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Annwn Arawn Celts Community Culture Cymru - Wales Druidry Druids Dyfed First Branch Fourth Branch Gwydion Julius Caesar Myrddin Places Plant Annwfn Plant Dôn Pryderi Pwyll Religion Stonehenge The Mabinogion

Stones, pigs, and Druids: a historical jigsaw puzzle

History is a jigsaw puzzle. To gain a view of the past, we need to put together pieces gleaned from archaeology and from surviving records. Increasingly, it seems clear that we can also learn from myths, passed down through generations via the oral tradition to the point when they were recorded in writing.

There has been a flurry of articles recently about a paper published by Professor Mike Parker Pearson and his colleagues from a number of British Universities: The original Stonehenge? A dismantled stone circle in the Preseli Hills of west Wales:

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Amaethon Arianrhod Barddas Druidry Gofannon Gwydion Gwyn ap Nudd Iolo Morganwg Ovates

The Voice of the Ovates

The third order was the Ovydd, or Ovate, to which the candidate could be immediately admitted without being obliged to pass through the regular disciplines. The requisite qualifications were, in general, an acquaintance with discoveries in science, the use of letters, medicine, language, and the like. On particular occasions, in consideration of other gifts, even the knowledge of, and a genius for, poetry might be dispensed with. The Ovydd was, however, enjoined to acquaint himself with the Bardic Institutes and traditions. For it might occur that the order of Ovates should alone continue, which in its original purity could not be done, unless they were acquainted with its true principles, nature and intention. The Ovydd could perform all the functions of Bardism; and by some particular performance he became entitled to other degrees, on the confirmation of a Gorsedd.
Welsh Sketches, Ernest Silvanus Appleyard, 1852

it is incumbent upon an Ovate to endeavour and seek after learning, as far as he can, by means of the hearing and voice of the world, of sight and contingency, and of attempt, awen, and imagination
Barddas: The Triads of Privilege and Usage

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Arianrhod Blodeuwedd Ceridwen Fourth Branch Gwydion Lleu Llaw Gyffes Plant Dôn The Mabinogion Uncategorized

Blodeuwedd

Created fully formed,
Fair of face,
Like a flower, they said.
Created with a pleasing figure,
And tawny hair,
And skin that smelled of blossom.

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Abred Amaethon Annwn Arawn Brân the Blessed Gwern Gwydion Gwyn ap Nudd Gwynfyd Hare Lapwing Plant Annwfn Plant Dôn Plant Llŷr Roebuck

Thoughts on the Battle of the Trees

The Cad Goddeu, in English The Battle of the Trees, is a prophetic poem amongst the works of Taliesin.

Prophecy in poetry is like divination with the I Ching: it does not have one definitive meaning and application. It is a reflection in the great Cauldron of Annwn: its obscure text and poetic imagery hold meaning, but that meaning only emerges when we interpret the poem’s symbolism in the context of our own time and our own situation.

The Cad Goddeu tells us of a war between the Great Families of Welsh myth.

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Amaethon Andromeda Arianrhod Blodeuwedd Cad Goddeu Caer Gwydion Constellations Corona Borealis Druidry Fourth Branch Gilfaethwy Gofannon Gwydion Lleu Llaw Gyffes Math mab Mathonwy Milky Way Owl Pig Plant Dôn Pryderi Stonehenge The Mabinogion Y Gymraeg - The Welsh Language

The Children of Dôn

The people of the ancient world spent a lot of time watching the stars. Just as we do today, they gazed upwards to the void: the endless emptiness of space, and they wondered at it.

They saw the changes of the moon, and identified the regularity and timings of her cycles.

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Amaethon Andromeda Arianrhod Barddas Blodeuwedd Caer Gwydion Caer Sidhi Cassiopeia Cities of the Tuatha Dé Danaan Corona Borealis Dôn Druidry Falias Finias Four-cornered Fortress Fourth Branch Gilfaethwy Glass Fortress Gofannon Gorias Gwydion Iolo Morganwg Jinn Milky Way Murias Plant Dôn Preiddeu Annwfn Sidhe Mounds Spiral Castle Stonehenge The Mabinogion Tuatha Dé Danann Tylwyth Teg

Dôn is not an earth goddess

The Plant Dôn: the Children of Dôn, are introduced in the Fourth Branch of the Mabinogi. Who is Dôn, though? I have heard prominent people in contemporary Druidry describe Dôn as an earth goddess; I believe that they are mistaken, and that she is something quite different.

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Annwn Arawn Druidry Druids First Branch Fourth Branch Gwydion Julius Caesar Pig Places Plant Annwfn Plant Dôn Pryderi Pwyll The Mabinogion

The Enduring Power of Myth

In 2007, I paid a visit to the Asian Civilisations Museum in Singapore, where I was living at the time. One of the exhibitions fascinated me. It was dedicated to the hill tribes of South-east Asia, whose cultures span Myanmar, Thailand, and Laos. One of the display boards gave an overview of the belief systems of the the tribes, and I was struck by the fact that some of the tribes’ origin myths indicate that they once lived in Siberia.

It’s hard to decide which is more astonishing – the slow migration over millennia from the frigid wastes of Siberia, through China, to their eventual home in the forested hills of Thailand, or the fact that despite the long ages of movement, and the huge variation in the environments where the tribes had lived, their myths remained unchanged, preserving the folk memory of their first home.

It’s with the same sense of awe that I read reports in the media of a new archaeological discovery earlier this year (2019).