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It's marvelous having Merlin's books to work with. It's like talking with the master.
Belle to King Arthur src

Merlin's Books are books featured on ABC's Once Upon a Time. They first appear in the second episode of the fifth season.


History

Before First Curse
After Nimue shatters Excalibur to prevent removal of her Dark One powers, the sorcerer Merlin creates a tethering potion to bind Nimue to Excalibur's broken half, the Dark One Dagger. At some point, Merlin records information on the tethering potion in one of his books, which he keeps in his tower. ("Nimue")

Before Third Curse

After arriving at the Camelot castle, Emma and her family browse Merlin's tower, which is filled with the sorcerer's old books. ("The Price")

As Regina searches in Merlin's tower for a spell to free Merlin from the tree, King Arthur comes in to check on her progress. Belle mentions how great it is to work with Merlin's books as it's almost like working with the sorcerer himself. Inspired by this, Mary Margaret wonders if they could find a way to talk to Merlin. Regina remembers reading about a magical toadstool in one of Merlin's books, a mushroom called the Crimson Crown, that allows conversation through magical barriers, enabling them to communicate with Merlin inside the tree. She flips through one of the books and finally locates the correct page, before showing them all an illustration of the mysterious mushroom. Arthur believes that the toadstool is located in Brocéliande, the Forest of Eternal Night, and David insists on going to retrieve it with Arthur willing to accompany him. ("Siege Perilous")

After Regina learns from Emma about Arthur's actual plans with the Dark One Dagger, the two women stay in Merlin's tower to figure out how to restore Merlin to human form. Emma places an open book on the table while she explains to Regina what they need to do. ("Dreamcatcher")

A newly freed Merlin accompanies the group to the dungeons, where they find Lancelot, and unexpectedly, Merida, too. Because Merlin is unfamiliar with the magic on the prison bars, Belle opens one of his books and helps him with a spell to break them. Once the others are out of sight, Merida knocks Belle unconscious and brings both her and the book to Merida's homeland of DunBroch, in a rowboat. At a witch's cottage, Belle holds the book as they perform a spell in a cauldron that conjures up a vision where United Clans have captured Merida's brothers and sentenced them to execution. ("The Bear and the Bow")

While plotting her escape from Regina, Zelena helps Arthur get one of Merlin's spell books and tethering Merlin to Excalibur. Arthur then assumes control of Excalibur and commands Merlin to do his bidding. ("Nimue")

After Third Curse

At the sheriff station, Regina shows David and Mary Margaret a picture of a toadstool from one of Merlin's books which she had marked six weeks prior, though she doesn't remember what it was for. When the dwarves storm in, demanding David do something about Emma, who stole Happy's pick ax, Regina grabs the book and takes her leave from the room. ("Siege Perilous")

In a race to stop Emma from completing a spell to snuff out the light, Belle hurries to the hospital, just as Zelena is in labor, explaining that Emma requires a baby's first cry as the final ingredient. Despite that the spell ingredient is correct, Emma later reveals she never wanted Zelena's baby, and instead, she kidnaps Zelena for her plans. ("Birth")

Trivia

On-Screen Notes

  • The book which Regina opens in Merlin's tower to read about the al toadstool (seen upside-down),[1] is a facsimile of page 392 of Foxe's Book of Martyrs,[2] a work of Protestant history and martyrology by the sixteenth century English historian and martyrologist John Foxe, published in 1563. The opposite page[1] and two other pages[3] also seem to be taken from the book: While the text mostly illegible, the pages have the same layout as Foxe's book (two columns separated by a vertical line). ("Siege Perilous")
    • The book that Emma opens while discussing plans with Regina (also seen upside-down),[4] contains a facsimile of page 654 and 655 of Foxe's Book of Martyrs.[5] ("Dreamcatcher")
  • The illustration of the magical toadstool says vermiculus coronum,[6] which is Latin for "crimson crown".[7] ("Siege Perilous")
  • The book with information about the Crimson Crown (note that a few words are illegible on-screen, but can be read on a prop page which was auctioned off on eBay in March 2019;[8] the illegible text is set in fuchsia), says:[9]


The Crimson Crown has as
its essence a moste
pernicious poison that brings
to pass an intemperate
humour and can lead to the
demyse [sic] o' the wight if
remedye [sic] is not administer'd
in time.

