Smuggling Back to Wales

 

74BF923A-3493-462D-A0CE-D351714A04A7_1_201_a
Mom looking at the stream at the bottom of her garden in South Wales. Home of her (paternal) Grandmother ‘Susan Howells’  Cardiff, South Wales. (1940)

 

DEAR DIARY,

“Grief, I’ve learned, is really just love. It’s all the love you want to give, but cannot. All that unspent love gathers up in the corners of your eyes, the lump in your throat, and in that hollow part of your chest. Grief is just love with no place to go” ~ Jamie Anderson

 

On the day my Mom passed away …

I was too shocked to speak or comprehend, that my life would never be the same.

Would I  ever feel that loved, protected, safe or whole again?

My world had turned upside down and stopped! 

Falling into a cold, empty void of heartbreak and tears. Scrambling and searching to find a ‘safe place’ to store all of this love that I have and will always hold for my Mom. This is the life force and the pulse of my love affair in the blogosphere with “Hey Momma”

My philosophy of life is absorbed from the wisdom of my beautiful Welsh mom and from the most extraordinary love that she exuded not only to me and our family, but all whom she met. 

I had promised Mom that ‘I would trace her Welsh family ancestral roots’ as a legacy addressed to our new generations, yet to come.   

So, a few years ago, after I had come to terms living without her, I began to search for my Mom’s, Mom’s Mom… but that is where I came to a full stop:

‘Gwyneth Jones’ from South Wales? 

W H A T!

A needle in a haystack doesn’t even begin to describe the monumental search I had in store,  but I had made my Mom a promise, that I could not break.

This is where my search into the folklore, legends and history of her birthplace in Neath, South Wales began.

Each day as I’ve researched our Cymru history and culture, I find myself closer to the heart of my great Celtic Mom and all that she had stood for.

Happily, I have found her again, in the silence of sacred mountains, the wildest and deepest of valleys and in the wandering of streams, right back to the memories of my childhood trips to visit my grandparents. And so here I am today, having smuggled myself back to Wales, following in the footprints and spirit of my Mom and our home.

I have met King Arthur and his knights, warriors, goddesses, kings, queens and princesses. It has been quite an adventure! Thank you for joining me. 

WHERE TO NEXT?
There will be more ‘Welsh’ adventures yet to come in a few months time. 

but now, for the next little while, I am going to find ‘my self’ again, getting amongst the great outdoors in the outback of this great ancient land where I live and love today, in the golden heart of Western Australia.

Watch this Space…

X — at Australia’s Coral Coast

 

 

47CF9527-A8F9-471E-859F-7B4BD60C985D_1_105_c
Mr Grandson, Roxy and Zoonie, around the campfire on Road Trip, Quobba 2019

Take the Chair

bards chair Cardigan in Wales an der Cardigan Bay, was es alles zu sehen und zu erleben gab
Image: 9′ High Bardic Chair ~ Cardigan Castle
There was fun, frivolity and big smiles,
as each competitor recited their lines.
Some were sad, mournful and touching,
others, uplifting, happy, or grumbling.

Love was one thing, divorce the other,
some even talked about their own mother.
None interrupted as each poet stood up,
praying that today, they were in luck.

Listening intensely to wordsmith raps,
following the recitals, everyone clapped.
Rhymes that had all come together;
where listening in and silence tethered.

That first day when it all had began,
Lord Rhys had invited the Bards to stand.
From across the valleys of Wales they came,
to a ceremony; which still happens today.

Amid towers of Cardigan Castle in 1176,
poets and musicians all voiced their pitch.
In their diversity and commentaries of life,
audiences were entertained with delights.

Charmed, amused, bewitched and beguiled,
the Bardic Chair, awarded to favoured style.
Keepers of stories and secrets shared,
at the annual festival: National Eisteddfod.

This showcase is still repeated each year,
the victor gifted with a magnificent chair.
Among spiral stairways, within stone walls,
you can hear the musicians and bards call.

Rhys ap Gruffydd, known as our Lord Rhys,
instigated this arts and cultural masterpiece.
All were given an excellent opportunity,
to be crowned as *Barddoniath of their community.

