The Family of Dynion Mwyn of Wales
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You will find Witches here, you will find Witchcraft and Faeries here, you will find Magic here. You will find Shamans, Celts, Bards, Druids, Pagans and Nature here. Witches foretell the future using Tarot cards, rune stones, tea leaves, crystals, or astrology. They may dance in a circle, or worship their gods. They may do magic for healing or prosperity, or they may just pray at their altar finding the love of the God and Goddess as signified by the following poem by Rhuddlwm Gawr:
During the past one thousand nine hundred years, most people have misunderstood the Religion of Witchcraft, causing its violent repression and near destruction. But, a few families in the rural areas of Wales, England, Ireland, Scotland and Brittany have continued to secretly practice their mysterious craft, and passed their religious beliefs and traditional arts to their descendants, thereby preserving religious and esoteric knowledge that is the source of today's Faerie tradition of Welsh Witchcraft.
One such family were the people of Y Dynion Mwyn, (Faerie Folk) of the tribe of Dynion Mwyn (Gentle People), and claim to be descendants of the Bards of Prince Llewellyn, the last true prince of Wales.
This family emulated the practices of the Welsh Druids and used an ancient method of memory enhancement to record their Craft tradition in the minds of their descendants. These oral traditions eventually evolved into hand written records in private manuscripts.
Anciently, the Welsh People believed that Y Dynion Mwyn were benevolent spirits who lived in the forests and wilds and could help them in their everyday lives. But Roman invasions and later Christianity gradually drove the Old Religion "underground.
Because of these repressions, many people fell into the abyss of superstition, fear and confusion, adopting the Christian propaganda that any spirit or deity other than the Christian God, was evil and dangerous. It didn't take long before Witches throughout Europe, were being imprisoned, tortured and killed. The Old Religion with its connection to the Faerie Folk, was in danger of disappearing forever.
It is difficult to pinpoint an exact historical era as the time when fairy lore began. Many writers maintain that the Welsh People of the Goddess Don, before the coming of the Celts, are the ancestors of the Y Dynion Mwyn. Other writers claim that Atlantis or Hyperborea were the source of the Faerie beliefs.
When the first Celts arrived in Wales, they found that the people of the goddess Don, the Prytari, already had control of the land. The Celtic people fought these indigenous people in battle and defeated them, driving them 'underground' where it is said they remain to this day in the hollow hills or Y Dynion Mwyn mounds. Clearly the belief in the Y Dynion Mwyn is part of a pre-Christian religion which survived for thousands of years and which has never been completely wiped out from the minds of the Welsh people.
The history of early Wales is bedeviled by the lack of contemporary written and pictorial sources. As a result there are long periods of time where we know little or nothing about large areas of Wales. This problem is compounded by the tendency of some of the earlier modern historians to retrospectively apply evidence from later medieval Wales, which first occur in thirteenth century copies of twelfth century manuscripts.
There was also a tendency among some earlier historians to apply the contemporary evidence from other Celtic nations to the Welsh, wrongly believing that there was a "common" Celtic society sharing the same attitudes and institutions. The Celtic peoples considered themselves to be individual nations, and not part of some greater "Celtic" nation. The Welsh thought of themselves as Cymry or Britons. The Irish thought of themselves as Gael, etc.
To understand Welsh Witchcraft, it is threfore necessary to understand the heritage and culture of the Welsh prior to the thirteenth century.
Six classes of Welsh society can be identified from surviving historical documents: kings, nobles, peasants, slaves, druids, and bards. While it is possible that a seventh class of free landholding peasants also existed, there is no surviving evidence of this.
THE KINGS (Old Welsh: Rhi, or Teyrn) claimed their right to rule by descent. Kingship was most frequently passed from father to son or brother to brother. The annals and genealogies stress "dynastic dominance and dynastic continuity, sons were expected to succeed fathers. In practice kingdoms were sometimes shared, and occasionally quarreled over between brothers and uncle and nephew. Occasionally there were quarrels between father and son.
THE NOBLES (Old Welsh: Uchelwr, or Breyron) were the free landowners in Wales, and as such formed the aristocracy. There is evidence for their existence from the sixth century. They owed their position to their hereditary freedom to own land, and the power this gave them over their tenant farmers and slaves. They owed no service, rent or due to the king other than the gwestfa, repair of bridges and roads on their lands, and service in war. The king might choose to ignore or remit these as he wished, or a noble might be powerful enough to resist his monarch's attempts to enforce them.
Nobles owned their land in the form of large estates. These could be grouped together to form multiple estates, or spread over a wider area. They could dispose of their lands as they wished, provided interested parties such as heirs or kindred were in agreement, although for a while kings tried to control land grants to the invading Christian Church. Nobles could act as foster parents to the sons of kings and other nobles sons. They could also serve on the king's council (OW. Degion) as a Gwr Da or good man, acting as royal officers and advisors. The Degion could even govern the kingdom in the king's absence.
THE PEASANTS (Old Welsh: Aillt) were bondsmen, the unfree tenant land holders of noble landlords. They were tied to the land and could not leave it without their lord's permission, and they accompanied the land if it was sold or granted away.
They lived in separate settlements known as a tref (pl trefi) with the slaves who worked for them. They worked the land, returning a food rent to their landlord and a twice yearly direct payment to the king of dawnbwyd; They were required to fight for their landlord but they did not do labor services. There is no evidence that peasants could rise to the nobility and by the twelfth century their position was being eroded.
THE SLAVES (Old Welsh: Caeth) were primarily agricultural laborers, born into slavery and tied to the land. They were regarded as important property. However, there is evidence that they were often undernourished and underfed. Slavery could be imposed as a religious penance or a criminal punishment. In their spare time both slaves and peasants could specialize in craft activities like smithing and shoemaking. Slaves were allowed to own goods and save money; they could and did, where possible, buy their freedom. Peasants (and Nobles) could fall into slavery through economic reasons, as a penance, a criminal punishment, or as captives.
THE DRUIDS AND BARDS (Old Welsh: Derwydd, Bardd.) They were the Priests, Doctors, Poets and Minstrels. They were also the teachers who retained the sacred knowledge of ancient times. The words Druid and Bard conjure up many different images. The title Bard has been used to describe Shakespeare and Robert Burns, and also has been given to the impressively costumed gentleman who heads the National Welsh Poetry Festival called the Eisteddfod. The Druid was mentioned in Caesar’s Gallic Wars as priests and Leaders, as well as blood thirsty savages who burned sacrifices in Wicker containers. What is the truth about these mysterious figures and how does their philosopy relate to Welsh Faerie Witchcraft?