There are other properties
that this toadstool doth
possess magical properties
It is of beneficence when one
has to communicate across
barriers even through
spells. They grow in
Brocéliande The Forest of
Eternal Night.

The Crimson Crown has
masculine correspondences
and is aligned with the
planet Mercury and the air
element. It may be used as a fertility
charm. Some use this
toadstool to aid with astral
travel
. This can be
dangerous.

Some associate this fungus
with Dionysus.

There are a number of other
folk magic uses for The
Crimson Crown, and one
may incorporate them at a
symbolic level, rather than
actually eating them.

In many areas, the
appearance of a ring of
Crimson Crowns on the
ground is cause for either
rejoicing or alarm. In The
Southern Lands, these
circles are known as fairy
rings
– and they are where
the Fae come to dance and
cavort after a rainstorm.

Moreover, like many other
locations associated with
faeries [sic], humans who,
perchance, dare to enter
such a ring may find
themselves asleep for a
hundred years, or worse
yet, whisked off to the land
of the little folk, never to
return.

In the Western Mountains,
these rings are formed when
an ogre sets down his milk
churn – once he picks it up,
there's a big circle left in the
grass.

In some ridings, such as The
Enchanted Forest and the
wetlands to the East, these
rings are associated with
sorcery and malevolent
magic, and travelers are
well-advised to steer clear of
them.
("Siege Perilous")
  • Some of the text, is adapted from Witchipedia.com's article "Magical and Spiritual Considerations", about the toadstool fly agaric. The original text reads thus:
"Magic mushroom has masculine [sic] and is aligned with the planet Mercury and the air element. It may be used as a fertility charm. Some use this mushroom to aid with astral travel. However, it should be noted that using chemical assistance is never advised and can be dangerous. Some associate this fungus with Dionysus, mainly because of its intoxicating potential."[10]
Other parts of the text are adapted from the following excerpts from the online article "Mushroom Magic and Folklore", available on About.com at the time the episode was filmed,[11] but later moved to the subdomain ThoughtCo.:[12]
  • "In Holland, these rings are believed to be left when the Devil sets down his milk churn - once he picks it up, there's a big circle left in the grass. In some countries, such as France and Austria, these rings are associated with sorcery and malevolent magic, and travelers are well-advised to steer clear of them."
  • "In many areas, the appearance of a ring of mushrooms on the ground is cause for either rejoicing or alarm. In Great Britain, these circles are known as fairy rings - and they are where the Fae come to dance and frolic after a rainstorm. However, like many other locations associated with faeries, humans who dare to enter such a ring may find themselves asleep for a hundred years, or worse yet, whisked off to the land of the wee folk, never to return."


I cause these changes to take place in
conformity with my will

So must it be!

The first requisite for being the
arbiter of physical transformation is
thorough qualitative and
quantitative understanding of the
consternation of the blade, the
first party.

This must be repeated in
honor of the second, sentient party.
Once this has been achieved these
subtle energies may be entwined.

To bind two disparate phenomena.
To make them one in an act of
diabolic synergy.
Speaketh the following incantation:

'He who will wield
this dread blade
Shall be fast held to it its purpose.
The kind who cleft thee so
in twain I held in thrall,
their name be graven.'
MerlinsBooksDemonology

From Compendium rarissimum totius Artis Magicae...

  • An online prop auction from November 2019 reveals what the spellbook pages that Belle shows to the others at the hospital (the ones which contains information about the spell to destroy light magic) say.[16] Note that some of the information can be read on-screen,[17] but most of it is illegible due to the angle of the book or Belle's finger being in the way; the information which is indecipherable on-screen is set in fuchsia: ("Birth")


The triangle of light and dark can be manipulated to protect
one from the other. Darkness from light and light from dark.
By basking in the vanity of light and never straying from its
path one can absorb its power and re-focus its glory into a shield.
Using the passage of luna ipsum the virtuous can attach or bind
these protections to another person or object.


