Seasonal Salon

Remembering Merlin Stone 9/27/1931 – 2/23/2011

In the summer of 1990, Nancy VanArsdall and I coordinated the spirituality series of the National Women’s Music Festival in Bloomington, IN. Merlin’s updated edition of Ancient Mirrors of Womanhood was hot off the press and we had the good fortune of booking her for the fest. Merlin, an introvert by nature, was in a two year period of “remission” from her usual hermiting. She was uncomfortable in groups and especially with the adulation so many of us feel for her.

I dropped in at the end of her workshop and could see that she was distressed. Womyn were sharing their gratitude for her work and Merlin was feeling overwhelmed. I took her hand and sat down next to her. She graciously responded to another comment then I announced that we needed to clear the room for the next workshop scheduled. Merlin called me her guardian in shining armor. When I entered the room with the twinkly gold stars on my head she immediately felt safe and relieved. I escorted Merlin for the rest of the festival. During those 4 days Nancy, Merlin and I forged a friendship that spanned 10 years. We all share libra birthdays so plans were made to celebrate together that fall.

Merlin flew to IN in late September. This was a big deal for a child of the city. Merlin conducted the business of her life from a small apartment in Soho, either at a small desk or sitting in her small bed. The city sounds of sirens, car horns etc. were ambient background for her. Wanderground was 30 wooded acres offering the songs of birds, chattering raccoons and country serenity. The “silence” was challenging at first but as we walked the land she made it her own.

Merlin had a delightful, playful, sweet girl-child inside her. During the festival she called us her mothers for the tenderness she felt in our caring for her. She told us that she really felt we were indeed her mothers in some past life and wanted to continue this wonderful “play” as we celebrated our birthdays. We were all little girls playing our roles, with birthday cake, hats and favors. Merlin allowed herself to feel that specialness of being celebrated for herself by her” mommies.” Later she sent us a gift with a card she signed “with love from your daughter.”

Our days together were simply magical. We had an ongoing game of Transformation ( an oracle sort of board game) which we returned to by the warmth of the fire. We consumed gallons of coffee and smoked packs of cigarettes as we explored the many rooms of our minds and laughed ourselves silly as well. I concluded that Merlin was more spirit energy than mortal because she required very little food and seemed to thrive on caffeine and nicotine. We shared our stories with each other. All the while I moved in and out of trance states listening to her lovely voice. Merlin seemed to shape shift with a translucent appearance at times as she talked. I saw Goddess sitting before me then. Merlin appeared to be totally unaware of this phenomena but I knew the exquisite gift I was witness to. Merlin was a deep and curious listener and a very deep thinker. Her mind was a steel trap. She had immediate recall of everything she ever learned or heard it seemed. Merlin’s story is in my body but not in my conscious mind unfortunately. I remember that she was born Jewish but not raised in the faith. She had considered herself to be somewhere between agnostic and atheist and feminism was her soul. However, when Goddess took over her life all of our lives were changed forever.

Merlin’s discomfort with being credited for so much by so many stems from the fact that while Merlin did the traveling and writing it was Goddess who was responsible for the content. Throughout her research she would hit “dead ends” and feel so discouraged and frustrated. Each and every time she reached this point, Goddess would move a book, a manuscript, for Merlin to notice. It would always contain the next piece of the puzzle that she sought. Merlin ran out of money numerous times in these years. She slept on library floors in many countries. Within days a cheque would arrive from the sale of one of her sculptures or writings. Merlin knew Goddess wanted this research to be published to nurture Her daughters and that she was simply the vehicle. Goddess chose the most brilliant mind I have ever experienced to do Her work. Merlin embodied Goddess……she always heard the cries of the world.

Rest gently in the arms of our Mother sweet friend.

I’m sure you are enjoying fabulous salons with dear friends and endless cups of coffee.

Category: Spring Equinox 2011