Robert Graves’ White Goddess is one of the most popular books ever written on modern Celtic mysticism, but as well as entrancing countless modern readers it has also enraged many Celtic scholars.
Perhaps one of its greatest successes was introducing Kat Godeu (‘The Battle of the Trees’) to an English audience. Few had ever heard of this obscure medieval Welsh poem from the 14th century Book of Taliesin. But Graves’ version has done little to clarify what the poem actually means.
In this video I talk through the main problems with Graves’ version and suggest another way of understanding this ambiguous Welsh text.