Gwyddon or the Traditional Witchcraft of Wales
Copyright 1992, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2001 - Dynion Mwyn, Ltd. and Taliesin Wynne
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This is the homepage of Dynion Mwyn, a Gwyddon or Pre-Gardnerian Traditional Witchcraft Religion of Wales. We claim a mystical lineage from the Bards of the last true prince of Wales, Llywelyn Y Llyw Olaf , and are at this time establishing a forum where those who wish to learn of our religion, may do so without fear of persecution by their local MP or Church Bishop. At present, all introductory training is being done by home study, from where we obtain those special seekers who are fitted for our way. If after reading the below information, you are interested in entering a training program conducted by one of our covens, go to http://www.dynionmwyn.com/dynionmwyn/dynionmwyn2.html and apply for the introductory study course. Send the completed application by e-mail to Sarah (Gwillium) Lewis-Driggers at: firstname.lastname@example.org She will get back to you as soon as possible.
Taliesin Enion Vawr - A Eulogy
Gwyddon - The Witchcraft of Wales
The Western Mysteries
Class and Structure of Welsh Pagan Society
The Origin of the Old Religion and Witchcraft
The Secret Doctrine of the Druids
The Decline of Druidism
The Continuation of Dynion Mwyn
Prince Llewelyn, the Last True Prince of Wales
The Survival of Dynion Mwyn
A Full Moon Ritual of Dynion Mwyn
"NOTICE: The material found on this page was prepared to give new seekers a taste of "traditional" faerie Witchcraft belief systems and to teach Welsh Witchcraft, Dynion Mwyn history, basic magick and religion. These pages were created from various notes and documents used in workshops taught by Taliesin enion Vawr, Robert Martin, Sarah Llewellyn Wentworth, and others, to seekers in Denbigh, Wales and London, England, throughout the 1960s, 70s and 80s. It may also include material derived from Gardnerian teachings (since Taliesin claims to have been initiated into Gardnerian Witchcraft), some material which has been identified as the same source of NROOGD teachings, some teachings that probably came from additional sources, and it contains certain basic Dynion Mwyn teachings. The knowledge contained herein was also passed from Dynion Mwyn in Wales to Church of Y Tylwyth Teg and Church of Dynion Mwyn which reside in Georgia as well as to Canadian cousins through the Nova Scotia grove during the late 60s. It also contains information derived from an acquaintence between Ray or Roy Bowers or Cochrane (he used several different names) and Taliesin Winn.
"It has always been a cultural habit of most magickal groups, especially in the U.K., to borrow and loan, "stuff" that works. We are no different. Although most of this page does not contain the COMPLETE teachings of Dynion Mwyn, it gives a good representative sample of magickal and spiritual history and theory and teachings which WORK!!
"We understand there is some speculation about where we obtained the following information. Speculate no longer. It comes from information passed from Taliesin Winn to Brian R. Martin to us. If it resembles writings from other authors and other groups, we make no apologies. It is what it is. If it came from Gardner or Cochrane or Gawr or Taliesin Vawr or the Muse, it is still true, it still works. So make of it what you wish, we believe it and we feel it is Welsh and we feel it is ours. If you don't like it or appreciate it, follow Cochrane's writings or Gardners Writings or Crowley's writings, or your OWN writings.
"And remember...there is no such thing as a free lunch."
After an extended illness, Taliesin Winn, the sole surviving elder of the Dynion Mwyn Welsh Family Gwyddon (Witchcraft) tradition, died quietly in his sleep. This is the tradition from which Y Dynion Mwyn Welsh Witchcraft tradition derives. Taliesin always claimed that his family was related indirectly to the Gruffydd family which was that of Llewelyn, the last true prince of Wales. He also variously spelled his name Winn, Wynn, or Wynne, which would lead one to believe that if indeed this was his last name, he didn't want anyone outside a select few to know who he really was.
For the last few years, Taliesin lived with a companion, on a small island off the coast of Scotland, writing and meditating. He survived the passing of his sister by only a few months. The following information was extracted from his journals and will serve as his Eulogy:
"Taliesin Winn, was born in the forests of North Wales. During his early years, because of his father's government position, the family traveled throughout europe. They returned to England in 1938, and the children were sent to live with relatives in Wales. In September, 1940, their father and mother were killed in the Blitz bombing of London during the Battle of Britain. He and his sister were take in and raised by an uncle and auntie in a small village near the town of Betws y Coed. It was here they learned of his families heritage of Druidism and Witchcraft as they met Y Dynion Mwyn (welsh fairies) at Fairy Ring near Betws y Coed, and swam with the water sprites in the local river. He lied about his age and entered service with the British army in the early 1940s, and was part of the D-day invasion at Normandy in June 1944. On June 26th he was wounded during what he called the battle of Epsom, and was sent back to England to recuperate.