DRUIDS Religion was a pre-eminent force in the Celtic culture. There's was a religion codified in oral dogma and administered by a priestly caste, the Druids. Druids were a major power within the Celtic empire, with all public and private affairs subject to their authority. The Celts were extremely religious, and regarded it as the worst punishment to be excommunicated. There were three classes of religious leaders in ancient Wales: Bards, Ovates and Druids, Bards were the Historians and Teachers, Ovates were the Herbalist and doctors, and Druids were the Shamans and Priests.
The immense power of the Druids was the weakness of the Celtic politic. No nation that is ruled by priests drawing their authority from spiritual sanctions is capable of true progress. The Celts fanatic adherence to their religion inevitably helped bring down their empire.
The Druids were originally the priests of the megalithic pre-Celtic peoples of Western Europe. During the Celtic expansion the Druids were adopted by the highly religious Celts and the numerous Celtic deities and beliefs were adopted by the Druids.
After the invasion of the Romans and advent of Christianity, the Druids were not allowed to practice their religion or induct students. They began to mingle their lore and knowledge with that of the Bards.
BARDS Bards were found in all Celtic cultures (Wales, Ireland, Scotland, Manx and Gaul) and a rough equivalent can be found in Norse culture, too, where they were known as "skald." They were also found in Anglo-Saxon England, and in many other cultures.
In Wales, after the Roman Invasions, the Bards, became Court Poets, known as "Gogynfeirdd," or "Prydydd," and were limited in subject matter and form, with rigidly structured rules. The true Magickal and Spiritual knowledge dwelt with a secret order of Bards called "derwydds," (oak-seers). These "oak-seers" were the ones that carried on the real traditions of the Druid. These are the people that gave us the "Cad Goddeu" and the "Hanes Taliesin," and who passed the "Matter of Britain" onto the French troubadours and trouveres, thus giving us Arthur and Camelot.
So what is a real Bard? In the Celtic cultures, the Bard was pretty much inviolate. He could travel anywhere, say anything, and perform when and where he pleased. The reason for this was, of course, that he was the bearer of news and the carrier of messages, and, if he was harmed, then nobody found out what was happening over the next hill. In addition, he carried the Custom of the country as memorized verses...he could be consulted in cases of Customary (Common) Law. He was, therefore, a valuable repository of cultural information, news, and entertainment.
The Ollamh, the highest degree of Bard in ancient Gaelic society, belongs to the Druid class. As such, the nature of his poetry is predominantly religious, being mainly used in ritual, or certainly in a spiritual context. His main preoccupation is the perception of what he calls "poetic truth" and its subsequent translation and refinement into an exact statement. The "poetic truth" being, of course, that mysterious and elusive gift of the OtherWorld Goddess, the feminine archetype - inspiration.
The ability to tame that raw, chaotic force into poetry comes from the God, the male archetype. Here we see the eternal principal of creation at work, this time on a mental/spiritual level, as the inspirational Muse and the fire of discipline unite to give birth to poetry and music. If the Bard is male, he "woos the Muse" to use a well-worn phrase. If she is female, she invokes the Muse from without or within. In essence, the process is the same.
One of the main functions of the Bard became to promote and maintain the twilight state so favored by the Celts - a sort of Dream Time. A particular outlook on life that, indeed, marks one as a Celt. Namely, a belief in the dualistic OtherWorld that, although not often seen, is always felt - inside oneself with the heart and outside with a prickling of hair on the nape of the neck or a tingling of the spine. The duty of the Bard became to convey with words and music an ideal which the mind can understand at one level, but only the spirit will perceive at another. For the former understanding comes from this world - and the Gods...and the latter from the emotive OtherWorld - whose essence belongs to the Goddess. The Bard, therefore, must be more than a musician and storyteller - She or he must be a messenger from the OtherWorld.
We can see this process working beautifully in the old legends. Rather like the skins of an onion, the layers of a Celtic legend are infinite - and so they should be! But for our purposes, however, they can be broadly split into three levels- Body, Mind and Spirit.
The body of the legend is the basic story it tells. But, be it of love, heroism or death, it always includes a part of the Universal Theme - the one great tale of the seasonal, cyclic relationship between the God and the Goddess.
The mind of the legend is in code, understandable only to those people who possess the key. Hidden within this code is the whole Faerie Faith system and how to understand it. But, as Robert Graves says in his book, The White Goddess, it is ....well hidden, guarded and disguised.
The spirit of the legend belongs not to this world, for it affects us on a more subtle level than the words or their musical accompaniment. This level is an unconscious communing between Bard, listener and the Divine. The Bard is the unifying, linking factor between men and Gods...
On a further level, the Bard attributes certain magical qualities to certain musical notes, and thus it is believed that a particular musical accompaniment will affect the listener in a certain way. In the legends, it is said that a Bard must be able to play three (that number again) magical strains on his instrument - the Sleep Strain, the Laughter Strain and the Weeping Strain.
All this, of course, is the intellectual aspect of the Faerie Faith. A Bard never forgets that ultimately he answers to the Goddess who reaches far beyond the knowable. And along that path lies the never-ending, sometimes painful, quest for inspiration and the overwhelming need to convey the ideal of truth and the spirit of beauty...To enchant and lead the listener to the OtherWorld...
THE ORIGIN OF THE OLD RELIGION AND WELSH WITCHCRAFT
Legends say that the beginning of the human race took place on the ancient continent of Poseidia which existed more than four hundred and fifty thousand years ago. These legends relate that a strange people called the Nemue came to Poseidia. They were the ancestors of the first people. To confirm this, our Thirteen Treasures contain this legend:
Tales of this battle of fathers and sons are found in the apocryphal books of the Bible, Babylonian fables as well as Norse and Greek mythology. This legend of the Nephelim also tells of the mysteries of a three-part being called The Triad. The Triad taught humanity about the Earth Mother Goddess, Donn who had conceived them in the distant past, and of whom they were a part. The Triad taught them about the Sky Father, HU who ruled the skies and was the first light bearer. It taught the three essentials, the laws, and The Word. This being communicated with the First People, who had just begun to use language. The Triad gave our ancestors their knowledge, and part of itself. After a time The Triad left our land and returned to its own land, leaving its work here to ripen and bear fruit.
