Beltane (May 1) Waning Bee Hiving Moon
A bit about how I got interested in the auld religion, the ancient Celtic faery faith and from it, the Great Wheel.
23 years ago I left the Presbyterian ministry and wandered off into a life I could never have anticipated. The writing turn I took then led me to investigate my Celtic past, the heritage of my Welsh and Irish ancestors. I learned about Richard Ellis, son of a Welsh captain in William of Orange’s army who was stationed in Dublin. After his father’s death, his mother paid Richard’s fare to America, to Virginia, where he was to become heir to a relative’s land, a common practice at the turn of the century since children died so often. This was 1707.
Also a common practice at the turn of the century was a ship captain’s larceny, stealing Richard’s fare and selling him into indentured servitude in Massachusetts. Richard went on to found the town of Asheville, Massachusetts and become a captain in the American Revolution.
My own other Celtic ancestors, the Correls, were famine Irish, part of the boat loads forced out of Ireland by the failed potato crop, or an Gorta Mór it is known in Gaelic, the great hunger. (Incidentally, this was due to planting potatoes as a mono-culture, much like we plant corn, soybeans and wheat today.) They came to this country in the mid 19th century.
I did not go into the history of Wales at the turn of the 18th century, nor did I investigate the an gorta mor and its aftermath. Instead, I went further back, into ancient Ireland and Wales; in fact I looked at all the Celtic lands, Isle of Mann, Scotland, Brittany and Galicia as well. What fascinated me then, and still does now, was the auld religion, the Faery Faith, as represented in The Fairy Faith by W. Y. Evans-Wentz, more famous as the translator of the Tibetan Book of the Dead.
Not long after leaving the Presbyterian ministry I packed my bags for a week + at St. Denioll’s, a residential library in Hawarden, Wales. While there I wandered northern Wales, visiting holy wells, castles and Welsh villages. There was also an extensive collection of Celtic material at St. Denioll’s. Continue reading