Loss of Ancestor knowledge / worship
We have forgotten how to stay in touch with our Ancestors.
We no longer have a sense of ‘Family History’, of where our people come from, and who they were.
By losing our sense of who we were and where we come from, we have no sense of where we are going. This in turn leaves us with a feeling of loss and worthlessness.
Partly this is due to our having lost our ‘Tribal’ and larger Family links. Our society has become fragmented, with many children not knowing even near (genetic) relatives, through being moved away from earlier friends and family for economic reasons.
Isn’t it amazing that so many people are feeling a need to look into their families genealogy? And why is there such a sudden surge in history programmes on TV? Can it be that people are trying, on a mental level, to re-connect with their personal, tribal, past?
“Come on Gwion Bach”, said Morda impatiently, “we have work to do, I’ve received a message from the witch Cerridwen offering us a years’ work so hurry up as we can’t afford to miss an opportunity like that”.
So I gathered up my meagre belongings and ran after Morda, who although blind was already yards ahead of me.
We headed north for Penllyn to the home of Tegid Foal and his wife the well known wise woman called Cerridwen. We approached the lake about noon the following day and although the Sun was high in the sky the lake was still veiled by mist. As we approached an austere looking hut we were greeted by a beautiful looking young woman.
“Welcome” she said softly,” my name is Creirwy and I have been sent to meet you and take you to my mother Ceridwen. Please follow me into the woods”.
I had no hesitation in following such a fair maiden as she. As we followed her we walked close to the window of the hut where I heard a scurrying sound from inside the hut which I found quite disconcerting. The inside of the hut was unlit and dark but as I peered in I was certain that I could see a small figure crouching in the darkest corner of the room.
“Hello” I called.
“He won’t answer you” said Creirwy “that is my bother Afagddu, once known as Morfran until his ugliness caused my mother to cast him into the shadows out of the sight of men. As a reminder of her shame at having produced such a creature as he she renamed him as Afagddu which means utter darkness”.
“Can nothing be done to heal his life” I asked.
“That is why you are here” she replied. “come let us go quickly, Mother has been busy collecting the herbs required for your work and has little patience since returning from her visit to the Fferyllt. You do not want to anger her or test her patience” she added.
Leaving the pathetic figure behind us we were led by Creirwy into the depths of the forest, eventually arriving at the small hut that was to be our home over the next year and a day. The dark and imposing silhouette of a bent figure could be seen standing by a large cauldron into which she appeared to be pouring in water.
“At last” she cried, “my work can begin. Come sit and I will tell you about your task”.
She pointed a long crooked finger towards a fallen log that was to be our chair. We sat and she began to tell her tale.
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Singleton Park is a lovely open 'breathing space' - Swansea's largest parkland. Purchased from the Vivian family by the local council in 1919, the park is very popular amongst Swansea residents, especially its dog-owning fraternity. The park is characterised by it sweeping plains of neatly manicured grass.
Singleton Park's Circle of Gorsedd Stones
Singleton Park has numerous features, including a crazy golf course, a boating lake, a pub, a small outdoor cafe and a botanical garden. For today's post, I will concentrate on the stone circle which dominates the entrance to the park at its Sketty entrance along Gower Road.
This monument is known as a Gorsedd Stone Circle and was first erected in Singleton Park in 1925 for the National Eisteddfod of Wales' Proclamation Ceremony on July 02 of that year. The circle was later enlarged for the Eisteddfod's revisit to Swansea in 1964 to allow more people to participate in the Proclamation Ceremony.
Tucked away, many would say hidden, in Gower's quiet countryside stand nine mysterious Standing Stones (Menhirs). Standing Stones pose difficult questions for archaeologists and historians alike. Despite often exhaustive research and excavations, very little is still known about these enigmatic megaliths. An assorted number of reasons have been suggested for their existence - funerary sites, way markers, boundary posts and ley line signifiers all number amongst present day theories for the stone's existence. All that can really be stated, with any real authority, is that these monuments were the work of Bronze Age Man. But whatever theory the present reader ascribes to these stones, their visual magnificence and historic importance can never be denied.
No-one knows exactly how many standing stones were once scattered around the Gower Peninsula. Recent theories have even suggested that one stood as far east as Penclawdd. Today, only nine remain to be visited. A word of caution, however, must be noted to those intrepid individuals willing to pass an afternoon following the succeeding route that visits all of these memorials. Some of these stones have become shy creatures and have hidden themselves amongst the tangled undergrowth of hedge boundaries and overgrown fields. None announce themselves to visitors in the manner of other megalithic Gower monuments such as Arthur's Stone (Cefn Bryn) and Giant's Grave (Parkmill). Many visitors to Gower must have tried to find these stones with the aid of a pair of walking boots and an ordnance survey pathfinder map. Of these, an unaccountable number must have failed. The stones' locations, even on the most detailed Ordnance Survey map, are vague to say the least and it took me several visits to accurately pinpoint some of the more retiring of the menhirs. That said, the present reader can now forego the hit and miss treks over Gower's farmland that may have hitherto dissuaded all but the most fervent against such visits. For the first time, a complete guide to reaching all of Gower's Standing Stones can now direct even the most uninitiated country walker to the splendour and brooding magnificence of Gower's mysterious menhirs.
More popularly known by the darkly evocative name Deadly Nightshade, Atropa belladonna has also been called Devil's Herb, Sorcerer's Berry and Witch's Berry. These various name detail the plant's long association with pagan magic.
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These verses started off as an attempt to understand a friend with a great sadness in her life. I first tried to write in prose but these verses came out instead. I suppose this allowed me to try to attain a meaning that is not possible otherwise.
The ending reveals my wish for her to reach some kind of resolution and continue with her life.
I cannot feel. I am emotionless.
Then there is numbness beyond numbness and a pain beyond pain.
Only death will release me
An infinite unwinding empty path where I breathe the foul cloud of despair.
Hot coals sear my tearless soul.
Yet I tread the path for there is nothing else
I read my poetry to you
Who look on ready to be merciless?
But smiling away your interior view
Keen to ease my performance stress.
I am ready for the ritual…
The praise, my self-deprecating replies
A human warmth and insincerity jewel
In a brassy crown for rhyming lies
Close your eyes and listen to the stream.
Within this ancient green and fertile land we dwell
Of the old religion.
Free of pain, free of fear, never to hunger.
We are whole,
But our daily wanting defines us
And our striving compels us.
I have to admit that I have crystals of all shapes, colours and textures liberally scattered around the windowsills of our home. Whether they possess the power ascribed to them by certain pagans and New Age folk, however, is a matter upon which I still balance (quite precariously) on the proverbial fence. Apart from the obvious quartz and amethyst, I have no idea as to the identity of the numerous other crystals which decorate our house. Whatever their supposed powers be, I certainly feel they bring an ethereal quality I enjoy to the house.
Given that I am not a true devotee to crystal healing/therapy etc. the question arises as to why I have collected so many crystals over the years. I don't think I have ever visited Glastonbury (and I frequent that place more times than I care to mention here) without popping into at least one of its numerous crystal shops and purchasing a shiny rock to add to my collection. What, exactly, is the drawer that crystals hold over people like myself?
Giant's Grave, Parkmill, Gower