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”
Tag Archives: comparative mythology
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.”
Taliesin’s Power at Court
The legendary poems from The Book of Taliesin give us a little window onto the less formal activities of Welsh medieval court bards. Most of these poems are dramatic pieces that were very likely performed by bards and declaimers adopting the dramatic persona of the legendary Taliesin. The differing ages of some of these poemsContinue reading “Taliesin’s Power at Court”
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?”
Iolo Morganwg and Welsh mythology.
Today, we have far more accurate editions of old Welsh poetry and prose than ever, largely due to the growth of Welsh language university departments, sometimes with whole teams of post-graduate editors and researchers devoted to editing and understanding medieval texts. Even greats such as Dafydd ap Gwilym have found themselves caught up in theContinue reading “Iolo Morganwg and Welsh mythology.”
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?”