Category Archives: Musings/Thoughts

Religious Law and Personal Codes

I was inspired to write this post by two factors:

1, being this post on the concept of honour by Nimue Brown, it gives a great comparison on honour being an excuse to beat people up and honour being a sense of doing the right thing, despite all odds.

2, being a conversation with Devi regarding religion and her stance being that any form of organised religion is a method of control.

Both of these made me think of my concepts of honour and what religious laws (if any) that I followed.

What came to mind was my favourite quote from Diogenes Laertius when describing the observed law of the religion of the Celtic people:

…. to honour the gods, to do no evil, and to practise bravery….

Diogenes Laertius was writing about the Druids and the law they taught to the rest of Celtic society, he referred to Sotion and Polyhistor as is his sources, so this is really based on the accounts of other Greeks writing about the Celts. I don’t know if this was based on fancy or fact. Either way, when I first read this (must be about 13 years ago now!) It stirred something within me and I hold it within my heart, the first triad I had ever learned. If there was any actual religious edict to “follow” it is this. Even if the observance wasn’t strictly true, respecting ones ancestors, not giving in to moral weakness and having courage in all things can’t be a bad way to go.

I also follow, if that is the right word, the modern tenet of responsibility:

We, and we alone, are responsible for our lives and actions. Our will, our happiness and our destinies are our own.

Not a Druidical phrase per sè, but definitely a theme and mode of thought that came about in the 20th Century.

What moral codes do you work with and what inspired them?

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How do I apply my Druidry?

Is the question that was brought up when filming ‘A Druid’s Pilgrimage’. The question isn’t about what methods I use in my Druidry, it’s about how I apply it to my everyday life.

New question: is Druidry something I am or is it something I do? Is more accurate in the basis of what I mean.

There are a few people for whom, their Druidry defines them. It’s what they do, it’s who they are and it’s what they make of themselves. And fair play to them. Not everyone can market themselves as a Full-Time Druid and make it their living.

For some, being a Druid is having a flashy title they can use as a status symbol, some people love the pomp and decoration when they say “Oh, I’m a Druid you know” knowing full well it makes them appear a little bit mysterious and of course, they become the talking point. And it isn’t just in Druidry you find this type….

For the majority, being a Druid is belonging to something. It’s being in touch with a path that resonates with you and allows you to see the world in a more respective way. It also shows you things about yourself you may not have been aware of; both good and ill. It was for me at least. Still is.

For me, I’m being a Druid when I’m there for someone who needs somebody to talk to. Or organising and running my Robin Hood Moot here in Nottingham. I’m being a Druid when I’m asked about something spiritual or being asked to perform a ceremony for a milestone event (I have one child blessing under my belt now). I’m being a Druid when I go to a place, pick up on the spirits there and pay my respects, or say a blessing of peace upon the rat one of my three cats killed and decided to bring back with them. I’m being a Druid when I’ve been asked to give a talk to a group of some kind. In short, I’m being a Druid when being of service to people and in my approach to the world.

When learning my Gwers, I am both being a Druid and doing my Druidry. In reading the course material, making notes, researching and practising out the Practicum, I am being, doing and learning all at the same time.

I am doing my Druidry when I pick up my books and start researching and making notes, or practising a solo ceremony, or meditating. I do my Druidry when lighting my candle and giving thanks or leaving offerings to the gods. I do it when telling a story to an audience.

There are two spheres in my life I don’t apply my Druidry, or it’s not the main focus, should I say. The first is on my acting. Being an actor, I have to become someone else, and they aren’t Druids. So, here at least it becomes secondary. Although I can feel the energy of the cast and crew and work with it accordingly. Strangely enough, there’s a lot of talk about energy when it comes to performing, not just in terms of stamina, but also in that it becomes something palpable and can either feed or drain the performer. Plus, a lot of performing work is ebbs and flow. My Druidic outlook stops me from feeding envy and arrogance, instead it encourages acceptance and knowing when to act and when to let go.

