Merlin  presents  presents
Image:Galahad grail.jpg
King Arthur's Forest
Knights of the Round Table
Valley of No Return
The Golden Tree
The Holy Grail
Spring of Youth
A Connecticut Yankee
Merlin & Vivien by Tennyson
Vivian or Nimue
Merlin and King Arthur
Maps and Guides
Merlin & King Arthur
Holy Grail
Knights of the Round Table
King Arthur
Merlin the Magician
Yankee in King Arthur's Court
Fairy Tales
Knights Templar
mary magdalene
Ministry of Culture photos Château de Trécesson
Free e-cards by
broceliande @
Merlin and Nimue in Art @
Paimpont forest
Fairy  The concept of fairies is based on the fae of medieval Western European (Old French) folklore and romance.
Château de Comper a castle located in Paimpont forest (also known as Brocéliande), three kilometers to the east of the village of Concoret in the département of Morbihan, Bretagne, France. During the 13th century, Comper was considered one of the strongest castles in Britanny. For this reason, it has been the object of many battles and sieges. It has also changed owner several times in its history.
Château de Trécesson located in the commune of Campénéac near the Paimpont forest
Merlin is best known as the wizard featured in Arthurian legend. The standard depiction of the character first appears in Geoffrey of Monmouth's Historia Regum Britanniae, and is based on an amalgamation of previous historical and legendary figures. Geoffrey combined existing stories of Myrddin Wyllt (Merlinus Caledonensis), a northern madman with no connection to King Arthur, with tales of Aurelius Ambrosius to form the composite figure he called Merlin Ambrosius. Geoffrey's rendering of the character was immediately unpopular; later writers expanded the account to produce a fuller image of the wizard. Merlin's traditional biography casts him as born of mortal woman, sired by incubus, the non-human wellspring from whom he inherits his supernatural powers and abilities.[1] Merlin matures to an ascendant sagehood and engineers the birth of Arthur through magic and intrigue. Later, Merlin serves as the king's advisor until he is bewitched and imprisoned by The Lady of the Lake
C. S. Lewis used the figure of Merlin Ambrosius in his 1946 novel That Hideous Strength, the third book in the Space Trilogy. In it, Merlin has supposedly lain asleep for centuries to be awakened for the battle against the materialistic agents of the devil, able to consort with the angelic powers because he came from a time when sorcery was not yet a corrupt art. Lewis's character of Ransom has apparently inherited the title of Pendragon from the Arthurian tradition. Merlin also mentions "Numinor," a nod to J. R. R. Tolkien's Númenor.
Morgan le Fay She became much more prominent in the later cyclical prose works such as the Lancelot-Grail and the Post-Vulgate Cycle, in which she is said to be the daughter of Arthur's mother, the Lady Igraine, and her first husband, Gorlois, Duke of Cornwall; Arthur is her half brother by Igraine and Uther Pendragon. Morgan has at least two older sisters, Elaine and Morgause, the latter of whom is the mother of Gawain and the traitor Mordred. In Sir Thomas Malory's Le Morte d'Arthur and elsewhere, she is married, unhappily, to King Urien of Gore and Ywain is her son. Though she becomes an adversary of the Round Table when Guinevere discovers her adultery with one of her husband's knights, she eventually reconciles with her brother, and even serves as one of the four enchantresses who carry the king to Avalon after his final battle at Camlann.

The modern image of Morgan is often that of a villain: a seductive, megalomaniacal sorceress who wishes to overthrow Arthur. Mark Twain in A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court depicted her as a degenerate feudal lady, living a life of luxury while keeping helpless prisoners for decades in her castle's dungeons. Contemporary interpretations of the Arthurian myth sometimes assign to Morgan the role of seducing Arthur and giving birth to the wicked Mordred, though traditionally Mordred's mother was Morgause, another sister. In these works Mordred is often her pawn, used to bring about the end of the Arthurian age.

Starting in the later 20th century, however, some feminists adopted Morgan as a representation of female power; in this context she is sometimes connected to interpretations of Celtic feminine spirituality. Such is the case in Marion Zimmer Bradley's The Mists of Avalon, which presents a different view of Morgaine's opposition to Arthur, her actions stemming from her fight to preserve the native pagan religion against what she sees as the treachery and oppression of Christianity.