Manuscripts hint that approximately three hundred and sixty-two thousand years ago the Nemue again visited this land. They are the ones we call today The Old Ones. Then for some reason not spoken of in the records, there was a great cataclysm that killed many of the Nemue, and left them unable to return to their home. They began to trade with the primitive people in Poseidia.
Between 50,000 B.C. and 15,000 B.C., great human development occurred. Primitive civilizations rose and fell. During the Upper-Paleolithic period in Europe, the worship of the Goddess became prominent.
In these Upper-Paleolithic societies, the concept of the creator of all human life was formulated by each clan's image of women, who they considered to be their most ancient primal ancestors. The mother was regarded as the sole parent of children in this culture. Ancestor worship was the basis for most of their sacred rituals, and ancestry was determined through the mother's ancestral line. This was because it was often difficult if not impossible to determine who the father was, for the sexual customs encouraged promiscuity.
The most tangible evidence supporting the theory that these cultures worshiped a Goddess is the numerous sculptures of women found throughout most of Europe and the Near East. Some of these sculptures date to 25,000 B.C..
These small female figurines made of stone and clay, most of which are seemingly pregnant, have been found throughout widespread sites in areas as far apart as Spain, France, Germany, Austria, and Russia. These sites and figurines appear to span a period of at least 10,000 years.
Johannes Maringer, in his book, The Gods of Prehistoric Man, says:
It was from the Lake Baikal area in Siberia during this time period that tribes are believed to have migrated across the land bridge between Siberia and Alaska, and formed the nucleus known today as the Native American population. This supports the observation that European Witchcraft and American Indian shamanism have similar roots.
European explorers during the great age of discovery found similarities of belief among primitive tribes who were so cut off from the world that they were unaware of the people on the next island. The Europeans were amazed to find that certain beliefs, legends, myths and traditions, customs and taboos were universal from Siberia to the South Seas, varying only slightly.
The origin of these ancient teachings have been lost in a millennium of aeons; however, we know from substantial archaeological evidence that important civilizations existed prior to 5000 B.C. Many controversial theories have established Atlantis as the greatest of these civilization. It is not our place to prove or disprove the existence of Atlantis. But, most Dynion Mwyn witches believe that it did in fact exist.
Legend says that the Atlantean people utilized their special skills (through psychic abilities), thus marking the history of the Earth. Three recorded migrations of the Atlantean population preceded the cataclysmic destruction, which resulted in complete inundation of Atlantis.
The first migration settled in Asia and is believed to be the basis of the legends of Mu, approximately 13,000 B.C. The second migration settled in the Himalayas and are the basis of the Tibetan tradition, approximately 9,000 B.C. The third migration carried with it all that was left of Atlantis; its culture, people, language and knowledge. These people settled in Hyperborea; what is now be an inundated area opposite the coasts of France, England, and Germany in the North Sea, around 7,000 years ago. Later some of these people migrated to Egypt, Anatolia and Central America. Archeological finds in the North Sea show that an advanced civilization lived on peninsulas and Islands and were inundated by earthquakes.
Although historical records of the people of Egypt span 5,000+ years, and name Egypt as the birthplace of the Western Mystery Tradition, in fact during this period, there were two centers of learning and culture: Hyperborea in Northern Europe and Egypt in North Africa.
According to legend, Atlantis was destroyed between 13,000 and 7,000 B.C. Therefore, in the thousand years between Atlantis and Hyperborea, volumes of knowledge and culture were lost. But, certain concepts remained: Nature worship and the veneration of a God and Goddess. Archaeologists unearthed evidence that in 7,000 B.C., a settlement covering 32 acres existed in southern Anatolia (Turkey) named Catal Huyuk. Ruins of shrines to the Horned Bull God and Mother Goddess (Mother of All Living) lay within the settlement. This was absolute proof of a Nature-based religious people believing in and worshiping the duality of the God and Goddess from ancient times.
The religious leader of these early tribes was a priest, shaman, herbalist, astrology, poet or bard. The early shaman was the wise man or wise woman of the tribe, the healer and priest or priestess. The wise ones knew about the seasons, weather and crops and were, therefore, very important members of the early culture. Over the years, a priestess became more than a wise woman; she became powerful through consolidating her knowledge and keeping it secret. It was only she who knew the Gods' and Goddesses' true names, it was only she who knew the secret of conception.
At first, the religion was simple Nature worship: worship of the Earth mother and the Sky Father. But it began to grow in complexity as the people rediscovered the old sources of power and obtained new knowledge by experimentation and meditation. The religion taught of male and female deities which, together, created the Great Spirit. The female deity evolved into the Goddess represented by the earth and moon, ruling over birth, life, love, death and rebirth. The male deity evolved into the God represented by the sun, ruling over the seasons. These precepts are fundamental to our faith and belief today. From this early religion Druidism developed.
SECRET DOCTRINE OF THE DRUIDS
To understand the religion of Welsh Witchcraft, you must first understand the origins and philosophy of Druidism. For, it is only within the mind of the druid that we will find the power of the Welsh Witch. Again, the following information is offered for your evaluation, and can not be proven after all, so read it, think about it and hopefully it will add to your knowledge of that time.
The Druids, Celtic Picts and Welsh Witches have left few decipherable written records of their history and philosophies, but we can extrapolate what took place during the pre-historical period of their existence through legends, archaeological finds and informed hypothesis.
We know from archeological studies that the early Druids were pre-Brythonic with a highly organized philosophy and religion by the time the Celts arrived. This philosophy was all that remained of the early Hyperborean migration to Great Britain. The Celtic Druids of Europe, believed that their religion originated in Britain, and it was their practice to send their students across the English Channel, to Britain, from Gaul (modern day France and Germany) to learn the Druid doctrines at their purest source.
The doctrines of the Druids were much the same as those of the Brahmins of India, the Magi of Persia, and the priests of Egypt. Like them, the Druids had two sets of religious doctrines, exoteric and esoteric. They practiced their rituals in Britain and Gaul, but their religion was brought to much greater perfection in the former country, where the Isle of Anglesey was the center and heart of their religious practice.
The word Druid is generally considered to be derived from DRU which means Oak Tree, which is sacred, although its etymology may also be found in the Gaelic word Druidh, "a wise man" or "magician."