In celebration of writers, poets and traditions;
Eisteddfod literally means “To Sit and Listen”
Victoria Healing ~ 18.6.2020
©Take the Chair

References:
Eisteddfod:The closest English equivalent to eisteddfod is “session”; the word is formed from two Welsh morphemes: eistedd, meaning “sit”, and bod, meaning “be”.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eisteddfod

‘The Crowning of the Bard’.
The National Eisteddfod of Wales dates back to 1176. Lord Rhys invited poets and musicians from all over Wales to a grand gathering at his castle in Cardigan. A chair at the Lord’s table was awarded to the best poet and musician, a tradition that continues today in the modern Eisteddfod.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chairing_of_the_Bard

*Barddoniaeth” Welsh: The whole towering edifice of poetic endeavour
Image: 9′ high Bardic Chair (Castell Aberteifi – Cardigan Castle)

 — with Victoria Healing at Castell Aberteifi – Cardigan Castle.

cardigan castle
Image: Cardigan Castle.  ~ The History Man

Abducted

princess gwenllian last princess of wales best No Gelin A Vellin Idh Raid Lîn
Image: Princess Gwenllian last Princess of wales  Gelin A Vellin

Some people tutted,
some people, disgusted.
Some people, turned their heads,
Edward I had wished her dead.

Having lost her parents and home,
hidden, rejected, living her life alone.
Banished behind high concrete walls,
instructed to listen for God’ call.

Strange women wearing long dark robes,
were the only caretakers, she’d ever known.
There was cruelty and devilry there,
it seems, no-one had justified or cared.

Dimly lit stained glass windows all around,
locked away in nunnery prison grounds.
Her hands clasped together in prayer,
wondering why was she delivered there?

The abducted true and last Welsh Princess,
Isolated from her own people to attest.
Her crime? she of royal Welsh blood,
a threat to the false king: Edward.

Gwenllian ferch Llywelyn, died on 7th June 1337.
fifty four years, waiting on the will of heaven.
The only orphan child of Llywelyn ap Gruffudd;
and daughter of Eleanor de Montfort.

Stolen in cradle away to Sempringham Priory,
Edward had expelled and denied her.
Wales is now a country left fragmented,
when Edward I stole the crown and ascended.
Victoria Healing ~ 12.6.2020
©The Last Princess of Wales

References:
The Lost Princess of Wales:
Gwenllian ferch Llywelyn
Only child of The Last Prince of Wales: Llywelyn ap Gruffudd.

Gwenllian was imprisoned for life in the Gilbertine priory at Sempringham. The aim was, naturally, that by placing her in the priory that she would never marry and produce offspring that may threaten Edward I.
Edward’s choice of Sempringham was a careful one: it was not just a convent, it was of the Gilbertine Order, a secular sect that kept itself isolated from the world.

She didn’t even know her true name: priory records have her listed as “Wencilian” while she used the signature “Wentliane” – both English corruptions of the correct pronunciation. She is a lost figure of Wales, buried in the wilderness of England, far from home.

princess gwenllian ferch Llwelyn hidden princess
Image: Princess Gwenllian ferch Llwelyn

https://www.historyofroyalwomen.com/…/imprisonment-gwenlli…/
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gwenllian_of_Wales
https://theconversation.com/how-poets-revived-the-story-of-…

gwenllian tribute only chil of prince llywelyn ap gruffudd prince of wales

The Last Welsh Prince

Last true prince of wales Plans for Wales' first taxes since 1283

How could they stand by and watch?
their prince ‘beheaded’ and left to rot.
There were no farewells or goodbyes,
below the London tower; shouts and cries.

The cold hand of repression, laid its spell,
skies darkened; over a ‘head’ known well.
Lost native Prince of independent Wales,
Llwelyn ap Gruffyd; a champion, impaled.

Edward called Llwelyn, a rebel in 1277,
as he marched his army on Wales again.
His mission? to eradicate and disinherit,
to kill the genuine Prince, without merit.

Edward I rubbed his hands together,
inserted as king of Wales forever.
Rightful heir, slayed by Edward’ troops,
Llywelyn’ head; sent to England in 1282.

Llywelyn ap Gruffydd had been known to be,
our last defender of freedom and liberty.
Dark, angry clouds, gather North and South,
screams rippling into silence, buzz around.

The memory of Llwelyn, whispered, hushed,
tributes to his honour, vanish into dust.
Land of lakes, high mountains and deep valleys,
Llewelyn the true title holder in Cymru history.

The sun will shine again, directly overhead,
on a land born free, when the truth is read.
Victoria Healing ~ 15.6.2020.
©The Last Welsh Prince

References:
Llywelyn Ap Gruffudd, (died Dec. 11, 1282, near Builth, Powys, Wales)

Prince of Gwynedd in northern Wales. Within a year after his death Wales fell completely under English rule.