And there’s the survival job. Druidry and sales don’t really mix, although going through my day to day business, Druidry applies to my job more than I thought: being consciously mindful of materials I can recycle and re-use, reading a customer and either working with the energy they bring, or respecting their privacy when they have made it very clear they don’t want any assistance. And then there’s my thing about being truthful and honest. I remember reading in Peter Berresford-Ellis’ book ‘A Brief History of the Druids’…. (this was the book that introduced me to what Druids were and I put a lot of stock in his research, even if there are a few things that have been found to be false), and reading a part about Druids searching for the concept of Truth above all else. And this has informed how I look at things, and so if a customer tells me something that won’t work on their project, I have to tell them. Both in my service and in my core beliefs.

I take it back, Druidry does apply to my both my work and performing life, it wasn’t until I considered the questions raised in this post that I didnt realise how much.

So, if you ever feel the need to question how your beliefs and practices apply to your everyday life, or if, like me, you weren’t even sure until you start accounting for it, then look at what you are, what you do and when you are being.

Awen pendant by Tatterhood, photo by Locksley2010
Awen pendant by Tatterhood, photo by Locksley2010

Positive Masculinity

If you click the link below, you’ll find the new advert (that’s, commercial, for my readers in the USA and Canada) from Gillette. Supposedly, it’s controversial.

According to some negative feedback, it’s “emasculating men” and “insulting” to men’s rights and labels all men as being terrible people…. hmm. Really?

Watching it, I see images from the past adverts as well as attitudes that are now outdated. The advert recognises what men were thought to be, in fact Gillette even uses some of its old marketing, which for the time, was geared in that direction. And that’s just it, we’re talking about the depiction of what “masculinity” and “being a man” was seen to be in another time.

What the advert does is challenge those preconceptions and asks us men-folk “Is this the best we can be?” In the present, we have children committing suicide because of bullying, we have women angry at being treated as second-class citizens as well as other women scared of being abused (by no means am I saying women are weak, I’m trying to say they’ve had enough and are fighting back at those who deserve to be fought), and of course, dickhead behaviour seems to be on the increase by just about everyone.

For anyone who has followed me for a while, you will know I have written about masculinity before, I have even given an on going talk on the Masculine Principle in Paganism, I say on going because it’s a talk that constantly evolves, but my conclusion, so far, is the same….. read them and find out. 😉 nb: those articles are old now and I need to retouch them from the last time I did the talk in 2018.

Personally, I found the Gillette advert inspiring and uplifting. As a gentleman myself, I have always believed that everyone should do better. I loved the message behind it: by being better, we can inspire others, in inspiring others, we can inspire the next generation, in inspiring the next generation, we can make the world a better place. At no point did I feel the advert was saying all men were the supposed cruel, evil beings that some men are claiming the advert says….. if anything, their reaction says more about them.

The advert isn’t asking men to be anything less, it’s not about being “Woke” it’s about doing the decent thing. It’s about challenging our behaviour and attitudes and being something better. It’s not telling us to be soft or weak it’s asking us to be better. It takes strength to separate a fight, it takes courage to call somebody out and it takes bravery to stand up for someone…. this is “masculinity” at its best.

It’s not even about leaving our problems for the next generation to solve; it’s telling us to make a stand. Now. Right now. Our actions define us and people take note of them.

People are loud when it comes to shouting about “Toxic Masculinity” it’s the buzz-word of this portion of the 21st Century. Yet there’s hardly any encouragement or even any push for “Positive Masculinity”. And this advert is just that. It’s not saying “All men are asses” It’s saying there is Positive Masculinity and it should be encouraged.

As far as I’m concerned, Positive Masculinity is being the better man, it’s calling out when someone else is being a dick (about race, sex, gender, religion) it’s standing up for someone who can’t stand up for themselves, it’s doing the right thing. It’s taking responsibility for ourselves, our children and the world around us. It’s also not falling into the trap of reacting emotionally to any criticism of our gender and adopting a victim mentality.

On my FB post for New Year’s I wrote a message about everyone being more kind in the world and I seriously meant this. Even if it means doing at least one kind act everyday, those acts of kindness can be infectious. The amazing thing is that there seems to be a call going on for this and it’s world wide. This gives me hope for Humanity as a whole. And the Gillette advert, whether you like it or not, is now part of that.

It’s not just men who need to do better, it’s everyone. We all need to be better in ourselves and be better with each other. And to paraphrase one commentator on Twitter:

If you feel ’emasculated’ because of an advert on TV, then you’re doing masculinity wrong.

