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”
Category Archives: Celtic Mythology
The Four Branches 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”
The Hunting of Twrch Trwyth
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”
2nd of March: St. Non’s day.
(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.”
Roland Barthes’ definition of myth
If, as many scholars have pointed out, The Four Branches of the Mabinogi are derived from an earlier mythology, it’s probably best to begin with the question: what exactly is a myth? In the Concise Oxford Dictionary, the first meaning given to a myth is . . . a traditional narrative usually involving supernatural orContinue reading “Roland Barthes’ definition of myth”
Cernunnos: a Jungian symbol?
To explore Jung’s theory of the unconscious I’m going to look at a very ancient symbol, that of the horned or antlered human. This symbol has been expressed by many cultures across the world – we find it in Africa, Asia and Europe in images dating from the very earliest periods of human history. IfContinue reading “Cernunnos: a Jungian symbol?”
Jung on myth and symbol.
All myths and symbols arise initially in peoples imaginations, and if they are artists they will express them in creative terms more or less understandable to those around them. All of human imaginative life is inherently influenced by the unconscious, that aspect of the psyche that’s outside of our awareness, containing such things as instinctsContinue reading “Jung on myth and symbol.”
What does Annwfn mean?
In the Beirdd y Tywysogion series, the editors have interpreted a line by Cynddelw in the following way: In Annwfn, in the world, in the sea – . . . This doesn’t really make much sense, which leads me to consider alternative readings. It’s probably worth considering how court bards such as Cynddelw thought aboutContinue reading “What does Annwfn mean?”
What do myths and symbols mean?
When trying to interpret myths and their symbols we usually find ourselves doing so at some distance from the culture that gave birth to them. Surviving texts have very often been long separated from their original social contexts, orphans of a long dead culture. With such a lack of contextual information, often our only guideContinue reading “What do myths and symbols mean?”