The following day we joined the Cân Y Gwynt Grove for their Alban Elfed celebrations. This Grove is an OBOD Druid Grove based in North Wales, and their name in English means Song of the Wind. They have a tradition of meeting at different locations throughout North Wales which means sometimes they are on the English border at Mold, and other times they’re at the other end of the LLeyn Peninsular! This time they just happened to be holding the ceremony in my friends field, in her ‘Thinking Corner’, which has a little grove of trees and a (very nearly) circle of stones!
The day stared off with a walk along Aberdesach beach, to a lump of rock called Maen Dylan or Dylan’s Stone. We were asked to pick up a pebble or shell to take back for the Ceremony later, oh dear, that was like asking a chocoholic to have just one piece of chocolate, but I managed to restrain myself and only pocketed three or four! Coincidently, this beach is the one I have always promised to return most of my rock collection to and when we get the house sorted I may get round to gathering them up – providing I can steel myself! The car park is practically on the beach and it will be easy to lug them over for ritual deposit. If I don’t ever get to make it, Mr Stoatie or the girls have instructions to do it for me - that will be a nice trip out for them!
Maen Dylan is a huge glacial erratic. In the past someone has carved Maen Dylan onto it (sigh) but it wasn’t really necessary, it is the only huge rock on the beach, you can’t miss it! We were lucky to have some storytellers among us, and a couple of the Grove members told us some tales about the stone and it’s namesake. Dylan appears in a few Welsh legends, in one he is apprentice to his Uncle who is a smith, and who made a trident which when tested in battle killed Dylan, – the rock marks his grave. In another tale recorded in the Mabinogion, Dylan is the son of Arianrhod, he is baptised in the sea “and immediately when he was in the sea, he took its nature, and swam as well as the best fish that was therein. And for that reason was he called Dylan, the son of the Wave” Eventually Dylan dives from this rock to become ‘one’ with the sea. Interestingly both tales include an association with he sea and it is thought that he may have been some sort of water deity. In some tales he is known not only as Dylan Eil Ton – Dylan, Son of the Wave but also Dylan Eil Mor – Dylan, Son of the Sea.
Further out in the bay there is a reef of rocks which is very occasionally seen at low tide and which is called Caer Arianrhod (Arianrhod’s Castle) this is where Arianrhod was said to have lived until the sea rose and drowned her.
The day was overcast and blowy, but dry, so we sat and had a picnic round a lovely driftwood fire before making our way back up to the cottage and our ritual. It was so windy it was hard to hear everybody; appropriately, it was blowing straight from the East, where we could just make out Snowdon in the clouds. The Grove usually do their ceremony in Welsh but I’m afraid that I chickened out and did my bit in English! Actually they do have the words printed in both languages so don’t let it put you off going if you get an invite. It was a bit chilly but we had a beautiful ceremony, despite the distraction of Chrissy the dog, delicately balancing sticks across people toes in the hope we’d kick them!
After a bite to eat it was time to set off back to the chaos of Stoatie Towers, we had such a fantastic weekend I really didn’t want to come away, but then I always feel like that when we leave Wales 😦
Beautiful Arty photo of Maen Dylan by Mari