Friday, 21 December 2012

Moel Famau solstice.

Winter solstice. The words resonate with me.....two vivid memories come back every year.

The first one was an invitation to a winter solstice party! Should have rung alarm bells but strangely it just got my interest.....I went with a good friend and colleague and we didn't last long. After having been shown our hosts altar we beat a fairly hasty retreat......

The second one is just wonderful.

I lived half way up Moel Famau for a short while...this beautiful mountain is a landmark for miles around.

Some research showed that it had once had standing stones, dismantled by the locals and rolled down the hillside. One was the altar of the local church!

Every year I climbed to the top of it hoping for the sun to appear.. It was possible to see it sink into a cleft in the Snowden range at exactly the same time every year....I saw it twice.

I'm not sure about devil worship or any of the other theories that abound around this time but I do know that as a calendar in prehistoric times it gave an exact moment to herald the return of the light...which led to great rejoicing and I think we can all agree on that!

It's now I think acknowledged that us Christians pinched the best pagan festivals and having felt part of the whole pagan scene on those solitary occasions I know that the joy, the exuberant celebration of the returning of the light is heaven sent and nothing to do with the darker forces present here on earth...which is why in my own little way here in Cornwall I still celebrate the old Celtic traditions and use the Christian Celtic prayers right through the festive season.

in the silence of the stars

In the quiet of the hills

In the heaving of the sea

Speak Lord.

For your servant listens.


  1. I'm not sure that there was so much bad in the Celtic/Druidic customs. I don't think they practised human sacrifice, and lots of what they taught seems to me just common sense, blending natural resources and seasons with life.

    Surely if we are to live life to the full, which God wants, we need to appreciate and celebrate the nature all around us?

    And I see nothing pagan in it. Harvest being one such activity, captured from the Pagans (allegedly) but celebrated in our Rural Churches in a big way. It's lovely to see the fruits of nature displayed.

    This year, I was the only one who had a harvest of apples to bring to church, one tree in North Kent, out grew all of the local growers in or around Canterbury. God's providence indeed.

  2. I can only echo what you and UK viewer both have said.
    It seems to me that most of the Celt/Druid traditions were in tune with all that is best about people (so far as we know that is), and the links with Christian festivals are just a part of that.
    I do have to admit to some prejudice of course, being seven eighths Welsh and one eighth Cornish.
    The Winter and Summer solstices are a clear part of my personal calendar, and when my mother was still alive, she would gleefully exclaim "Good, the darkest day, it starts getting lighter from tomorrow".
    Obviously she was an optimist, but I can't help feeling that she had a point.