Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Happy Oestara

Vernal Equinox folklore relating to hares can be found in both Celtic and Saxon traditions. In Wales the Vernal Equinox is sometimes known as Gwyl Canol Gwenwynol. In that land a story is told of Melangell and the hare. Though the story is from Christian Times it seems to evoke a much more ancient Goddess of Protection. It is said that Melangell was an Irish princess who lived about the turn of the 7th century ce. She fled her native land in order to escape a forced marriage and settled in a beautiful valley in mid-Wales. One Spring day Prince Brychwel Ysgithrog of Pengwern Powys was out hunting. He started a hare and gave chase with his hounds. The hare darted across the fields to the place where Melangell lived and hid beneath her skirts. When the prince arrived on his horse he tried to drive his hounds forward but they would not move closer to Melangell. Chastened by the power and beauty of Melangell he gave her the land of the valley as a place of sanctuary for any woman, man or animal that needed protection. It is said that to this day hares are respected by the hunters of Cwm Pennant and are never ever killed.

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Blogger Willow Myrina said...

Merry Meet.
I came across your blog and wanted to say that this was an interesting post. I went to a Christian school, and once when we had to do a presentation on Saints, I did mine on Saint Melangell; so this brought back many memories for me.
In Love And Light,
Willow Myrina.

Blogger Paul said...

Hi Willow,

Thank you for dropping in. I discovered Pennant whilst researching memories of the Goddess Brigid in Wales. There is a pattern in Brigid, Melangell and Medun - goddess of sovereignty and protection is remembered as a saint of the new religion BUT contingent on being given the land by a MALE ruler. Pretty poor deal and patriarchal but at least the memory was held.

Have you visited Pennant. It is literally at the end of the road in a beautiful valley. The old church had fallen into disrepair and the shrine destroyed at the reformation but all has been lovingly restored in recent times.

Goddess blessings



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