  • Mark Twain made Merlin the villain in his 1889 novel A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court. He is presented as a complete charlatan with no real magic power, and the character seems to stand for (and to satirise) superstition, yet at the very last chapter of the book Merlin suddenly seems to have a real magic power and he puts the protagonist into a centuries-long sleep (as Merlin himself was put to sleep in the original Arthurian canon).
    archaeoastronomy the study of how peoples in the past "have understood the phenomena in the sky, how they used phenomena in the sky and what role the sky played in their cultures.
    Rick Wakeman - Merlin, The Magician
    His birds and beasts supply our feast
    And his feats our glorious chorus

    Trecesson Castle
    Chateau de Trecesson at Campeneac
    Campénéac Map by google
    Return to the Merlin Menu or Vivien Menu of The Camelot Project at the University of Rochester
    Lancelot by timeless
    Thomas Bulfinch (1796–1867) Age of Fable: Vol. III: The Age of Chivalry 1913
    King Arthur and His Knights
    III. Merlin
    King Arthur, The French Connection @
    In the far Southwest of England, most of the historical locations associated with King Arthur are to be found in North Cornwall.
    The Land of Legends
     Prehistoric man has left more evidence of his presence in Brittany than anywhere else in Europe, and the countryside is liberally scattered with menhirs (standing stones), dolmens and gallery graves.  In addition to this, Brittany is essentially a Celtic country, a land steeped in folklore, a place where fervent religious belief goes hand in hand with deep-seated superstition.
    The City of Ploermel was named after Saint Armel the dragon slayer

    Brittany is a land of legends and cults. For the druids, the forest of Broceliande was a place of predilection and the scene of numerous exploits as mystifying as they were wonderful. Journey to the enchanted forest of Broceliande, and discover the territory of Merlin the Magician and the Knights of the Round Table, at the boundaries of the “Ile et Vilaine” and “Morbihan” departments, 31 miles west of Rennes. This legendary forest lies in the region known today as Paimpont (Penpon meaning bridge head in Breton) which covers an area of 18,000 acres to the south west of Rennes.  It remains a place of pilgrimage for many lured by its mysterious nature and myths that still live on today.  

     The undergrowth rustles with the whispering wind. While the canopy reaches 656 feet and presides over the massif

    Legend tells us that Merlin's father was a devil. Merlin during his lifetime turned his back on evil and dark forces to turn to the power of light and goodness. Merlin is credited with helping to establish the famous Round Table where all of King Arthur's knights sat, and played a major role in the mysteries of the Holy Grail.
      Merlin the magician is in love with his student Viviane the fairy who wishes to preserve this enchanted state they are in. Download There is no deception or malice involved in Viviane's entrapment of Merlin in the beautiful tower. Their story has been retold in many ways since, the best known version by Tennyson makes her into a villain but later retellings more reflect the changing role of strong women in society and fufilling your destiny.
    Merlin made his first appearance in literature in the early 12th Century in Prophecies of Merlin by Geoffrey of Monmouth. Monmouth based his Merlin on a legend who was called Myrddin.

    Let the quest of the knights for the Holy Grail speak to you. Experience the historic charms of the castles and churches in  Josselin, Pontivy and Ploermel.

    Contemplate the moon, as shiny as a silver chalice, reflecting in the tranquil waters of the pond at the Paimpont abbey.  In the distance, the dark forest of Broceliande nods to you, shrouded in mystery. On the edge of the largest lake in Brittany near to the Broceliande, the main city in this  area called Porhoët, lit., the country in the woods is the town Ploermel, founded in the 6th century.

    Tales of Arthur are told in festivals throughout the Morbihan region as well as Brittany.  The woods of the Broceliande contain many well marked trails to follow just pop into  Trehorenteuc and pick up a leaflet or join a tour.

    A wealth of wonders lies within the region of central Brittany, and gastronomic delights, fine wines and local Breton cider await the caller at every restaurant and bar.

