King Arthur was real, and so was Merlin, but the details are scant and centuries later the interpretations are just wild, romantic and varying, and we still love them. Interesting what we choose, time and again to recreate and retell in our stories. Patterns re-emerge like the cycles of waves rolling in and out or the gold thread woven throughout the castle tapestry. I imagine King Arthur here again, his enchanted sword named Caliburn, (also called Excalibur) raised and ready, and Merlin the Enchanter by his side in full glorious costumes. They sit now in my imagination as described by another writer, on powerful draft horses, black for Merlin, white for the king —timeless reflections of our own hopes, strengths and dreams.

Dear Arthur,

You are on my mind lately because I just finished reading all four of Mary Stewart’s books on your life and times. We call it legend because historians or scribes do not have a lot of details recorded, and so our imaginations fly like birds, well sometimes bats, but we still love and honor the stories.

You were one of the earth’s most celebrated leaders. You met the consequences of your decisions honorably. So I want your advice on our present times, which are still conflicted 1100 centuries later. In your times and up until recently, we the people were kept ignorant, purposefully not taught to read, and certainly not allowed to vote. Not so now. Everyone is free to know,…almost everything, and may speak freely. Remember how communication was in your day? A message to Merlin, or to Queen Guinevere back home at Camelot, or to neighboring kings took a trusted King’s Courier (a soldier on the best horse,) at the very least a full day of hard riding to reach the recipient. Sometimes they got ambushed by robbers or traitors. Well, now we have gizmos that….. lets just say information is instant, like when Merlin appeared in your mind or in dreams with critical warnings. That fast we can get it now. It seems like magic.

But the world, Arthur, certainly Middle America, is up in arms, so divided. Everyone’s hair is on fire, as we say, meaning differences of opinion get heated and spark fiery debate, and bloody battles, still. “Been there done that” you say, Arthur? I nod. You might be disappointed that we haven’t come very far where it matters—towards harmony and respect among all people—but the Round Table somewhat caught on thanks to you. We have something similar called United Nations, but, just as you experienced, when you succeed in gathering a diverse group of powerful men in a room, there are no guarantees, because man is man, full of want and need and greed.

The battlefield is no longer filled with volleys of arrows or smoking fireballs catapulting into castle walls; no more armor and swords clanking, but we still battle much the same in motive and sadly, with far more devastating death counts at times. We have developed very powerful weapons of destruction. We have gangs of rebels, and mercenaries called terrorists. I wonder what you would do in this age with all the wisdom and experience you gained in the 5th century—if you were King again. You wanted peace, though you were the greatest warrior. With Respect, Always, , jj the scribe. P.S.Wish you were here.

Dear Merlin,

We still love our magicians and sorcerers. Our legends and stories are still about bad guys, good guys, and sometimes evil creatures from the dark side of life. And yet I feel that underneath it all is still and always just the good guys wanting to protect the land and people from plundering intruders or feuding neighbors. Could it be that simple? In any case, presently, in the month of March in the year 2016 A.D, the news is that the present high tide of strife in our world is a historic precedent. But I hear you I think say it is as old and full of drama, betrayal, and mischief as Mankind, and I nod and know it’s older than you can imagine. Our ancient ancestors even before your time, fought over who got the girl, or in your case, which witch got the magician—no offense —and we have never stopped fighting over who gets to be leader. I sense you nod solemnly. You’d be amazed at our fireside stories and magical moving visions we make. Most of them are not so different than your times, and sometimes we tell the old stories from the 5th century for love of their bravery and adventure, and the excellent and imaginative costumes.

You sometimes wished that you didn’t get the visions, which were usually pretty scary. You used to escape from human conflict whenever you could, hide in your crystal cave, and play your harp. You said it calmed your heart, reconnected you to spirit, and strengthened your soul. I relate. My mind goes on vacation when I cannot escape places. I envision in my mind the nearby forest with a nice walk to a great water fall, where I can feel the powerful misty magic as you would say—we call them ions now. Or I go in memory to the sun lit seaside and watch the big waves break. I stand in the wet sand (which is made of millions of years of ground up crystals and minerals, by the way.) When the sparkly tide rushes up with choirs of singing and popping bubbles around my feet I feel the magic there too. Time stands still for a second, as the living water stops and retreats, rushing back to it’s Source, the great sea, to go through it over again and again yet in different forms and places and times. Cycles and seasons are the steadfast patterns of life, right Merlin? [Did you just say “pretty good visions for a simple village scribe?” Thanks.]

…and Merlin added… “Be Light of Heart and daily walk in peace. It is strength, and draws the flow of truth and right decision. Sing poems and play the harp around the campfire. It keeps you and those around you in harmony with the gods.”

(published in Park County Community Journal April 1, 2016)

Image Credit: King-Arthur-Excalibur-Movie- Warner-Bros.-2014