His head was carried to King Edward I, who ordered that it be displayed on a pike, in London.  Apparently, it stayed on display for over 20 years.  The rest of his body is purportedly buried at Abbey Cwmhir, northeast of Rhayader in Powys. 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Llywelyn_ap_Gruffudd…

Most historians have ignored or discounted the activities of the Welsh. Since then and to this day, the title Prince of Wales has traditionally been given to the intended successor to the English throne.
https://www.historynet.com/king-edward-i-invasion-of-wales.…

Image: Last true Prince of Wales. (Wales’ first taxes were payable in 1283)

Longshanks

King Edward I _Longshanks_ of England - nobilified
Image: Edward I (Longshanks) 
Each destruction had left some part intact,
today, visitors can trace the chronicles back.
Imagine the sceptre, rod of ivory, organ playing,
antiquated castle fragments, still remaining.

A dense cloud of perfumed incense,
dubbed crown on Edward’ 1 high head.
One of the great secrets of the building,
of Edward’ making, the pride of the region.

Modelling himself on King Arthur’ legends,
on Glastonbury Abbey, he became a defendant.
Building new castles, claiming Arthur’ crown,
from Glastonbury’s fake burial site, underground.

I often wondered about that monastic deal,
confusing our young to make it seem real.
The lesson is learned and learned well,
where all of the good Cymraes people fell.

Illusions of King, holy and military orders,
banished King Arthur across Welsh borders.
And when the people say “Who is he”
therein lies the confusion, do you see?

*Longshanks fascination with Arthurian myths,
fabricated to serve his own royal interests.
At Winchester Castle; his ‘replica’ of round table,
built to confuse, the origins of King Arthur fables.

Gatherings of subservient knights en masse,
around the table, they planned deadly attacks.
Edward’ fake table, still hangs in Winchester castle,
today, the fabrication of fantasies be unravelled.

And the chill in the air, like whispers of ghost king,
meet on the threshold of every illusion they bring.
All masquerades to obscure our lost Welsh King.
Victoria Healing ~ 15.6.2020
©Longshanks

Image: Edward I (Longshanks)

References:

*King Edward 1 (Longshanks):
Promoted the idea of himself as the new King Arthur, his Round Table still hanging in Winchester Castle to this day.
Edward took a keen interest in the stories of King Arthur, which were highly popular in Europe during his reign.[139] In 1278 he visited Glastonbury Abbey to open what was then believed to be the tomb of Arthur and Guinevere, recovering “Arthur’s crown

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edward_I_of_England#Character_as_king

The table is large and striking and is thought to have been crafted in about 1290 for the betrothal of one of Edward I daughters.
Edward built new castles drawn upon Arthur’ design and location,
Holding round table events in 1284-1302
https://www.hampshire-history.com/the-round-table-winchester/

The Round table that hangs in the Great Hall at Winchester Castle, HAS BEEN PROVEN to be an imitation of the legendary table.

https://www.atlasobscura.com/places/winchester-round-table

Image: King Edward I _Longshanks_ of England – nobilified

 — with Victoria HealingWelsh Folklore, History ,Myths and LegendsGlastonbury Abbey and Wales at Winchester Castle.

Ode to our Welsh Bards

Bard the bard Thomas Jones 1742 1803 famous painting

Legends tell of a terrible and conceited man,
an egotistical tyrant, who invaded Cymry lands.
“Longshanks” was his nickname,
bullying and oppression was his game.

No pity in heart, no pity in eye,
killing 500 Bards, as they wouldn’t comply,
A poem to his esteem and glory, they refused,
but at the end, that battle they would lose.

The odour of burning flesh from staked pyres,
for failing to verse; King Edward 1 pompous desires.
The dictator’s face expressing satisfaction,
that they were punished, by his odious actions.

As he looked on with hard, cold eyes,
at those Druidic Bards that he had despised.
In learning more about that June day in 1277,
when Edward sent 500 sacred Bards to heaven.

The ringing of bells and crying in the streets,
as their Bards were sent straight into fiery abyss.
Prevented from inspiring all of their country;
by telling of the grand, glorious past of Cymry.

