The story of King Arthur from Merlin's point of view with some Celtic mythology included
We are the Druids, and we have a story that has been waiting to be told for hundreds of years. This story was hidden from the consciousness of humans out of necessity, kept at the edge of the conscious and the subconscious. Deep down inside, you know this story although we have hidden it so masterfully that you do not realize you know it. It is the true story of the Druid you know as Merlin, and how and why he guided King Arthur. We believe the time has come for the story to be told…
The great wizard we all know as Merlin stood on a cliff, with the wind blowing his long hair and beard in a stream behind him. Of course, Merlin was not his real name, but that is the name tradition and history has given him, and so it has become his name. He was a typical druid, tall and thin, the type of human who looked a little like a tree. All spirits begin to look like trees in their human forms when they are just a death or two away from full knowledge, because a spirit’s final form is as a tree. Merlin was one of those spirits, and yet his body did not seem to be reaching for the sky like most druids of his stature. This was because Merlin had a grave responsibility that had been placed upon his shoulders and caused him to appear as though he was being pulled down with the weight of it. The fate of the Druids and the future of the earth was dependent on his ability to successfully complete the task that had been set before him.
Several hundred years before this, most of the Gallic Druids had been forced from their homeland by the Romans. They had been warned by the trees of the horrors of slavery that they would be subjected to if they stayed. They also knew that Druidism would die if they came under the control of Rome, and that earth would die soon after. At first, they hoped to stand and fight in order to eliminate the threat. They tried to warn their people, and get them to come together, but the Gauls were fiercely independent warriors who could not manage to cooperate until it was too late. The Roman force was too strong and had taken over too many Gallic tribes by the time the people would acknowledge what was happening. Once the remaining tribes decided to work together, their force was too weak to stand a chance. Then the Druids tried to get their people to flee with them, but the Gauls were too proud to leave their land. So, one by one, Druids from various clans met up and stole away in the dark of night, some escaping just days before the Romans invaded their clan and enslaved the people. Many of the Druids escaped to what is now known as England, and they settled and lived there quite peacefully for many years.
Before leaving, the Druids all met for days on end trying to devise a solution to the issues they knew were coming upon the earth. They knew that the influence of Rome would aid in the eventual spread of a religion that would work vigorously to eliminate the presence of Druid belief from the earth. They devised a plan that would require great sacrifice on the part of the community, but this sacrifice would be well worth it if it could save the earth. It was determined that many of the greatest, wisest and oldest trees would need to be sacrificed. The rituals surrounding each sacrifice would lead to the rebirth of that trees spirit at a point in the future where their knowledge would enable the Druid myth to continue throughout the story of human history. Additionally, some Druids would purposefully not escape the Roman siege in time, in order to orchestrate their own deaths in a manner that would create a burst of power strong enough to disrupt the cycle of life. These Druids would then be on a slower cycle of rebirth in order to allow the rest of society to forget them and then be reminded of the need for them once again. It was predicted that the time would come when earth would be on the verge of collapse due to the many ways that humans had mistreated it. As people began to accept their fault in the damage, they would become open to the ideals of their ancestors once again. If all the Druids who sacrificed themselves were able to come together during this time it was predicted that they might be able to save earth.
Later, as Christianity began to spread throughout the western world, fear of magick and witchcraft came with it and the Druids were once again forced to flee. Since Christianity was not limited to one group of people or one landmass, it was a harder force to flee than the Romans had been. This time they took refuge in caves and remote forested locations. But the fear grew worse with each successive generation of Christians. They began to forget how the Druids had once helped and guided them in everything they did. Eventually, people began to hunt the Druids down, searching them out one by one wherever they were hiding. They were no longer the noble Druids who walked with grace and loved the people. Now they were seen as crude and dirty witches and warlocks and were blamed for everything negative or bad in a person’s life. If someone became sick it was because they had done something to anger the Druids. If a small child died, or a person’s crops failed for the year; someone was always able to blame it on the Druids somehow. They were seen as having the ability to cast spells whenever they chose, when in reality they could not. They could create a spell that might affect the tides of life if it was in line with the direction of the future. But they were very limited in what they could actually do. Their role was more one of knowledge and wisdom and teaching respect for the earth in order to keep everything balanced and in harmony. They were very in touch with the Earth and what it needed, and any magick that they could do was a channeling of the love the Earth had for its people. But the Druids could not brew love potions, cause death or wars, or ruin people’s lives. These things were beyond their powers and not based in reality.
