Sunday, 30 October 2011

Glastonbury part 1.

When thinking about Iron Age locations I think that I'm being a bit dense, really this is a case of I can't see the wood for the trees. Archeology forms a framework for locations, but the more interesting information is to be found in myth.

Archeology calls them hill forts but the hill part of hill fort is much more evocative when it is called Caer, or Dynas or Inis (sometimes spelt Ynys).

It is also possible that echos of Bronze Age ideas can be heard in Iron Age myth. The cauldrons of 'Celtic' myth offer inspiration and rebirth. They remind me of the stone bowls filled with cremations, found in passage graves.

Perhaps the Iron Age cult of the severed head is all that remains of the Bronze Age rite of using preserved bodies...sometimes a single body being in fact a composite of more than one body to make a whole ancestor to be buried in needful places, possibly as protectors [LINK]

It is quite difficult to find a Celtic Persephone myth, the closest I've got is the story of Creiddylad, which brings me back to her father he of the silver hand.

Nodens, or Nudd, or Nuada or even sometimes, Lludd.

His son is Gwyn ap Nudd.

From Wiki:
Gwyn ap Nudd plays a prominent role in the early Arthurian tale Culhwch and Olwen in which he abducts his sister Creiddylad from her betrothed, Gwythyr ap Greidawl.

In retaliation, Gwythyr raised a great host against Gwyn, leading to a vicious battle between the two. Gwyn was victorious and, following the conflict, captured a number of Gwythyr's noblemen including Nwython and his son Cyledr.

Gwyn would later murder Nwython, and force Cyledr to eat his father's heart.

As a result of his torture at Gwyn's hands, Cyledr went mad, earning the epithet Wyllt.

After the intervention of Arthur, Gwyn and Gwythr agreed to fight for Creiddylad every May Day until Judgement Day. T he warrior who was victorious on this final day would at last take the maiden.

This fight probably represented the contest between summer and winter and is a variant of the Holly King myth. According to Culhwch and Olwen, Gwyn was "placed over the brood of devils in Annwn, lest they should destroy the present race".

 And the theme of the glass castle: Caer Wydyr- a tower surrounded by water; Ynis Witrin, Ynisgutrin, Urbs Vitrea...Glastonbury:

Before the Glass castle
There is the maze of the labyrinth,
The raising of the veils and the closing of shadows..
And the enveloping darkness of the night.

Basically we should have gone on a trip to Glastonbury this week...