"In November 1945 his uncle and auntie decide to visit relatives in the United States, obtained a work visa, and the family including Taliesin and Patricia, his sister, moved to the state of New Jersey. They lived near Trenton until 1959. Taliesin did not like that part of the United States, but he attended classes at a nearby college and after graduation, returned to England. His sister, aunt and uncle soon followed. After a year of traveling in Europe and England, he returned to North Wales and says he was very happy to get back to his home.
"Over the next few years in between working at various jobs, he continued his occult studies and spent a great deal of time with his auntie who was an herbalist and Offieriadess (something like a priestess or elder) of Dynion Mwyn.Click on Origins Here. He learned of the energy of the mountains through doing "Cave Workings" and hiking near Mt. Snowdonia.
"In 1962 while visiting friends, he met a gentleman named Roy Bowers who he says inspired him to begin teaching. He says he organized the family's records and brought together the first class from outside the family. Ruth (Gwendolyn) Wynn, a cousin, studied with the family and carried the religion to London where she taught the old ways until she passed on; Sarah (Cerridwen) Wentworth, a cousin, was his Offieriadess until 1987; R. (Math) Johnson, another cousin emigrated to Australia where he passed on the tradition until his death in 1989, and D. (Gwydion) Jones took the tradition to Patagonia (a region of Argentina) where he teaches today.
"In 1965 Rhuddlwm Gawr met Sarah Wentworth while on holiday in Majorca. She invited him to London and then they drove to Wales where he was introduced to Taliesin. Rhuddlwm stayed in Wales and studied The Old Ways with the Winn family. In 1966 Rhuddlwm returned to the US and established the Coven and Church of Y Dynion Mwyn in Landover Maryland.
"Taliesin taught the Old Ways until 1996 when he turned over the leadership of Dynion Mwyn to his sister who became chief elder until she died in 1999. "
Taliesin was responsible for opening up the Welsh tradition to outsiders. His dying wish was that the basic philosophy of the Welsh tradition be available to all through the internet, and that seekers be given a "Taste of Wales" through home study classes. Y Dynion Mwyn sponsors his page on the net at: http://www.dynionmwyn.com/dynionmwyn/dynionmwyn23.html
Lord Rhuddlwm Gawr and Lady Cerridwen Gawr, of the United States, have inherited the leadership of Dynion Mwyn.
"Taliesin, we never got along, but I respect you and hope that wherever you are, you are finally happy and content."...Rhuddlwm Gawr
Rhuddlwm Gawr - Kennesaw, Georgia USA. 13 January 2000
|Gwlad y Tylwyth Teg|
Clywais sôn gan un
hyd y dolau ganwaith,
noswaith, hir ddisgwyliais
ceisaif, er a fynno
|T. Gwynn Jones, from Telyn y Dydd, Ed A Ffoulkes 1918|
Gwyddon, the ancient Gwyddon, is a pre-Christian religion based upon a powerful pantheon of Welsh Gods and Goddesses and concerned with the search for absolute Truth. The Gwyddon brings humanity into contact with our Gods, and humanity into contact with itself. We believe that this allows us to relink ourselves with Nature, Ourselves and the Gods.
Why do we say relink? Because most of humanity has lost the connection to the Gods and the Earth. When we relink our students to our gods, and nature, we offer them a way to becoming part of the Gods. Our members thus receive knowledge of the existence of the perfected Nature of Gods. As Above, So Below.
Gwyddon is also concerned with the inner truth of devotion, the nature of the Mysteries, and the mystical experience of its members. Like all great religions, it has an inner circle and an outer circle. The spiritual experience of this inner circle is much greater than that found in the outer world. It is a discipline that creates an enriched inward vision and embraces the total human experience from birth to death, and beyond.
Understanding the Mysteries of Gwyddon creates a light which illuminates the human spirit and brightens the darkness of superstition and ignorance. After being lit, it can never be extinguished. After understanding the Mysteries, they can never be fully forgotten, and never be fully remembered. The Gwyddon becomes the life of the member. Without it he or she is nothing. With it, he or she becomes part of all creation.
