The Gods : Nature or Culture?

In Nature they are presences; In Culture they have form. —*— Though we re-construct their past mystery They are ever-present, never history. We may sense a god in the landscape, in a woodland, along a river; perhaps even catch a voice on the wind. But how will we know who (s)he is? Is there a…

Brigantica

Bride of our hearth Bless this place With warmth With shelter With fire that burns for us. Bride of our streams Of wells and water courses Asperge our land With rain With dew. Bride of the candles Lit for your remembrance Bright be your blessings As the Sun climbs higher In his Winter rising. Bride…

Brythonic Polytheism in the Lancashire Landscape

An inspirited landscape. A landscape alive with spirits. Many cultures inhabit, and have inhabited, my locality of Penwortham, Lancashire, in North West England, and given names to its landmarks and deities. Whilst the predominant culture is English, there are strong traces of an earlier Brythonic culture and the Brythonic deities are still here. Brythonic Culture…

On the First Day of Christmas, the Dead brought back to me…

The Twelve Days of Christmas; thronged with birds, rings and courtesans as gifts. It’s what we remember, it is what we recall when we see those five words. We don’t think about the dead. We don’t think about wilderness imitations. We don’t think about the hot blood of a sacrificed dog and we certainly don’t…

EPONALIA

Eponalia was celebrated on 18 December in the calendar of Roman Feast days. There is an inscription from Cis-alpine Gaul which counts back to this date from ‘New Year Calends’, seeming to suggest a sequence through the Midwinter period. One of the earliest observances developed by Brython was a placing of Eponalia in this context….

Midwinter Traditions

Midwinter, unlike all of the other seasonal festivals was and still is, less of a singular time or event and more of a season of celebration. Within traditional polytheistic practices, a whole cluster of festivities are marked at this point and even with the much more secular Christmas festivities, the festive period stretches over the…

Cares y Bwlch

They say I ate the flesh of men, cursed me although they eat the flesh of my land. Although they grind its bones to make their bread, they denied and cursed my millstones. They were so terrified of disappearing into the gap of my mouth they stopped riding through the pass and called for a…

Guest Post: ‘Gwynn’s Guest’by Robin Herne

Written in Tawddgyrch cadwynog metre, this poem is a response to the story in the Life of St Collen, wherein the saint received an invite from Gwynn app Nudd to visit him in his royal residence atop Glastonbury Tor. After much persuasion, the saint attended the feast and violated guest law by hurling holy water…

Calan Gaeaf : Traditional Customs for the Calend of Winter

    Many of the seasonal customs recorded in rural communities have their roots in stories and folklore well established for generations before they took the shapes identified in those recording them. Some may go back to even older observances with mythological origins. The coming of winter, or Calan Gaeaf, is resonant with tales and…

Ritual Spaces: Gwyn’s Feast

Gwyn ap Nudd; King under the hill, Stag masked runner in the woodland, Lord beyond the wall; I offer you this meat as it is proper for me to do so I offer you this drink as it is right for me to do so.  

The Lord of the Waters II: Nodens

If we were to stand at the water’s edge 2000 years ago, our prayers would be addressed to Nodens, not Nudd or Lludd. We may have cast offerings of gold  or tablets of lead in exchange for blessings given or asking for a foe to be struck down. We may have gone to one of…

Last Days of Harvest and Gwyn’s Feast

The Autumn Equinox forms a gateway between the light and dark halves of the year. Balance is always tentative and fragile. A pendulum must swing, the days process, at this time marching from light into darkness, like the summer fay will soon. Beneath the Harvest Moon sloes, damsons, blackberries and apples have ripened. Unlike the…