Merlinite is a relatively new stone on the commercial market. It was not included in any early lapidaries, texts that describe gemstones and their powers. Scientifically speaking, it is a type of Dendritic Agate. The trade name “Merlinite” was coined in the 1990s and became popular among metaphysical collectors in the twenty-first century. Merlinite is mainly mined in New Mexico, however it is also found in Cornwall, Great Britain. Cornwall is a region deeply associated with King Arthur and his wizard-adviser, Merlin. Most famously, Cornwall is the site of King Arthur’s conception at Tintagel Castle. It is a strange and unsettling story, which only came to pass because of Merlin’s magic.
Geoffrey of Monmouth’s Historia Regum Britanniae (History of the Kings of Britain) c. 1138, is an early and wildly-popular account of King Arthur. In this book, we first learn that King Arthur was born in Cornwall, and conceived in part because of the magic of Merlin the Wizard. In 490, Arthur’s father, Uther Pendragon, was King of all Britain. He became enamored with Igraine, the wife of the Duke Gorlois of Cornwall, and tried to seduce her while the Duke and Duchess were visiting the royal court. Igraine was a loyal wife and already the mother of three daughters, including the witch and enchantress, Morgan le Fay. Igraine resisted Uther’s advances and told her husband what had happened. They immediately left the court, without taking proper leave. Their abrupt disappearance gave Uther an excuse to claim that Gorlois was a traitor and threat to the crown, and so declared war upon him.
The two armies met in Cornwall, near the fort of Dimilioc. Igraine and her daughters were safely hidden in Tintagel Castle. The castle was surrounded by the sea on all sides with only one narrow rocky entrance. The passageway was so thin that three warriors could defend it against an army.
But Uther called forth his wizard-adviser, Merlin, and asked for his magical aid. Merlin transformed Uther so that he looked and sounded exactly like Gorlois. Merlin and one of Uther’s servants, were swiftly disguised as two of Gorlois’ most-trusted companions. With these disguises in place, the men were allowed to peacefully enter Tintigal Castle and Uther was able to trick Igraine into thinking that he was her husband. On that night, Arthur Pendragon was conceived.
Gorlois died in battle that same night. Shortly thereafter, Uther formally claimed Igraine as his Queen and within a year Arthur was born. Fifteen years later, Uther died, and Arthur succeeded him to the throne and went on to win many battles of his own.
The myths of Merlin are long and varied. Geoffrey of Monmouth was the first to directly connected him with Arthur and later authors expanded upon this relationship. However, historians believe that Merlin was in-fact based on a real-life person, a Welsh prophet and bard Myrddin Wyllt (Merlin the Wild). Supposedly, he was at the Battle of Arfderydd c.573 and was horror-struck by the carnage and fled into the woods of Scotland to grieve and ruminate. He was said to be able to speak the language of animals and to have a gift for seeing the future.
Julie Abouzelof is the owner of Moonrise Crystals and an advocate for responsibly sourced gems and minerals. Her first career was in education teaching history, geology and anthropology, as well as working with special-needs students. She is now a heart-centered entrepreneur who encourages mindfulness and positive action to heal ourselves and the world. Julie lives in Hawaii with her lover and a little parrot named Darwin.