    Enchanted forest of Brocéliande  -  King Arthurs Forest
    Porhoët,, the country in the woods
    Ploërmel with a population of 13,000 and Josselin [about 2,500 inhabitants] are the main cities of the area called Porhoët, literally --  the country in the woods.  Ploërmel is set on the edge of the largest natural lake in Brittany and has a 1500 year history associated with the rulers of the magical Forêt de Paimpont, which legend proclaims as the home of Merlin the Magician. [more]
    Brocéliande is the remnant of a vast primeval forest which in the first centuries A.D. covered the interior of Brittany. This dense shadowy forest has spawned numerous mysteries & legends including one of the most famous legends in western mythology. This enchanted region is the setting for the quest by the Knights of the Round Table to recover the Holy Grail under orders from King
    Spectacle équestre : "Rêve médiéval et oriental en Brocéliande"
    Ploermel Spectacle: Spectacle équestre : "Rêve médiéval et oriental en Brocéliande"
    The large pond next to Château de Comper is related to Viviane, the Lady of the Lake for legend has it that she lives in a crystal palace, built by Merlin, hidden under the waters of the lake.  It is also the home to:

    Centre de l’Imaginaire Arthurien  

    Château de Comper 56430 Concoret
    Tél. : 02 97 22 79 96

     Arthur. One of the best known inhabitants of the forest was Merlin the Magician. Merlin, a druid was friend & advisor to the young

    Today the forest of Paimpont still covers 27 square miles King Arthur & many places are instilled with his magical presence. The spring at Barenton to the north of Beauvais is where Merlin first encountered the enchantress Viviane. Viviane's love for Merlin was absolute & she bewitched Merlin at the Spring of Eternal Youth at Jouence using spells learned from the magician himself, turning the ancient druid's features back into their former youthfulness. The love was  reciprocal & Merlin for his part built a crystal citadel beneath the lake at Concoret which today reflects the image of the Chateau of Comper ( it was here that Lancelot was called by the Lady of the Lake).

    Merlin’s tomb
    Fountain of Barenton
     nitrogen bubbles from its waters making the spring a "bubbling ice-cold water fountain”

     Some of the many designated sites associated with the legends are easier to find than others.  Merlin’s tomb (a megalith) is just off the road, but both energy and inspiration are needed to find the Fountain of Barenton, where Merlin met his beloved fairy Viviane and where Viviane finally imprisoned Merlin in 9 magical circles "as intangible as air but as hard as rock" in order to be with the magician for ever. Merlin's tomb forms part of an alignment of standing  stones in the northern part of the forest.

     Campénéac which is associated with legends of the Round Table. La Roseraie nestles on the border of Morbihan near the Paimpont forest and Broceliande, Arthurian Legend Centre and the Chateau de Trecesson, home to ghosts and hauntings, set on a lake often bathed in mist.

    Here you can take guided tours of the forest, there are rambles, exhibitions and medieval feasts and markets. Everything is designed to take you back to the days of Merlin, Viviane and Le Fay.

     the highlight of the year being the Arthurian week that takes place in July.



    In the village of Trehorenteuc with its 17th century church you will find a storyteller and guide to take you to many of the landmarks from the days of Merlin the Magician who is still said to inhabit the forest. From the Broceliande invites you to discover Trecesson, the Giant's tomb, Vivien's house, the tomb of Merlin, the fountain of Barenton and the many woodland paths

    The Church of the Holy Grail at Tréhorenteuc offers a remarkable mixture of Christianity, Druidism & Arthurian Mythology. Stained-glass windows combine Celtic and Christian symbols. The "Thanksgiving" window shows the Apostles around the Holy Grail, while in "The Appearance of the Holy Grail" the Knights of the Round Table are seated around King Arthur. Among the four paintings in the choir, one represents the Knights of the Round Table with the Grail ; Saint-Orenne, King Judicael's sister, is shown with her family - she chose to live poorly at Trehorenteuc.  The forest is still an important site for numerous groups of witches, both black & white, & druid cult followers all of whom perform rituals in the forest at appropriate times of the year.

    Places to visit
    Forêt de Paimpont off the N24, direction Plelan le Grande
    Paimpont on the D773 & D 71
    Val sans retour, the Valley of no return, take the footpath from the second car park on the D134 towards Tréhorenteuc
    Etang du Pas du Houx, off the D71
    Merlins Tomb on the D31


    At the center of Paimpont forest also known by its Arthurian past as Brocéliande is the French commune of Paimpont with its landmark Abbey

    At Paimpont the Abbey and Lake nestle close to the town. It is quite a bustling little thoroughfare full of shops selling Arthurian books of local folktales and an array of crystals and the finest hand painted korrigans. (Brittany's goblin folk.) Here too are some fine tabacs, cafes and restaurants were you can drink some very strong coffee, the local cider and eat a startling variety of crepes - savoury, sweet or even doused in liquor and set aflame.

