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Rise up, O Flame By thy light, glowing Bring to us beauty, Wisdom and joy! In honor of the Solstice, please enjoy this free download of Rise Up, O Flame. I recorded it with singer/songwriter Lori Llyn as part of a music project we worked on a few years back. (Check out her music here!)
Two popular Welsh folk customs, the Mari Lwyd and the Hunting of the Wren, are part of winter calendar traditions which are enjoying a resurgence of interest and practice in modern times. Although these customs were celebrated on varying dates, depending on the time period and area of Wales in question, they tended to occur sometime between Christmas through to Twelfth Night, and occasionally extending through to Candlemas on February 2nd. This season of festivities was one of great revelry in Wales despite, or perhaps because of, the relative isolation of individual households due to the weather. The conviviality of […]
“The goal of life is to make your heartbeat match the beat of the universe, to match your nature with Nature.” – Joseph Campbell The cyclic tides of nature are, for many Pagans, the closest thing we have to a holy book. Even those whose paths are centered on reconstructing the religions of ancient cultures, complete with intact myths and rituals, ultimately see the primordial powers of the natural world underwrite these traditions on some level. Sometimes the Gods are literal personifications of elemental forces, while in other instances these forces are used as tools of Divine retribution or reward. […]
Just as King Arthur rests eternally in Avalon’s safe keeping, so too does the memory of the Holy Isle endure, embedded in the lore and legacy of Britain’s legendary king. What remains are but tantalizing glimpses of the Apple Isle and her inhabitants—a barge full of mourning queens … a samite-enrobed arm emerging from the surface of a glassy lake, holding aloft the sword Excalibur … a paradisaical land of healing where dwelt Nine learned sisters, skilled in all manner of art, science, and sorcery. These scattered images suggest the seeds of something quite extraordinary to have cast such long […]
Here is the final segment of my three part series on the Welsh Origins of King Arthur. Part One can be found here. Recurring Themes Although it is difficult to ascertain the degree to which early Welsh poetry directly influenced the writing of Culhwch ac Olwen, or to determine whether the similarities of theme and content of these works are a result of their respective authors drawing upon a collective body of lore concerning Arthur, an examination of some of these recurring motifs underscores the existence of an established, albeit continuously growing, catalog of Arthurian legend. Further, the formal repertoire of […]
Here is Part Two of my three part series on the Welsh Origins of King Arthur. Part One can be found here. The Body of Tradition Although it may be impossible to plot a direct evolutionary line in the development of the Arthurian legend from his earliest appearance as a semi-historical solider figure, to the imperial presence found in the later romances, there are certainly stages of tradition which can be identified. One of the watershed works that defines the tradition of Arthur during the folkloric stage is Culhwch ac Olwen. There is a sort of loose consistency in several […]
With the recent opening of yet another movie adaptation of The Matter of Britain, this time in the form of Guy Richie’s King Arthur: Legend of the Sword , I thought it was a good time to share an overview of the earliest extant sources for the legend of Arthur. It is my hope that this multi-part series may shed some light on the origins of this enigmatic king and his surrounding lore. Part 2 to follow. The Earliest Sources and Their Characterization of Arthur The earliest prose sources which mention Arthur, the Historia Brittonum dating to 829 -30 and the Annales Cambriae, the earliest […]