BLOG

Merlin – Magic, Mystery and Mayhem

Merlin is one of the most well-known and fascinating figures in the Arthurian legends. There are many different stories about him but each one emphasizes his great prowess in magic. His most prominent role is as an advisor to four successive kings, and he is well remembered for the part he played in the conception of King Arthur. After King Uther, Arthur’s father, fell in love with Gorlois’ wife, Igraine, Merlin disguised the king to look like her husband. Arthur was conceived through their union and, when Gorlois died, the two were married.

Merlin was also known for his accurate predictions of the future. In his youth, he foretold the birth of a king who would lead the Britons to victory against the Saxons. When Uther Pendragon died, Merlin advised the barons of Logres that the rightful heir would be the man who could draw the sword from the stone. Many of the barons resented the role Merlin played in ensuring Arthur would become king. The magician continued to guide King Arthur during his reign, providing him with the strategy to win the war against the rebel barons.

After Arthur broke his sword in a fight with King Pellinor, Merlin escorted Arthur to the lake. Here he received a new sword, as well as a scabbard, from the Lady of the Lake. The magician told him this was the true Excalibur and emphasized the value of the scabbard, as it would stop Arthur from bleeding from his wounds. Arthur’s great reign ended in a battle against Mordred, and it is believed that Merlin outlived the king as well as the Knights of the Round table.

Like many other great men, Merlin’s demise came at the hands of the woman he loved. He reportedly fell in love with Nimue, The Lady of the Lake, who was a young and incredibly beautiful sorceress. Many believed that she had seduced him to access his vast magical knowledge. Merlin became obsessed with Nimue and she pretended to return the magician’s affections. She was determined to learn all the secrets she could about the art of magic, and Merlin taught her endlessly.

One day she asked her lover to accompany her on a trip to the forest, where he would be able to continue his tutelage. Although the magician knew this would lead to his end, he could not resist and followed his beloved. On the journey they arrived at a cave that Merlin claimed to be a place of great power, which he offered to show to Nimue. She accepted, insisting that he enter first. When Merlin was in the cave, she used one of his most powerful spells against him, sealing it permanently shut. Despite expelling all the power he possessed, Merlin could not open the cave, and legend has it that he may still be trapped here.

Advertisements

Win a bag of swag!

Hi Everyone!

I’m very excited to announce the launch of my official author brand Wendy Saunders Author and the release of my logo which was designed by the extremely talented Becca Whitaker (of Becca’s Bombshells; The Pin-up art of Becca Whitaker)

In celebration I am launching a giveaway, it is open to everyone and the prize is a goodie bag containing a signed hardback copy of my novel Tangled Web (Book 1 of the Carters), a spiral bound lined notebook with my author logo on and a black and white mug with my author logo on.

To enter, just visit my facebook page, like it and leave a comment on the Giveaway post at the top of the page.

As always, I want to take this opportunity to thank all my readers and fans for your continued support, I am very grateful for you all, you make what I do even more of a pleasure.

Much love and best wishes to you all xxx

Lich – The Powerful Undead

Each fantasy fiction character is unique, and the detailed descriptions provided by authors often allow them to become engrained in our mind. Many of their stories have powerful sorcerers, that will go to any length to retain their abilities. If a sorcerer is willing to become undead, as the price for immortality, he becomes a lich. The word ‘lich’ is derived from the Old High German words ‘lih’ or ‘lika,’ both meaning corpse. A sorcerer can become a lich by binding his intellect and soul to a phylactery (soul jar) and can only be defeated by the jar’s destruction.

A lich’s physical appearance can vary from near-normal, to zombie-like or even completely skeletal and desiccated. The way they look often depends on their age, as their bodies continue to break down despite being undead. Liches differ from zombies as they maintain their ability to think, being at least as powerful and intelligent as they were before their transformation. Due to their higher intelligence, a lich often becomes the leader of groups of lesser undead such as zombies and many are necromancers. Their skill in magic makes them one of the most dangerous forms of the undead, and they are almost always pure evil.

