Folk Practices

Welsh Winter Traditions, Part 2: The Hunting of the Wren

The Hunting of the Wren – Hela’r Dryw – is a winter mumming custom practiced in Wales and other Celtic countries since at least the middle ages. There are two distinct phases of the practice: the hunt itself, and the subsequent parading of the captured wren. While each of these phases were often performed over the course of several days, they may both have originated from a single ceremony that evolved in practice and meaning over time. Although, like the Mari Lwyd, there is no direct evidence which connects the wren hunt to ancient Pagan practices, folk wisdom associates wrens […]

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 […]