    A wealth of wonders lies within the region of central Brittany, and gastronomic delights, fine wines and local Breton cider await the caller at every restaurant and bar. Villages and towns of breath taking beauty abound, set against a backdrop of magnificent countryside. Here is a magical place where the traveller can rest easy and forget the pace of modern life, a place where your soul can be recharged with the wonder of life - the beauty of Brittany.

    Valley-of-No-Return (Val Sans Retour)
    The Valley of No Return is one of the places most heavily steeped in legend in the Forêt de Paimpont.  The half sister to King Arthur, Morgane LeDownload Fay was disappointed in love and she avenged this failure by imprisoning Knights who came to cross the Val Sans Retour (Valley of no Return) or the Val des Faux- Amants (Valley of Faithless Lovers) in a continuous circuit of dancing and revelry.

     Legend has it that Morgana the witch, jealous of a knight who had been unfaithful to her, cast a spell over the valley preventing anyone leaving it. Only Lancelot, who remained faithful to Guinevere, was able to break the spell. Paths multiply to transform into a labyrinth in this domain of Morgan le Fay.

     Knights might eventually find themselves petrified them. “The Faithless Lovers Rock”, one of the most famous such petrifactions, dominates the valley.Download

    These poor Knights were finally freed by the arrival of Lancelot, he being the cause of Morgane's anger & the spell she cast. The area around Tréhorenteuc is thus considered a centre for black magic & Morgane Le Fay may still be wandering the region. The timeless love between Sir Lancelot of the Lake and Queen Guinevere, the wife and queen of King Arthur, became the most popular and famous tale of the Arthurian legend.

    At the entrance to the Valley-of-No-Return, the “Fairy Mirror” pond will take an enchanting hold on you. Beyond its reflecting waters beckons the mysterious world of legends.

    At the entrance to the Valley-of-No-Return, the “Fairy Mirror” pond will take an enchanting hold on you.

    At the site of the Château of Comper (where Sir Lancelot was raised in a crystal palace by the Lady of the Lake) there is now a permanent Arthurian exhibition – and the church at Tréhorenteuc has stained glass windows (and much more) blending Christianity with the  legends.  

     You should try to walk  through this fairy-haunted Val sans Retour (Valley of No Return) to the hillside where a Neolithic burial site known as the ‘Hotié de Viviane’ hides.

    On the way back from here along the rim of the valley, a rock known as Merlin’s seat is the spot where the sorcerer liked to sit in contemplation as the evening shadows crept through the deep bowl below.

    Open your eyes to see, horses in the field
    Ridding now for the glory of the “Crown”!!!
    Behind the mirror of illusions, of the crowd
    Searching for shadows, in the fields around!!!

    The valley of no return!
    Where braves fall and the faith disband
    And the mask of lies, deep inside your heart (in your mind)…
    In the valley of no return.

    Crossing labyrinths of the new reality
    Despair and hunger in the essence of sin!!!
    Holy sacrifice to the sanctuary
    Words written in blood here echoes in me!!!

    The valley of no return!
    Where braves fall and the faith disband
    And the mask of lies, deep inside your heart (in your mind)…
    In the valley of no return.

    “Captain, listen to me…
    I cannot wake up to see…
    To see my friends dying in vain!
    Captain, you’re not alone…
    We’ll get hold of the throne
    The throne of Your Highness’ Crown!”

    Now the invaders are revealing your secrets…
    Ancestral idols were burned in flames.
    Come to the new order, new order of soldiers…
    Where the knights domain their lives!

    The valley of no return!
    Where braves fall and the faith disband
    And the mask of lies, deep inside your heart (in your mind)…
    In the valley of no return.
    The Golden Tree, Forest of Broceliande

    In the legendary forest of Brocéliande, at the entrance of the Val-sans-Retour in which the fairy Morgan imprisons the unfaithful lovers, stands the Golden Tree. 

