The Giants With Us

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My article covering giants in Brythonic mythology has been published on Dun Brython.

Dun Brython

Brutus! There lies beyond the Gallic bounds
An island which the Western sea surrounds,
By giants once possessed, now few remain
To bar thy entrance or obstruct thy reign
Geoffrey of Monmouth

Giants appear in many world myths. In Indo-European mythology we find a common theme: they are primordial beings who are killed or restrained, then replaced, by the gods of culture. In the Hindu and Norse myths a giant (Purusa/Ymir) is slain and dismembered by the gods and the world is created from his body. The Titans of Greek mythology are overthrown and imprisoned in Tartarus by the Olympian gods. In Irish mythology, the Formorians (from fo ‘under’ and mór ‘great’ or ‘big’: ‘underworld giants’) are subdued and displaced by the Tuatha Dé Danann.

We find similar narratives in British mythology. In Geoffrey of Monmouth’s History of the Kings of Britain, when Brutus arrives in Albion…

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Archaeopteryx

Archaeopteryx, I call to you kindly through layers of stone.
Geological time is not the history of the victors. No!
It does not lie or exploit. I pass through time
as I pass through stone like a wave of radiation,
find you in your death pose, bare bones of your wings
raised like the arms of a skeletal dancer, legs bent, killing claw
bared. The feathers of your frond-tail lift you into resurrection
soaring to heights where sylphs play bone-flutes
on your bones. Beautiful bird black wings like a raven’s
against the illusion of a double rainbow you forget
you are extinct. For a moment I forget our extinction,
smile with sharp small teeth and join you in flight
with a sweep of my bony feathered tail.

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Hole

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What is this hole through which the hope of the world is running out?

It is the spear-wound in the belly of a dragon sliced in half to make heaven and deep, quartered and scattered to the four winds, watchtowers established in each quarter to hold back her blood.

It is the sword-wound in the breast of a giant whose skull is the sky, whose bones are the mountains, whose flesh is the earth, whose blood was drained to make the sea around the earth.

It is the knife-wound in the groin of the Fisher King waiting bleeding in his boat on the translucent lake, no longer king, god, land, sky, sea, something bigger, awash in his rising blood.

Is this our chance to unhero ourselves, put down spears, swords, knifes, divisions? To staunch the wound with healing herbs and charms? To look into the eyes of the many-headed numinous and bend our heads in reverence together singing new songs?

Or will we die battling amongst ourselves, augmenting the divisions, cutting deeper wounds until all the hope has run out through the hole, all the blood, the last words on the final breath?

Shrewsbury Meetup

Write-up of our Dun Brython meet-up in Shrewsbury on Sat 22nd April.

Dun Brython

On Saturday 22nd April we held our annual Brython meetup. Members present were Greg, Lee, and myself. We chose Shrewsbury because of its location on a trainline in the midlands for accessibility, because it is on the Severn, and because Gerald of Wales claims that Shrewsbury was the centre of the Brythonic kingdom of Pengwern.

The weather was beautiful so we did business on the banks of the river Severn which is dedicated to the goddess Sabrina (it was earlier known as the Hafren and Sabrina as Habrena).

Habrena bless this Brython gathering
Held beside your flowing river
Which we bless with this offering
To your waters and your lands.

River Severn

When we made our offerings of words and mead the cruise boat ‘Sabrina goddess of the river’ passed.

Sabrina image

Sabrina Cruise Boat

We visited Shrewsbury castle, which may have been the site of the hall of the Cyndrwynyn, the rulers of Pengwern. Welsh literary…

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For Rigantona at Calan Mai

From Greg on Dun Brython – A devotion for Rigantona at Calan Mai

Dun Brython

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Rigantona, the gates of your world are open
As are the blossoms on the boughs
Scenting the air with Summer
As you ride across the land.

Rigantona, you are radiant in the dawn
As sunlight on the morning dew.
You are radiant at the middle-day
As the Sun climbs higher in the sky.

Rigantona, the evening twilight
Is suffused with your radiance.
As you are blessed we seek your blessing
Dwellers in your hallowed lands.

hawthorn

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Emerging from the Lake at Space to Emerge

On the weekend 13th – 14th of May I’m going to be running a creative writing workshop called ‘Emerging from the Lake’ at the Space to Emerge Woodland Retreat at Fell Foot Wood, near Lake Windermere, in Cumbria.

The inspiration for my workshop came from Charlotte Hussey’s poem ‘The Lake of the Cauldron’, which is a glosa based on the scene in The Second Branch of The Mabonigion where the giant Llasar Llaes Gyfnewid emerges from an otherworldly lake in Ireland with a cauldron on his back.

You can see me reading an excerpt from Charlotte’s poem and introducing my workshop in this video filmed by Jason Smalley (one of the organisers of Space to Emerge) HERE.

Windermere