Fairy Lights and The Strangeness, Fishergate

Last night I dreamt I was watching a television programme in my living room. Somehow I entered it and became an active participant. With a group of friends I was preparing to stage a protest. For it to succeed, a special light on a tree needed to be changed. I ran with a blonde, sporty woman (who I did not know) across a car park to the tree, which stood on the end of a busy city street I identified as Fishergate in Preston.

The lights were off. The one we had to change looked more like a silver Christmas decoration and stood out as markedly special and ‘other.’ As the woman started taking it down, chatting easily, she paused. Her expression froze into uncanny wistfulness and her gaze grew distant. Speaking in a voice from far away, she told me “it belonged to Gwyn ap Nudd.”

I knew at this point (somehow being outside the programme and within it) the words and memory that possessed her were not her own. Like in a film there was powerful, beautiful music. A strange wind blew, stripping away the façade of the city streets. I had a profound sense of another landscape stirring and awaking at the sound of Gwyn’s name. Once the strangeness had blown over, the woman began chatting normally as if nothing had happened and traffic started driving past again.

Throughout the preparations there were rumours about the massing of an army of otherworldly beings. As someone in the programme with an audience member’s knowledge I knew they were the fay / Gwyn’s hunt and could sense them gathering in clouds and forests somewhere behind. I had the feeling they might disrupt the clash between the two sides in the protest. As audience, I was aware this was the part I was looking forward to.

This awareness brought me back to my living room to see the credits rolling down the screen…


The dream inspired me to walk into Preston at dusk tonight. Several months ago, Fishergate (the high street) was pedestrianised. The road was narrowed to make way for wider pavements and as a final touch, trees. Delighted when I saw first saw them, I walked the street, greeting them in turn and welcoming them to the city.

Since the Christmas lights went off, the trees have been lit by fairy lights. Following rain and hail, the pavements gleamed. Reflected in windscreens the lights shone like cold stars, miniscule glances leaping from fragments of hail.

Fishergate, PrestonIdentifying the tree from my dream, I noticed all the lights were working.

Tree, FishergateI stood with the tree for a short while. Crossing the road and looking back, I saw huge dark ominous clouds gathering over the County Hall, which is where the anti-fracking protests will take place on the 28th and 29th of January.

Fishergate, County HallThe music of hail came down. An immense strangeness like none I had known before came over the city. I felt as if I stood in another Preston where the landscape was more than it was by the strange life of those lights against winter’s silver-grey sky. Everything seemed more profound and enthused with meaning, although I couldn’t divine what the exact meaning was.

Fairy LightWhat happened to the silvery light, which belonged to Gwyn ap Nudd and led me to the strangeness remains uncertain.

9 thoughts on “Fairy Lights and The Strangeness, Fishergate

  1. Charlotte Hussey says:

    Articulate, eerie account that bridges inner dream, outer city “reality,” and Otherworld. It kept me on the edge of my seat throughout. Hope the anti-fracking protests don’t get ugly. Do be careful if you attend them…….XOX, Charlotte

  2. Rhyd Wildermuth says:


    Also (and I plan to email you regarding this and a few questions some others have asked me regarding Gwyn Ap Nudd), there seems to be a constant theme in many people’s experiences with psychopomp figures and guardians of the dead and protests. The Ghede in Haiti are a particularly interesting set of actors (it was it explained to me thus: the Barons are called ‘Barons’ because the Dead are the true rulers of the land). Also, the connection between the (very, very active–almost screaming) dead in Dublin and the water and anti-extravctive protests still haunts me.

    Oil, coal, and natural gas are particularly interesting matters. They are, and not just metaphorically, a fuel derived from the ancient dead compressed by the primal forces of the earth.

    Another matter (and I’ll email you on this): the further I delve into Bran’s mysteries, the more often environmental and technological ‘over-reach’ become a theme. The only connection I can really guess in this is, again, the matter of the dead, and the chthonic gods who relate to them…

    • Lee says:

      Rhyd and Lorna,

      I am getting an increasingly strong sense that Gwyn (not sure about Bendigeidfran) very much ties in with that streak of outside, rebellion, protest, the other and operating outside societal norms. What you reckon?

    • lornasmithers says:

      The connection with screaming certainly rings a bell. See ‘the scream over Annwn’ in Will Parker’s article, http://www.mabinogi.net/sections/Appendix/The_Underworld_Gods.pdf . Along with the unacknowledged dead, who feature in Shadowlands.

      Also, this poem based in Preston I wrote several months back but wasn’t quite good enough to publish….

      This headless screaming

      is the kind of scream
      that gets in your blood,

      of a headless Madonna
      or a headless dog

      running out of leper colonies,
      hospitals and friaries,

      burning up
      like an infant’s last cry

      or embers in a vagrant’s last pipe
      spilled red in an alleyway.

      It flaps and flutters in your heart
      like an unruly bird; a carrion cry, a fury.

      It will not stop until its vociferation
      is complete. It will not stop.

  3. Crychydd says:

    That’s an experience of amazing intensity Lorna, particularly in the way your dream links to your visit to the tree itself. And a gripping narrative too – I went right back to re-read it a second time.

    The words about Gwyn suggest a deeply embedded consciousness of him and his ways and that the gates of his realm are open for you – your work rewarded

  4. Lee says:

    Really interesting sounding dream Lorna 🙂

    Not at all sure what to make of it and even if you never start to find answers it sounds like the kind of thing that will stay with you. In my case one particular dream stands out (and inspired my mobile phone screen wallpaper) and after several years I still have no real idea about its meaning.

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