Eventually the trees began to talk of the future again. Ominous whispers passed through the wind detailing what would happen to the Druids and the earth if action was not taken soon. The horrors of slavery the Romans had wished upon their people was nothing compared to what was to come. Once again, they were told that if something wasn’t done fast, the Druids would be forgotten and the cycles of the Earth would stop. This time, the Druids knew they had nowhere to run. After much thought and meditation, they remembered the solution. They remembered the time that Merlin was chosen. And they knew the time had come for him to return.
Many legends of Merlin claim that he was a born without a father. His mother had gone to great lengths to ensure that this rumor was circulated in order to prevent the truth from being known. In reality, Merlin’s father had come to his town as a great lord searching for an adventure. He had seen an easy conquest in Merlin’s mother, and had wooed her into bed and then left the next day. When she realized she was pregnant, she attempted to find him, but no one had ever heard of the mysterious lord. Someone suggested that he had been from the spirit world, and Merlin’s mother worked to cultivate this belief among the townspeople. It caused Merlin and his mother to become outcasts within the community, but they were not completely shunned as a result.
When Merlin was a very small boy, his mother noticed he was different from the other boys. He was very thoughtful and introspective, did not play much and often spent his time sitting and staring at the trees. Merlin’s mother knew enough about the past to see that it was likely that her son was of the Druidic order. She noticed that Merlin would come back from the forest with nuggets of wisdom that were far beyond his years. Though she did not know this for sure, this was because Merlin was a very powerful Druid, and he began hearing from the trees at a very young age. Merlin’s mother encouraged him to continue his studies, but as he got older the other villagers began to discuss the mystery surrounding his birth and it became more difficult to defend herself and her son until it consumed her every thought.
By the time Merlin was eight his mother knew that she could not hide the truth any longer. She had heard rumors regarding the fear and suspicion being stirred up in the village and had been asked questions that led her to believe trouble was coming. Fearing her son’s death, she decided to send him away to live as a recluse. She would go to live in a nunnery to alleviate the suspicions of the townspeople. Merlin did not mind this idea so much, although he knew he would miss his mother. He had begun to hear the messages of the trees more clearly at this point, and he had begun to send messages back. He yearned to know more. His mind was overwhelmed with knowledge and he felt the necessary day to day interactions with people were preventing him from sifting through all the information. He felt he could achieve and understand more once he didn’t have to pretend to be normal anymore, and realized that the only way he could do that would be to leave the confines of society for a time.
Merlin’s mother saw him to the edge of the village after dark on the evening she had planned to send Merlin away. As they arrived at the edge of the forest, an old Druid seemed to materialize from nothing, surprising Merlin and his mother.
“Hello,” the old Druid said, “do not be afraid. I am not here to hurt you. I am here to help Merlin and to reassure both of you that you are making the right decision. I wish for you to know that Merlin will not be alone until he is ready, and that I have been sent to care for him.”
“Who are you?” Merlin’s mother asked, but Merlin already knew.
“I am the one sent by the greater spirits of the earth to guide your son in the Druid ways. My name is Caradoc. I am an old Druid with a safe home that is hidden from society where I can bring Merlin and teach him all he needs to know. He spoke with the trees of your plans to send him away, and they sent me to get him. Your son is a very important Druid, with an important destiny. He needs a teacher, and I have been given the privilege and the challenge of taking on that role.”
Merlin’s mother clutched the boy and his belongings, bringing them close to her as she stared at the old man with curiosity and fear.
“It’s okay, mother. I sense this man speaks the truth.” Merlin said. “It will be safe to send me with him.” Merlin and his mother hugged goodbye and then the young Druid boy walked off into the forest to fulfill his destiny. His mother lingered there long after they had disappeared, hoping that she had made the right decision, wrought with despair over losing her son, and overwhelmed with the decisions she had been forced to make. Finally she returned to the village to prepare for her transition to the life of a nun.
Merlin lived with Caradoc for the next several years learning the ways of the Druids. No longer was he forced to hide who he was and he was free to explore the world around him however he wished. He asked Caradoc hundreds of questions every day, and patiently sat through lessons and meditations, absorbing everything as quickly as Caradoc could teach it. As Merin grew older, Caradoc seemed to age at twice the normal rate. Around Merlin’s seventeenth birthday, his teacher became very sick. Merlin did not know this at the time, but Caradoc had been channeling his powers into the boy to make him stronger for the task he would someday face. As a result, the old man had aged about fifty years in the nine years that Merlin had been with him. Caradoc was already old when he took Merlin in, and though he was only about 70 he had the energy and spiritual powers of someone over 100 and he didn’t have much life left in him.
