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.

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…

VI. Winter

Day Six of Twelve Days of Devotion to Gwyn ap Nudd

On this sixth day
I consider winter.

How I wrote a story about
You winning the gift of ice from an ice dragon
and holding it in the palm of your hand as a snowflake,
yet it escaped You and grew to be a monster
bringing about an Ice Age.

This year people hung snowflakes
in the houses across the road.
Days later followed an Arctic Blast

reminding we who imagine winter of its harsh realities.

The snowflake is back in Your hand – innocent,
so completely perfect in its symmetry
but I will remember how it grew
to become a monster.

V. Your Battle

Day five of Twelve Days of Devotion to Gwyn ap Nudd

This fifth day
I consider Your battle.

How Calan Mai seems far away
but already we’re both counting down
the moons, the weeks, the days.

How every year you face
fighting a battle you cannot win,
how every year you have shown up anyway
for the seasons must turn, the ford must be crossed,
from death new life won, flowers from pain.
I think with shame of the times
I have failed to show up.

There will be no more excuses this year. 

IV. Your Beloved

Day Four of Twelve Days of Devotion to Gwyn ap Nudd

I come this fourth day
to consider Your beloved.

How, at the beginning of time
You shared a womb, hearts beating as one.

How You were torn apart, separated, found each other.
How She foresakes You for another lover every year.
How, with each separation, Your love grows stronger.

I think of how I was separated from You
and it took me thirty years to find You
although our paths crossed
and I did not recognise You in the books,
the land, my dreams, although I was searching…

I think of all the times we have been separated,
when I have been woman and/or man,
tree, plant, animal, stone, fungus and bacteria,

how my love for You has grown stronger
since the beginning of time,
the shattering of the cauldron,
since when we all shared a womb.