Their temples, wherein the sacred fire was preserved, were generally situated on the tops of hills and mountains, and in dense groves of oaks. The adytum or cave of the mysteries was called a Cromlech, and was used as the sacred altar of regeneration. It consisted of three upright stones on which a broad, flat stone rested, making a small cell. This construction was used during initiation.
The Caer Sidi, where the mysteries of Druidism were performed, consisted of a range of buildings. Adjoining the temple were apartments of all sizes, cells, vaults, baths, and long and artfully contrived passages. Most frequently these places were underground.
Druidism embraced certain religious and philosophical ideas with particular reverence for astronomical calculations. Their chief deities are reducible to two, a great father and a great mother, Hu and Donn, distinguished by similar characteristics as those of Osiris and Isis, Bacchus and Ceres, or other supreme gods and goddesses representing the two principles of all being. These two principles were seen as personifications of the one source of all life, the Great Spirit of all.
The grand periods of initiation were quarterly, and determined by the course of the sun, and its arrival at the equinoctial and solstitial points. But the two main celebrations were at May-eve and November-eve, Beltaine and Samhain. At these times, fires were kindled on all the cairns and Cromlechs throughout the land, which burned all night to introduce the Festivals. Round these fires choral dances were performed in honor of the Goddess and the God who were said to be rising from their tomb - the Goddess at Beltain and the God at Samhain. The festivals were also a time of peace and joy and continued from sundown on the eve of the festival and continued to the next evening when the priests and priestesses retired to the forests where lovemaking was the order of the hour.
Initiations were performed at midnight and consisted of three major degrees. The first was the Ovate, the second the Bard, and the third the Druid. The candidate was placed in a tomb, where his symbolic death represented the death of Hu, the sun; and his restoration in the third degree symbolized the resurrection of the sun. He or she had to undergo trials and tests of courage similar to those practiced in the mysteries of Orpheus.
The Druids taught the doctrine of one supreme creative force which was personified as a mother Goddess and father God. They believed in the immortality of the soul through a form of reincarnation. Their authority in many cases exceeded that of the monarch. They were of course the sole interpreters of religion, and consequently supervised all rituals; for no private person was allowed to perform a ritual without their sanction. They possessed the power of excommunication, which was the most horrible punishment that could be inflicted next to death. They determined all disputes by a final and unalterable decision, and had the power of inflicting the punishment of death. Priestesses clothed in white, wearing a metal girdle, foretold the future from the observation of natural phenomena.
Druids were both men and women and were held in the highest esteem prior to the invasions of the Romans. According to Tacitus, in the first century A.D. the object of worship was a Great Goddess whose shrine was a grove of Oaks upon an island in the Sea.
They knew of sciences that the rest of the world at that time could only dream about. Their knowledge of astronomy and physics, and their ideas of the immortality of the soul were far too elaborate to have been invented by barbarians.
The evidence supporting these statements is contained in parchment and vellum manuscripts long preserved from destruction in mansions and monasteries in England, Wales and Scotland, as well as certain historical records of the tribe of Dynion Mwyn and Llewellyn family descendants.
Of the Irish manuscripts, the earliest and most important is The Book of Dun Cow which is in the possession of the Royal Irish Academy. It preserves the romances relating to the Old Gods and heroes of Ireland, and has protected the source of ancient Irish prehistory. Far thicker is the Book of Leinster which supplements the Book of the Dun Cow and is about the same age. Other sources include the Book of Invasions, The Book of Ballymote, The Yellow Book of Lecan, and Books of Lecan and Lismore. Unfortunately, many of these books are now only fragmented manuscripts.
The Advocate library in Edinburgh contains the Scottish manuscripts, which corroborate the Irish documents, add to the Cuchulainn saga, and describe the wonderful deeds of Finn, Ossian and the Fenians. They contain stories of other characters more ancient than Finn or Cuchulainn -- the Tuatha De Danaan, the goddess tribe of the ancient Gaels.
The Welsh manuscripts cover the same time period as the Irish and Scottish. Four of these are the most important, The Black Book of Caermarthen, The Book of Aneurin, The Book of Taliesin, and The Red Book of Hergest. Other books complete the basic Welsh sources: Barddas; or a collection of original documents illustrative of the theology, wisdom, and usages of the bardo-druidic system of the Isle of Prydein in two volumes by John ab Ithel Williams; The Iolo Manuscripts, by E. Taliesin Williams; The Myvyrian Archaeology of Wales printed in the Welsh language and edited by Owain Jones, Edward Williams and [Pughe] William Owen; and The Mabinogion translated by Lady Charlotte Guest.
Private and unpublished works include The Thirteen Treasures, and The Twelve Keys which are the written and oral teachings of Y Dynion Mwyn and the historical Llewellyn Family Manuscripts which are still being used to teach the ancient Bardic philosophy. Within these sources are most of the Mythology, Triads, and ancient mystery teachings of the ancient Bardic tradition, Welsh Witchcraft, and the Cymry people.
To uncover the Bardic philosophy, one must read the classical texts available which clarify and add to the above works, and their sources. Posidonius, a Stoic philosopher who lived in the first century B.C., provides us with the deepest insights into Celtic Druidism. In Book twenty-three of his History he presents a detailed description of Druidism. Since it is known that he lived in southern Gaul for some period of time, we may reasonably suppose that he collected his material by firsthand account. Unfortunately his "Celtic Ethnography" no longer survives intact but comes to us in summaries provided by three main writers who seem to have borrowed, quoted from, or adapted Posidonius.
These classic scholars include Strabo (63 B.C. to 21 B.C.) who had known Posidonius personally; Diodorus Siculus (writing 60-30 B.C.) was also a contemporary; and Athenaeus (flourishing around 20 B.C.) who acknowledged him as a source. Although they naturally made additions of their own, their basic source is clearly Posidonius.
In addition, we have the writings of Julius Caesar, general, politician and polymath, who between 58 and 51 B.C., fought a series of bitter campaigns against the Celts of Gaul and Britain. Caesar, writing his account of the Gaulish campaigns in 52-51 B.C. seems to have based his account of the Druids on Posidonius, but with non-Posidonian additions, the authenticity and reliability of which have been the subject of much discussion.