There is a chill in the air, the birds have flown,
for we cannot ever forget, what has been told.
Edward’ conquest changed the course of history,
that fateful year that Cymry became British.
Victoria Healing ~ 14.6.2020
©ODE TO FIVE HUNDRED
References:
King Edward I of England executed the bards for failing to sing his praises at a banquet in Montgomery Castle in 1277. Bards were highly regarded in Welsh society at that time, and were thought to be descendants of the Celtic druids
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Bards_of_Wales#The_poem

https://www.walesonline.co.uk/…/tale-welsh-bards-massacre-t…

Image: The Bard, 1774, by Thomas Jones (1742–1803)
This dramatic history painting has become iconic for Wales. Based on Thomas Gray’s poem The Bard.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Bard_(poem)#Synopsis

https://www.poemhunter.com/poem/the-bard-of-wales/

‘The Welsh bard was keeper of the cultural identity that inspired the Welsh quest for independence.

Edward realised the most effective means of finalising his conquest was by undermining the efficacy of that culture. The Welsh bardic tradition played the definitive role in the historical context of Edward’s campaign to undermine that role, based on the king’s understanding that cultural domination was as vital to the total sublimation of the Welsh as military and economic control’  ~ Diane Ney, B.S.

https://repository.library.georgetown.edu/bitstream/handle/10822/709800/Ney_georgetown_0076M_12494.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y 

Telling Stories

[bard RF] Lily Valentine, Glamour Bard _ characterdrawing

They mourn in sadness and silence,
they, those recorders of early Welsh survival.
Oral society’s poets and bards of Celtic Britons,
their work was revised, romanced, rewritten.

Recited story telling lost and altered,
legends say, their ‘voices were exalted’
Incredibly some of their stories still exist,
in the praised “Medieval Welsh Manuscripts”

‘The Black Book of Camarthenshire’
Bard ‘Aneirin’ ‘Pa Gur’ and ‘The Book of Taliesin’
‘Mabinogion’ and of the Monk ‘Ninnius’
who was the author of “Historia Brittonum’

Our Order of Bards and Guild of poets,
undertook nine years to know this.
The scribing of sonnet was a craft,
unfortunately their narrators didn’t last.

These accounts are neither yours or mine,
as we slip back into the medieval times.
They belong to each and everyone,
immortalising those kind enough to tell them.

Making accurate historical research visible,
their keeping of traditions are considerable.
Sometimes we find blocks in history,
where we find the truth of all mysteries.

Laying on dusty shelves, suspended like ghosts,
waiting for ancient riddles to be known and spoke.
Flipping those magic pieces of paper open,
The record keepers find that history HAS spoken.
Victoria Healing ~ 13.6.2020
©Telling Stories

References:
Welsh Storyteller: Cyfarwydd. The Bard within Druidry is the Poet; the keeper of tradition and history.
Like poets, the storytellers were also professionals; but unlike the poets, little of their work has survived. The bulk of this material is found in the collection known today as the Mabinogion.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Medieval_Welsh_literature

Image: Lily Valentine, Glamour Bard

An Offensive Knight

the porter Arthur Pendragon by MiguelCoimbra on DeviantArt

“How do you do” he said;
as he gave King Arthur a firm handshake.
Exchanging candid and furtive looks,
as they were sizing each other up.

The mighty Porter towered over the other,
enormous in size, intimidation of another.
Meeting and greeting visitors to Caerleon court,
he was The Gatekeeper of Welsh brythonic laws.

Headman, judge and master controller,
Brave Grey Mighty Grasp’ was chief enroller.
His voice was deep with thick nasal tone,
with an air of authority, his presence known.

Glewlwyd Gavaelvawr was in charge of command,
letting visitors in or not, at his demand.
To be feared, honoured and respected;
of King Arthur’ knights, their victories he requested.

Glewlwyd was the ‘Gatekeeper of the Fortress’
inviting visitors in, or perhaps he might reject.
To prove his honour and rights beyond doubt;
King Arthur told of Knights Cai and Bedwyr about.

With a loud snap of his fingers and a nod,
the ‘Offensive Knight’ who was hero and top dog.
A thumbs up and gesture of approval given,
Arthur entered; where others were forbidden.
Victoria Healing ~ 11.6.2020
©An Offensive Knight
References:

Glewlwyd Gafaelfawr: (Brave Grey Mighty Grasp)
Is named twice in the Welsh Triads. He is listed as one of the twenty-four ordained knights of Arthur’s court and is regarded as one of the “Three Offensive Knights of Arthur’s Court” named so because it is repugnant for anyone to refuse them anything.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glewlwyd_Gafaelfawr

Tenth-century poem Pa Gur yv y Porthaur; “What man is the porter,” in which Glewlwyd is the titular gatekeeper of fortress to which Arthur and his men are seeking admittance. To prove their right of entry Arthur relates the feats and achievements of his men; particularly those of Cai and Bedwyr.