Our Gods demand our worship of them, therefore ritual exists to give form to that worship. Humankind needs help, therefore ritual was devised to give that help. It is possible to comprehend the Gods without ritual, since the First Principle is present at all levels and in all things at all times, but total perception is not present in humanity at all times.
Therefore ritual becomes a matter of increasing our perception of the Gods until the meaning of the Mysteries are finally revealed in our physical person, and becomes one with our total being. The forces thus comprehended are part of our living person, incorporated into everyday life as part of a spiritual, mental and physical discipline that returns us again and again to the original Source of all things.
A Dedication to the Welsh Mysteries requires proof to our members, that these Mysteries are real and useful within the discipline of the Gwyddon. The nature of this proof cannot be explained, since understanding of The Mysteries can only be engendered by deduction and participation, not by intellectual reasoning. The nature of this proof can take several forms:
A Religious Vision, in which the worshipper is allowed contact with the True Gods for a short time. This is a part of true initiation, and results in a devotion by the member towards a mystical purpose,
A Past Life Vision, in which the member remembers his or her past existence,
A Poetic Vision. An example of a poetic vision is The White Goddess written by Robert Graves. He reportedly wrote a substantial portion of the work in one day and night. He had access to certain archetypal dream images and symbols, which resulted in his unconscious mind being profoundly stimulated. These Images are taught as part of our tradition, and also exist (as Jung speculated) on their own levels. They are, when interpreted properly, means by which a part of the greater truth can be understood,
A Magical Vision, in which the member undertakes a Trial of service, and therefore contacts further levels of the Mysteries,
A Mystical Vision, in which the member enters into a divine union with the Gods. This state of being has no pattern, being a dimension in which only the life-force is present.
When a member truly experiences these five Visions, they do not doubt the nature of the experience. Although humankind may suffer from doubt from time to time, the Gwyddon member who participates in the Vision experience, becomes aware that their doubt now centres around the reality of the external world, not the inner. The reality of such an experience illuminates their whole life.
Therefore it can be shown that the Gwyddon is a complex religious philosophy, dealing with the nature of Love, Knowledge and Power as well as Truth, Experience and Devotion. It requires Discipline, Patience, Work, and an utter and complete devotion to the common aim.
This philosophy can only be fulfilled by service which some members take years and possibly decades to complete. The Gwyddon tolerates no nonsense, and those who would come to it, must come empty-handed saying "I know nothing, I seek everything". For, within the structure of the Gwyddon, all Mysteries are contained.
The Gwyddon has survived attacks of persecution, indifference and misrepresentation. It has survived in modern times despite persecution by: christian clergy, later, the modern news media and surprisingly also by pagan groups who wish to "own" the term "Gwyddon" (which is our term for a Welsh Witchcraft). The early persecutions by the Christian Church, led to the Gwyddon becoming a secret "Way", and restricted the membership to members of certain families who could keep that secret. This restriction resulted in our requirement that we teach only those who are best suited to enter the awful silence of the Place of the Gods.
Students may not enter this sacred place, unless they show unmistakable signs of past memory, a genuine mystical drive, and are willing to undertake the tests that will force him or her to finally disclose that which is most secret to themselves. The Gwyddon has no secrets. All knowledge is contained in certain formulas which can be readily understood and taught. It is finally and utterly the True Gwyddon, standing immovable beyond space, time and all human matters.
Unfortunately, Witchcraft, has become an escape hatch for all those who wish to return to a more simple form of life and escape from the ever-increasing burden of contemporary society. In many cases the Craft has become a crutch to these people, in which those who have not been successful in solving various personal problems, hide, while the storm of technology, H-bombs, and all the other goodies of civilization pass harmlessly, overhead.
Modern Wicca has become an attempt by twentieth century humanity, to deny the responsibilities of the twentieth century. They have developed the secure and naive belief that Nature is always good and kind. They also have the belief, or so it would appear, that if you personally can go backwards in the evolution of thought, then perhaps the rest of the world might follow suit.
Because of this misunderstanding, a certain segment of our society has tried to make The Craft be all things to all people. They have tried to define Witchcraft as just a simple pantheistic nature religion - and not in any way complicated. These people have become known as "fluffy bunny pagans".
The Mysteries were evolved for all Humanity, and Humanity was evolved for the Mysteries. But, Just What are the Mysteries?"
All mystical thought is based upon one major assumption: the understanding of truth as opposed to illusion. The student of the Mysteries is essentially a searcher after truth or "Wisdom".