“Merlin my dear boy, come here,” the old man beckoned from his bed one day. “I need to tell you of your destiny, the real reason you have been protected so by the spirits of the forest all these years. I need to talk to you about what you now need to do.”
Merlin went to the old man’s bedside and grasped his hand with a look of concern on his face. “Are you sure you have the strength for this?” Since the old man had been getting progressively weaker for the past several days, Merlin’s concern for his health far outweighed any need to know of his destiny. He was only concerned about keeping the old man with him comfortably for as long as possible, since he had grown to see Caradoc as a father, the only father he had ever had. If it would mean keeping him alive for a bit longer, Merlin preferred to figure out his destiny without Caradoc’s help. But the teacher knew that this was necessary and denied Merlin the option of allowing him to rest.
“No need to worry about me, my time is coming soon anyway,” Caradoc replied. “I hope to be able to whisper the truths of the world to you someday soon as a great oak tree, but who knows how long the spirits will hold me in limbo before that happens. This may not even be my last life here; I may have more to learn, in which case I will never meet you as a tree. Or I may take root in a faraway land and be unable to reach you. I know my time in this body will be over soon and all I need to do is tell you a story. This story is very important, and it is essential for you to know. It is a story of what happened in the past to decide your future and how that future was designed to come about. I am hoping that this story will awaken the memories of what you need to know and prove that you, my dear Merlin, are who we believe you are. If so, you will be the main force to carry out the plan that has been devised to save our people. And I am to teach you the truth today.”
Merlin sat by Caradoc’s bed as the old man began to tell him of the fate of the Druids. “Merlin,” he said, “You know that the Druids were once great, and you know why we now have to hide from other people. It has been foretold that before long, if we do not do something, the rest of society will eventually find us all and eliminate our influence from the history of man forever. This will be detrimental to the ability of the Earth to continue its cycles, and eventually the seasons will get mixed up and blend together. Life on Earth will become chaotic and all sense of order will be lost. Eventually, after the Druids are gone, the Earth and everything on it will die. Many trees and Druids have been gathered for years in meditation and discussion trying to discover a solution to this problem. They have discussed what the future holds, and realized that it would be necessary for the Druids to disappear from sight for a time. The Great Ones then came up with a way to keep the memory of the cycles alive. Their plan will allow for the forces of Christianity to continue undisturbed, and yet provide ways to help spirits to access the Druidic truths as they became ready. With a little bit of effort, old souls will be able to discover the truth if we plant the right clues in the history of Man. Unfortunately, without proper guidance for new Druids, the cycles of spirits will be slowed. This will make it more difficult for a spirit to reach a stage of ultimate wisdom, an unfortunate side effect the plan. But it will still allow some spirits to learn and grow once they have reached the Druidic stages of life. This will allow the cycles of the Earth to continue for a bit longer and give Druids some time before the inevitable. Without Druid guidance, Man will begin to forget the importance of caring for the Earth, but the lack of our presence will allow him to forget his fear of us. When the time is right, and Earth is on the verge of death, we will come back. Though we are not yet sure how this will happen, we have been assured by the trees that a plan was set in place years ago that was designed to help. Once we realized what needed to be done, we had to figure out how to set the plan in motion. After much time and deliberation, it was decided that a few trees would give up their lives and return to human form.” Caradoc was forced to stop as he began coughing uncontrollably.
The sound of Caradoc coughing shook Merlin out of the trance and flood of memories that had overcome him during the telling of the story. Druids have the ability to access the memories of all Druids past and present, called the collective conscious. This ability becomes stronger the older and wiser a Druid’s spirit is. It took most Druids years to acquire this ability, but Merlin had been able to do it since he was five. While Caradoc had been speaking, Merlin found himself in the circle of deliberations that was formed to discuss the issues Caradoc was describing, and Merlin had been accessing the collective conscious to fill in the details Caradoc had been unable to describe. Merlin had seen the circle of Druids standing around him, with fear and distress in their eyes.