The viewpoint presented by the above four writers is for the most part factual and the general picture of Druidism which emerges from their writings is consistent with that contained in the writings of Polybius who wrote before Posidonius. In addition, Pomponius Mela, Lucan and Tacitus were later authors who drew heavily from these previous efforts. It is also consistent with the Welsh and Irish sources discussed above and with the inferences made from archeological evidence. In addition to these primary sources, there is also a group of writers of less importance for their general comments on the Celts, but important to us because they talk about the Druids.
Ammianus Marcellinus, a historian of the fourth century B.C. used earlier sources, including Timagenes, who wrote in the first century B.C., and who is quoted as speaking of the Druids by Diodorus. Lucan, in the first century B.C., was a poet who described the strangeness of the Druid religion. The elder Pliny wrote a discourse on natural history in which he mentions Druid magic, folk-medicine, oak trees, and mistletoe. Finally Tacitus in his Annals, gives us our only Historical glimpse of British Druids as he describes their ritually cursing the Roman soldiers across the Menai Straits.
Hecataeus of Miletus, a celebrated writer and geographer of the 5th century BC wrote:
There is evidence to suggest that the Hyperborean civilization lasted until approximately three thousand (3,000) B.C. when it was torn asunder by earthquakes, flooding and tidal waves.
Plato in writing about Atlantis stated that it had artificial harbors, a royal palace the walls which were covered with brilliant oreichalcos (possibly molten amber), as well as a highly disciplined armed forces, and a gigantic fleet and the land was so fertile that it had two harvests a year. It is our belief that in fact Plato might have been talking about Hyperborea, not Atlantis.
Strabo, the Greek geographer who lived in Rome and Alexandria, traveled widely in the first century B.C. and early first century B.C. His seventeen books on Geography, most of which survive, contain a valuable compilation of data from the Roman world and beyond. For his information on the Celts he used Posidonius as a primary source. Strabo wrote:
Diodorus Siculus in 44 B.C., describing Druidism:
Caesar, speaking of Druidism said:
It was at Stonehenge that the British Apollo was seen harping and dancing. Although Stonehenge was a Druid religious center, equally revered by and belonging to ALL British tribes, it had been constructed by Pre-Druidic peoples. Pythagoras, whose philosophy was very similar to the Druids, is said to have visited the Hyperboreans in search of Truth, and to have received the Arrow of Abaris, which had been carried around the world. Aristotle affirms that a mystical philosophy did not pass from Greece to Gaul (the Celtic Druids) but was received FROM them.
In India, Hyperborea was spoken of in ancient times as The Sacred Isles of the West, calling one of them Bretashtan or The Seat and Place of Religious Duty. These sacred western islands were claimed by the Hindus to be the Abode of Petries or Fathers of the Human Race, and they sent their priesthood there to be trained.
While the above classical sources of historical information about the Celts and Druids are not totally reliable, they are the only sources that modern scholars have been able to find to this date. It is the purpose of the rest of this chapter to expand on this information, using ancient documents and sources mentioned previously.
The Druids were the teachers, professors, philosophers, lawyers and poets of the Celtic peoples. In all public and private quarrels, the Druid settled all disputes. They passed on knowledge by word of mouth. The Druid Priesthood ruled the Cymry (which means "The People" in the Welsh language) from approximately 3800 B.C. to 61 B.C.. But who were these Cymry and where did they come from?
The Prytani came before the Cymry. Prytani was the name the Celts used to describe the race of people they found when they arrived Gaul and in the British Isles. The Prytani were small dark stocky and reclusive people. They kept separate even from each other. Elves were the Teutonic name given to them by the invaders. Later the Romans would call them Picts or Painted People, a name that evolved into Pixies. They were also called the people of heaths or Heathens. They kept retreating from the invading forces and finally were forced into the far north, but their religion became part of the Celtic way.
Around 2,800 B.C. Prytani tribes constructed parts of Stonehenge and other stone circles in England as sacred religious sites. The sites they chose had been used earlier by Hyperboreans who had survived the deluge. Huge Silbury Mound and Avebury Circle were constructed by these peoples. They became important Druid temples.
In 1000 B.C, the Milesians migrated from southern Anatolia, through the Mediterranean sea, to Spain, across the Bay of Biscayne, and onto Scotia (Ireland) and Wales. They drove all before them. They defeated the Tuatha and almost decimated the Prytani. But they could not destroy the religion of the conquered - Druidism. The Prytani retreated even further into Wales and Scotland and for the next thousand years Druidism became the prevalent religion of the Celts.
There is strong evidence that the Prytani were the descendants of the survivors of the destruction of Hyperborea. For this reason at first all Celtic tribes sent their priesthood to be trained in Great Britain by Prytani priests. Then, as hundreds became thousands of years, the priesthood of the Prytani evolved into the Druid Hierarchy.
Caesar, said of the Druids:
After the Celtic invasions, due to lack of food, hiding from invaders by day, and inbreeding, the Prytani grew ever smaller, and the legends about them grew. The Pictish Witches were said to be the offspring of the few marriages between the Prytani and the invaders, and they learned the secrets and magickal methods which were handed down to their children.
The Cymry were what the Celtic Welsh tribes called themselves. The Cymry were among the third wave of Celtic immigrants who arrived in Britain between 1000 B.C. and 450 B.C. During this period, the Celts became organized as common interests forced alliances between tribes, until by the second century B. C. they had spread throughout Europe from the Atlantic ocean and what is now Northern Spain, to an area now considered Eastern Europe, including all of the British Isles and Ireland. They had also established outposts in Greece, Italy, Macedonia and Thrace. Although joined in a common goal of expansion, the Celts never became a totally organized state. That was their downfall. In 349 B. C. the Celts suffered a resounding defeat at the hands of the Romans. By about 180 B.C. their energies were spent and they had either settled in peace with their neighbors or been driven back into Great Britain and Central Europe.
In 55 B.C., Caesar made his first excursion and reconnaissance into Britain. By 51 B.C., most of what is modern day England was under the control of Rome. The Druids escaped into Scotland and Wales.
The forests near Betws-y-coedd have been the home of a tribe of Welsh Celts (the Dynion Mwyn) for countless generations. The legends say this tribe migrated to the valley from the west and south and settled the region because of the presence of a very ancient and sacred grove of Oak trees. The Tribe built a village near the grove and lived off the land (hunting, fishing etc.) It is rumored that the sacred grove still exists, though only the remaining family knows its precise location.
