Ever wondered why some people call the Autumn Equinox festival “Mabon”? The name doesn’t really do much to suggest an equinox – these mark the time when day and night are roughly equal in length, so of course at the autumn one we’re moving into the darker half of the year.
So much of the evidence for Elen of the Ways and her roads leads one to suspect a much earlier original date than those usually suggested, and it’s exciting and truly staggering to realise that Elen may well date back to the Stone Age. Rather like Ceridwen, another hugely important goddess in Wales, she is returning from the mists today as we find new ways to work with and honour our beautiful and ancient landscape.
There are so many stories about Llyn Tegid, Bala Lake, the surrounding landscape and rivers. Let’s start with a tale of how the lake came to exist:
There are a number of magical cauldrons in Celtic folklore. To name but a few, we have the Pair Dadeni (the cauldron of rebirth), which originally belonged to Bran Fendigaid (Bran the Blessed), and which can revive dead warriors. Another, known as the Cauldron of Plenty, was one of the four treasures of the Tuatha Dé Danaan. From this cauldron, everyone of good character could eat their fill and the cauldron never ran out.
… by the Spring Equinox we can see and feel the sun’s fire strengthening and warming the soil, with precious small green signs of life renewing everywhere… trees and plants bud and blossom, birds and bees do what they do, and the Goddess moves towards her full expression as Spring Maiden. There are many names for this season, and you may know it as Eostre, Ostara or Alban Eilir, to name but a few.