Dispel Light Magic

Absolve the bindings of Light Magic using an enchanted
vessel, bound object, eternal flame or the cries of an
innocent or newborn child.

The hearts of men are dark so protection from this evil
darkness can be protected by the bindings of the light.
Only those with purity of heart can cast the spell of
protection – but any can dispel it with the following passage:

The virtuous has bound thee with protection of light
spin forth back to front to extinguish its light
with darkness we counter – using nit day but the night
to break the barrier or goodly and bright.


The triangle of Light and Dark

By studying the triangle of
man I have discovered the
3-fold effects of light, dark
and stimuli. Those which
effects [sic] our lives, and connot [sic]
be measured in simple terms
Love, joy, torment, revenge.
These are things that can drive
one from the light into the dark
or vica versa.


tenebris ad luceat et luceat tenebras – effectus in nobis efficere imperium quod pugnare (inside the circle)

Lux effectuat tenebris (in the middle of the circle)

Triangulum luceat ac tenebras (caption beneath the circle)
  • "tenebris ad luceat et luceat tenebras – effectus in nobis efficere imperium quod pugnare" is Latin and directly translates as "darkness to shine and shine darkness – effects in us bring about control (literally:"government") and fight";[18] in other words, "darkness to light and light to darkness enables us to command and fight"
  • "Lux"is Latin for light.[19] "Effectuat-" is a Medieval Latin combining form meaning "caused to happen".[20] "Tenebris" is Latin for "dark".[21] In other words, the text in the middle of the circle can be translated as "light created darkness".
  • "Triangulum luceat ac tenebras" directly translates as "triangle shine and darkness";[22] in other words, "triangle of light and darkness".

Disney

Props Notes

  • A piece of concept art by Neil Westlake reveals an unused page of instructions on how to communicate through magical barriers:[23]


The True Spell of
the
Crimson Crown

There is a Forme of
true Divination, for
speaking through
barriers, of both
material and that of
the spirit worlde.

For the workings, the adept will need the
Crimson Crowne toadstool which is then
renderede down into complete morsels.

The Nine Woods in the Cauldron go, burn them
fast and burn them slow. When is ebullient and
steaming, add some comfrey horsetail yarrow
and the umbilicus of a mooncalf. Mix well in a
deosil fashion.

Into theis [sic] melange the mushroom should be
thrown and soon thereafter a portal cloud will
start to forme. It is in ??? of the cloud that
the adept will speke '[sic] and communicate with
those as according to her will.


  • "Nine Woods in the Cauldron go, burn them fast and burn them slow" is taken directly from the Wiccan Rede,[24] an official statement that provides the key moral system of Wicca.
To remove obstacles that
may prevent one from moving forward.
This spell will prove eficacious [sic]
on either the astral plane or the corporeal
real.
Close your eyes slowly
and venture inwardly to your habitual
visualization circle.
Therein place a stoat yellow candle on the altar
in your mind and slowly chant, wordlessly, in
your working space.
Impediment to my passage, dissolve against the
bulwark of my will and be gone!
In the name of the venerable old ones, by those
doughty guardians of the cardinal points,
I say, crumble and evanesce
into inconsequentiality!

Thereforth, hold out your hand afore you
and brash the obstacle into nothingness.
You are now free to proceed
along your path unhindered.


  • The ellipse illustration on the opposite page is the same illustration that appeared next to the tethering spell in "Nimue",[15] but with added symbols inside the ellipse.