Nb: as much as I salute Gillette for their advert, I’m not a customer….. I’ve been a Harry’s Razors man since Sept 2018, when I trialled their razor and found it a better cut than my Mach 3…. soz.

Fire and Water

I’ve been lucky this year. I wasn’t actively seeking acting work after adapting to my new home and making it mine.

But, so far this year, I have been asked to do a storytelling spot for the Keyworth Festival in July, here in Nottinghamshire. I was put into a link conversation via social media for another storytelling gig, this time in Derbyshire. The last was a no go, but I learned to respect my craft enough to put a value to it rather than do it ‘for the love of it’.

I have just finished filming a short film project, the main bulk has already been filmed, and we recently filmed the last scene on Monday, and I got to utilise my make up skills. This will go to making my showreel, so others can see my acting and I can gain more work.

In the Pagan scene, I was asked by a friend of mine to do a talk for one of the local Pagan moots in May, so I revisited the talk subject and will be doing it again for another Pagan meeting later this month!

I was also put in contact with a director who is making an independent series about Druidry in Derbyshire….. we’ll be filming in 2019.

Through my acting circles, one friend contacted me about a mutual friend selling his microphone and interface, knowing I want to start voice acting, he told me about it….. I now own them.

I was even contacted by a theatre company asking if I’d be interested in acting for a university course in the exam held for the students: I learned much about thinking on your feet and improvising on the fly. This also taught me what ‘acting is lying truthfully in imagined circumstances’ is really like. It was awesome, draining but fun.

I have recently become involved in another filming project, involving AI and depression.

I make it sound easy don’t I?

None of these have fallen into my lap, they have all come from work and effort I have put out already.

The Way of Fire

My earlier life as an adult was all about getting things done. NOW. I had the energy, I had the vision and I had the fire to do it. Even if my know-how wasn’t great, I still went ahead. And I had the burning desire to get everything going before my thirties. I envisioned myself as being in Hollywood blockbusters by the time I was 36 as I’d already be ‘doing it’. I had the raging and burning fires of the heart to do everything.

Then I sacrificed it for another dream…. which I wanted to believe was my calling, it wasn’t. But I learned a lot about my genuine self and about life outside the world of performance. Sadly, I had doused my inner fire until I reigniting it years later…. only this time, it wasn’t a blazing bonfire to be seen from miles around, this was a carefully made fire to keep me warm.

After moving into ‘Project Potter‘ I was afraid. I didn’t have the urge to pursue any acting at all. Was I kidding myself? Did I really want this? Why wasn’t I actively doing it? All I had done was ask a couple of actor friends of mine for advice on how to proceed and what is to be done. And that was back in the last weeks of January; Ha! Just writing that bit made me realise….. this was the voice of the fire of my twenties. The voice that had an energy I can no longer keep up with. I am a fiery and impatient person, and I always have been.

However, life in my thirties has taught me a lot that the me in my twenties didn’t know…. such as: you can burn yourself out and make yourself ill. You can’t just jump into making your dream a reality so soon after moving home.

The Way of Water

My friend, Dumbledore, as well as being a Druid, follows the way of Zen. And through the years I have known him, I disagreed with the teaching of “by doing nothing, you are doing something….“. This was anathema to me. My lesson of 2017: “Nothing is accomplished without action” was the result of things I had pushed to happen that year. In fact, in pushing my way back into acting, I made the effort of getting myself out there: I joined an Am-Dram group to get myself back into the swing of things, I took up storytelling, got new headshots done through generous friends of mine (Thank You. All of you), became part of a story telling trio, performed at open Mic nights and events, joined the Actors Workshop to regain and learn new skills, attended networking nights and went for the opportunities presented. Some I got, others I didn’t. On the latter it’s not about what you didn’t succeed in, it’s what did you learn and take away with you? I’ve discovered. I also asked more experienced actors for their advice….. which resulted in me, now owning the equipment for beginning my voice work.

And so, yes, because of the actions in the way of fire, the way of water has now brought me projects to work on and go forward. The way of water is to let things come forward. Even though you may have done something, you might not get the results of that until another time….

In doing nothing, you are doing something“…… or in my case, in doing nothing I have allowed the actions of my past to bring things into my life, now.

