What can the almost universal practice of ritual mask wearing tell us about the Welsh bardic tradition? As far as we know, the medieval Welsh bards didn’t use masks in performance, but they did take on archetypal personas such as that of the legendary Taliesin, and there are suggestions that some of these performances wereContinue reading “Ritual Masks and Channeling”
In answer to a question that comes up every now and again: Why focus on interpretation? Shouldn’t we just cover the historical facts and let people decide for themselves what something means? Unfortunately, sometimes the facts just aren’t enough . . .
Concluding this short series on Welsh Arthurian poems we take a look at the broader use of the ‘enchanted fortress’ motif and see how it’s used to evoke several different themes, both sociological and mythological. I’ll be taking this week off from the Facebook live videos but will be returning the week after (2.11.21) withContinue reading “The Mythic Fortress”
Pa Gur is perhaps the oldest Welsh Arthurian poem preserved in manuscript. In it, the Welsh Arthur seeks entry for himself and his men into the fortress of Glewlwyd Gafaelfawr. But some allusions in the poem suggest that not all is as it seems, and there may be something else going on, something that evokesContinue reading “Who Is The Gatekeeper?”
Continuing with this short series on Welsh Arthurian poems, this talk takes a look at Preideu Annwfyn (The Spoils of Annwfn), one of the better known poems from the medieval Book of Taliesin. Like many other Taliesin poems from this period, it is a strange, ambiguous and multilayered text, and although many commentators have attemptedContinue reading “The Spoils of Annwfn”
‘The Discourse of Arthur and the Eagle’ is a 12th century Welsh poem that was very popular in the Welsh oral and written tradition. Even though it’s a poem about Christian learning, it also draws on a far more pagan mythology.
A quick look at how this old Welsh word was used in its earliest contexts.
Celtic myths are symbolic, so we need to interpret them to draw out their wisdom. As a result, it’s probably worth asking if interpretation was ever a part of the Celtic storytelling tradition?
The Book of Taliesin is one of the great treasures of Welsh culture, but who wrote it? In truth, it’s an impossible question to answer, but there are some very interesting theories about who composed some of the most famous poems in the manuscript . . .
Most Celtic scholars would rightly point out that the correct answer to this question is an emphatic no. Yet there is a more nuanced story that can be told: