Ten Year Anniversary of Dedication to Gwyn ap Nudd – from Glastonbury Tor to Beyond the Expected

Glastonbury Tor

On star circled tor You stand lawless vigil.
Tower swallows cloud in Your endless waiting.
Years I have run the edges of Your world
Yet quietly my destruction You disdain.
Call to the stars shining out the full moon,
One blast of Your horn draws my soul back home.
In Your sublunar shrine springs from Annwn
Pour a cauldron of infinite wisdom.
Daughters of Avalon dance at its ridge.
Their shadows twist to the roaring song.
I see You, White Keeper of Time and Mist,
Watching patiently beyond mortal bonds.
The moment rings clear as Your guidance sure:
Let the words be spoke and the path be walked.

Hail Gwyn ap Nudd, King of Spirits! (January 26th 2013)

I wrote this sonnet ten years ago following my initial dedication to my patron God, Gwyn ap Nudd, at the White Spring beneath Glastonbury Tor. It was a magical and transformative moment and has changed and shaped my life.

My service to him as his awenydd ‘person inspired’ has gifted me with meaning and purpose beyond the rules and norms of this world. I’ve written three books for Him and the other Gods and Goddesses of ancient Britain and the spirits of the land along with countless poems, stories, and articles.

My relationship with Him continues to lead ever deeper into Annwn and into His mysteries. To getting to know myself better and more wonderfully to know Him. Most recently it has led to me becoming a nun of Annwn.

To mark the occasion my friend Aurora J Stone* made me some prayer beads. They are the colours of Annwn – howlite (white), carnelian (red) and onyx (black) and feature animals and symbols I associate with Gwyn. A hound, a horse, an owl, a raven, a spiral and a star. Aurora lives near Wells and very kindly laid them out on Glastonbury Tor to pick up some of its energy and sent some leaves and twigs from the tor when she posted the package. Receiving them around this time felt symbolic of the completion of a ten year journey.

Last night I journeyed with Gwyn to see what lies ahead. I can’t disclose what He showed me yet but His main message was that I must go ‘beyond the expected’.

This spoke to my fears about my series of books focusing on Gwyn’s story from origins to end being less accessible to my existing audience because they go beyond known Brythonic lore into personal gnosis and the realms of fiction. His words reassured me that this is exactly what I need to do. It also seemed meaningful that I recalled it was on my initial dedication day He appeared to me as a black dragon and that deciphering how Gwyn ‘White’ takes this form is one of the mysteries behind me writing these books.

I cannot guess what the next ten years might hold but ‘beyond the expected’ sounds like an exciting prospect.

*You can find Aurora’s writing online at ‘Grey Bear in the Middle’ HERE.

What Ails Me?

Hail is cold grain
and showers of sleet
and sickness of serpents
.’
– Hagalaz (rune)

I.
I come to You
my mind a wasteland,
the poles, the solstices of my world
out of kilter and something awakening beneath the ice

to ask the somewhat selfish question – “What ails me, my Lord?”

It echoes down through the centuries reminding You of Your father’s wound
and the wound You suffer every year battling against Your rival,

the wound to my navel after my dedication to You,
the pit of snakes in my belly button,

the heroes flung into it,
sucked dry. 

II.
“What ails me, my Lord?”

I’m back at high school again
with serpents twining around my chair legs,

staring down into the depths of the ink well I never used.

I’m chewing my pen, ink is dripping from the side of my mouth,
from my finger tips and I’m raising my hand
to ask for more paper, bleeding words,

rising to the challenge of the exam,

exulting in the quiet of the other pupils,
this scratching of pens the one thing I can succeed in.

III.
“What ails me, my Lord?”

I think of the serpents who twist around my arms
and sit deep in my belly and I wish I could tie around my ankles
to hang like You over the Abyss to gain the wisdom that explains this…

the way by lack of courage or confidence I am always climbing
the first three rungs on my ladder and then falling
back down into my pit of snakes.

IV.
“What ails me, my Lord?”

I’m back at the surgery again
and the nurse is wondering if I’m dead,
tapping my veins, trying to awaken them to life.

I’m explaining the junctions and showing which ones work.

Where blue flows to red and is tested then
incinerated by the fiery serpents.

V.
“What ails me, my Lord?”

My beast looks too much like an ink spodge test,

then I see my father splattered on the settee like a murder victim
from a third rate horror movie doing nothing as always.

I cannot find his wound or his serpents.

Instead I sink into mine and awaken them again,
the wounds made by all the surgeons, all the psychiatrists

by all the snakes fighting back, by all the horror movies and I hear

Your laughter, Your divine laughter, in my veins like poetry,
not the canned laughter of the television
he sits in front of.

VI.
“By asking the question you have opened the door.

Although all our blood and poetic truths
cannot save the world or heal
our ailments

by this opening
your serpents might return
to health and an answer might come through.”

*This poem is addressed to my patron God, Gwyn ap Nudd.

