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Observations placeholder

Merlin - Many Merlins; Merlin Ambrosius [Historia Regum Britanniae] and Merlin Silvestris [Vita Merlini]



Type of Spiritual Experience



Some background rather than a spiritual experience - interesting to know


A description of the experience

John Granrose, Ph.D., Director of Studies "E" at the C.G. Jung Institute in Zürich

Merlin’s … name and his popular image, clothed in dark robe and conical hat with astrological symbols, waving his magic wand, are known even by most children. We may even think of Merlin as an icon of "magician" for our culture. This in itself is significant since we may learn about the deep meaning of "magician" by studying this figure which continues to enchant us. 

Scholars differ in their opinions about the extent to which the stories of Merlin are based on an historical person. … And although some experts continue to hold that Merlin is a completely fictional character, the current view seems to be that he has a historical basis.

In fact, it seems likely that there were two historical figures underlying the literary character:

  • a fifth-century Welsh political prophet, referred to as Merlin Ambrosius because he was called "Ambrosius" in the earliest stories, and
  • a sixth-century visionary and "wildman of the forest" named "Myrddin," referred to as Merlin Silvestris because of his connection to the woods.

In the 12th century Geoffrey of Monmouth wrote about both of these Merlins: first about Merlin Ambrosius, in his Historia Regum Britanniae (History of the Kings of Britain), and then about Merlin Silvestris, in his Vita Merlini (The Life of Merlin) which was composed some years later and which also attempted "to fuse the fifth- and sixth-century Merlins into one person.

The source of the experience


Concepts, symbols and science items



Science Items

Activities and commonsteps