In the year 51 B.C., (432 AUC), during Caesar's campaign against the Celts, a Roman legion under the command of a young, able soldier, discovered the beautiful valley and defeated the warriors who were sent to defend the valley. During the fighting, the old chieftan of the Pictish Celts was killed, but his son Llewellyn continued the fight against the would-be conquerors.
The young Roman entered into personal combat with Llewellyn and was victorious. The combat between the two was long and hard, but eventually llewlellyn lost his hand and was forced to surrender. Horatius was impressed by his enemy's valor and allowed the man to live. Llewellyn One-hand is still the name of the tribal chief at the present time.
He was also responsible for allowing the Druids which were of the Dynion Mwyn tribe to live and carry on their religion and ministrations to the tribe.
A military base was established to keep watch over the Welsh Celts and within 5 years or so, a city began to grow next to the legion camp.
Vitus Horatius, had fallen in love with the valley. After Caesar's campaign ended, he asked to be allowed to remain in the city as the local legion commander. He was such a local hero that the powers that be in Rome would not replace him.
THE DECLINE OF DRUIDISM
In Caesars time Druidism was not considered as pure and as well understood in Gaul as it was in the British Isle, its genuine home. By 59 A.D., the Celtic civilization and the Druids had reached the final stage of destruction. Suetonius Paulinus who was battling the Silures, crushed and massacred the Druids on the Isle of Anglesey. This was the Druid's greatest stronghold, and a beautiful and fertile island.
Henffych well, Fon, dirion dir,
Hyfrydwch pob rhyw frodir
Goludog, ac ail Atlantis
Dy sut, neu Baradwys hen.
All hail to Anglesey, gentle land,
the delight of all regions
Bounteous, like Atlantis,
Meanwhile, to the east, the Incenti, under their warrior queen, Boadicea (also spelled Boudicca), and her two daughters, suddenly revolted against the cruelty, greed, and conceit of their conquerors. Thousands of Romans were massacred.
Suetonius was hastily recalled from Wales. The Roman general crossed the island by forced marches and decided to stake all on one battle. Facing ten times his number, but of poorly equipped and trained tribesman, he won a resounding victory, and Boadicea committed suicide.
Because Suetonis left Wales so quickly, he did not totally destroy the Druid religion as he had hoped. Many Druid teachers, priests, and priestesses escaped to the isle of Iona, the mountains near Snowdonia and elsewhere. But, this was the beginning of the end for the Druids in Wales. Over the next thirty years, the Romans completely conquered this land, driving the Druid Priesthood further into the mountains, as well as to Ireland and Scotland.
From 59 A.D. to 383 A.D., the Romans ruled Britain with an iron fist, repressing the people and attempting to destroy all vestiges of Druidism. They succeeded in the former but failed in the latter. Druidism survived in the Welsh mountains, Ireland and Scotland well into the eleventh century A.D.
The indigenous tribes of Roman Wales included both divisions of the Celtic race. The Silures in the northern half of present day Wales and the Demetae in the extreme southern portion (still called Dyfed) were Goidelic, or Gaelic-speaking. They were smaller in stature and darker skinned than their Brythonic or British-speaking counterparts, the Ordovices. These latter were closely related to the Gauls and were fairer in complexion. They occupied the north-central portion of Wales and are the major ancestral component of the modern Welsh.
The native religion of the Britons so closely resembled those in the Mediterranean area that the Romans could identify the native gods and goddesses with their own. However, the Britons placed a stronger emphasis on the Holy Family. Different tribes and different areas of Britain had their own tribal deities, such as Brigantia (Brigid) for the Brigantes, but the manner of worship and overall theology was fairly uniform throughout the southern half of the island.
The role of Druids and Druidism has been heavily debated and discussed among Celtic scholars. Druids were widespread among the Gaelic and Britonic Celts, and their power within the tribal unit was very great. But by the end of the fourth century A.D. only Ireland and Scotland could boast of public Druid seers and priests. The Welsh Druids had all either been killed, had hidden in secret enclaves or had renamed their titles as Bards. But, they had preserved the traditional oral literature of the country. In fact, there was such a large volume of oral tradition that in 100 A.D., the knowledge began to be transcribed by Welsh bardic scribes into Ogham Runes.
THE CONTINUATION OF DYNION MWYN
For the next 1000 years this knowledge was preserved in the Welsh language as well as Ogham, and was hidden, in the form of manuscripts, by several groups, including the family and tribe of Dynion Mwyn.
By using a highly elaborate mnemonic system, it became easy for the medieval bards to preserve and disseminate the ancient teachings through poems and songs. While it is true that the bards of Wales were often unschooled in the deeper mysteries, they were able to transmit and refine heroic poetry and mystical triads, and we owe them a debt of gratitude for preserving this body of literature that could not otherwise have survived. In Wales, Ireland, and Scotland, the ancient literature was preserved in a nearly identical manner.
The occupation of Wales finally ended in 383 A.D. with the attempt of Maximus of Caernarvon to declare himself the Roman emperor. Prior to the withdrawal of the Roman troops in 383 A.D., all of Britain's territory south of Hadrian's Wall was under Roman rule. In many parts of Britain the iron hand of the Roman Legions were nominal, giving way to tribal rule in all but the cities and commercial centers.
From approximately 400 A.D. to 800 A.D., Europe was steeped in chaos and savagery. These were the Dark Ages. During this period the Christian church conquered the British and Welsh countryside and Druidism and Pictish Witchcraft became even more hidden and secret in nature.
Finally, in 823 A.D., the first leader of importance to emerge among the Welsh was born. He was the warrior king Rhodri Mawr (Rhodri the Great). He owed his heritage to a long line of Welsh Bards from whom he learned the sacred knowledge. He was the first of the clan to have the Druidic Philosophy written in Runes on Folios of Bark. He was the second to call his bardic tribe Dynion Mwyn. In 855 he became king, not only of Powys, but through skillful alliances and marriages, of a great deal of the rest of Wales as well. Successful in warding off attacks, killing in battle the Viking leader Gorm, Rhodri gave his country a remarkable period of unity and stability. Rhodri himself was killed in battle in 878 A.D., fighting an English incursion into his lands.
He had three sons; Anarawd, Cadell and Merfyn. Unfortunately for the future of an independent Wales, the alliance of his sons with the English monarch, Alfred, led to Wales's dependence upon the English monarch for protection. This was perhaps the first sign that the future of Wales was forever to be dependent upon its stronger neighbor to the East.