Magick is a by-product of this search for truth, and holds an inferior position to truth. Magick, which is the development of total will, is a product of the Soul in its search for ultimate knowledge. It is the ability to use a force that has been perceived while searching for a more important aim within the self. No genuine esoteric truth can be written down or put within an intellectual framework of thought. The truths involved are participated in during comprehension of the soul or Enlightenment. Truth to this degree is not subject to pragmatic thought and as such, is only apparent to the eye of the beholder. Throughout the history of humanity there have been faiths, schools of wisdom and teachers who have shown a way to attain a working knowledge of esoteric thought and philosophy by using inference rather than direct method to teach the approaches to cosmic truth. The secrecy of these Masters has nothing to do with protecting the Mysteries, since all that can be said about the Mysteries has already been written into folklore, myth and legend.
It was recognised that these legends, rituals and myths were the roads through many layers of consciousness to the area of the mind where the soul can exist in its totality. These and their surrounding disciplines and teachings became what the West describes as the Mysteries. The Mysteries are, in essence, means by which humankind may perceive it's own inherent divinity.
During the persecutions, the adherents of the Mystery system went underground and joined forces with the aboriginal beliefs of the mass, and so became part of traditional Witchcraft. Centuries passed and the meaning behind much ritual was forgotten, or relegated to an observance of elemental Nature. Much of the old ritual that survived became ossified and repeated by rote, rather than by understanding. Consequently it became static and remote from its original purpose, which was to enlighten the followers spiritually. In what generally passes as Witchcraft today there is much illusion and unresolved desire as there is in the outside world. In the closed circles of some covens there is greater bigotry and dogma than there is in many denominations of the Christian church. Many witches appear to have turned their backs upon the reality of the outside world and have been content to follow, parrot-like, rituals and beliefs that have little or no relationship with the twentieth century and its needs. There has been no cause for a fertility religion in Europe since the advent of the plough share in the thirteenth century, the discovery of haymaking, selective breeding of animals, etc. To claim, as some witches do, that there is a greater need in the world for fertility of mind than before, is understating general facts, since Western Europe morally and socially has advanced more without the Old Craft than it ever did with them.
The value of the Old Craft today then is that in it lies the seeds of the Old Mystery tradition. Through this the Witch may perceive the beginnings of that ultimate in wisdom, knowledge of themselves and of their motives. The genuine Mysteries are open to all, because anyone having experience enough can understand that basic Message. To close the human mind in order to protect it from outside circumstances that are hostile, is not a way to discover within one's self, that which is most profound, but is a return to a claustrophobic mother who will eventually smother the child.
If, as is claimed, the Gods are kind and they are all things, then why does the twentieth century Witch run so rapidly away from them in the practice of the 'age old Craft'? In real traditions there are profound secrets, hidden secrets folded within the most mediocre belief and action. These great secrets, secrets of the soul and of destiny, are only apparent in the open light, not in the illusionary world of Ye Olde English Wiccen. If real Witches are to survive then the religion must undergo some violent and radical changes. Changes that will open the ritual for examination, so that the spiritual content may be clearly seen. Changes that must kick over many sacred cows to see whether these old cows still give milk.
The inherent philosophy of the Craft was always fluid and changeable, it must become so again before it gasps its last breath under a heap of musty nonsense, half-baked theology and philosophy. Witches cannot retreat from the world any longer. We are the priests and priestesses of Nature - we cannot and must not shirk our responsibility.
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 tribes, 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 therefore necessary to understand the heritage and culture of the Welsh prior to the thirteenth century.
Seven classes of Welsh society can be identified from surviving historical documents: kings, nobles, peasants, slaves, druids, bards and ovates. While it is possible that a eighth 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, BARDS AND OVATES (Old Welsh: Derwydd, Bardd, Vate.) 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 Caesars 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 philosophy relate to Welsh Faerie Witchcraft?
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 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 was the highest degree of Bard in ancient Gaelic society, belonging 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...
"Through dark trees, speared by thin bright light. Through eyes against which hair blows. Through gold in a puddle, silver covered by clouds, I have guessed at you in wakefulness. I have dreamed you in sleep. Words whispered down the wind. Shapes against the daylight glare. Or shadows, merging with shadows, spreading into night. Where touch is more real than sight. And the trees are emptiness between the glades..."
- Teasgasg Neamhaidh.
These were the physicians, herbologists and healers of the Druid class. They knew the qualites of various herbs and other natural substances.
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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:
".........and countless thousands of courses of the Sun, a foreign people visited our land. They wore strange skins and felt more at home on our seas than on our land. They had been directed to journey to this place and pass on their vast knowledge and their `intelligence' to `Ones-Who-Would-Come-After,' their children.
