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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 Coraniaid Gwyn ap Nudd Lludd and Llefelys Lludd Llaw Eraint The Coraniaid Tylwyth Teg

Gwyn ap Nudd: There Will Be Mercy

BULL of conflict was he, active in dispersing an arrayed army,
The ruler of hosts, Indisposed to anger,
Blameless and pure his conduct in protecting life.

Against a hero stout was his advance,
The ruler of hosts, disposer of wrath.
There will be protection for thee since thou askest it.

For thou hast given me protection;
How warmly wert thou welcomed!
The hero of hosts, from what region thou comest?

I come from battle and conflict
With a shield in my hand;
Broken is the helmet by the pushing of spears.

From The Dialogue of Gwyddno Garanhir and Gwyn ap Nudd

There will be protection for thee since thou askest it.

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Annwn Coraniaid Dôn Gwragedd Annwn Gwyn ap Nudd Jinn Lludd and Llefelys Lludd Llaw Eraint Peredur ab Efrawg Plant Dôn The Mabinogion Tuatha Dé Danann Welsh Triads

Gwyn ap Nudd and the people of fire

“There are the angels, and there are men, who Allah made from mud, and then there are the people of the fire, the jinn”, said Salim.
Neil Gaiman, American Gods

I wrote in an earlier post about the significance of red and green when we consider Gwyn ap Nudd. The green element in the clothes worn by his courtiers represents one of his domains: the forest. The red represents the Tylwyth Teg: the Fair Folk. The red is referred to in the Mabinogi, when Peredur finds the same symbolism in the Burning Tree. Here, we see the fire of Annwn – the flame of Awen that lights up our creativity, the hearth-fire that brings the Cauldron of Inspiration to the boil.

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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).

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Annwn Glastonbury Gwyn ap Nudd Llangollen Peredur ab Efrawg The Mabinogion Tylwyth Teg

Gwyn ap Nudd and the Burning Tree

There’s a tale about Gwyn ap Nudd and the Christian Saint, Collen, which appeared in Lady Guest’s original translation of the Mabinogion, but isn’t in today’s editions.

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Annwn Culhwch and Olwen Gwyn ap Nudd Llefelys Lludd and Llefelys Lludd Llaw Eraint Plant Annwfn The Coraniaid The Mabinogion Tylwyth Teg Welsh Triads

Why Gwyn ap Nudd rules the Tylwyth Teg

In ancient times, according to the tale of Lludd and Llefelys, Britain suffered from three tribulations. One of these was an invasion of the island by the Coraniaid – a race of dwarves who could not be defeated, because they could hear any word that the wind could carry. The Welsh Triads add that the Coraniaid originally came from Asia (which in those days meant anything east of Greece, including what we call today “The Middle East”). Some versions of the Triads are more specific, and say that the Coraniaid came from Arabia. This is significant, but that’s for another post.

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Blodeuwedd Fourth Branch Owl The Mabinogion

Blodeuwedd

I really liked this owl painting when I saw in an art gallery south of Tiananmen Square. The price I was quoted when I first saw it was equal to a month’s rent, but I decided it was worth it. So, yesterday afternoon, I went back, pockets filled with red 100-Rmb notes. When I walked in, the manager remembered me. “Have you come back for the painting? I told you 5,000 RMB, didn’t I? You can have it for 3,800”.