Image: Miguel Coimbra

Eryri

king arthur he has to go alone to the darklands legend of king arthur movie19942981_1460464690667246_1111011646246144325_o
Image: King Arthur and The Legend of the Sword ~ Charlie Hunnam

 

“Why here”? he said;
She replied “Look for Golden Eagles overhead”

Above dome of stars, pinhole twinkles of light,
a whoosh of air and sounds of whistling cries.
You can sense them there in the silence,
watching and waiting for the wind to ride again.

Knowing they are present is reassuring,
as the long ache of truth comes calling.
Way above 3560’ in their *Eryri heights,
wings span over 2 metres wide in flight.

Mountains peak against grey sky,
aware of mind and aware of eye.
Faster and faster, downwards they descend,
sights on prize, plunging; they comprehend.

Narrowing, retaining and keeping focus,
because their heart and mind’s eye control it.
Soaring swiftly, gliding and spiralling,
in their gracefulness, elegant, beguiling.

Shapeshifting Eagles who protect King Arthur,
here, now and in the mists of ever after.
High in the mountains of Snowdonia in Wales,
lies the secret entrance to his resting place.
Victoria Healing ~ 9.6.2020
©ERYRI

References:
Snowdonia’s Welsh name is Eryri, meaning ‘Place of Eagles’ #WalesFact

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Snowdonia

Eryri (Snowdonia)

snowdonia mountains and coast
Image: Snowdonia Mountains and Coast

 

WELSH: Eryr,
Gaelic: Iolair
Intelligence. Renewal. Courage.
The Druid Animal Oracle ~ Philip and Stephanie Carr Gom

“Eagles were once common in Wales and the Welsh name for Snowdonia is Eryri. “Golden Eagles are a key part of Welsh culture and heritage and they are sadly now missing from the beautiful Welsh landscape.“Imagine the excitement of seeing these incredible birds soaring around the rugged peaks of Snowdonia”

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/2019/02/19/golden-eagles-could-return-wales-first-time-since-hunted-extinction/

eagle in flight vidar-nordli-mathisen-lzDUUjjYKzk-unsplash

EAGLE:
If Eagle is your spirit animal, he will help you to see your life in the wider context, enabling you to make decisions and chart your goals with clarity and objectivity. He is a powerful ally.

 

A Knight of Enchantment

Sir kay enchanter knight
Image: Knight at the Museum ~ (Dan Stevens) 

 

“SIR CAI”

He’d heard his name shouted in the distance,
loud, commanding, alarming, persistent.
With steel cold eyes and hard set jaw,
he listened for his ‘calling’ once more.

When entering into hypnotic trance,
he’d had no idea of time or circumstance.
Somehow ancient godlike powers emerged,
able to last nine nights without sleep, I heard.

Emotionally cold and ferociously bold,
stubborn of character, with heart of stone.
There was a part of himself, he had hidden,
frustrated passions and insecurity driven.

Blood would pulsate through his veins,
when in battle, his palms blazed flames.
As one of King Arthur’s ‘Enchanter’ Knights,
deputy, guardian and superhero of fight.

Extremely tall, invincible and strong;
although self centred, with vulgar tongue.
The heroic rescuer and friend of Gwenhwyfar,
great giant slayer and exemplar warrior…

Intrepid knight of gutsy talents and magic,
to forget him, would be an error so tragic.
…In the distance the voice called out again;
“Let’s ride together to adventures end”

And he turned and spoke into the darkness;
“I will always fight beside you King Arthur”
Victoria Healing ~ 7.6.2020
©Knight of Enchantment

References:
King Arthurs Knight
Sir Cai: (Kay) Appears in the ancient Welsh poem, Pa Gur, and was one of the warriors who helped rescue Queen Gwenhwyfar and may have had a romantic relationship with her ~ The Welsh Triads.
Cai had mystical powers and was called one of the “Three Enchanter Knights” or the “Three Battle-Diademed Men”

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sir_Kay#Cai_in_Welsh_tradition

Sir Kay enchanter knight on sword