"These travelers were, in some ways, a thousand times more elevated than we are today. They had great powers and were able to communicate with your ancestors by thought as well as speech. They could heal with their minds. They could move things with their will alone. Collectively they were known as HU GADARN...The First Triad...The Old Ones...The Watchers...The Nemue."
"They were the first messengers to your land. When they arrived, they found a very primitive race of people who were just beginning to use tools. They mated with these people and their offspring became the First People, or Nephelim.
"The Nephelim were tall in nature like their fathers, and some, like their fathers before them had great wisdom and a desire to help humanity. Others however, sought to harm all beings, and lusted for power.
"The evils that some of the Nephelim wrought horrified the Nemue. They were shocked to see all the good that they had tried to bring to the beings of the Earth turned into blasphemy. The Nemue decided that they would combine their power and destroy the lands in which the Nephelim dwelt. The Nephelim fought back because they were heirs to the same powers as the Nemue and in one day and one night of destruction wrought by volcanoes, earthquakes, and floods, many of the Nephelim and Nemue were killed and many records were destroyed. The upheaval was of such a magnitude that to this day it can be seen in the rocks, and on the walls of deep canyons......"
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 worshipped 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 appears highly probable then that the female figurines were idols of a Great Mother cult, practiced by the non-nomadic Aurignacian mammoth hunters who inhabited the immense Eurasian territories that extended from Southern France to Lake Baikal in Siberia."
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 worshipping 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
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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 Beltaine 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 Llewelyn 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 usage's of the bardo-druidic system of the Isle of Prydain 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 Llewelyn 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:
"Opposite to the coast of Gallic Celtica, there is an island in the ocean, not smaller than Sicily, lying to the north, which is inhabited by the Hyperboreans, who are to named because they dwell beyond the North Wind. This island is of a happy temperature, rich in soil, and fruitful in everything, yielding its produce twice a year.
"Tradition says that Latonia (mother of Apollo and Diana) was born there, and for that reason the inhabitants venerate Apollo more than any other god. They are in a manner his priests, for they daily celebrate him with abundant honors.
"In this island there is a magnificent grove of Apollo and a remarkable temple, of a round form, adorned with many consecrated gifts. There is a city sacred to the same god, most of the inhabitants of which are harpers, who continually play upon their harps in the temple and sing hymns to the god, extolling his actions.
"The Hyperboreans use a peculiar dialect and have a remarkable attachment to the Greeks, especially to the Athenians and the Delians, deducing their friendship from remote periods."
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:
"...among the whole of them three classes more especially are held in distinguished veneration, the Bards, the Ovates, and the Druids. The Bards are chanters and poets. The Ovates are . . . physiologists. The Druids, in addition to physiology, practice ethic philosophy. They are deemed to be most upright, and, in consequence, to them are committed both public and private controversies, in as much that on some occasions they decide on battles and stop the combatants on the eve of engaging. These and others say that souls are immortal, and that the world is so too; yet that ultimately fire and water will prevail."
Diodorus Siculus in 44 B.C., describing Druidism:
"And there are among...(The Gauls)...composers of verses, whom they call Bards; these singing to instruments similar to a lyre, applaud some, while they vituperate others. There are also certain philosophers and priests surpassingly esteemed, whom the call Druids.
Caesar, speaking of Druidism said:
"The institution (Druidism) is thought to have originated in Britain, and to have been thence introduced into Gaul; and even now those who wish to become more accurately acquainted with it, generally repair thither, for the sake of learning it."
Caesar also recorded the scope of Druid teachings:
"As one of their leading dogmas," he said, "they include this: that souls are not annihilated, but pass after death from one body to another, and they hold that by this teaching, men are much encouraged to valor, through disregarding the fear of death. They also discuss and impart to their young many things concerning the heavenly bodies and their movements, the size of the world and our earth, natural sciences, and the influence and power of the immortal gods."
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.
"The common religion," writes John Rhys, "was Druidism from the Baltic to the Straits of Gibraltar."
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:
"The institution (Druidism) is thought to have originated in Britain, and to have been then introduced into Gaul; and even now those who wish to become more accurately acquainted with it, generally repair thither, for the sake of learning it."
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-coed have been the home of a tribe/family 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., 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 chieftain of the Pictish Celts was killed, but his son Llewelyn continued the fight against the would-be conquerors.
