Whilst Le Morte d’Arthur draws overall on a wider variety of sources, the first four books are considered to be an abridged version of the ‘Suite de Merlin’, another thirteenth-century prose work that is closely connected to the Vulgate Cycle.

Despite his early exit, Malory’s Merlin plays a crucial role during the early years of King Arthur. We see his now-familiar part in the conception of Arthur by Uther and Ygerna (now Igraine) at Tintagel Castle, followed nine months later by Arthur’s birth and removal by Merlin (according to his bargain with Uther) to be fostered by Sir Ector. Thereafter Merlin becomes Arthur’s constant advisor, slipping in and out of the narrative as the occasion demands, often in disguise, to dispense foresight, knowledge, and guidance, and Malory uses him as a literary device, foretelling the future in the manner of fate – what Merlin speaks will be fulfilled.

There is little of the Merlin legend in Le Morte d’Arthur that is completely new. The main events include Merlin’s kingmaking role, initiated by his advice to the Archbishop of Canterbury to send for all the lords who would be king to assemble in London at Christmas, and to come to mass and pray, after which the great marble stone is seen with the sword stuck into it with the famous inscription that whoever pulls the sword is “rightwise king born of all England.” His advice and influence are then crucial in persuading the barons to maintain support to the young king in his wars against the rebel kings, as is his guidance to Arthur in battle – see a summary of Book 1, in which Merlin also saves Arthur’s life and how Arthur (by means of Merlin) got Excalibur, his sword, from the Lady of the Lake.

In Book 2, Merlin made further predictions regarding (i) Sirs Balin and Balan (including the “dolorous stroke” that Balin would deal to the truest knight alive, causing a wound that would not heal, making 3 kingdoms poor for 12 years), (ii) Kings Pellinore and Bagdemagus (Arthur’s cousin), (iii) Arthur’s near killing by Sir Accolon, (iv) Merlin’s own death, and (v) the Sangreal.

Arthur’s marriage to Guinevere takes place in Book 3. The barons had suggested that it was time Arthur took a wife, and when he confided to Merlin that he loved Guinevere, Merlin warned him that she wasn’t wholesome enough to be his wife – Sir Lancelot (Launcelot) would later love her, and she would love Launcelot – but he could see the king’s heart was set so he went to inform Leodegrance (Guinevere’s father) of Arthur’s desire. During the wedding feast a white hart appeared, pursued by a brachet and sixty black hounds – at which point Merlin called for immediate quests on the part of Sir Gawain, Sir Tor, and King Pellinor. Each of the three quests was carried out and when the knights had returned the Bishop of Canterbury was able to ordain the Knights of the Round Table.

Merlin meets his end in Book 4. King Pellinor happened to have brought a lady to the court. Her name was Nimue, known as the Damsel of the Lake. Merlin became besotted with her and was hardly away from her side. She accommodated him until she had learnt from him all the crafts that she could. They went together over the sea to the land of Benwick, where Merlin saw the young Launcelot and predicted that the same child would one day be the most worshipped man in the world. By this time Nimue had become weary of his constant attention. On their travels they came to a cave beneath a great stone, and she saw her chance to be rid of him. She let Merlin go first under the stone so he could lead her to the marvels in the cave, then as soon as he was down she turned his magic against him and he became sealed inside, never to come out. And there, rather unceremoniously, Merlin leaves Malory’s story.


The Lady of the Lake in Context

The British Isles are soggy places surrounded by water and covered with lakes, ponds, rivers, and springs. Naturally, water featured prominently in the mythology of the early inhabitants of England and Ireland.

The Lady of the Lake, though later adopted by French authors of Arthurian legend, appears to be based on older Celtic goddesses associated with water. There are many Celtic water spirits and goddesses, most of them women. Ceridwen (pronounced kuh-RID-wen) was a Celtic goddess who possessed a magic cauldron or kettle. She made a brew with herbs and water that would grant wisdom to whoever drank it. Even more notably, Brigid (pronounced BREED) was a goddess who kept watch over a well (or many wells) from which a prospective king had to drink in order to earn his place on the throne.


The Magical Message of Merlin Versus Modern Materialism - History

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Why Merlin should return to the screen

Kirsten appeals to Merlin's creators, arguing that the BBC fantasy show deserves a film or television revival.

Contains spoilers for the Merlin series 5 finale.

Normally, I’m not a TV kind of person. I prefer books, and the longer the better! True storytelling is what I love, and in a time where narrative culture is more and more determined by the length of a Twitter message, the spinning of a grand old-fashioned tale has become a rare thing on television. Such a rare exception was the BBC series Merlin – until it was announced late in 2012 that the show wouldn’t be continued after the end of series five. When I read that in an interview, my first thought was that it seemed quite a daunting task, if not even an impossible one, to tie up all the loose threads that were glaringly left hanging about in the few episodes that were left, let alone to provide the series with an ending that would remain faithful to its trademark genial tone, and live up to all the expectations that had been raised over the years by constantly reminding us that it was Merlin’s destiny to build Camelot’s Golden Age with Arthur and return the magic to the land.

