Reclaiming Nonna: Forgotten Goddess

by Becky Thomas

Nonna's WellOn the cliff-top peninsula just outside St Davids lies the ruined chapel of St Non. Here, at this wind-swept sacred place, the sense of the goddess is strong and it was at this place that I began to hear Nonna whisper to me, began to sense her calling me to dream her alive and reclaim her once again from the mists of time in which she has been lost for a thousand years and more. Here I will tell her story.

The coastal area of Pembrokeshire, the county in which St Non’s Chapel is found, was part of the pre-Roman tribal area called Demetia. This remote western region of Wales was never fully settled by the Romans and was difficult to defend from the constant bombardment of attacks coming from the sea so Magnus Maximus, Emperor of Britannia, shrewdly invited the Irish Deisi tribe to settle the region and to defend it on behalf of Rome. The Deisi claimed direct descent from the sun god Beli Mawr, who according to the early Welsh Christians was the spouse of Anna “The Prophetess”, who was said to be either the daughter of the Virgin Mary, a cousin of Mary or daughter of Joseph of Arimathea by his first wife. However the pagan population considered Beli Mawr to be the consort to the Welsh mother goddess Dôn who is one and the same as the Irish mother goddess Danu. The Deisi brought with them the Tuatha Dé Danann, the Irish pantheon which would eventually amalgamate with the native belief system. Continue reading "Reclaiming Nonna: Forgotten Goddess"

From Beyond the North Winds: Discovering the wisdom of the Mother of Air

by Becky Thomas

Winter Solstice sunset 2010 at Carn Meini, the source of the Stohenhenge bluestones

At the Winter Solstice or Yule the wheel of Britannia turns toward the north. At this time we honour Danu, ancestral goddess of the Tuatha De Danann. As a group the Tuatha De Danann looked over all human activity as original ancestral beings who came to these lands from far in the north.

Danu is the mother goddess of the Tuatha De Danann and in Ireland is considered to be the mother of all the Irish gods; however she is recognised throughout the British Isles. Here in Wales we honour Welsh mother goddess Dôn who has over time been masculinised into Don. Dôn is the Welsh equivalent of Danu, and they are really one and the same goddess. She is our ancestral mother, who came from beyond the north winds, from the ancestral lands that is the home of the beings of fire and ice from whom we are all descended.

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Nevern: Sacred site of Ceridwen

by Becky Thomas

Nevern ChurchIn the little Pembrokeshire village of Nevern you will find a small church which was founded by Brynach, who is identified as a 6th century Welsh saint originating from Ireland. However as in the story of many saints, in Brynach’s tale there are hints of a much older history. Perhaps Brynach was a hero figure or even a God of our Pagan Welsh ancestors.

The true story of Brynach may be lost but there are hints of his origin to be found if you look for it. There is a brief mention in the Trioedd Ynys Prydein, “"Triads of the Island of Britain" of Brynach Wyddel (translated as Brynach the Irishman), of Dinas Affaraon who was given the gift of a wolf by Henwen the sow of Dallweir Dallpen though sadly the rest of this tale has been lost.  However, even in the Christian telling of the life of Saint Brynach there are clear indications that he may have been something other than a mortal man for it tells of Brynach, the man who tamed beasts and who was master of two magical stags, a cow which produced a limitless supply of milk and a tame wolf.

Continue reading "Nevern: Sacred site of Ceridwen"