Here we should say something about Rhodri’s grandson Hywel Dda (Howell the Good). He reestablished a sort of hegemony among the various petty kingdoms of Wales. Hwyel's territories were known as Deheubarth, which united with Gwynedd and Powys to cover most of Wales with the exception of Glamorgan, in the southeast. His reign lasted from 904 to 950.
Although his reign was marked by absolute ruthlessness, it is his brilliant codification of Welsh law, not for his military prowess that Hywel is best remembered. Professor John Davies calls the resulting set of laws ". . .among the most splendid creations of the culture of the Welsh.
The Law of Hywel was a systemization of the legal customs which had developed in his country over many centuries. It was, from a justice point of view, a most democratic system and far in advance of English law; for one thing, it gave significant status to women. They were guaranteed property rights, which did not become part of the laws of England for over one thousand years. For example, a woman had the right to seek compensation if struck by her spouse without cause; she could also receive up to one-half the family property upon divorce.
Of Rhodri’s, sons, only Anarawd followed the old ways and passed the Bardic legacy to his son, Idwal Foel who died in 942 A.D. Before Idwal died, he collected many folios of legends concerning HU Gadarn and the Old Ones. He passed our tradition to his son Meurig.
With Meurig we have the first written mention of Green and Red Dragon Power. Meurig had a son Idwal who retained the tribal knowledge until he invested it in his son Iago, who passed it on to his son Cynan. Before he was killed, legend says that Cynan traveled to the Middle East. He reported that he collected "...many volumes of mystical knowledge..., before he returned.
Cynan wrote about his handfasting (marriage) to lady Ragnhildr of Dublin. These two produced Gruffydd ap Cynan who handfasted with Angharad daughter of Owain ab Edwin and produced five children, Owain Gwynedd, Cadwaladr, Cadwallon, Susanna and Gwenllian. Gruffydd died in 1063.
In 1162 A.D. Gypsies, who had come from North India via Russia, Romania, and Germany, wandered into Wales and were given safe haven by the family of Owain Gwynedd. They had with them, ancient writings which they called the Tarot.
In 1169 A.D., Prince Madoc ap Owen Gwynedd, an illegitimate son of Owain and a 5th level elder of Dynion Mwyn of Northern Wales, sailed to the Americas and established a colony. He left on a May morning, from Abrgele, with one ship, the Gwennan Gorn, and a crew of twenty. He arrived in the new world and established a settlement. He helped reestablish the Old Atlantean Religion among the Native Americans he found there. He returned to Wales in 1171 A.D. where he described what he had found, and with his brother Riryd, Lord of Clochran in Ireland, returned to the Americas with seven Ships and three hundred men. He was subsequently killed in 1172 A.D., and buried in what is now Georgia, in the United States. (See chapter two) The remains of his expedition were driven north up the Missouri river and blended their blood with an Indian tribe called the Mandans.
The second entry is for the year 1240:
Despite some military setbacks, thanks to the troubles between the English monarch and his barons, Llewellyn was ultimately successful in resisting English influence in Wales and received homage from the other Welsh princes. He himself paid his respects to the new English King Henry III and by this gesture was recognized as pre-eminent in Wales.
Llywelyn Fawr had six children by Joan; Gruffydd, David, Gwenllian, Helen, Gwladus Ddu and Margaret. Llywelyn Fawr died April 11, 1240 A.D. Gruffydd ap Llewellyn handfasted with Senena and produced five children; Owain Goch, Rhodri, Gwladus, David and the amazing Llywelyn Y Llyw Olaf, the last true Prince of Wales.
PRINCE LLEWELLYN, THE LAST TRUE PRINCE OF WALES
It was up to Llewellyn Olaf ap Gruffudd to be the great unifying force of Wales. After imprisoning his brothers and taking the kingdom of Gwynedd for himself, Llewellyn was able to assert his claim to be called "Prince of Wales." The title was accorded him officially by Henry III in l267 at the Treaty of Montgomery recognizing the Welsh leader's claim to the three kingdoms of Gwynedd, Powys and Deheubarth. It seemed, for a short time at least, that the dream of the Welsh people had been realized; they had their own prince, they governed their own territories under their own laws and were able to conduct their own affairs in their own language, free from English influence. Wales was poised to take an early place among the developing independent nation states of Europe. All changed, however, and all too soon. The accession to the English throne of Edward I in l272 completely reversed the tide of affairs.
The ambition of King Edward was to unite the whole of the island of Britain under his kingship and this meant he had ultimately to conquer Wales and Scotland. Llewelyn's own formidable problems made the task a much easier one than was perhaps expected, considering the early defeats that the Welsh armies inflicted upon the invading English, not used to fighting in mountainous terrain. Resistance to Llewelyn's authority also surfaced among many of the minor Welsh princes as well as on the Marches.
In 1264, although Prince Llewellyn allied with Simeon de Montfort against the King of England, his alliance was short lived. In 1265 Simeon de Montfort was killed at the battle of Evesham, and the King of England pushed Prince Llewellyn deep into Wales. But finally at the treaty of Montgomery, Llewellyn succeeded in obtaining from the king, confirmation that he was the true Prince of Wales, and the right to demand homage by all the Welsh lords.
Prince Llewellyn was patron to Hywel Voel who was a Druid and Bard. Hywel Voel wrote of Prince Llewellyn's involvement with the Knights Templar and the Ordre de Seon. Our records show that in 1271 A.D. Hywel commanded those trusted scribes and clerks who owed allegiance to him, to begin the task of compiling what was left of the known mystical knowledge of the Llewellyn family into ordered volumes. It is said that Hywel was the first to collect The Thirteen Treasures. He also caused The Owl, to be created. This was the first Grimoire or spell book of our tradition. The accumulation and recording of this knowledge, was no mean feat, for the political climate of those years was not conducive to study, travel or teaching.
The manuscripts also claim that relatives of Eleanor de Montfort, Prince Llewellyn's wife's, were initiates of the Ordre de Seon in France. Eleanor and Prince Llewellyn were first married by proxy in 1275. Eleanor's linage was highly distinguished. Among her uncles was a king of England, a king of France, and a holy Roman Emperor. Eleanor sailed from France to Wales in 1275, but her ship was seized and she was imprisoned by the king of England, in Windsor castle. King Edward was determined to destroy the power of the Welsh Prince. Many battles were fought between the English and the Welsh during this period.