    In September 1990, a disastrous fire burnt the Valley of No Return during five days. After the fire, thousands of donations poured in from all over the world to save the Valley’s mythical heritage. In 1991, to pay tribute to this international cooperation, a Parisian sculptor, François Davin's symbolic Golden Tree  was created in August 1991 : a gilt chestnut surrounded by five black trees are protected from close approach by a circle of sharp stones. 

     “The Gold of Broceliande”, is an enormous golden chestnut tree, with pure gold leaves. It symbolizes the immortality of the dreams of men of goodwill. Its branches evoke the antlers of stags, the wild animals who led the knights through the enchanted forests.

    Who's who
    Key People :
    Knights of the Round Table


    Sir Lancelot (Sir Launcelot)

     Lancelot  was raised by Vivien, the Lady of the Lake.  French prose romances characterize him as the greatest and most trusted of Arthur's knights, and plays a part in many of Arthur's victories – as well as Arthur's eventual downfall when his affair with Arthur's wife Guinevere (very considerably his senior) destroys the unity of the court. He rescues Queen Guinevere from Meleagant, an unsuccessful quest for the Holy Grail and the rescue of Guinevere after she is condemned to be burned to death for adultery with him


    · Bedivere 

    · Bors 

    · Calogrenant

    · Gaheris 

    · Galahad 

    · Gareth 

    · Gawain 

    · Geraint

    · Kay 

    · Lamorak

     · Lancelot

     · Palamedes

     · Percival 

    · Sagramore

     · Tristan

     · Ywain

    Fisher King Percival in the earlier stories; in the later versions Percival is joined by Galahad and Bors. Joseph of Arimathea, who had used the Grail to catch Christ's blood before laying him in the tomb. The Lancelot-Grail cycle also known as the Vulgate Cycle is a major source of Arthurian legend written in French, it tells the story of the quest for the Holy Grail and the romance of Lancelot and Guinevere. The Vulgate cycle combines elements of Old Testament with the birth of Merlin as the son of the devil and a human mother who repents her sins and is baptized. Merlin is transformed into a prophet and given the ability of seeing future events by God.
    Objects Excalibur · Holy Grail · Round Table
    Places Avalon · Camelot · Corbenic  · Tintagel
    In Media
    The Holy Grail

    It was Merlin who advised the young King Arthur to recover the Grail, that sacred and hidden object credited with such magical properties as the power to grant immortality, but also the power to bring peace and harmony between people.  According to the legend, the Grail was the chalice from which the Christ drank during the Last Supper with the apostles.

    The King put up a circular table around which the most courageous knights of his kingdom gathered. It was round so that all were equals facing the King, with no other distinction than their individual accomplishments. Only the purest among them could find the Grail and place it in the center of the table.

    The hero must prove himself worthy to be in its presence. In the early tales, Percival's immaturity prevents him from fulfilling his destiny when he first encounters the Grail, and he must grow spiritually and mentally before he can locate it again. In later tellings the Grail is a symbol of God's grace, available to all but only fully realized by those who prepare themselves spiritually, like the saintly Galahad.

     The church at Trehorenteuc, deeply nested in the forest ofDownload Broceliande, is probably the place that most vividly recaptures the past Quest for the Holy Grail. Above the southern porch an enscription reads: “The door is inwards”.

    Carnac is the most dramatic of all the Breton sites, with more than 3,000 prehistoric stone monuments. These include long avenues of menhirs (single standing stones) and dolmens (multi-stone arrangements supporting horizontal slabs). Most of the stones are within the French commune of Carnac, but some to the east are within La Trinité-sur-Mer. The stones were erected at some stage during the Neolithic period, probably around 3300 BC, but some may date to as old as 4500 BC. These days it is much more widely accepted, through the ground breaking work of archaeoastronomy that the stones marked the changing night sky but no one has yet divined a plausible theory for Carnac whose stones are arranged in rows.

    The stones are set back from a renowned seaside resort. The beautiful beaches are famous for their fine sand, gentle shops and invigorating crystal-clear water...not forgetting the benefits of sea water therapy. This is also near France's best wind-surfing beach.