In stories, there are two known ways to become a lich, voluntarily and accidentally. The first involves complicated rituals which are often evil in nature and require some form of necromancy. During the rituals the sorcerer’s lifeforce is stored in their phylactery which then renders them virtually immortal. Phylacteries can take a long time to craft, often several years. If their bodies are killed, they will continue to resurrect once their soul jar in intact. If the soul jar is destroyed, and the body remains, the soul will return to the lich and he can make a new one. During this point the lich will be more vulnerable, however, as their soul and body will be in a single place. To kill a lich the body and soul jar must be destroyed simultaneously. A sorcerer may become a lich accidentally, because of an unexpected spell or occurrence. These liches have no soul jar and will be permanently dead if their body is destroyed.

A dracolich is an undead dragon, that is often the partner of a necromancer. Although they are still powerful, these dragons tend to be more fragile than their living counterparts, as dragons are already long-living creatures with deeply ingrained magical abilities. Dracolichs may have their own soul jars, making it near impossible to kill them. An undead dragon’s breath of fire often becomes a blast of poison or ice.

Sympathetic Magic – Creation by Imitation

The practice of sympathetic magic is a form of imitation or correspondence magic. It is based on the belief that a person can be affected by something that represents them and has often been summarised using the statement ‘like produces like.’ There are two distinct parts of sympathetic magic: The Law of Similarity, which suggests that the magician can produce a desired effect by imitating it; and The Law of Contact/Contagion, which is the belief that whatever is done to an object representing a person, will affect the person that object is associated with.

Sympathetic magic can be used to attract love, prosperity or healing to one person, as well as curse or hex another. The name is derived from the term ‘sympathy,’ meaning to share the feelings of someone or something else. Magicians believe that tuning into the feelings of another person, or animal, is the best way of increasing the power of the sympathetic magic being performed. As with all other magic, belief plays a vital role in how well the rituals work, and the practitioner’s intentions determine whether the outcome will be good or evil.

One form of sympathetic magic that many people are familiar with is the use of poppets, or voodoo dolls in spells. The spells that are then performed, using the doll, can be done for either harm or healing. Many historians believe that Ancient Egyptians and Greeks also used these dolls in their rituals. An old Indian ritual for a person wishing their enemy dead would include making a small wooden image of them and then burying or burning it, chanting a spell to ensure their death. Poppets are used in a similar way for healing, with the practitioner uttering healing words and actions over a doll made in the person’s likeness. The poppet’s power is increased if it is imbued with a part of the person, such as or a lock of hair or finger nail trimmings or made with one of their personal items.

Magic can take many forms, and sympathetic magic has been portrayed in different artistic modes, dating back thousands of years. Hieroglyphics have been found that show where a tribe’s shaman would often draw a picture depicting the desired results of a hunt or the harvest, such as the entire village feasting on an animal killed by the tribe’s warriors. They would then use the pictures to perform rituals, to ensure the results would come true. The tribal priests would also use the drawings to connect with the animal’s spirit, attempting to assure them that their killing was as a means of survival and would be done mercifully. When performing these rituals, the priests would also dress in the skins of previously killed animals to make the connection greater.

Summer and Winter Solstices – The Longest and Shortest Days of the Year

The word solstice originates from the Latin words sol, meaning sun, and sistere meaning ‘to stand still.’ The summer and winter solstices both occur when the sun reaches a specific point in the sky, after which it stops and reverses its direction. This events takes place twice per year, once in each hemisphere.

The Summer Solstice

The summer solstice occurs during each hemisphere’s summer, and is also known as the estival solstice or midsummer. In the northern hemisphere, this solstice occurs on June 20th, 21st or 22nd each year. It is the longest day of the year, as well as the beginning of summer. The summer solstice occurs when the sun reaches its highest point in the sky, with Earth’s axis tilted towards it, above the Tropic of Cancer. The earth is furthest from the sun at this point, which shows that summer’s warmth issues from the tilt of the earth’s axis and not the distance the planet is from the sun.

