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Beloved Enemy joined Starquest and Children of the Mist to continue the Destiny Trilogy and I'm thrilled to announce was shortlisted for the R.N.A. RoNA Awards 2017, awarded 2nd Runner up in the RONE Awards 2017 and was the winner in the SF/Fantasy category of the 'Best Banter Contest'.

Showing posts with label Merlin. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Merlin. Show all posts

Monday, 22 June 2020

Welsh Myths and Legends - the Welsh dragon







Hello again, and if I have any male readers - I hope you had a truly loving and happy Father's Day.
In my series on Welsh myths and legends, the last few weeks have been devoted to mythical legends. It would be very remiss of me not to mention the famous Welsh dragon - Y Graig Goch - which appears on the Welsh flag. (LOL not many countries have a dragon on their flag, do they!)

You might be surprised that it relates to the Arthurian legends.

King Vortigern came to the mountains of Eryri, in Gwynedd. On the summit of one of these, which was then called Dinas Ffaraon, he decided to build a fortress.

Then the king sent for artificers, carpenters, and stonemasons, and collected all the materials for building. In the night, however,they all disappeared. Materials were procured from all parts a second time, but a second time they disappeared in the night. A third time everything was brought together for building, but by morning again not a trace of them remained.

Vortigern called his wise men together and they told him he must find a child born without a father, put him to death, and sprinkle with his blood the ground on which the citadel was to be built.

The king thought the advice of his wise men was good and sent messengers throughout Britain in search of a child born without a father.When they eventually found one, they took him to Vortigern the king.

The boy asked why he had been brought before the king and when they told him he was to be sacrificed to enable Vortigern to build a fortress, he told the king his wise men were wrong and that there was a pool beneath the ground where they were trying to build. In the pool were two vases and in the vases a tent.  in the tent were two sleeping dragons, one white and one red.

The dragons fought each other, and the eventually the red one won the battle and drove the white one away.

The boy told the king and his wise men that the pool was the emblem of this world, and the tent that of Vortigern's kingdom. The red dragon was the king's, but the white serpent was the dragon of the Saxons,  At length, however, his people would rise and drive the Saxon race beyond the sea. But he must seek another place to build his citadel.

The boy's life was spared. He became famous as the great magician Myrddin Emrys , or Myrddin ab Morfryn (Merlin, as he is called in English), and the mountain on which he proved his mighty power was called  Dinas Emrys instead of Dinas Ffaraon.  Thereafter the red dragon became the symbol of Wales and portrayed on the Welsh flag.




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Monday, 27 April 2020

The legend of Merlin's Oak

Happy Monday, my lovelies, I hope today finds you well and safe, and not too frustrated by 'lock-down.'

As promised, I thought I'd tell you about Merlin's Oak, which stood in the centre of Carmarthen town. (I was lucky enough to see the remains of it before it was removed.)

(Not this one, but one very much like it!)
Legend has it that King Arthur’s famous wizard placed a protective curse on the tree. The wizard said Carmarthen would 'drown' if the oak was ever removed. Some folk said a curious, pointed notch in the tree was the face of Merlin himself.

Sadly, in the 1850s, a local vicar, who objected to young people courting beneath it, but its trunk was preserved within iron railings. In the year 1951, a branch was broken off of the tree and it lies now in the Carmarthen Museum. It was  removed from the town when someone set it on fire at the end of the 1970s.

Carmarthen then suffered its worst floods for many years. In 1978, the last remaining fragments  of the tree-stump were  placed in Carmarthen’s Civic Hall.

Google Images

(The name Myrddin is  the second element of the place-name Caerfyrddin, the Welsh name for Carmarthen) and I'm happy to say Carmarthen is still standing, indeed flourishing, despite the floods that caused so much devastation.)

However, in a way,  Merlin’s Oak is back in Carmarthen, the town which he said would fall “when Merlin’s Tree shall tumble down”.

A Cambridge-born sculptor, living in Wales, bought a 500 year old oak which had been felled in Carmarthen to make way for a new superstore. The sculpture is one of the centrepieces of a spectacular  town centre shopping development called Merlin’s Walk.

Before the carving began, Mr Hedger,said: “The townspeople of Carmarthen will breathe easier whenMerlin’s Oak is back in the town centre.“We will have an oak which definitely has Merlin inside it – back where he belongs.”

