Celtic Myth Show News

Bringing the Tales and Stories of the Ancient Celts to your Fireside

Category: Mabinogi

Welsh Traditions and Folklore

Welsh Costume - Welsh Traditions

Welsh Traditional Costume

Wales is a country steeped in tradition. Even the Methodist revival in the 18th century, whose stern Puritanism banished the ancient Celtic traditions, was unable to stamp out all remains of their traditions.

Today the old tales are kept alive by the Welsh speakers. There are an estimated 600,000 of them and the numbers are increasing. Traditional Welsh culture has been kept alive by the popularity of the Royal National Eisteddfod, a ceremonial gathering of musicians, poets and craftsmen.

In the late 19th century children were not encouraged to speak Welsh in school. If they did so, they were punished by having a piece of wood called a ‘Welsh Not’ hung around their neck.

Love Spoons – historic Welsh Tradition

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"Dark Angel" from the Ravens in Celtic Mythology article

Ravens in Celtic Mythology


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Ravens figure heavily in Celtic mythology and legend. They were linked to darkness and death – especially the death of warriors in battle. Celtic war goddesses often took the form of a raven. In “The Dream of Rhonabwy”, the knight Owein battles King Arthur in a dream world assisted by ravens. Some tales suggest that the great King Arthur himself was turned in to a raven upon his death.

Rhonabwy is the most literary of the medieval Welsh prose tales. It may have also been the last written. A colophon at the end declares that no one is able to recite the work in full without a book, the level of detail being too much for the memory to handle. The comment suggests it was not popular with storytellers, though this was more likely due to its position as a literary tale rather than a traditional one.

The frame story tells that Madog sends Rhonabwy and two companions to find the prince’s rebellious brother Iorwerth. One night during the pursuit they seek shelter with Heilyn the Red, but find his house filthy and his beds full of fleas. Lying down on a yellow ox-skin, Rhonabwy experiences a vision of Arthur and his time.

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Cadair Bronwen from the Welsh Goddesses in the Landscape of Wales article

Welsh Goddesses in the Landscape of Wales


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We are very proud to have permission to bring you this article by Cherryl Straffon from Goddess Alive about the ladies from the Mabinogion and their place in the Welsh Landscape. She says:

Welsh myth and legend is replete with Goddess figures. As recorded in The Mabinogi and other early Welsh texts, the stories of Welsh Goddesses like Rhiannon, Branwen/ Bronwen, Arianrhod, Blodeuwedd and Cerridwen have echoed down through the ages, and their tales are just as relevant today (see for example ‘Arianrhod’ by Claire Hamilton.) Given their importance to the early Celts in Wales it would not be surprising to find traces of them in the Welsh landscape, where a number of natural features are named after them. Arianrhod can be found at Caer Arianrhod, a rock 1.2km/¾mile off the west coast of North Wales.

It is all that remains of the land where the Goddess and her women attendants dwelt in a story from the Fourth branch of The Mabinogi. Her son was called Dylan, who became a sea God, and in Claire’s words, she was “a very powerful Goddess, guardian of the Seat of Poetic Inspiration and linked with the sea, the moon and the stars”. Her land was eventually inundated and all the inhabitants were drowned, but this may be later patriarchal disapproval of a free and independent Goddess-woman who shared her land with other women and had powerful magic powers.

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Cauldron - "From Cauldron to Grail in Celtic Mythology"

From Cauldron to Grail in Celtic Mythology


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The transformation from Cauldron to Grail is a theme that occurs throughout Celtic Mythology – from the Cauldrons of the Dagda and Cerridwen to the Holy Grail of King Arthur. In one part of the Mabinogion, which is the cycle of myths found in Welsh legend, Cerridwen brews up a potion in her magical cauldron to give to her son Afagddu (Morfran). She puts young Gwion in charge of guarding the cauldron, but three drops of the brew fall upon his finger, blessing him with the knowledge held within. Cerridwen pursues Gwion through a cycle of seasons until, in the form of a hen, she swallows Gwion, disguised as an ear of corn. Nine months later, she gives birth to Taliesin, the greatest of all the Welsh poets.

The Cauldron of Knowledge

Cerridwen’s magical cauldron held a potion that granted knowledge and inspiration — however, it had to be brewed for a year and a day to reach its potency. Because of her wisdom, Cerridwen is often granted the status of Crone, which in turn equates her with the darker aspect of the Triple Goddess (as envisaged in modern paganism). As a goddess of the Underworld, Cerridwen is often symbolized by a white sow, which represents both her fecundity and fertility and her strength as a mother. She is both the Mother and the Crone; many modern Pagans honour Cerridwen for her close association to the full moon.

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Original Artwork: Arianrhod’s Sky by Selena Fenech - "Women of the Celts: the Welsh Goddess Arianrhod – Bad Mother or Mythic Goddess?"

Women of the Celts: the Welsh Goddess Arianrhod – Bad Mother or Mythic Goddess?


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We’re very proud to bring you an article by Claire Hamilton about the famous Welsh Goddess. She says:

Arianrhod was a Welsh Goddess who lived on an island off the west coast of Wales. At the centre of her castle was a turning glass tower, which contained the mystical Seat of Poetic Inspiration. Her name Arianrhod means ‘starry wheel’.

She is obviously a very powerful Celtic Goddess even though she apparently completely disgraces herself as a mother within her story.

The Story of the Welsh Goddess Arianrhod

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Pryderi - new Episode

New Celtic Myth Episode – A Mother’s Worry, A Mother’s Pride


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At long last, we’re proud to announce the release of the 13th and final episode in the story of Pwyll and Rhiannon that is the First Branch of the Mabinogi. In our last episode, Pwyll’s long-time friend, Teyrnon has beaten off the Monster from the Deeps and has discovered a beautiful baby boy wrapped in silks left in its wake. He and his wife decide to rear the child, but what of the misery of Rhiannon? In this episode, Teyrnon makes a decision and we finally discover what really happened to Pwyll and Rhiannon’s child.

 

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We hope you enjoy the Show!

Gary & Ruthie xxx

The Loudness Wars start with this Episode

{Techy stuff – please feel free to ignore!}

We may be slow to catch on to the rest of the Audio world, but have just discovered the Loudness Wars. Have you noticed that when you are watching a movie or a show that when the commercials come on, the volume seems to go up to a painful level? There seems to be a noticeable difference in levels across all sorts of broadcast media. This has occurred as a result of advertisers and producers compressing their audio to make it as loud and noticeable as possible. A side effect on music has been that overly compressed music has become louder and punchier but has lost much of its dynamic range.

ITU BS.1770-3 Standard

ITU BS.1770-3

A Little while back legislation was introduced to level our the playing field and bring a standard to ‘loudness’ known as ITU BS.1770-3. Stateside this was implemented using the ATSC/85 (and variants) standard and the rest of the world used the European Broadcasting standard known as EBU R-128.

With this Show, we have started to ensure that our shows are EBU R-128 Compliant (which also includes the ITU standard) so you should find that your listening experience is much more pleasant that it may have been before. We will, as time allows, go back and retro-edit our back catalogued so that all of our shows are Compliant to this standard.

For more notes about Loudness compliance, check out R128Audio’s site.

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CMP App on AmazonYou can now also find an Android version of the App which works identically to the iPhone version. You can find it on Amazon or by clicking the image to the right.
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