I wrote this poem last year. It is based on drawing the Hagalaz rune at one of the Way of the Buzzard journey circles over four years ago. I had a powerful experience that led me to investigating ‘the sickness of serpents’ not only in the Norse but the Brythonic traditions. It lies behind my series of books in which I explore the relationship between Vindos/Gwyn and the serpents of Annwn. The poem references gnosis received whilst writing these stories.

There is also an allusion to a series of blood tests I had last year relating to slightly raised liver function levels. Two ended up as four as on one occasion they did the wrong test and on another my blood coagulated in transit. It made me start wondering ‘does something want my blood?’ 

At the time I was writing about the conflicts in Annwn between the red and white serpents. As an answer, when I was sitting in the waiting room, on the white board a young girl had drawn a tower block with a huge winged serpent towering over it, which she was colouring it in red. I found out, after testing, blood gets incinerated and received the answer ‘the fiery serpents’. 

One of the results of the blood tests was that I have low iron levels. I have felt a lot better since eating more red meat particulary liver (sympathetic magic?) and believe this was behind me feeling tired and low most afternoons.

The final check relating to my raised liver functions is an ultrasound this Thursday so I will finally find out ‘what ails me’ (physically at least). If I do have minor liver damage it likely relates to having used alcohol to self-medicate the anxiety that comes from my autism since my late teens. I only started addressing this after making my lifelong dedication to Gwyn in 2019.

In the Deep progress update and planning The Forgotten Gods

Since my last update around the Winter Solstice I have been making good progress with the second draft of In the Deep. Having got nearly half way through and added another 20,000 words to the existing 127,000 by expanding and deepening the plot and character development without yet adding more detailed descriptions of the places and characters I have realised it is going to be too long. However, this works out great, as it means I will be able to make two books from this one!

The place I have reached a halt forms a natural ending to a book titled In the Deep and it now forms a self-contained whole for which I have written the following blurb as an exercise. 

‘Vindos and Kraideti are ripped from the womb of their Dragon Mother at birth. She is taken to the stars. He is flung into the Abyss. 

Vindos crawls out and must fulfil his destiny to become King of Annwn by building his kingdom from the bones of dead dragons and find his lost sister. Not easy. For warring serpents lie beneath, furious ghosts, and ancient monsters.

Kraideti is held captive by the Children of Don and partakes in the creation of the perfect world and the bringing of life and will forever be far away.

This is a story of descent and forbidden love.’

The next book will be called The King and Queen of Annwn. It will cover the battle between Vindos and Victor/Lugus (Lleu) for Kraideti and the turning of the seasons and the Battle of the Trees in which the Children of Don and the forces of Annwn clash and the rule of the culture gods is asserted over Britain. 

I am now envisioning a series of six books reimagining the origin story of Vindos and Kraideti and the other Gods and Goddesses of ancient Britain, telling how they were forgotten, of their return, and of future things.

In the Deep – the creation of the world and building of the Kingdom of Annwn.
The King and Queen of Annwn – the seasons, humans, conflict with the culture Gods.
The Spirits of Annwn – the Roman invasions.
The Gates of Annwn – Christianity and Arthur’s despoiling of Annwn.
The Silver Wheel – the Industrial Revolution.
The Black Dragon – nuclear war, the return of the Gods, the apocalyptic finale.

*In my books Victor son of Scorcher (Gwythyr ap Greidol) and Lugus (Lleu) are different names/titles for the same God.

You can support my writing of In the Deep in return for exclusive excerpts through Patreon HERE.

Winter hellebores evoke the presence of Gwyn and Creiddylad as Winter King and Queen for me.

In the Deep Excerpt – Nodens and the Deep

In this excerpt from my book in progress, In the Deep, the boy (Vindos/Gwyn) continues to dream as he falls into the Abyss and witnesses his conception by his Dragon Mother, Anrhuna, and Nodens, a god who is one of the Children of Don.

The boy dreamt of a blue god falling from the stars like a comet with an icy tail and plummeting head first into the waters of the Deep.

He surfaced, the strokes of his powerful arms making wide ripples, muscular legs kicking, silver hair flaying out behind him. He pulled himself onto the shore, gasping for breath, crouched, paused.

As he surveyed his surroundings the boy noticed, although he was only in early maturity, his face was etched with lines of stress and strain and his grey eyes were cloudy with regret and a depth of pain.

His breathing at ease, he climbed the cliffs, set out across the hills, a tiny figure, alone and naked, before the curious eyes of the dragons, who watched from their cave mouths and from their summits.

Why do they not eat him? The boy wondered. Curiosity? Respect?

To the Dragon Mother, towering over all like a mountain, he went.

Slowly, she raised her nine heads, regal and grey, as if sculpted from stone. They spoke in unison: “God from the stars what is your name?”

“My name is Nodens and I am the son of Bel, the greatest of the fire giants, and Don, the goddess of the primordial waters. I was once King of the Gods, of the Kingdom of the Stars, but am no longer.”

“Why is that?”

“I was cast down as I dreamed of forbidden depths, of dragons, of you… Tell me what is your name?”

