I recently met up with a friend, another Welsh Druid, in a local pub. Over the course of a few beers, many topics came up in conversation, but one has stuck with me. We noted that before the year 2000, the Mari Lwyd was not at all well-known, even in Wales. Since then, though, she has become, not exactly mainstream, but quite recognisable and a definite part of contemporary Welsh culture, with new Maris and new groups popping up all over the place. A video which I watched recently shows dozens of Mari Lwyds gathering in one place, and there will of course have been others which didn’t attend. It’s very striking how this element of traditional culture rose from obscurity to a new prominence and vitality. Clearly the Mari is speaking to something in our collective psyche, even if I’m not sure what that is.
The photo shows two letters from the Coelbren y Beirdd alphabet: ‘d’, and ‘dd’. The first is pronounced in the same way as in English; the second is pronounced like the English ‘th’ in ‘this’, ‘that’, or ‘there’.
The Post-Carbon Institute has been raising awareness of energy-related policy issues since 2003. This is a critical task: our current way of life, which is based on cheap and abundant energy, is inevitably going to have to change, and change soon – because energy supplies are becoming scarcer, and ever more expensive (PDF). This isn’t because we’re running out of oil: it’s because discovering and extracting oil is becoming so expensive that a price high enough to keep oil companies in business is a price that’s too high for consumers to afford. If the price goes down, the producers go bust; if the price goes up, the consumers go bust. That’s where we are now, and for evermore, because there are no new sources of cheap oil.