Conclusions

It’s not about life owing you a living (those who believe otherwise are kidding themselves), it’s about opportunities arising and you making the choice to take them. By putting the work in you increase the chances of the opportunities to come, and by the time they arrive you make the effort to take them. Feed the energy and keep the momentum going. There is no free ride, it’s all work.

Magic Pigs

I originally wrote this for the blog of the Grove of the Corieltauvi. If you would like to read more on what we have done you can view it here.

Meeting took place on Thursday 12/04/18. 3rd Waning Crescent

Attendees: Danceswithweasels (welcome back!), Greenfingers, Locksley, Teller and Vyvyan (Darth Vyv). Big thank you to Teller and Vyvyan, for allowing us to use their place for hosting and for supplying bacon cobs after my talk. Especially when Teller is veggie. For those not familiar with East Midlands speak, “Cobs” are the local term for rounded bread rolls. Some other places call these “baps”, “rolls”, “buns”, or as my family in Sheffield call them “Bread-Cakes”. To any of the readers outside of the UK….. you wouldn’t BELIEVE how many arguments this causes…..

Anyway, Locksley, shut up and get on with the post!

Title Photo Credit goes to Greenfingers for allowing me to use his photograph.

Introduction

In all honesty? I thought it would be a laugh. At the AGM, I was handing Green Fingers our actual Magic Pig (a little bag for which we use for the collection of subs for us to purchase anything The Grove needs). I realised then that I actually hadn’t taken a meeting in a long time and wanted to do a talk on something and Magic Pig seemed to be as good as any. That and it seems to be a creature associated with many gods and heroes within Celtic mythology. Why was this?

Our Porcine Friends

Starting at the beginning, I read out the description of Sow from the Druid Animal Oracle. To make it fair, I read out both upright and reversed meanings. So we see the Pig as being associated with abundance and plenty, nourishment and sustenance, renewal and creativity.

The Reverse of this gives us a warning against relying on our vanity and “Pig Ignorance” to take other people for their worth, not just, their looks. Danceswithweasels quite rightly corrected me this was Sow and not Pig. True, but I wanted to keep it as the positive aspect of the animal, for the time being. Especially when we have a lovely picture showing said sow pretty much smiling as her litter run around and eat Beech nuts.

My original deck just had a small box and a booklet with the brief descriptions. I now have a second identical deck with a larger box and a book that goes into more detail…. Even telling of the sow, Henwen being linked to Ceridwen. More on this later.

Pigs are evolved from the Boar, which still exist today, they are intelligent, omnivorous and can have litters of up to a dozen piglets. Like us, they can adapt to any environment, and affect the local environment. If there are too many wild pigs foraging, then the nutrition count in the local area drops. This has a detrimental effect on the plant lives and eco systems of said area. If the nutrient levels return, then pigs will increase in population. No wonder we started eating them!

Grave Offerings

Whilst Boar bones are a rarity at burial sites, it appears pig bones and even joints of roasted pork were buried with the chiefs and warrior elite.

Professor Ann Ross writes:

… as suggested by the evidence from graves, where the placing of joints of pork beside the elaborately equipped chieftains indicates that this was intended to be the food for the feast beyond the grave, is bourne out to a striking degree in the Irish Tales. Here pork is the proper food to be served at the feast and in the ritual of hospitality in the courts of kings, and in the dwellings of the gods.”

It would seem that if pork was the best meat for the ruling and warrior castes of Celtic society, then it was good enough for the gods and for giving to be eaten in the Otherworld when the person is reborn in that world. Bit chewy for a newborn…. a gift for the family on the Otherside perhaps?

From The Otherworld

According to Irish myth, Pigs were brought with the Tuatha Dé Danaan, both The Dagda and Brigid kept pigs and boars. Considering the Boar was around in Both Great Britain and Ireland at the time, it would be interesting to see when breeds of pigs were introduced. Even if the Tuatha Dé Danaan didn’t bring pigs with them, somebody did…..

In Welsh myth, It was Gwydion who told Math, Son of Mathonwy of these strange little creatures called “pigs” or “hobeu”. They were the property of Pryderi, son of Pwyll, who was given this gift of pigs by Arawn, the lord of Annwfn (a realm of the Otherworld). So in both Irish and Welsh myths, we see pigs as being the property of supernatural beings, therefore linked with the supernatural in themselves.