“I am Anrhuna.”

“And where do you come from?”

“I come from the Deep and I am its Mother.”

“You speak in paradoxes.”

“That is the nature of the wisdom which comes from the Abyss.”

“Can you teach me?”

“The Abyss does not give up its secrets easily – what will you give?”

“I would give my sword arm.”

“And so you will, but not yet, for it may be needed.”

The Dragon Mother took Nodens in her coils and in them he hung upside down over the whirling darkness of the Abyss.

Many times the boy slept and woke before his next dream vision.

“Everything my father, Bel, told me is wrong!” Nodens exclaimed. “The Heavens were not created before the Deep, may be above, but are not superior. There is no up, no down, no before or after. Everything meets here, in you, the Dragon Mother.”

“Yours is the wisdom of the Abyss,” said Anrhuna. 

Easing him from her coils she took him in her arms as a goddess  with a crown of nine jewels, dark hair, full breasts, grey skin and serpent tails.

Nodens is my father, thought the boy, that’s why I’m not a dragon.

In the waters he saw both parents in his face – grey skin, sharp cheekbones, a pointed chin, the whitest hair, the white jewel in his forehead. He glanced down at hands and feet with seven claw-like nails.

*You can support my writing of In the Deep in return for exclusive excerpts through Patreon HERE.

XII. Your Death

Day Twelve of Twelve Days of Devotion to Gwyn ap Nudd

I come this twelfth day
to consider Your death.

How I have seen You die
so many times yet that

You should die forever
is unthinkable, unbearable…

For when You have gathered
the last stars at time’s end

there will be no tears left,
no-one left to cry them,

and who would gather the
soul of the Gatherer of Souls?

XI. Your Cauldron

Day Eleven of Twelve Days of Devotion to Gwyn ap Nudd

I come this eleventh day
to consider Your cauldron
and how it will not boil
a coward’s food.

“Why, then,” I ask,
“do You allow me to eat from it
when so many times I have failed
to live up to the demands of the world,
to match up to its worthy warriors and bards?”

You tell me that I “lack not courage but confidence”
and remind me that everything I believe in I have done –

I have stood and recited poems for You before
a world that once derided You as a devil
and now derides only those who
dare speak openly about
their religion in public.

I have climbed mountains,
run half marathons,
forded a river
in leaking waders.
Ascended Glastonbury Tor
in torrential rain in the dead of night
to gift to You the first book I ever published.

I have stood before Your cauldron made my dedication to You.

I have fled the world, but I have not fled from You, my God.

I pray that You, Your cauldron, will grant me
the courage to face my fears.

X. Your Kingdom

Day Ten of Twelve Days of Devotion to Gwyn ap Nudd

I come this tenth day
to consider Your kingdom.

What is a kingdom?
What is a king?

Is it a matter of inheritance
or something within?

The devils
who God was said
to put in You to prevent
the destruction of the world?

The spirits and monsters of Annwn
whose fury You contain within Your realm,
in whose nature You partake and who are part of You?

You are a ruler, You are a leader, You are many,
one of them too, yes, they, themselves…

You rule an other kind of kingdom.
You are an other kind of king.

Like all good kings
You and Your land are one –
both Gwynfa and Gwyn,
King and Annwn.

IX. Your Doors

Day Nine of Twelve Days of Devotion to Gwyn ap Nudd

On this ninth day
I consider Your doors.

How they are without number
yet You can name every one of them.

How I searched for Your doors
but could not find them
until I stopped
looking

and You
opened a door
and galloped through.

Since then I have known
all manner of doors in many places –
seen and unseen, in caves, springs, trees, walls,
holes in the sky, hell holes, gates guarded by fierce hounds

yet I have found the best of doors
is always an open heart.

VIII. Your Hound

Day Eight of Twelve Days of Devotion to Gwyn ap Nudd

On this eighth day,
I consider Your hound
and find myself staring
into the jaws of death.

His mouth is wide open,
his throat a long corridor
to Your realm – the pass
of the dog’s mouth.

His name has been translated as ‘Death’s Door’.

In passing through it we practice death,
time after time until his jaws
close forever
and there is no return.

VII. Your Horse

Day Seven of Twelve Days of Devotion to Gwyn ap Nudd

On this seventh day
I consider Your horse –
Carngrwn from battle throng
and wonder why You introduce him
before You introduce Yourself
when You gather the soul
of Gwyddno Garanhir.

Is he so much a part of You,
of Your identity and of Your destiny,
leading You away by the bridle to battles
in both Thisworld and the Otherworld
You must speak his name first?
Your horse before Yourself
Your role as Gatherer of Souls?

This horse You ride must be relentless
carrying You to battles everywhere at once.
Many his round-hooves cutting reeds, churning mud,
many his fetlocked legs, many his proud heads,
many his foaming mouths chomping the bit.

You must be many too gathering souls
from here, there, everywhere, no rest, no relent.
Your horse, Your destiny, Your love and Your lament
forever living on whilst the Warriors of Britain lie dead…