    There is a local tradition claims that the reason they stand in suchHeart-stone.jpg perfectly straight lines is that they are a Roman legion turned to stone by Merlin.

    There is likely a connection with Malta which has more sophisticated but similar megaliths built during the same broad period. In fact the cart marks leading to the megalithic structures on Malta indicate that the Mediterranean communities may have one gathered periodically on Malta for worship and perhaps  a Carnaval!


    The Mysterious Spring of Youth
     Spring of Youth
    The Spring of Youth, both legend and history tells us, has the ability to make it rain.
    Its water has the amazing power to give youth back to anyone who drinks it. Many legends born from the Quest for the Holy Grail credited certain waters with this ability to give eternal life. In fact, the first mention of such a power appears in the Bible. This fountain is originally found in the Garden of Eden where it allowed bodies to preserve their youth and beauty. In the Arthurian legend, this source allowed wizards to live for centuries without having to suffer the mark of time. Eventually forgotten, it was Sir Lancelot who kept this treasure for a while, thereby preserving his strength and robustness for the final battle at his King’s side. At the time of the druids, oddly enough, this trickle of water was used for baptisms and to take a census of the children born in the year. When a child was left out, he or she was counted the following year…and made one year younger in the process.
    Merlin became very popular in the Middle Ages. He is central to a major text of the thirteenth-century French Vulgate cycle, and he figures in a number of other French and English romances. Sir Thomas Malory, in the Morte d'Arthur presents him as the adviser and guide to Arthur. In the modern period Merlin's popularity has remained constant. He figures in works from the Renaissance to the modern period. In The Idylls of the King, Tennyson makes him the architect of Camelot. Mark Twain, parodying Tennyson's Arthurian world, makes Merlin a villain, and in one of the illustrations to the first edition of Twain's work illustrator Dan Beard's Merlin has Tennyson's face. Numerous novels, poems and plays center around Merlin. In American literature and popular culture, Merlin is perhaps the most frequently portrayed Arthurian character.

    A Connecticut Yankee

    by Mark Twain

    A parody of the legend
    Merlin (magician)


     Hank (technocrat):

    Mark Twain's "A Connecticut Yankee" derives its brilliance, its humor and its themes from  a juxtaposition of times and its attendant values between the mythic King Arthur age of romantic chivalry and the technocratic Hank Morgan  who is "nearly barren of sentiment," freedom minded, shrewd and technocratic.
    Their constant rivalry is the embodiment of the larger social project that Hank is trying to achieve in making England into an industrialized nation. But in proclaiming the eclipse and in the restoration of the Holy Fountain, Hank uses the same reliance on superstition that Merlin does against him.
    Twain's Yankee's greatest fear and ultimate enemy is the Roman Catholic Church, which to him embodies the evils of manipulating religion for political purposes. He states that "the established church is only a political machine," bereft of the spiritual functions that it purports to serve. Hank accuses the church for shoring up the ills of the sixth century society: superstition; hereditary nobility; social inequality; the meek subservience of the masses to authority and tradition.
    Arthur is described as a "just and fair" judge who does the best "according to his lights." Twain himself seems to acknowledge the best part of the Arthurian canon the sense of honor and valor that surrounds the person of Arthur himself, even as he ravages the time and its conventions and laws.
    Although Merlin appears to be soundly defeated each time he challenges Hank's authority, he gets the last laugh as Hank's civilization destroys itself.

    "The very bludgeoning to which the ideals are exposed makes the satire less than effective. Hank describes himself as void of sentiment and poetry, acts in a rather Philistine manner, and despite being swept centuries into the past and across the ocean, refuses to believe that magic exists. Being unwilling to yield, he is unable to compromise with Camelot on anything, leading to chaos, and in the end, though he characterizes Merlin as a 'doddering old fool', Merlin is able to send him back with a few passes in the air."
    —Brian Attebery, The Fantasy Tradition in American Literature.
    Knights of the Round Table
    Sir Thomas Malory describes the Knights' code of chivalry as:
    • To never do outrage nor murder
    • Always to flee treason
    • To by no means be cruel but to give mercy unto him who asks for mercy
    • To always do ladies, gentlewomen and widows succor
    • To never force ladies, gentlewomen or widows
    • Not to take up battles in wrongful quarrels for love or worldly goods