Categories
Archetypes Community Culture Cymru - Wales Druidic Virtues Druidry Ethics Gwyn ap Nudd Mari Lwyd Morality Plant Annwfn Plant Dôn Plant Llŷr The Mabinogion Tylwyth Teg

Druids and Tower Time

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.

Categories
Archetypes Barddas Creativity Crow Culture Cymru - Wales Druidic Virtues Druidry Education Gwyn ap Nudd Insight Iolo Morganwg Knowledge Learning Nature OBOD Theology Values Wisdom

More thoughts on cultural appropriation

Periodically, the OBOD forums I participate in see discussions arise about cultural appropriation.

I’ve already made my position clear on this: it annoys the heck out of me, and I get really angry at people who take elements of Welsh language and culture and casually try to redefine them turn them into something they are not – which most often seems to be a rebranded version of common pagan themes. For example, there are currently a number of people trying to treat Gwyn ap Nudd as a rebranded, touchy-feely, Cernunnos, when the extant body of myth clearly depicts him as quite different.

Categories
Culture Cymru - Wales Druidry Education Eisteddfod Nature Rewilding Y Gymraeg - The Welsh Language

Send the children to the woods

Every year in May, for nearly a century, a message of peace has been sent to the children of the World by the members of Urdd Gobaith Cymru (The League of the Hope of Wales, aka Welsh League of Youth), the Welsh-speaking youth organisation founded in 1922 by Sir Ifan ab Owen Edwards.

Categories
Barddas Community Culture Divination Dosparth Edeyrn Dafod Aur Druidry Druids Iolo Morganwg John Michael Greer John Williams ab Ithel The Coelbren The Coelbren Alphabet

Druids and resilience

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’.

Categories
Arthur Bards Brân the Blessed Britannia Culture Cymru - Wales Druidry Druids Julius Caesar Manawydan Myrddin Ovates Second Branch The Mabinogion Three Branches Welsh Triads

A severed head on a round table

In the Second Branch of the Mabinogi, Brân the Blessed, the giant and King of Britain, is mortally wounded whilst rescuing his sister Branwen from her abusive husband, the King of Ireland. He tells his companions, the seven survivors of that brutal expedition, to cut off his head.

Categories
Abred Annwn Awen Barddas Bards Culture Cymru - Wales Druidry Druids Gwynfyd Iolo Morganwg Ovates Reincarnation Theology Y Gymraeg - The Welsh Language

The Wisdom of the Loom

The English word ‘Druid’ is derived from the Gallo-Brythonic word which has come down to modern Welsh as ‘Derwydd’. In turn, this is a compound word, drawing on ‘derw-‘, relating to the oak, and ‘-wydd’ (root word ‘Gwydd’), relating to ‘seer’ or ‘knowledge’.

An alternative word – ‘Gwŷdd’ – however, is also the Welsh word for a loom. This connection is worth exploring further.

Categories
Arianrhod Bards Culture Plant Dôn

Thoughts on Arianrhod

I was (re-)watching the 1992 film Hedd Wyn recently. It tells the story of the Welsh poet Ellis Evans, the poet of the Black Chair, who was killed during the battle of Passchendaele in 1917.

There’s a scene in which Evans is standing outside the family farmhouse on a cold winter’s night, mentally composing the poem which will win him second place in that year’s National Eisteddfod. His sister comes out, wrapped in a blanket, to demand why he’s standing out there on his own. Evans, who has been gazing at the full moon, replies “I’m not on my own. She’s with me. Arianrhod. The ancient name for the moon”.