The statue of Merlin is adorned with the symbols of nature and the Celtic religion that for him was a way of life.

"From his twisted honeysuckle beard that falls from his smiling face which holds his bardic wisdom. On his left shoulder sits the dragon of nature's temptation and in his hand the three sticks and a
rope with thirteen knots; a druids measuring kit, in the other, a bag of healing herbs from the garden of your imagination. The feathered horn of the orax hangs on his shoulder, whilst the La Tène torc is tied to his belt.

Embroidered on his back is the story of Blodeuwedd, for in the day the eye of the owl is the open flower but at night blodeuwedd is the owl. Ortywyllwch Ir goleuni, from the darkness into the light, as meant in Welsh, to be inspired. These are the words that are carved into the trunk of Myrddin. Where the three spirals ripple from the water source, you can run your finger through the journey of life to the labyrinth."




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For insider news and subscriber-only info, subscribe to my occasional Newsletter. I promise not to spam and your in-box will only see an email from me every 3 or 4 months or so - unless of course I have something really Newsworthy to share! I also promise that I never have and never will share your information or email address with anyone or any organisation.  http://madmimi.com/signups/196357/join

Monday, 25 August 2014

Monday's Welsh legend - King Arthur in Wales

Although all corners of the British Isles, lay claim to King Arthur and his knights, they regularly appear in Welsh mythology and folklore and I, for one, believe him to have been Welsh. (Naturally :) ) Sites throughout Wales are connected with the mighty king and Merlyn his magician - Myrddin ab Morfryn as he is know  in the Principality. (and who features in my Welsh historical fantasy 'Dancing With Fate')

The County Library at Mold is home to the world’s largest collection of books on Arthur, comprising nearly 2,000 volumes.

Arthur’s fame lives on in everyday place names. Caerfyrddin, (Carmarthen) a town in mid west Wales, is believed to  be Merlin’s birthplace, and is named after him. (The name means The fortress of Merlin) There’s Maes-y-Camlan or Camlan Field; Bryn y Cleifion (Hill of the Wounded) which marks the area where the casualties may have been laid and Nant-y-Saeson (Stream of the Saxons) is reputed to be where Arthur's enemies pitched camp. These place are centuries old. The name Arthur comes from the same root as the Welsh word ‘arth’, meaning bear.

He is also supposed to have fought his last battle at Bwlch y Saethau - the Pass of Arrows - which is below the summit of Snowdon and the lake into which Arthur’s sword Excalibur was thrown after his death, according to legends, is called Llyn Llydaw.


Arthur’s Stone stands on the Gowar Peninsular and is said to be a ‘pebble’ that he removed from his boot on his way to the battle of Camlan in AD 539. He threw the stone over his shoulder and it landed seven miles away on Cefn Bryn Common near Reynoldston.

Arthur is said to be buried in the Preseli Mountains, in Pembrokeshire and it is rumoured that if you listen long enough, you can hear him groaning.

File:Site of Old Oak, Carmarthen.jpgMerlin’s Oak stood in the centre of Carmarthen,  and according to legend, the  famous wizard placed a protective curse on it – until it was poisoned, leaving only a stump. The legend said Carmarthen would 'drown' if the oak was ever removed, and some folk even said a curious, pointed notch in the tree was the face of Merlin himself. Sadly, the tree was poisoned in the 1850s by a local parson, who objected to young lovers meeting beneath it, and to the noise made by people holding meetings there, but its trunk was preserved within iron railings.
Merlin's Walk, Carmarthen
 Giving my age away,  I am glad to be able to say that I actually saw that stump, all that was left of the magnificent oak, shortly before it was removed, when someone set it on fire at the end of the 1970s.

Carmarthen then suffered its worst floods for many years. It was later replaced by a young tree on the site of the old one, and there is also a wooden statue of Merlin in one of the Carmarthen streets.


These are just some of the connections King Arthur and Merlin have with Wales, and the Holy Grail, (sometimes known as the Nanteos Cup, which his knights went in search of, is said to have been taken to  the monastory at Strata Florida,where it was guarded by the monks before being taken to Nanteos, a mansion just outside Aberystwyth.  I've seen the grail myself too (or what was left of it) but that's another story.


What do you think?  Is there enough evidence that Arthur and Merlin were Welsh, or do you have another theory?