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A SITE OF BEAUTIFUL RESISTANCE

Gods&Radicals—A Site of Beautiful Resistance.

There is a Rowan

They are searching
for the ones who have eaten
the stars set their tongues alight

There is a rowan
in the Mountains of Madness
whose berries burn
like flames.

Cerddinen wyllt.

They are searching
for Cynedyr, Cyledyr,
Myrddin, gwyllon

wild as mountain ash
who fly like trees

cling onto the peak
of Mynydd Vandwy

below the fort of one
who watched the battle rage
men becoming spectres

who gathered the souls
like berries – raging flames

too hot to quench in the cauldron
and so they burn brightly
on the rowan tree.

They are searching
for the ones who have eaten
the stars set their tongues alight
words raging like wildfire
through the worlds.

To stop the quickening
they are chasing the tree

up one peak down another
as they chased Twrch Trwyth
into the jaws of disaster -

to the Hunter’s laughter

there is a rowan
in the Mountains of Madness
whose berries burn
like flames.

*In Welsh cerddinen means ‘rowan’ and wyllt means ‘mad’, ‘wild’ and ‘spectre’. This poem has a basis in the story of Arthur’s attempt to usurp the leadership of Twrch Trwyth ‘Chief of Boars’ from its leader, the otherworldly huntsman, Gwyn ap Nudd, and to capture the gwyllon who ride on his hunt in Culhwch ac Olwen. Of course, this leads to disaster. Ireland and a large part of Britain are destroyed and Arthur fails to catch Twrch Trwyth, who is in reality a human shapeshifter in the form of a boar. This is a Christian overlay on the Wild Hunt, through which Gwyn gathers the souls of the dead back to his cauldron in Annwn. Arthur’s failure to hunt down Twrch Trwyth, a human soul, shows he will never truly win the leadership of the Wild Hunt and the mastery of the processes of death and rebirth. In ‘The Conversation of Gwyn ap Nudd and Gwyddno Garanhir’ Gwyn speaks of his ‘sorrow’ at witnessing a terrible battle at Caer Vandwy ‘The Fortress of God’s Peak’ between Arthur and his people ‘the honoured and fair’.

**I learnt that the rowan is known as ‘the flying tree’ for its ability to grow high in the mountains from Jason and Nicola Smalley at the Way of the Buzzard Mystery School.


LORNA SMITHERS

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Lorna Smithers is a poet, author, awenydd, Brythonic polytheist, and devotee of Gwyn ap Nudd. By questing the deep wisdom of Annwn and dreaming new myths she seeks to reweave the ways between the worlds. She has published three books: Enchanting the Shadowlands, The Broken Cauldron, and Gatherer of Souls. She is a co-founder of ‘Awen ac Awenydd’. Based in Penwortham, Lancashire, North West England, she gives talks and workshops, performs poetry, and is learning Welsh. She blogs at ‘Fruits of Annwn’.

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