Courses starting this week . . .

There are two courses beginning this week, and there are still a few places left on both. If you were intending to sign up please do so soon to ensure your place:

The Magic of Meaning – 12 week course Starts September 25th (£90)

Runs every Wednesday, 7:30pm UK time.

An in depth exploration of The Four Branches of the Mabinogi. Full description and course details can be found here.

Celtic Source – 12 week course Starts September 29th (£90)

Runs every Sunday, 4:00pm UK time.

The course covers important aspects of the Celtic cultures, from their earliest roots to the medieval period. The course description and details can be found here.

Taliesin Origins: a free video course

So what’s so special about Taliesin’s awen?

During the 20th century, tales of the mythic Taliesin travelled beyond Wales. Today, all over the world, Taliesin is the first point of contact for anyone wanting to explore Celtic mythology in the modern era. Inevitably, this old Welsh myth has evolved into something new, a modern myth that reinvents Taliesin for a different culture. Yet behind this new creation lies a much older Welsh tradition that stretches back into the early history of Britain. This video course introduces the original source texts for the Taliesin tradition, one of the oldest living myths of the Celtic nations.

Each of the 6 chapters takes a look at one of the main strands in the Welsh Taliesin tradition, considering how its mythology evolved and speculating on how it was used at different periods in Welsh history. Using original texts from the most reliable editions, the course focusses on interpreting the different poems associated with Taliesin.

A new video will be emailed to you every day. Each video is accompanied by a question that you can answer and a space for you to ask a question of your own. Answers and questions will be discussed every Monday night, 7:30pm UK Time (Starts Sept. 9th) on the Celtic Source Facebook Page. Details and links will be sent during the course.

Brú na Bóinne (Newgrange)

Brú na Bóinne is an enormous passage grave in Ireland that was built about five thousand years ago, and it was considered a dwelling place of gods for at least three and a half thousand years. So how come this ancient monument played such a prominent role in Irish history?

The Twrch Trwyth

A slightly different take on a series of posts I made a few years back on the Twrch Trwyth (now taken down as I rewrite).

The Twrch Trwyth, a nobleman transformed into a giant boar, is one of the more prominent characters in Welsh myth. In the tale of Culhwch and Olwen he is hunted by Arthur and his men, but not even these great heroes can vanquish this most terrible of enchanted beasts. So why is the Trwch Trwyth so impossible to kill?

The Conversion of the British Celts

Christianity is one of the most successful religions ever. Through out its long history it has gained enormous political and cultural power, and attracted the devotion of billions. So what was the key to its success in Celtic Britain?

Celtic Source: Is Rhiannon a goddess?

The general consensus among Celtic scholars used to be that Rhiannon, the otherworldly queen of the Mabinogi, was originally a horse goddess. But in more recent decades this idea has been viewed with scepticism. So is she or isn’t she? The answer is both yes and no.

Celtic Source: Gaels and Picts

Fifteen hundred years ago, northern Britain was home to many cultures, perhaps the most important being the Gaels and the Picts, two originally distinct peoples that came together to lay the foundations of modern day Scotland. But who were they and what finally united them?


Awen and Awenydd in Angar Kyfundawt

Here’s an excerpt from the discussion we had last week on the role of the awenydd and awen, at this point in the conversation from the perspective of The Book of Taliesin poem ‘Angar Kyfundawt’.

My translation of the beginning of the poem is below. As I explained in this series of blog posts a few years back, it’s a bit different to Marged Haycock’s translation in Legendary Poems from The Book of Taliesin. 

If you’d like to sit this 12 week course in September 2019, there are still places left so do get in touch. You can find out more about the course on the website.

Angar Kyfundawt, lines 1 – 39:

The poet — here he is!

I’ve [already] sung what he may sing.

Let him sing [only] when

the sage has drawn to a close wherever he may be.

A generous one who refuses me

will never get anything to give.

Through the language of Taliesin

[will come] the profit of manna.

When Cian died

his retinue was numerous.

Until death it shall be obscure

Afagddu’s declamation:

skilfully he brought forth

speech in metre.

Gwion utters

[and a] deep one will come;

he [Gwion] would bring the dead to life,

and [yet] he is poor.

They [Afagddu and Gwion] would make their cauldrons

that were boiling without fire;

they would work their materials

for ever and ever.

Passionately will song be brought fourth

by the deep, profound speaker.

Hostile is the confederacy [of opposing bards];

what is its custom?

[Since] such a great amount of the nation’s poetry

was on your tongues

why don’t you declaim a declamation,

a flow above the shining drink?

When everyone’s separated out

I’ll come with a song,

[I’m] a deep one who became flesh:

there has come a conqueror,

one of the three judges in readiness.

For sixty years

I endured solitude

in the water gathered in a band [around the earth],

[and] in the lands of the world.

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