Goodby Welsh Mythology . . .
. . . hello White Deer.
I’m changing course, heading in a new direction.
This new direction is different enough for me to see a need to change the whole identity of this project, so from now on this is the White Deer website. The welshmythology.com url will still work but I’m making whitedeer.earth my main domain from now on.
Why White Deer? Well, those of you familiar with myths and folk tales from around the world will recognise the importance of special animals. For those of you not so familiar, here’s a quick outline:
In Celtic tradition, there are numerous examples of special animals, many of them white. We need only look at the Four Branches to find the shining white dogs of Arawn, red-eared and hungry for the hunt. The white boar in the third branch leads Manawydan and Pryderi to the otherworldly fortress. The Stag of Rhedynfre is one of the oldest animals in Culhwch ac Olwen, and in Irish and Scottish stories, white deer are often associated with the otherworld.
Deer as a symbol of the supernatural was also adopted by Christian tradition. Several early Welsh saints were accompanied by special stags, St Derfel and St Illtud perhaps being the most famous. Elsewhere in Europe the story of St Eustace is another example of a stag embodying the divine.
But special white animals aren’t just a European phenomena, we find them all over the world. One of the central figures of Lakota mythology is White Buffalo Calf Woman, who gifted the sacred pipe to native people. In some African traditions White Lions accompany strange events.
For me, the White Deer is a very suitable symbol for myths themselves. If we follow them carefully, they can show us the way into the deep woods, where we often encounter that strange and mysterious beast sometimes known as the Self.
More on this new direction in the coming months.