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"Awen yn codi o'r cudd ac yn cydio'r cwbl"
- Waldo Williams
(Awen arising from hiding and everything binding)



Trioedd Bae Ceredigion



The Three Deluged Giants of Cardigan Bay

Nodon, who had a well on the great plain of Maes Maichgen, now under the sea.
He would drink from it and bathe in it and guarded it jealously.
So Merid, the well maiden, kept it covered and opened for none but he.

Gwyddno Garanhir of Cantre’r Gwaelod whose long legs bestrode the waters like a crane.
He had a well kept by Mererid on his land which spread at the foot of the mountains in a great plain.
Seithennin betrayed him and Mererid fled so he will not look over this land ever again.

Bendigeidfran who crossed the rivers of Lli and Archen to reach Iwerddon beyond them.
He was a bridge for his people who came to recover the Cauldron and rescue Branwen.
His head led a remnant of his people over the sea to Gwales when the Cauldron was broken.


The Three Violated Maidens of Cardigan Bay

Merid who kept the well of Nodon on the plain of Maichghen far to the West.
She was left bereft by a drunkard who broke the well-head to his cost.
The waters rose behind him and overtook him and the plain now is lost.

Mererid who kept the well of Gwyddno Garanhir and the cup of plenty.
Seithennin would drink from her cup so he drained it until it was empty.
Mererid on a bay mare fled as the flood waters rose and rushed over the land to the sea.

Branwen went with the Cauldron – or it went with her – over the sea to wed.
Her tears for Gwern and the many slain swelled as the blood of conflict was shed.

A sea of sorrow brought her death from a broken heart and the grave is now her bed. 

*

These triads of my own making reflect a reading of local folklore pertaining to Cardigan Bay which I discuss on The Guardian of the Well HERE ~>



5 comments:

  1. A fun read!

    Nodon's bathing habits are reminiscent of Saints' Lives in Ireland, how interesting!

    DOes the Black Book poem on Mererid really refer to her vessel as a 'cup of plenty'?

    Thanks for the compelling reading!

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  2. Well spotted ! ‘Cup of plenty’ is, admittedly, my imaginative rendering of ‘Finaun wenestir mor diffeith......’ which might be rendered literally as ‘fountain cup bearer of the wide sea’ (mistranslated as ‘fountain of Venus’ in the early translation usually found online). This attempts to convey my sense of the phrase in a previous line where where ‘cuin’ could either be translated as ‘complaint’ or ‘feast’. So she might be as much a provider as a destroyer, as links (suggested elsewhere) with the goddess Rosmerta would imply.

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  3. I think the dual aspects of provider/destroyer is really cogent analysis!

    I am not very well versed in Welsh texts or traditions, so please keep that in mind. For a project, I was looking into Awen and Ceridwen and poetic references to her I found revolved around her being both provider and antagonist, especially to Taliesin. Speculating that the oldest, nearest analog to the Taliesin story was Finn and the Man in the Tree from the Senchas Mor, where he found inspiration from a sidhe woman's drink, who had been distributing refreshment to the household, I pondered if there was a Welsh tradition similar to the old Irish where high born ladies would ritually pour drinks at courtly assemblies. Mererid would - appear - like confirmation. Not that Ceridwen and Mererid are the same of course!

    But apparently the book "Lady with the Mead Cup" is all about that, haha. Does the book touch on Ceridwen or Mererid at all?

    Thank you for the great comment and some very insightful blog posts!

    ps. are long winded, on topic comments smiled upon? I'd love to talk about Geraint in the hedge of mist post...

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  4. 'Lady with a Mead Cup' does not mention either Ceridwen or Mererid, but does suggest the Gaulish goddess Rosmerta as a source for the office of cup bearer in later tradition and discusses in detail the examples of the seeress Veleda as described by Tacitus and Wealhtheow, the cup bearer in the Germanic poem 'Beowulf' (Enright regards the tribes either side of the Rhine as having a common heritage). Rachel Bromwich highlights the role of cup bearer in the context of Mererid and the Welsh tradition in her discussion of the 'Black Book' poem. John Carey's 'Ireland and the Grail' also suggests Rosmerta as a possible origin (or way back to an origin) in his discussion of cup bearers in the Irish tradition. All of these have influenced my interpretation.

    Any 'on topic' comments are smiled upon :)

    By all means comment on Geraint and the Hedge of Mist too!

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