Indeed, pigs in Celtic mythology seem to have magical abilities of their own:

Henwen– (Ancient White One) a sow under the protection of the Powerful Swineherd (Pryderi?) goes into the sea. She then comes to land and is not only pregnant, but brings both wheat and a bee to Gwent. She then goes to Llonion in Pembroke where she brings grains of wheat and Barley.

Pursued by King Arthur, she is never obtained by the King or his men, but she gives birth to a wolf cub and an eagle and a kitten. Each of these is given to a Prince, bad luck befalls each person who raises them. There are two Triads describing this tale, one tells of Henwen, being protected by the Powerful Swineherd (and in typical classical Celtic fashion, is not very clear on this title as being one person or three!) and that King Arthur is unable to obtain even one of the pigs through force or guile. The other describes Arthur as being after Henwen in order to kill her for carrying the ‘Womb-Burden’. But nowhere does the tale link with Ceridwen, at all. Vyvyan pointed out that it was Robert Graves, who had linked Ceridwen with Henwen. Personally, I think her name has more of a connection to the moon than the pig. Especially when her name can translate as either “Crooked (bent) Woman”, “Crooked Fair/white” or even “Poem Blessed”.

Pig of Duis– In the ‘Sons of Tuirenn’, the Sons attack Cian, father of Lugh (who tries to escape in the shape of a pig) but they murder him. As a fine for this, Lugh, chief of the Tuatha Dé Danaan charges them with the task of finding the skin of the Pig of Duis described as:

The skin of the pig is that owned by Duis, King of Greece. In whatever stream that pig walked, the water turned into wine, and the wounded and the sick became well when they drank it.”

The skin is also said to be as thick as two oxen hides, perhaps this is also a reference to death and burial rites once associated with the graves of warriors and chiefs?

Cormac’s Glossary describes pigs (especially red ones) as included amongst the animals whose flesh (along with cats and dogs) could be used for a method of divination called the Himbas Forosnai. This practice involves the chewing of the meat of one of the animals, puts an incantation on it and offers it to the gods and leaves it on the threshold of the door. Calling spirits, the poet is supposed to gain knowledge to what they seek. If that doesn’t work he says incantations over his palms, calls his spirits to help him and puts the palms over his to fall into a trance in order to gain the visions he seeks. The idea was to gain glimpses of the future through dreams.

Regenerating Pigs

Other magical pigs include the ability to be regenerated whole the day after being slaughtered and eaten. The Dagda supposedly had pigs and fruits that when roasted never diminished.

Usually there were conditions:

Cormac and the Fairy Branch: Pig, When King Cormac MacArt foolishly traded his family for a magical stick, he goes in search of his family and finds himself in the Otherworld. Invited into a hall, before him stands a man with an axe, a log and a pig. The man cuts the pig into four pieces with the axe and places the log under a cauldron of water. The man explains he helped a farmer regain his cows and that the farmer had given the pig, the log and the axe as a reward. The man tells King Cormac, that if he cuts the pig with the axe, and speaks a truth over the log, then, it will cook the pig and he shall have both again the next day.

Pigs of Essach– were slaughtered every night and cooked, but as long as their bones were whole and not gnawed upon, they would be alive again the next day.

We’re Going On A Boar Hunt…

Boars were seen as more aggressive and warlike. Indeed their physicality is different from pigs they have tusks, spiky hair and are sleeker in their build. Pigs have more fat whereas boars are leaner.

Boars in Celtic myth were described as fearsome creatures with tall black/dusky/even purple bristles on their backs, some had up to nine tusks in their jaws. Often a trail of destruction followed them, killing 50 warriors and 50 hounds in their wake. All the more terrifying as if to paint why the creature had to be stopped. The boar hunt was seen as one of ultimate skill, in some cases it was the initiation rite for the new chief…. if the stories are anything to go by, boars fought back!

Certainly, the Hero’s Portion was the prime cut of pork served at the feast to be given to the best warrior. The chief would take the next best, cementing that pork was the food of the chief and warrior classes before anyone else could have some. It is fitting then that boar imagery featured regularly on Celtic coins, weapons, altars, armour and even cauldrons.