“Several of us have had disturbing visions lately,” the leader said to the group. “These visions predict the eventual end of our ways through a series of events that cannot be altered. Our people will be forced to disappear or change their ways, taking the memory of the Druids and the preservation of the Earth with them. Without old Druids, there will be no way to awaken the collective conscious in new Druids and the Earth will begin to forget how to operate and when it is time to change. Eventually, the Earth and everything on it will die. I know this is disturbing to think of, but we must not ignore these facts as they are a warning of what is to come. Only through acknowledging this misery will we be able to conceive of a way to amend it.” The men and women surrounding the speaker were nodding as he spoke with sad looks in their eyes.
Merlin then watched as the group gathered close to determine a solution to the problem at hand. He saw days of chanting, questioning and discussion. As he watched and listened, he felt the knowledge of the other trees flowing from the ground into him, sharing their knowledge of the situation and what they believed had to be done. He remembered meditating on the problem for days and days trying to determine an answer. And then Merlin felt the joy of realizing a possible solution combined with fear of the sacrifice that the solution entailed. This fear became greater when he realized how small the chances for success were likely to be, but his love for the Earth overwhelmed this fear as he began to prepare himself.
Merlin was excited, because this was the first time he had been able to access the collective conscious so clearly. The story Caradoc was telling him was as real to Merlin as if he had actually been there, deciding what to do with all of the others. Previously he had only experienced vague memories of a few of his own past lives, and his collective conscious memories had consisted of a general knowledge of facts and events. Most of his experience with the collective conscious had only been vague inklings of truth and Merlin had never experienced a memory so clearly before. He got up to get Caradoc some water, and while the old man drank he shared what had just happened.
“Caradoc, I was there. I remember it all. Just now, as you were telling me the story I fell into a memory of what happened and lost your voice. I was there, and I felt and saw everything that was going on! I just fully accessed the collective conscious for the first time!” Merlin beamed excitedly at his teacher.
The old man looked at him with wonder. He began to mutter to himself, “I didn’t really believe it until now, I thought it was only the foolish ramblings of old Druids. I can’t believe this is really him, I can’t believe it!” Caradoc grabbed for Merlin’s hand excitedly. “Merlin, my boy, you must tell me more about this experience! Did you feel anything? I need to know if your other senses were engaged!”
“Yes,” Merlin replied, too excited to process the old man’s hints of disbelief “I felt the knowledge of other trees entering my trunk and filling me to the brim with fear and ideas. I felt the Earth pulsing below me and at one point I felt a pain in my side as one of the Druids encircling me took a piece of my bark to gather some of the knowledge I was filled with in order to discuss the situation we were facing with the other Druids”. Merlin thought for a moment about what he had just experienced. “In fact, I could smell and see and hear and feel everything that went on during the time that you spoke of. That has never happened before. Everything was so vivid…”
“Merlin! That’s amazing! That was not the collective conscious you were accessing. No Druid, no matter how high can receive physical sensations when accessing the collective conscious. The collective conscious is only ideas and thoughts. Sensory recollections only occur from the memories of past lives. I was beginning to tell you that some trees decided to make the ultimate sacrifice and return to human form to save the Druids before I began to cough, did I not?”
“Yes…” Merlin replied, beginning to understand his teacher’s excitement.
“Merlin, the others told me it was you, but I did not fully believe it could be true until now. It took so long for you to come back, we believed the plan had failed or that the spirit of the tree had been reborn somewhere far away, but here you are, living and breathing, here, in my house, holding my hand! Don’t you remember? You have begun to access the memories, but can you recall the rest?”
Suddenly Merlin did remember. He remembered the vision of the future that he had once been granted. This vision was of a young boy named Arthur who would grow to be King. Arthur was to become a great man with the help of the Druids, through the guidance of Merlin. Although he was to be a Christian leader in legend, Arthur would actually be a secret Druid as well. His belief and acceptance of the Druid ways would be vital to the plan outlined in Merlin’s vision. The spread of other religions throughout the world, including Christianity would eventually force all Druids into hiding causing the messages of the collective conscious to become weak and garbled to new Druids. Merlin, along with some of the oldest trees around at the time, would sacrifice themselves in order to secretly mentor various leaders around the world who would hold an important place in human history. Through the mentoring process, the Druid would weave clues into history that would strengthen the collective conscious and allow old souls to access it on their own. Arthur was one of the chosen leaders who would be great enough that his story would continue to be told for centuries and those stories would include Merlin. Some would make him into a great wizard with amazing powers, while others would include more elements of the truth. All of these things combined would allow the Druids to disappear for a few centuries until the world was ready to accept them and the truth they held once again.