The young Roman entered into personal combat with Llewelyn and was victorious. The combat between the two was long and hard, but eventually llewlelyn lost his hand and was forced to surrender. Horatius was impressed by his enemy's valor and allowed the man to live. Llewelyn 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 town 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. He died there in 23 BC.
All hail to Anglesey, gentle land, the delight of all regions Bounteous, like Atlantis, Ancient Paradise. Goronwy Owen (1723-69) 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. Back to Top
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 Rhodris 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 Rhodris, 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.
Owain handfasted to Gwladus, daughter of Llywarch ap Trahaearn and Christina, daughter of Gronw ab Owain. He had nine children; Rhun, Hywel, Iorwerth, Maelgwn, David, Rhodri, Cynan, Angharad and Gwenllian. Iorwerth handfasted with Marared, daughter of Madog ap Maredudd and produced a son, Llywelyn Fawr or Llewelyn ap Iorwerth. In 1200, Llewelyn ap Iorwerth, became ruler of the kingdom of Gwynedd, and under his strong and determined leadership, Wales was once more united as a single political unit. In 1204 he was recognized by King John of England, who gave him his daughter Joan in marriage. Two entries in "Brut y Tywysogion" attest to his power, influence and confidence. The first is from the year 1230:
In that year William de Braose the Younger, Lord of Brycheiniog, was hanged by the Lord Llewelyn in Gwynedd after he had been caught in Llewelyn's chamber with the King of England's daughter, Llewelyn's wife.
The second entry is for the year 1240:
He ruled his enemies with sword and spear, gave peace to the monks. . .enlarged his boundaries by his wars, gave good justice to all according to their deserts, and by the bonds of fear or love bound all men duly to him.
Despite some military setbacks, thanks to the troubles between the English monarch and his barons, Llewelyn 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 Llewelyn 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.
It was up to Llewelyn Olaf ap Gruffudd to be the great unifying force of Wales. After imprisoning his brothers and taking the kingdom of Gwynedd for himself, Llewelyn 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 Llewelyn allied with Simon de Montfort against the King of England, his alliance was short lived. In 1265 Simon 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 Llewelyn was patron to Hywel Voel who was a Druid and Bard. Hywel Voel wrote of Prince Llewelyn'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 Llewelyn 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 Llewelyn's wife's, were initiates of the Ordre de Seon in France. Eleanor and Prince Llewelyn were first married by proxy in 1275. Eleanor's lineage 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 Llewelyn 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 Llewelyn was not yet finished. During a period of peace between the two leaders, King Edward finally allowed Prince Llewelyn and Eleanor to be married in reality. In October 1278, Prince Llewelyn 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, Llewelyn could not help but lead their cause. In 1282, Llewelyn again refused to recognize Edward I, as overlord. This led to a virtual war between the Welsh Prince and King Edward.
"The gentlefolk of Wales, despoiled of their liberty and their rights, came to Llywelyn ap Gruffudd and revealed to him with tears their grievous bondage to the English; and they made known to him that they preferred to be slain in war for their liberty than to suffer themselves to be unrighteously trampled upon by foreigners" (Brut y Tywysogion).
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 Llewelyn 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 Llewelyn, "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 Llewelyn 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 Llewelyn: Collir Llywelyn, collir cyfan (losing Llewelyn is losing everything).
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, Dynion Mwyn became secretive and effectively disappeared for a time. Gruffudd ap Madawg, a relative of Prince Llewelyn, 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 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 Llewelyn 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 Llewelyn. 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.
Recent research indicates that there are two lines of Descent of the family witchcraft tradition of Dynion Mwyn. The first deals with the Wynne connection. Taliesin enion Vawr (Wynne) had documents which indicate his family was descended from Catherine, the illegitimate daughter of Maredudd ab Ieuen ap Robert and Dafydd ap Siencyn. Dafydd ap Siencyn was branded an outlaw and was one of the sources for the Robinhood legend according to Taliesin.
The second is the Wentworth connection. Sarah Llewellyn Wentworth, cousin to Taliesin, was descended from Gwerful, daughter to Enion ap Caradog, lord of Penychen. After Tudor ab Enion died leaving no heirs, the land of Penychen should have gone to his sister Gwerful, but Edwards Queen took the land which was located in the county of Caernarfon and made it part of Crown land. See http://www.dynionmwyn.net/Origin/Origin.html
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Originally by Taliesin einion Vawr, Revised by Celtic Church of Dynion Mwyn, Inc.
Copyright © 1977, 1992, 2003 by Celtic Church of Dynion Mwyn, Inc. All rights reserved.
Revised: 13 Dec 2011 02:24:31 -0500
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