The summer solstice is connected to many celebrations, in different cultures, including the Pagan Midsummer. Paganism and Wicca celebrate the season with a festival known as Litha, during which the sacred union between the god and goddess is honoured. The beginning of the summer also marks the best time to plant, and subsequently harvest, many foods. Stonehenge has been considered a place of Pagan worship for thousands of years. Many people travel here each year to observe the sunrise on the summer solstice, which is aligned with the central Heel Stone.

The Winter Solstice

In the northern hemisphere, the winter solstice occurs between December 20th and 23rd, each year. The time of the winter solstice corresponds with the moment the North Pole is aimed away from the sun, with the sun shining directly over the Tropic of Capricorn. This marks the longest night and shortest day of the year, and several countries refer to the winter solstice as the ‘extreme of winter’ as a result. In many ancient cultures, this period signified a time of death and rebirth. As with the summer solstice, thousands of people attend Stonehenge to witness the winter solstice and the way in which it aligns with the setting of the sun.

In ancient times many cultures also believe that dark spirits walked the earth during the winter solstice. Neighbours would gather together and remain awake all night, talking, eating and sharing stories to avoid running into these entities.

Many people believed that there was going to be a cataclysmic event, which would cause the end of the world, on the winter solstice in 2012. This was a result of the Mayan calendar ending on this day. As the world never ended, new age beliefs and theories have suggested that the earth shifted on this day, and has entered a higher state of consciousness.


Win a Guardians Box Set

To celebrate the Summer Solstice today (June 21) I’m giving you the chance to win one of 100 kindle box sets of Books 1, 2 and 3 in the Guardians series. It’s FREE to enter. Just click below to head on over to Goodreads to enter. Ends July 21.

Mother Shipton – 13th Century British Soothsayer

Ursula Southeil was born in July 1488, in a cave near Knaresborough, after her mother had been banned from giving birth in the village. Ursula’s mother had been unwed and refused to tell a magistrate the name of the child’s father, giving up her baby for adoption before her second birthday. Ursula began to prophesize at an early age and, like Nostradamus, avoided detection by writing her predictions in the form of verses. The first publication of her prophesies was published 80 years after her death in 1641. Many of her predictions have already come true including:

  • The dissolution of the church in the reign of Henry VIII.
  • The fall of Cardinal Wolsey.
  • The premature death of Henry, Edward VI’s son.
  • The rise of Queen Elizabeth I to the throne and the plague of 1665.
  • The London fire of 1666.

Many of them also centred around her birth country, and her most famous prophecies were written in an epic poem in 1559. Examples of the verses that she wrote include:

Around the world men’s thoughts will fly,
Quick as the twinkling of an eye,
And water shall great wonders do,
How strange and yet it shall come true.

This is a possible prediction of the internet, radio and telephone combined. There have also been many inventions that harness the power of water, including using waterfalls for hydroelectric power.

In water iron then shall float
As easily as a wooden boat.
Gold shall be seen in stream and stone,
In a land that is yet unknown.

These have been determined to be descriptions of ships made of iron and steel and the events that surrounded the Californian Gold Rush.

Mother Shipton’s predictions have been compared with those in the Bible, as well as being like Nostradamus’. A series of her verses predicts the events of Armageddon, as described in the book of Revelations. Civilisation as we know it will be destroyed, with a new one rising from the ashes.

For storms will rage and oceans roar
When Gabriel stands on sea and shore,
And as he blows his wondrous horn
Old worlds die and new be born.

Nostradamus predicted many wars which Mother Shipton has verified in her verses, as well as natural disasters to aid in the destruction.

Man flees in terror from the floods
And kills, and rapes and lies in blood
And spilling blood by mankind’s hand
Will stain and bitter many lands.

These events will lead to a few survivors restarting a new life at the end of the destruction, predicted by the biblical phrase ‘The dead will come out of their graves.’ Those that have hidden away, will live to rebuild humanity.

And in some far-off distant land
Some men – Oh such a tiny band
Will have to leave their solid mount
And span the earth, those few to count.