Sadly, my apprehensions turned out to be justified. The evening of the Merlin finale – Christmas Eve, of all things! – left me sitting stunned in front of my TV, tears streaming down my face, only vaguely aware what had just happened to me, although it occurred to me what it was later that night: emotional trauma at the hands of a television series! Ever since then I have been searching the internet for Merlin related sites like this one, where I could voice my disappointment at how this series I loved was ended: much too rushed, without real closure, sporting at least one gaping plot hole (the fact that Merlin dragged the gravely injured Arthur all over Albion on horseback instead of calling Kilgharrah to help immediately), leaving many storylines unexplored and the main promise, that of Camelot’s Golden Age – implying a new level in the Merlin/Arthur relationship, with a fully recognized Merlin finally being on equal footing with Arthur, getting credit for his deeds at last, and their friendship being renewed and strengthened so they’ll be able build the new Camelot – remaining unfulfilled.

At this point, I’d like to stress that I’m no giggling fangirl. I’m a 39-year-old English teacher from Germany, mother of four (who all love Merlin just as much as I do, if not more), and freelance writer. For me this is not about “Merthur” swooning – I leave that to my daughter – but the blossoming friendship between the prince and his servant is undeniably one of the high points of the show, even the force that gives it momentum, an incredibly sweet, innocent, and touching bond of brotherhood that we can relate to on a basic human level. I firmly believe that it was this fusion of a timeless tale of true friendship with one of most famous and fascinating subject matters of the Western literary canon, transforming it into a story that allows glimpses of the familiar Arthurian legend while developing a strong and original take on it, that strung a chord with viewers around the globe.

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When I stumbled upon Merlin, I was immediately intrigued, and never have missed an episode since. At first I was convinced that I liked the show for its many obvious endearing features – the simply told stories, the teasing banter between prince and servant, the young cast’s sheer enthusiasm, the epic fights against evil witches and magical beasts, so beautifully and tastefully rendered, in short, its classic fantasy setting. But soon I realized that for me – and apparently for many others too, as the numerous blog entries and forum posts throughout the internet show – that beyond this heroic, romantic surface there was much more to it than that.

Merlin has resonated deeply with my imagination. This series, which cheerily disguised itself as a lighthearted family show, in truth explored the archetypal leitmotifs of European literature, and of human nature itself, within a charming and enthralling fantasy frame that made it easy and a fun experience to follow these explorations. Honour, love, duty, friendship, betrayal, the rocky relationship between fathers and sons, the attempt to live up to a destiny one did not choose, being torn between different loyalties, the demons that wait to be fought every day, all these are basic human concepts that are still as valid and important today as they were when the medieval and Renaissance authors wrote their Arthurian romances. Granted, Merlin was first and foremost intended as a fun fantasy drama, and rightly so, as it is one of the very few TV series that can be watched and enjoyed by the whole family, without falling flat for the older generation. But while my children fell for Merlin’s perfect sword-and-sorcery approach, with its gorgeous costumes, magic, dragons, classic villains, and beautiful, sometimes ethereal settings, it was the characters’ confrontation with the pitfalls of human nature and their consequent development, conveyed so brilliantly by the cast’s outstanding performance, what really caught my attention.

Ever since J.R.R. Tolkien laid down the basic framework and rules that have shaped the fantasy genre, it has been clear that the true magic of a good fantasy story is never to be found in the magical power that is wielded – or the Dark Lords of the trade would always triumph. The true magic in fantasy lies, in fact, in the heroes’ strength of character, their courage, their perseverance in the face of insurmountable difficulty, and in the friendship and love that prompts them to their brave deeds.

It’s no coincidence that the great fantasy champions are more often than not simple people whom fate puts in a position they haven’t actively sought out, unlikely heroes who, as J.K. Rowling put it in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, “take up the mantle because they must, and find to their own surprise that they wear it well”. In precisely this spirit, the series made Arthur and Merlin young contemporaries rather than an old Merlin being advisor to a young king Arthur, which probably was its most important and ingenious diversion from the Arthurian sources, because this plot device allows us the pleasure of getting to know our heroes before they have fully come into their own.

Notwithstanding his astonishing magical powers, Merlin appears as a simple peasant boy who wears his heart on his sleeve and whose refusal to be daunted by rank or physical superiority is constantly getting him into trouble Prince Arthur is already a skilled warrior and courageous knight when we meet him, but as yet lacking such virtues as modesty or consideration for others, hiding his deep-rooted fear of not being able to live up to his father’s high expectations behind a tough “save-the-world” attitude, as Gwen phrases it when she first talks to Merlin.

