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Reply To: Tiger King MythBlast

Toby Johnson

Hi Stephen

thanks for the heads up about John Bucher’s essay.

I am actually a step ahead of you. I had read the essay earlier this morning as I was working my way through email.

I started to sign in and crow that I’d had Joe himself for my “mentor” and wise old man. But thought that would just be boasting.

I did like the discussion of Merlin. Just last week I was reminded of C.S. Lewis’s novel THAT HIDEOUS STRENGTH and looked up the book and reread the passage where Merlin is “resurrected” and then comes to the front door of Dr Ransom, the protagonist, and pays obeisance when he sees that Ransom is the current “Pendragon.” In Lewis’s 1945 novel, Merlin has come out stasis to assist Ransom fight against military/industrial materialism. Maybe it’s about mythological/spiritual consciousness up against technocracy.

I’ve been completing my project of rereleasing my various books in updated, revised editions. I was just writing a paragraph about Campbell’s idea that the way to read a myth is to understand that the central character is a metaphor/stand-in for you. You are always the hero. And all the myths are about you.

I remember as a teenager reading C.S. Lewis and coming upon that passage ab0ut Merlin bowing before Ransom and even back then wanting to be Ransom and be “the Pendragon” as the novel calls the spiritual descendant of Arthur. I guess I wanted to be Merlin too, and possess powers.

Campbell then was saying, yes, we’re all Pendragons. We’re all continuing to act out the great battles between the spirit and the world. And we’re all Merlins with powers to make the world better.

I wondered about the red and white dragons beneath the tower that John Bucher wrote about.

So Merlin has been in my mind.