The Boar hunt can be epitomised in the story of Culhwch and Olwen: Culhwch is charged by the terrible giant Ysbaddaden Pencaw (with no intention of these being possible so Culhwch cannot marry his daughter, Olwen) with many tasks. One of these was to hunt the dread boar, Twrch Trwyth, in order to obtain the razor and shears behind the creatures ears. Twrch Trwyth was a badass! Culhwch had to leave Wales for Ireland with King Arthur and a lot of his men in order to find him. Twrch Trwyth was kept for a time by Brigid along with two oxen, even in this form he was still fierce and ill-tempered (and responsible for some kind of weird demonic noises). Culhwch, Arthur and the men chased him around Ireland, back to Britain and Wales and after a huge fight resulting in the death of Twrch Trwyth’s piglets and plenty of Arthur’s forces the boar runs off into the sea. Turns out that Twrch Trwyth was actually a Chief who was turned into a boar for his wickedness, the same with his sons, yet was regarded chief of the otherworld boars. This entertained Teller no end as he quipped “I’ll still be a king even when I’m a boar, fuck you!” or something to that effect.

Bizarrely enough Culhwch’s name may have been an indication as to what his destiny held…. Culhwch’s name translates as “Pig-Run”!

In the Welsh tales, Gwydion after telling Math he will return with the pigs, goes to Pryderi with a band of travelling bards. Approaching Pryderi, Gwydion asks him for the pigs only for to be refused the request as they cannot be given until they are double their number. Gwydion then convinces Pryderi to exchange the pigs for twelve magnificent black and white horses, twelve magnificent white-breasted hounds and twelve magnificent golden shields as an exchange. The problem being that Gwydion had conjured up this illusion, which will last only a day. Pryderi pursues but was by Gwydion in single combat…. only Gwydion had used his magic once again to deceive so he could deliver the coup-de-gras. In this tale, the boar hunt is twisted into an act of cunning and deceit rather than skill. Certainly, this is an act of dishonour, resulting in the death of part of the three-fold Powerful Swineherd.

Also, the hero Diarmaid was fatally linked to the Boar he kills…. only to kill himself in the process as their lives were bound. The boar was in fact Diarmaid’s illegitimate half-brother who was magically changed into a boar by Roc, the boy’s father. Roc had been having an affair with Diarmaid’s mother and was shocked to see the boy flee a pair of hounds by going through Diarmaid’s father’s legs. In a moment of harboured jealousy, Diarmaid’s father began to crush the boy. Roc, using a magic wand turned the boy into a young boar-piglet and uttered a curse that the boy would grow into a fearsome vengeful boar and that Diarmaid would hunt him…. only to be killed by one of the bristles on the boars back. Bit harsh, especially when Roc could have used the wand to have healed his son instead of transmogrifying him.

So, forget turning people into toads, kids! Turning people into boars is where it’s at and this leads very well into the next part….

Shape-Shifting

Changing into other creatures is something that happened a lot in the old myths, the tale of Ceridwen and Gwion Bach, for e.g. has plenty of shape-shifting in it. In the tale: ‘The Sons of Tuirenn’, Cian shape-shifted into a pig, in order to escape his attack.

As we have seen, pigs and boars were a favourite creature to turn people into as punishment. Which implies an execution of sorts: their fate was to be killed in the hunt.

Twrch Trwyth was originally a king, but he and his sons were turned into boars for some unmentioned misdeeds. Despite being kept by Brigid, Herself, he still became the chief of the otherworld boars.

Gwydion, as punishment for both murdering Pyderi and for the rape of the maiden Goewin, was cursed into the form of a stag; along with his brother and accomplice, Gilfaethwy, a hind and they procreated. After that they were turned into a sow and a boar, repeating the cycle of bestial reproduction, taking turns on being male and female.

Madness

Speaking of shapeshifters, the wizard, Merlin, went mad for a time, the only creature he would talk to and with was a small piglet, to this pig, he shared his prophecy:

Listen, little pig,

Don’t sleep yet!

Rumours reach me

Of perjured chieftains,

And tight fisted farmers.

Soon, over the sea,

Shall come men in armour,

Two-faced men,

On armoured horses,

With destroying spears.

When that happens,

War will come,

Fields will be ploughed

But never reaped….

Listen, little pig,

Oh pig of Truth!

The Sybil has told me

A wondrous tale.

I predict a summer full of fury,

Treachery between brothers.

A pledge of peace will be required

From Gwynedd,

Seven hundred ships from Gynt

Blown in by the North wind.

