Prayer to Rhiannon for the Return of the Divine Child

To the Divine Queen, I pray:   Goddess of Thresholds, Of Boundaries   Of Borders…   Great Queen of the Otherworld, Divine Mother — Rhiannon…   You know what it is to come, a stranger, into a new land Seeking happiness Seeking freedom.   You know what it is to be looked at as Other To be betrayed To be lied about.   To have Your child ripped from Your loving arms.   You Know.   You know the pain, The agony, The uncertainty of reunion.   You know the Burden that can never be set down.   Compassionate, loving […]

Between the Worlds – A Solitary Beltane Ritual for Divine Inspiration

Three parts to everything : He One, She One, They One in the Third. – Celtic Triad For the Celts, three was a sacred number. They had a threefold cosmology, dividing existence into the Realms of Sea, Land and Sky. Many of their Divinities were triple aspected, they grouped their histories and aphorisms in bundles of three for mnemonic purposes and to amplify the wisdom they contain, and they believed that three was the number of completion – the essence of physical manifestation. As alluded to in the above triad, it is the union of opposites which sparks the act […]

Welsh Winter Traditions: The Mari Lwyd

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 Power of Cycle

“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. […]

The Quest for Avalon Within

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 […]

The Welsh Origins of King Arthur – Part 3

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 […]

The Welsh Origins of King Arthur – Part 2

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 […]

The Welsh Origins of King Arthur – Part 1

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 […]