Clearly, witchcraft — as part of the broader set of beliefs we call paganism — was an aspect of a nature religion in the folk culture of medieval Wales. But sometimes we need to be a bit careful with our terms . . .
Comparing Irish, Norse and Welsh medieval sources sheds light on the meaning of the otherworldly well that appears to be closely connected to both divine inspiration and the sovereignty figure. You can also listen to this episode as a podcast on the platform of your choice: Spotify Apple Google
In some variations of the myth, the way the sovereignty goddess engages with the king causes her to transform. What does this tell us about their relationship?
The first in a series looking at the Celtic myth of the sovereignty goddess. The story Baile in Scáil contains one of the earliest explicit examples of a sovereignty figure in Irish literature, and features the intriguing concept of a ceremonial drink.
A recording of the first day of the Mabinogi Challenge. Over the course of 5 days we’re working through a simple process by which you can begin to interpret and understand a short folk-tale from the Mabinogi tradition. 0:00 The Welsh storytelling tradition. 17:06 The Story of Llyn Barfog. 32:35 Q&A. 40:45 Challenge questions. .Continue reading “The Mabinogi Challenge: Day 1”
The Welsh word mabinogi means something like ‘tales of youthful exploits’, or perhaps even ‘tales for the youth’. Either way, even though it’s not a common word, it was the name given to the Welsh prose classic The Four Branches of the Mabinogi. It has long been acknowledged that The Mabinogi, first written down aroundContinue reading “The Mabinogi Challenge”
In this second video on Canu Llywarch Hen, the 9th century Welsh poems that tell the story of Llywarch the Old and his 24 sons, we talk through Llywarch’s lament for his son, the fallen warrior Gwên. This second poem confirm’s much of what was suggested in the previous episode, especially the notion that theContinue reading “The Dark Side of the Hero Myth pt 2”
Canu Llywarch Hen, the sequence of 9th century Welsh poems about the tragedy of Llywarch the Old and his 24 sons, is one of the most important works in Welsh literature. But far from joining in with the pomp and pageantry of traditional praise poetry, instead it reveals a darker side of the hero mythContinue reading “The Dark Side of the Hero Myth pt 1”
In this second video on Canu Heledd (‘The Song of Heledd’) we look at what could have led to such a tragedy. There are suggestions in the poems that Heledd considers herself to be to blame for the death of her brother and the fall of his territory. If you’re intending to follow the Ystoria Taliesin courseContinue reading “The Song of Heledd pt 2”
Canu Heledd (‘The Song of Heledd’) is a sequence of 9th century Welsh poems commemorating the loss of territory to Saxons when they invaded the kingdom of Powys. The main character in these dramatic verses is Heledd, sister of Cynddylan, one of the noblemen who died defending against the attack. But Heledd is more thanContinue reading “The Song of Heledd”