Appearances


References

  1. 1.0 1.1 File:503TalkToHim2.png (flipped screenshot)
    File:503TalkToHim2.png (original screenshot)
  2. Stanford University Libraries' copy of Foxe's Book of Martyrs, p. 392. Facsimile by Google Books.
  3. File:503TalkToHim.png
  4. File:505FirstWeNeedFlipped.png (flipped screenshot)
    File:505FirstWeNeed.png (original screenshot)
  5. Stanford University Libraries' copy of Foxe's Book of Martyrs, pp. 654 – 655. Facsimile by Google Books.
  6. File:503TheCrimsonCrown.png
  7. Vermiculus coronum. Google Translate. Retrieved on July 11, 2018.
  8. ONCE UPON A TIME TV Series Crimson Crown Book Page Prop (OUAT1832). eBay (March 2019). (Photograph)
  9. File:503ReginaFindsInformation.png
    File:503ToadstoolActually.png
    File:503ToadstoolActually2.png
    File:503StuffOfLegend.png
    File:503ThisQuestionMark.png
    File:503ThisQuestionMark2.png
    File:503IFoundThisMorning.png
  10. Magical and Spiritual Considerations. Witchipedia. Retrieved on July 11, 2018.
  11. Back-up copy created by Internet Archive in August 2015, the same month that the episode was filmed:
    Wigington, Patti. Mushroom Magic and Folklore. About.com. Archived from the original on August 14, 2015.
  12. Wigington, Patti (Updated June 19, 2017). Mushroom Magic and Folklore. ThoughtCo.
  13. File:503ClosingBook.png
  14. File:506SurprisedWomen.png
  15. 15.0 15.1 File:507MerlinsCookbooks.png
  16. Once Upon a Time - Merlin's Spell Book (3039). iCollector (November 3, 2019). (Photograph) (Photograph 2)
  17. File:508MerlinsSpellBookFlipped.png (flipped screenshot)
    File:508MerlinsSpellBook.png (original screenshot)
  18. What does tenebris mean in Latin?. Wordhippo. Retrieved on December 2, 2019. “English Translation: dark”

    What does ad mean in Latin?. Wordhippo. Retrieved on December 2, 2019. “English Translation: to”

    What does luceat mean in Latin?. Wordhippo. Retrieved on December 2, 2019. “English Translation: shine”

    What does et mean in Latin?. Wordhippo. Retrieved on December 2, 2019. “English Translation: and”

    What does tenebras mean in Latin?. Wordhippo. Retrieved on December 2, 2019. “English Translation: darkness”

    What does effectus mean in Latin?. Wordhippo. Retrieved on December 2, 2019. “English Translation: effects”

    What does in mean in Latin?. Wordhippo. Retrieved on December 2, 2019. “English Translation: in”

    What does nobis mean in Latin?. Wordhippo. Retrieved on December 2, 2019. “English Translation: us”

    What does effecere mean in Latin?. Wordhippo. Retrieved on December 2, 2019. “English Translation: bring. More meanings for efficere: bring it about”

    What does imperium mean in Latin?. Wordhippo. Retrieved on December 2, 2019. “English Translation: government. More meanings for imperium: (…) control noun

    What does quod mean in Latin?. Wordhippo. Retrieved on December 2, 2019. “English Translation: and”

    oppugn. Merriam Webster. Retrieved on December 2, 2019. “Oppugn was first recorded in English in the 15th century. It came to Middle English from the Latin verb oppugnare, which in turn derived from the combination of ob-, meaning "against," and pugnare, meaning "to fight."”
  19. What does lux mean in Latin?. Wordhippo. Retrieved on Deember 1, 2019. “English Translation: light”
  20. effectuate. Lexico. Retrieved on December 2, 2019. “Origin: Late 16th century from medieval Latin effectuat- 'caused to happen'”
  21. What does tenebris mean in Latin?. Wordhippo. Retrieved on December 2, 2019. “English Translation: dark”
  22. What does triangulum mean in Latin?. Wordhippo. Retrieved on December 2, 2019. “English Translation: triangle”
    What does luceat mean in Latin. Wordhippo. Retrieved on December 2, 2019. “English Translation: shine”
    What does ac mean in Latin?. Wordhippo. Retrieved on December 2, 2019. “English Translation: and”
    What does tenebras mean in Latin?. Wordhippo. Retrieved on December 2, 2019. “English Translation: darkness”
  23. File:ManuscriptsVariousEpisodesConceptArt.png
  24. The Wiccan Rede (Full Version). The Celtic Connection. Retrieved on July 12, 2018.
  25. ONCE UPON A TIME TV Series Spell Prop S02E06 (4868). eBay (June 2019). (Photograph) (Photograph 2)

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