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King of the Fairies, Gwynn ap Llud -- KelticDead

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Published on Nov 11, 2011

Gwynn ap Llud (or the "White" son of the Lord of Darkness/or the "Hunt") has been a key figure in Celtic lore, and is often compared to deities such as Apollo in Greek mythologies, or that of Loki (the trickster) in Norse mythologies. Gwynn is associated with fall and winter, and comes out when summer has ended, after the Beltaine in the samhain (sow-(h)ain) time. Unlike our modern, western view of the underworld, Celts have no sense of heaven or hell. The underworld (or "otherworld") was/is simply where dead souls go, and the job of these "fairy" deities is to escort these souls to these worlds.

Gwynn ap Llud, however, is much more than simply being part of the "shee" folk (fairy) legends. Gwynn is the son of the god Llud, who was also called "Nuad" or "Nudd" or "leader of the hunt," which loosely means "the gatherer of souls." Gwynn is often depicted as riding through the winter skies upon a wild horse and having three massive hounds (one black, one red, and one white) running beside him. Naturally, Gwynn has often been called the god of War, and of the hunt, and he is the patron god of fallen warriors. Fionn MacCumhail (one of Ireland's great mythical heroes) has been described with many of the same characteristics as Gwynn where the Welsh "gwynn" and the Irish "fionn" both mean white (or that which is associated with death).

Many believe that the centre of power for Gwynn ap Llud resides in and around a 170 meter tall hill called the Tor in the region of Somerset in England. There is evidence that this hill was contoured by humans in ancient times, and has been a place where many pagan and Christian pilgrims come. The hill is believed to be full of labyrinths that still may harbor artifacts from these ancient times.

John Mitchell, in the 1960s, found many alignments (ley lines) that connect many Neolithic sites in the Glastonbury region, and the Tor is linked with other ancient holy places, such as the Avebury stone rings and St. Michael's Mount. More recently, Hamish Miller and Paul Broadhurst, wrote the book, The Sun and the Serpent, and revealed that these same enigmatic alignments runs all across southern England linking hundreds of Neolithic, Celtic, and early Christian sacred places.

As Christianity took over the region, an abbey was built on the Tor. After, falling into ruins hundreds of years later, the abbey was closed in 1539 by order of King Henry VIII.

In the night sky, Gwynn is represented by the constellation, Orion. The power of this ancient, deity figure is so engrained within the Celtic cultures that it was next to impossible for the Christians to eradicate him or the power of the ley lines to which this fairy king extended his influence. Instead, they absorbed this deity into Saint Michael who was master of the dragon lines (ley lines). This new form of Gwynn can be seen all over England and Europe where Christian churches built their structures over ancient, Celtic sites.

I play the tune on a low-D, diatonic harmonica at various tempos to try to capture both the fairy like mystery, and the deep, almost frightening, purpose of this once very powerful spirit.

Homepage: http://kelticdead.webs.com

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