Sunday, July 13, 2008

A Latinized form of the Welsh name Myrddin. He was a magical figure who appears in literature ranging from medieval manuscripts to modern novels. References to him may also be found in a wide varity of place names and specific sites throughout Great Britain. He was a wizard frequently linked with King Arthur, although Guiley suggests he may have originated as a version of the Celtic god Mabon, the British Apollo. According to Geoffrey of Monmouth's life of Merlin, the great wizard, together with the bard Taliesin, took the wounded King Arthur to the Fortunate Isles.

One of the best known portrayals of Merlin is found in Sir Thomas Mallory's Le Morte d'Arthur, first published in 1485. In this story Merlin helps reaise the young Arthur and, on Arthur's accession to the throne on the death of Uther Pendragon, becomes the young king's magical advisor. Although more recent portrayals of Merlin show him as an old man, usually bearded, earlier representations depict him as a young, beardless man.


Medea was a priestess of Hecate and niece to Circe, in Greek mythology. She was the daughter of Aeëtes, king of Colchis and was famed for her magical arts. Medea fell in love with Jason and, with magic, helped him acquire the Golden Fleece from her father. However when Jason betrayed her, she caused the death of their two children and also the death of Jason's second wife. Medea married king Aegeus and by him had a son, Medus.

Medea later married Achilles, in the Elysian fields, and was honored as a goddess at Corinth, although the chief seat of her cult was Thessaly, the home of magic. She was made immortal by Hera and became known as "the Wise One."


In Graeco-Roman times, the Egyptian Moon God Djehuti, or Zehuti, took the form Thoth (pronounced "Toe-th"). He was associated with Hermes. In Egypt, Thoth was patron of literature, science, wisdom, and inventions. He was also the spokesman for the gods and Keeper of the Records.

Thoth is depicted with the head of an ibis and, many times, wearing a solar disk sitting on a crescent on his head. Thoth also was occasionally depicted as a dog-headed ape, suggesting that he may have been derived from a fusion of two earlier lunar deities. He is usually counted as the oldest son of Ra but sometimes as the child of Geb and Nut.

Thoth had all knowledge and wisdom. He invented mathematics, astronomy, magic, medicine, music, and all the arts and sciences. He was also the inventor of hieroglyphs and, as such, became known as "Lord of Holy Words." As Moon God, it was his job to measure time.

A tarot deck designed by Aleister Crowley, with the art executed by Frieda Hariss, is known as the Crowley Thoth Tarot.

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