13th Mt Haemus Lecture: Magical Transformation in the Book of Taliesin and the Spoils of Annwn


The central theme within the OBOD Bardic grade expresses the transformation mystery present in the tale of Gwion Bach, who by degrees of elemental initiations and assimilation becomes he with the radiant brow – Taliesin. A further body of work exists in the form of Peniarth Manuscript Number 2, designated as ‘The Book of Taliesin’, inter-textual references within this material connects it to a vast body of work including the ‘Hanes Taliesin’ (the story of the birth of Taliesin) and the Four Branches of the Mabinogi which gives credence to the premise that magical transformation permeates the British/Welsh mythological sagas. This paper will focus on elements of magical transformation in the Book of Taliesin’s most famed mystical poem, ‘The Preideu Annwfyn (The Spoils of Annwn), and its pertinence to modern Druidic practice, to bridge the gulf between academia and the visionary, and to demonstrate the storehouse of wisdom accessible within the Taliesin material.

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Spiral triskelion (formed from mathematical Archimedean spirals), occasionally used as a Christian Trinitarian symbol

About The Author

Kristoffer Hughes, author of From the Cauldron Born: Exploring the Magic of Welsh Legend & Lore and Natural Druidry, is a writer, teacher, workshop leader and Head of the Anglesey Druid Order (Urdd Derwyddon Mon). He is an Ovate of the Order of Bards Ovates and Druids. He is a native Welsh speaker, born to a Welsh family in the mountains of Snowdonia in 1971. He is a keen student of Celtic literature and a teacher of the Celtic Mystery Tradition. He lives on the Island of Anglesey.


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