I've had a great little birthday break in Snowdonia. Here is a landscape oozing myth and magic from every green vista, ancient woodland, dense pine forest, deep lake and sparkling waterfall. It's easy to see how the Welsh Bards of old might have been beguiled and inspired to tell stories and recite poetry. By Bala Lake (Llyn Tegid) I walked into the legend of Taliesin and the Cauldron of Ceridwen. In the beautiful village of Beddgelert (grave of Gelert) with its bubbling river and old grey stone, I did in fact find the grave of the faithful dog Gelert, mistakenly killed by his master Prince Llewellyn.
On the summit of Mount Snowdon (Yr Wyddfa) I read an evocative sign displayed on a wall suggesting I might be nearer to heaven in that place. Even though there was a substantial number of tourists and serious walkers, sitting on steps, taking photos or climbing up to the cairn at the very top, I felt a silence so all-encompassing that it seemed to have a tangible presence that neither human voice, footstep nor emotion could ever disturb. The lower peaks, deep valleys and lakes fell away below me and I had a sense of the Universe stretching out into infinity, beyond the vast skyscape above my head.
One of Snowdon's legends tells of a cave, well-hidden somewhere on the slopes, where Arthur's knights lie sleeping, awaiting the return of their king who will lead them out to save the land. I get a feeling of security. Tales old and new, speak to us in the symbolic language of the subconscious – they may impart wisdom, increase understanding, heal the heart, pass on knowledge, or simply entertain. They arise from landscapes like bright flames, lighting up the imagination of storytellers and poets whose craft helps to keep the souls of lands and people alive.
'The Garden of Possibility', the final instalment in the Legends Lumenor trilogy is due out soon.
Sign up to receive Iona's posts by email.
Your email will only ever be used to send you new posts and you can unsubscribe at any time.