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…

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…

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…

Bards who Sing … Bards who Praise

  ‘It is the bards of the world who judge men of valour’ – Gododdin So says Aneirin in the oldest surviving text in the Welsh language. Aneirin was one of the bards mentioned in the 9th century Historia Brittonum (1) as having been active in the 6th century: Talhaern Tat Aguen was then renowned…

‘Two Giantesses: Moll and Melangell’ by Gwenno

They say that Britain was once inhabited by giants . They were supposed to have gone away somewhere before people settled here. But I think they are still here. Sometimes there are stories about them as ogres or in the Mabinogion stories they are characters with names like Bran who has a brother and sister…

Dreams in Brythonic Tradition

Animistic and shamanistic cultures from around the world place a high value on dreams, which many believe to contain messages from the otherworld and influence individual and tribal destiny. Carvings in caves at Creswell Crag in Derbyshire (11-13BC) and Cathole Cave on Gower (12,500BC), and antler headdresses from Star Carr in Yorkshire (8,700BC) suggest the…

Guest Post – ‘Brigantia: Tribal Goddess by Sheena McGrath’

The Brigantian federation stretched over most of northern England, and their queen, Cartimandua, is one of the few female rulers known to history. But the fame of their goddess, Brigantia, comes from a Roman statue. Statue of Brigantia – Pinterest. This sandstone image, with an inscription naming Amandus, an engineer, as the man who ordered…