The general consensus among Celtic scholars used to be that Rhiannon, the otherworldly queen of the Mabinogi, was originally a horse goddess. But in more recent decades this idea has been viewed with scepticism. So is she or isn’t she? The answer is both yes and no.
Manannán mac Lir is a mythological character that turns up in old stories from Ireland, The Isle of Man and Wales. Why was he so popular?
There are some basic similarities between The Four Branches of the Mabinogi and later Welsh folktales of the 19th century. Is this a sign of a Welsh wisdom tradition?
Part of a talk I gave for an online conference called ‘A Year With Our Gods‘:
What is a myth? That’s a question that rarely stays answered for long. In my own experience, I’ve rarely been able to settle on a single definition of myth that covers all of its many uses. The situation today is more complicated because myth was redefined in some scholarly circles during the 20th century, suchContinue reading “What is mythology?”
Here’s a couple of talks I gave at the brilliant Aberystwyth Storytelling Festival. Such a rare opportunity to enjoy the company of professional storytellers, artists, musicians and fully-engaged audiences. I really couldn’t have managed to pull off such mad scheme anywhere else. New Cloth From Old Thread Crowd sourcing The Fifth Branch with festival participants:Continue reading “The 5th Branch of the Mabinogi”
Throughout my time at university, I had never been satisfied by general interpretations of The Four Branches of the Mabinogi. Most scholars have seemed reluctant to view the tales as myths even. Most of the modern research published, no matter how useful, seems to say more about current academic values than it does about the textContinue reading “The Four Branches of the Mabinogi”
Tonight is called Nos Galan Gaeaf in Wales, and is an ysbrydnos, or ‘spirit night’ when the dead walk abroad under the starry skies. Halloween is the most recent tradition associated with this night, known at one time as ‘All Hallows Eve’, but there were traditions that came before it, such as the old CelticContinue reading “Shakespeare’s Horns”
As one of the more important texts in the study of Welsh mythology, Culhwch and Olwen contains elements drawn from the ancient body of oral lore that the Welsh inherited from their Celtic ancestors. One such element is Arthur’s hunting of the supernatural boar Twrch Trwyth. As early as the ninth century, this hunt wasContinue reading “The Hunting of Twrch Trwyth”
(this blog follows on from the previous post, and will make more sense if you read that one first) This being March 2nd, St Non’s day, its a good day to commemorate the mother of St. David (see previous post). Non was a daughter of Cynyr Ceinfarfog, a 5th century chieftain of Dyfed who’s lands were in the south-westContinue reading “2nd of March: St. Non’s day.”