At the Treaty of Aberconwy in l277, Prince Llewellyn was forced to accept humiliating terms and to give up most of his recently acquired lands, keeping only Gwynedd west of the Conwy River. Edward followed up his successes by building English strongholds around the perimeter of what remained of Llewelyn's possessions. Strong, easily defended castles were erected at Flint, Rhuddlan, Aberystwyth and Builth, garrisoned by large detachments of English immigrants and soldiers.
It was Also in this year that Hywel compiled the Thirteen Treasures and added additional knowledge from several sources: from the Druids came the sacred knowledge of the Stones; from the Order of the Knights Templars he added the Magick of the Egyptians (Hywel claimed that Prince Llywelyn was initiated into the Order of the Knights Templars in 1279 A.D.); from the Persian Gypsies he added the Mithraic astrological mysteries; from Pictish ancestors came the remains of the Faerie tradition; from the nine maidens of the Isle de Seon came the ancient mystic knowledge of the Etruscans and the Ordre de Seon. The Tribe also absorbed the knowledge of various Witchcraft Covens and Groves it came in contact with through the years as well as Cabalistic Magick from the East.
Though Edward was now firmly in control of his Welsh territories, Prince Llewellyn was not yet finished. During a period of peace between the two leaders, King Edward finally allowed Prince Llewellyn and Eleanor to be married in reality. In October 1278, Prince Llewellyn married Eleanor in King Edward's presence at Worcester Cathedral. It was a period in which the Welsh leader bided his time and pondered his options. When the people of Wales, under his brother Dafydd, eventually rose in a massive revolt at the loss of control over their customs and their law and the restrictive and oppressive English rule, Llewellyn could not help but lead their cause. In 1282, Llewellyn again refused to recognize Edward I, as overlord. This led to a virtual war between the Welsh Prince and King Edward.
At first, Llywelyn was eminently successful, the castles of Builth, Aberystwyth and Ruthin fell into his hands, and a large English force was utterly destroyed in the Menai Straights in Gwynedd. Edward had to devote the whole of his kingdom's resources to deal with the "malicious, accursed" Welsh.
Eleanor died giving birth to a daughter Gwenllian on June 19, 1282. This seemed to be a portent of things to come. For it was a mere chance encounter of Llewellyn with an English knight in a meadow at Cilmeri, near Builth in Powys that ended the Welsh dream.
At Cilmeri, in that quiet green meadow on the road from Builth Wells to Llandovery, you will see a tall granite monolith. It looks, at first, like one of the ancient standing stones erected thousands of years ago by our Neolithic ancestors. A close inspection reveals it to be a monument erected in l956 to the memory of Prince Llewellyn, "our last ruler" (Ein Lliw Olaf). Llywelyn, separated from his army, found himself in a minor skirmish and on December 11, 1282 A.D. he was killed by an English knight unaware of the Welsh prince's identity. Upon discovery, Llewelyn's head was sent to London for display as that of a traitor.
After Llewellyn was killed in battle against Edward's troops, the English took control of Cymru. Edward's troubles with the Welsh, for all practical purposes were at an end. Henceforth, Wales was to live under an alien political system, playing a subordinate role as an integral part of the kingdom of England. A poignant ballad by modern Welsh songwriter and nationalist, Dafydd Iwan, expresses the grief of the Welsh nation at the loss of their beloved Llewellyn: Collir Llywelyn, collir cyfan (losing Llewellyn is losing everything).
SURVIVAL OF DYNION MWYN
In 1284 the Statute of Rhuddlan officially placed North Wales under direct English rule, dividing Llewelyn's territory into counties under English sheriffs. One method used to control the country was the construction of fortified castles such as those at Caernarvon and Harlech.
The English also put pressure on the Cymry poets, the bards, to prevent them from inciting revolt. Finally, the Cymry chieftains cooperated with Edward I when he promised that only a prince born in Cymru, who could speak no English, would rule over them. In 1301, Edward gave the title Prince of Wales to his son, who had been born in Cymru.
Because of the intense scrutiny, Y Dynion Mwyn, as the way of Dynion Mwyn had become known, became secretive and effectively disappeared for a time. Gruffudd ap Madawg, a relative of Prince Llewellyn, took Madawg Dwygraig as the family Bard and Druid. Madawg Dwygraig wrote of establishing a Druid Grove near the Llynfi valley, Llangynwyd, Wales in 1284. It is alleged that he helped establish the Mt. Haemus Druid Grove, near Oxford, England.
Our research shows that Dynion Mwyn has two linages. Owain, son of Dafydd, kept the tradition of his uncles' family and sent his wife and three children to France where they were to wait until times more favorable. In the meantime, King Edward placed Prince Llewelyn's daughter Gwenllian in a convent of English Gilbertine nuns in Sempringham, Lincolnshire, with her cousin, Eleanor. They were supposed to stay there until death or until King Edward found a use for them.
The family of Owain assumed a false name and returned to England and eventually to Cardiff, Wales. They contacted Lady Gwenllian and informed her of her heritage. At first she rejected their ideas but eventually she escaped from the nunnery, became a priestess of the order, married a nobleman and had six children. His surname was the beginning of the Y Dynion Mwyn Family Tradition. (To be fair, some history books claim that Gwenllian died in the convent and others say that Eleanor was really the daughter of Prince Llywelyn. There is no real proof one way or the other.)
Prince Llewellyn had another daughter from a secret marriage to a English Noblewoman. This daughter was named Catherine. She married Phillip ap Ivor, Lord of Iscoed. They in turn had a daughter Eleanor who married Thomas Llewellyn. Eleanor had two daughters, Margaret and Eleanor. Eleanor married Griffith Vychan, Lord of Glyndwrdwy. The legend says that Griffith Vychan was instrumental in saving the tradition from oblivion. He joined with the family of Owain, which he mentions in his writings (he had a son named Owen Glyndwr, who was a prince of Wales and lived 1400 to 1416.) But it is unclear if the family of Owain or the family of Griffith Vychan was the source of later teachings.
Between 1282 A.D. and 1939 A.D., witch-hunts and repression made it extremely difficult to keep records. What records exist have been found through research to validate the following: During the 1300's and 1400's, because of the Inquisition and suppression of Witches, Knights Templars and other Pagan groups, and because of it’s nature, the knowledge was kept secret from all but a trusted few in the families that kept the old ways. Such is the tradition of Dynion Mwyn.
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