Although we know from earlier takes on the legend what kind of men Merlin and Arthur will grow into, Merlin portrays them as young boys who have yet to overcome their only too human flaws, who are not legendary yet but still have a great deal to learn. Following Arthur’s progress from somewhat self-centred, secretly insecure and pampered “prat” to truly kingly material, and Merlin’s transformation from naïve prodigy-cum-country bumpkin into the wise and powerful but unswervingly compassionate mage who’s invisibly pulling all the strings from behind his humble disguise was pure joy. By embarking with them on their journey to legendary status, we began to care deeply about them as characters, and became emotionally involved in their classic coming-of-age story.

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As much as we enjoyed the ever present tease of Merlin’s magic being eventually discovered (a moment we all simultaneously dreaded and yearned for), it was the development of Merlin’s and Arthur’s characters, and of their unlikely friendship, which cast the true spell of Merlin and made soon seem the many turrets of beautiful Pierrefonds Castle as the legendary Camelot feel like home to everyone who accompanied the heroes on their weekly adventures. As we followed the progress of this friendship, feeling sorry for Merlin’s ordeals, being angry at Arthur’s unfairness, rejoicing when it became obvious that the duo had started trusting each other with their lives, we were drawn into the age-old questions of human nature they had to deal with as the events unfolded, and drawn into the legend itself.

There has never been any TV series, movie, or book before where the ending has left me so heartbroken, and with such a sense of having been cheated. What is really tragic is that it didn’t have to be like that, not even if it was important to the authors to stay “true to legend” – which is in itself impossible, as there is no such thing as “the” legend where Arthurian writing is concerned. For literally a thousand years, from twelfth century historian Geoffrey of Monmouth (to whom the Merlin writers tipped their hat by assigning him a permanent cameo role in the series as a grumpy court librarian of the same name), to Renaissance writer Thomas Malory, and finally to modern fantasy authors like T.H. White and Marion Zimmer Bradley, the king and his sorcerer have inspired writers throughout the Western world to use the existing material and do with it whatever they wanted, depending on their respective time, their targeted audience and intentions. There is not a single other subject matter in the history of European literature that had such an impact or inspired such a sheer mass of writing, both in prose and poetry and in every major European language, than the story of King Arthur and the knights of the round table. None of the Arthurian authors ever had any scruples about employing poetic licence whenever it suited their needs. From the very beginning, the Arthurian cycle has been a legend in progress.

Dit is duidelik dat die Merlin writers were aware of this practice and have employed it themselves countless times throughout the series. It was always fun to meet a well-known character in a way that differed slightly or, in many cases, greatly from the other familiar versions of the story, and find out how they would eventually “get there”: Guinevere is a serving girl?! But wasn’t she supposed to be the queen? – Lancelot is such a nice guy, and Gwen could never betray Arthur, so how do we reach their legendary betrayal? – Merlin is supposed to be a Gandalf-style old man with long white hair and a beard, not a young guy, so why do the legends describe him as old?! The series played with our preconceived notions about the legend, and brought them home to us with a twist. That was the secret that made the series so deliciously plot-driven in spite of the fact that the Arthurian plot has been known for centuries. And this, too, explains why its ending has been felt to be so upsetting and incongenial by so many fans.

What is truly jarring about the final episode of Merlin is not the fact that Arthur dies. Arthur’s death at the hands of the traitor Mordred has been a central motif since the beginning of Arthurian literature. Everyone who is familiar with Malory’s take on Arthuriana, or has read White’s Die eens en toekomstige koning, knows that Arthur is, eventually, going to die, and that Camelot will perish. It’s the essentially British version of the biblical lament of “how are the mighty fallen”, and we wouldn’t really expect any Arthurian tale to change that.

What he indeed have come to expect from Merlin, however, is a respectful treatment of our beloved characters’ growth, and the above-mentioned plot twist that does justice to the characters while still capable of being seen in accordance with legend. These two concepts have, time and again, formed the backbone of countless Merlin episodes, but tragically the final one, which should by rights have revelled in every aspect that made Merlin the series it had become, failed miserably on both counts. While the eagerly anticipated magic reveal, though something of let-down where plot is concerned (why come out now, when innocent lives could have been saved by doing so much earlier?), was a beautiful and heart-rending piece of acting – so kudos to Colin Morgan and Bradley James for their amazing achievement – and while Arthur’s gradual acceptance of Merlin’s true nature was everything fans had been hoping for, it came much too late, and robbed us of the chance to see Merlin recognized by the whole of Camelot as the world’s greatest sorcerer at last, and, above all, accepted and respected by Arthur for what he is.


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