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The Grail Legend

“Revenge is in thy soul: wherever thou bitest, there ariseth black scab; with revenge, thy poison maketh the soul giddy!”

This of course refers to the tarantula dance, the madness caused by the tarantula.

You see, that idea suggests something one very often encounters when people approach their inferior function; they have attacks of vertigo or nausea for instance, because the unconscious brings a peculiar sort of motion, as if the earth were moving under their feet, or as if they were on the deck of a ship rolling in a heavy swell.

They get a kind of seasickness; they develop such symptoms actually.

It simply means that their former basis, or their imagined basis, has gone certain values which they thought to be basic are no longer there-so they become doubtful and suspended in a sort of indefinite atmosphere with no ground under their feet, always afraid of falling down.

The figure of Merlin, on the other hand, is so diverse and presents so many aspects that it will be worth our while to consider a few of them more closely from the psychological point of view.

Merlin stands in the background of King Arthur’s Round Table as a mysterious spiritual power.

At first glance, his dual or multiple aspect and his knavish and clownish characteristics lend him a Mephistophelian quality, but his knowledge of the past and future betoken a greater degree of consciousness than is possessed by Arthur and his knights who are, indeed, remarkably unconscious and unthinking.

It is due to this greater consciousness that Merlin, like the Grail, functions as a form of projected conscience, in that he exposes the mistakes and crimes of the people.

As the prophet of hell put into the world by the Devil he is, moreover, clearly distinguishable as the Antichrist.

In this role, the already often stressed motif of Judas is taken up once more but without the betrayal reaching the point of consummation, for the power of good is shown to be stronger than evil and thanks to his mother’s virtue, Merlin’s devilish inheritance cannot work itself out.

This negative trait appears most clearly in his magic power and in his enjoyment of playing tricks on others and fooling them.

But for the most part, neither of these traits has a destructive character, except in the case of Y gerne, whose spouse is a victim of the attempt made on his life, as was Uriah of old when, in similar circumstances, King David rid himself of Bathsheba’s husband.

As the Antichrist, Merlin would expand the Trinity into a quaternity.

It is part of the essential quality of the quaternary number, considered as a psychic symbol, that the fourth does not just follow the three as one more unit but that, according to the saying of Maria Prophetissa, ” … out of the third comes the one as the fourth.”

This means that in the fourth a new dimension is introduced in which the original one, the totality, manifests itself afresh while comprising the three in unity.

So that, in the final analysis, Merlin is not simply the Antichrist which is joined to the Trinity as the Fourth but is also an incarnation of the primal Father God in whom the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are embodied.

This new dimension is the human and natural one that appears to signify a realization of the divine which has penetrated more deeply into our world. ~Emma Jung/Marie-Louise von Franz, The Grail Legend, Page 355-356