I got into a conversation this weekend with someone who, like me, has an interest in old English things. However, I seemed to have done much more research than they did, and they were thrilled to learn about the research and reading I had done. Since that conversation, I decided there may be a lot of people out there who wonder about the things we talked about. I have a book on my shelf that has the original stories of King Arthur and Merlin, and they are very interesting. They were written by an English monk, but no one knows for sure if they are true or not, but there is the possibility that there is some truth to them. After the English monk wrote his stories, the stories became so popular that they were telling stories of King Arthur even over in France, and many of the King Arthur stories come from France. Here are some things I have learned about Merlin, King Arthur, and the Druids from these stories as well as from other sources.
First of all, no one probably realizes it, but Merlin was a Christian. There is a story about his baptism. Yes, Merlin was a wizard. However, it doesn’t mean that he was a Druid because he wasn’t. It doesn’t mean he had miraculous powers, but it means that he was an extremely smart man and good at his craft. If you have seen the television series called Merlin, the real Merlin was more like Gaius. These stories took place before modern medicine. However, there are still people who know the kinds of things that Merlin would have known. In Romania, they have a major at the university called Mountain Agriculture. Those student learn every plant and tree in the forest. They know if they are good for food, good for medicine, or poisonous. Throughout the centuries, in every country, even before modern Science, there were people who majored in knowing these things. The American Indians called them witchdoctors. In other countries, they may be called a shaman or a juju man. There are good and bad witchdoctors, shamans, and juju men. Before Merlin became a Christian, from what I read, he was one of the good guys in this class, and not a bad guy, and on top of all that, he was very talented in what he did. He knew many things that the others didn’t know. After that, he became a Christian. He was one of the first converts in England. It seems to me that he combined his knowledge of Christianity with his old knowledge of what grew in the forest and it made him very unusual because he was living in a land of very superstitious people. However, he had his head on his shoulders, knew the different between right and wrong, and had so much knowledge the others didn’t have. He would really have looked like a super wizard to superstitious people.
Joseph of Arimathea is a personality from the New Testament of the Bible. He was a Jewish rabbi and a secret follower of Jesus while he was alive. When they crucified Jesus, Joseph of Arimathea offered his tomb for them to lay Jesus in, and they did. After Jesus rose from the dead and subsequently rose up into the Heavens going back to God, Joseph of Arimathea became a missionary. He took Christianity to England, and there is a good possibility that he taught Merlin. The time line seems to coincide.
As for King Arthur, he was one of Merlin’s pupils. He was several years younger than Merlin. Merlin was in on the sword and the stone episode. Arthur was not “Prince Arthur” like the TV show shows. He was actually a squire who didn’t understand what the sword in the tone was all about. All he knew was that his master was in a joust, but he had no sword, so Arthur went back to get it, and instead of going all the way home, Arthur decided to stop and get the sword he saw in the stone by the church building. When he took the sword back, initially, the knight he was serving recognized the sword and decided to tell everyone that he had pulled it out, but they tested him. They put it back in, and he couldn’t pull it out, but the let Arthur try, and he pulled it out. They were convinced that the one who could pull the sword out was chosen by God to be king, and Merlin was in the council that was in charge of that sword along with other important religious leaders.
They have searched the record in England looking to see if Arthur is part of the royal family of England, but he isn’t. Most people agree he was probably one of the chieftains of early England. England was not always united. The United Kingdom has not always been united. In old England, there were castles with local kings or chieftains, and Arthur was probably one of those chieftains. In Christianity, one man is not above the other. We are all the same in the sight of God. I always got the impression that the knights of the round table were able to sit around the round table and all be on the same level because Arthur had been influenced by Christianity. When those knights rode out to search for the holy grail, I got the impression from the early King Arthur stories that they were all searching for God. I even read a story about Lancelot falling asleep in front of a church building and being unable to go in, but while he was asleep, someone came and took his sword and other weapons of war away, and the name of the story was “The Repentance of Lancelot.” There are many interesting stories about the knights individually. Sir Galahad secured a shield that only the purest in heart could secure, etc. If you look at the knights’ code, it was very much like Christianity.
As for the Druids in these early King Arthur stories, they were the bad guys. They did things like break into the palace at night and kill people with a knife. I have studied in other places about the Druids. Druid was the religion in England before Christianity came. The Druid priests ruled the people with fear. They told scary stories that went bump in the night to a superstitious people to control them. They were like the bad witchdoctors or bad Juju men. when I lived in Nigeria, I saw the fear the people had of the bad Juju men, and it was real!! These guys were so bad that just them pointing at someone would scare them so bad that it could stop their hearts. A missionary friend of mine in Nigeria said that he saw a Juju man point at a man on a Friday, and that man was so scared, he went white as a sheet! By Monday, the man was dead. The doctor’s diagnoses was “He died from fright.” I also witnessed first hand a group at the market in Nigeria watching a Juju man, and every time the Juju man pointed, they backed up in fear. You could see the fear in their faces and hear it in their voices. They were truly scared of him. This is how the Druids ruled the ancient English people. They were the bad guys.
This is why Halloween became a holiday. The English were so happy that Christianity came to England!! Christianity took their fear away so they were no longer controlled by the Druids. I understand why the Druids would have broken into the castle and killed people because their power was slipping away because Christianity was in the castle. As for Halloween, it used to be called All Halo’s Eve. It was the day before All Saint’s Day, the holiday when they celebrate that England had become a Christian nation. The day before All Saint’s Day, the people began joking with one another. The English were always big on costumes and plays. They dressed up as the characters from the old Druid religion and played games with one another trying to scare one another. The Druids told stories like “the Three Billy Goats Gruff” or stories about goblins and ghosts. Most of us now a days are smart enough to know that those kinds of stories are just stories, but the ancient English people didn’t know much about the world, and were controlled by stories like those. The witches in the Druid religion were old women who sat around bon fires (big nice fires outside) and told scary stories. The witches also did voodoo. They used those voodoo dolls that we have all heard about to try to control or hurt others. Voodoo and Juju are basically the same thing.
The Jack o Lantern was one of the stories the witches told at the bon fires. They told a story about a man named Jack that offended the devil, so he was condemned to walk the earth with a lantern for all eternity. As I thought about this story, “Jack” is an anybody’s name they use in England. A light had come into England, Christianity. All Halo’s Eve and All Saint’s Day were celebrating Christianity, so there is a possibility that the Jack o lantern is actually a symbol for Christianity. Christians have turned their back on the Druids, the religion of the devil, and they offended the Druids.
As you can see, the original Merlin, King Arthur, and the Druids weren’t very much like the television show called “Merlin.” However, that doesn’t mean the show isn’t entertaining. It is one of my favorite television shows. Reading books and traveling all over the world has helped my perspective on many things. I feel blessed by God to have traveled, seen, and learned to understand the world better. I hope people can get a better perspective on the world when they read my blogs. Many people today are just like the ancient people in England. Their view of the world is so narrow that they only know what is around them. However, we have access to many more ways to learn and understand the world than they did. We have books. We have the internet. We have airplanes. God has blessed us, and we can learn and not be controlled by fear like the ancient people were. Jesus actually lived. Christianity is the way out of fear and superstition. Christianity is the light. There are still bad guys around trying to control the others. They no longer carry the name of Druid, but look out for them because they still exist. However, there are also people like Merlin who are Christians and understand a lot who can help us like Merlin helped King Arthur.