After remembering all of this, Merlin felt the worst pain he had ever felt in his current life. He saw many Druids circled around him, setting him on fire and crying. Some were on their knees looking to the sky and wishing for him to be provided with a safe journey. Others were dancing an apologetic dance for what they were being asked to do. Merlin felt the flames lick up his sides and the pain got worse and worse until finally his spirit exploded and then he felt nothing.
“Merlin, Merlin, wake up Merlin!” Merlin squinted into the darkness that had overcome the home he shared with his teacher.
“Yes?” he grunted.
“Oh, you’re finally awake! Good! I can’t get up, I fear my body is finally giving out on me, and my legs will not move. Could you light a candle please and get us out of this dreadful darkness? You’ve been out for three days, and I need some nourishment!”
Slowly, the young Merlin became fully conscious and crawled across the floor. His legs were weak and his head felt light and he did not trust himself to walk in the darkness feeling as he did. He found a candle, lit it, and looked over at his teacher with fear and wonder. “Was that…real?” he asked.
“Well, my boy, what do you think! Did it feel real? Of course it was real!” Caradoc was so excited he didn’t give Merlin a chance to get a word in edgewise. “I am so glad I managed to live to see this day! You are going to do great things Merlin, great things! I always felt greatness in you, but I never believed the whispers of the trees. I guess I have gotten too cynical in my old age! Come on boy, let’s celebrate! Bring some food this way, the Druids may survive after all!”
“But Caradoc, how are you so sure?”
“I can see the truth in your eyes, Merlin! You know what just happened to you, and you now know what you must do. You have just learned a number of new things that I never taught you. Some of them were things I knew, but did not fully believe until now. Others I will never know since they are truths that I am not ready for yet. Your spirit has begun to open and it will not be long before you are the teacher and I am the student. Truth like that cannot be hidden from a man who has been through all that I have been through. Now come, eat! We must gather our strength so I can finish preparing you for what lies ahead before my days finally come to an end!”
Merlin did as Caradoc asked, and the next few weeks were spent training Merlin and opening his memory further to enable him to complete the task that lay ahead. Just as he was feeling confident enough to work on his own, Caradoc died. Merlin was devastated for the first few weeks, and he was barely able to make himself eat or drink enough to stay alive. He was unable to continue his studies, and he spent his days moping around the forest. On one of these journeys, he heard the old man’s voice speaking to him from the forest floor. He looked down and spotted a small oak sapling that had begun to grow. Excitedly, he realized that Caradoc’s wish had been fulfilled, that he had been reborn as a great oak tree. Merlin began to visit and nurture his old teacher, as the old man had once nurtured him. Seeing Caradoc every day gave Merlin the strength to go on, and he spent the next several months meditating on the plan with the old man at his side, waiting for things to be made clear.
The first thing Merlin realized that he had to do was find his mother and reunite with her. It had been almost eleven years since they had parted ways, and all he knew was that she had decided to enter a nunnery after he left to study with Caradoc. Luckily she wasn’t hard to find and they were quickly reunited. Merlin and Caradoc had been informed that somehow Merlin’s mother would lead them to the person who was to become the father of Arthur. They were not yet sure how this was going to happen, so Merlin took advantage of the opportunity to spend as much time with his mother as possible. For a year, he went back and forth between Caradoc’s tree and his mother. At the end of the year, the trees told him to prepare himself for a long journey. Someone was coming for him.
At the time, England was going through great amounts of turmoil, and its people were in almost constant war. The absence of a strong leader left the country vulnerable and the promise of riches lured waves of foreign invaders onto the island. One particularly vicious army had managed to conquer a large area of land that they were struggling to hold on to. To manage this, the leader of the invaders, Vortigern, had been trying to build a castle for himself, but the earth kept shaking it down. Desperate to finish the castle in order to lay claim to the land and tired of rebuilding the walls of his fortress over and over again, Vortigern sought the counsel of his court seers. They told Vortigern that the death of a fatherless boy was necessary for the castle to be completed. The presence of Merlin’s mother and the nunnery combined with his regular visits to see her had caused the rumor of his fatherlessness to spread throughout the land, and Vortigern tracked Merlin down and sent for him. This too was part of the plan. Merlin knew that the real reason the castle was shaken to the ground every night was because Vortigern had to be left vulnerable to attack. The man who was to become the father of Arthur was to invade Vortigern’s kingdom and defeat him so that Arthur could come into the world, but he could not share this information with the invader.