In Aber Dyn they will confer.

Supposedly, this madness was brought on by grief, making Merlin live for a time in the woodlands where he would speak only to the animals he came across.

Why madness? The female pig can attack piglets in times of great stress, sometimes even eating them. According to Wikipedia, 50% of piglet deaths are caused by the mothering sow either attacking them or unintentionally crushing them. During these times of stress, perhaps people saw them as being mad…. another trait comparable to Humans.

In Conclusion

Both the Pig and the boar were seen in great esteem by our Celtic ancestors. They were respected for their fierce natures and strength. They were prized for their meat and fertility of litters. Neither was seen as a filthy, stupid animal The fact wild pigs and boars can have a negative effect on the land if they become too populous probably gave rise to descriptions of the destruction they supposedly brought with them. Hereby making an occasional cull of the species not only a necessity, but one to be seen as a test of strength, skill and courage.

As for the associations of the Otherworld, especially when the Boar was already native to Britain and Ireland, perhaps there is some truth in pigs being brought over, even if the memory had faded as to who this new breed came with. I think Anne Ross puts it best with her comment:

The favourite food of pigs is the acorn, and their passion for the fruit of this most venerated tree, the oak, must have increased their supernatural associations in the popular mind.”

Especially when we consider the oak as not only being revered, but was thought to represent the god Bilé, whose name means ‘Tree’, the consort of Danu. It was Bilé who brought the souls of the dead to Her.

Sources:

Books:

DAVIES, SIONED, The Mabinogion, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2008.

ELLIS, PETER BERRESFORD, The Mammoth Book of Celtic Myths and Legends, Constable & Robinson Ltd, London, 2002 ed.

GOMM, PHILLIP & STEPHANIE, The Drud Animal Oracle Deck, Illustrated by Bill Worthington, Connections Book Publishing Ltd, London 2005 ed.

HAMILTON, CLAIRE, Tales of the Celtic Bards: Myth and Music, O Books, Ropley, 2003.

MATTHEWS, JOHN, The Little Book of Athurian Wisdom, Element Books Ltd, Dorset, 1997 ed.

MATTHEWS, JOHN & CAITLIN, Celtic Myth and Legend: A definitive source book of magic, vision and lore- compiled, edited and translated by the Matthews, BCA, 2004 ed

ROSS, ANNE, Pagan Celtic Britain: Studies in Iconography and Tradition, Cardinal, London, 1974 ed.

Internet Links:

https://www.behindthename.com/name/ceridwen

https://www.ciwf.org.uk/farm-animals/pigs/

https://www.timelessmyths.com/arthurian/merlin.html

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ceridwen

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pig

Times of change in 2018 #1

For those of you who have read my post on the drawn card for the year, you’ll know that this year heralded a time of change. Well, nothing says change more like moving home!

The end of March saw me move into my very own flat, here in Nottingham.

This is a first for me, because I have never lived alone before. I doubt having my own room in the University accommodation hall’s back in my youth as a student counts.

My former housemate, Artemis, has gone off to live in the city she now works in; and I sincerely wish her the best. I suppose I could have advertised for another lodger, but I really felt the need to live alone for a while.

My new place is a basement flat in a reconverted Victorian house, when I told this to my Dad, he thought the worst, thinking I had some squalid setting devoid of sunlight. I can happily say I have windows. It’s not luxurious, neither is it state of the art (Remember those dial timers for your heater? Where you had to position the red and blue tags as the on and off for when your boiler could start and stop at different times? Yeah, it’s got one of those!) But it’s sufficient for my needs and plans for the moment.

There are plenty of birds in this area, as I startled a robin pirched on my gate and the morning chorus is becoming louder. There is a tree just outside, I think it’s a Sycamore, I’m not quite sure.

I was given the link to it by Devi, who had found it on Rightmove. I gave it a chance and it was the one place I looked at that actually felt homely.

So….. Because my new pad is a basement flat, Devi dubbed it “Project Potter”. To help me with my organising, she got me this note book and this wand pen. Her Chinese symbol is Snake, so she got me the Slytherin book. It feel this is very appropriate, for in Druidry, part of Snake’s energy is about being able to shed ones old life and growing into the new…..

The Sorting Hat had spoken…… damn, I was surprised!