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Welsh Mythology

Known Welsh mythology consists of ancient celtic tales originating before Roman times and embellished through the story-telling tradition over many centuries.

These stories first appeared in written form in the 13th and 14th centuries, recorded by the medieval monks in documents such as The White Book of Rhydderch and Red Book of Hergest.

It was not until the 19th century that Lady Charlotte Guest first published an English translation of these marvelous myths and legends.

There are eleven stories in Welsh mythology, the oldest four of which are called the proper Mabinogion (plural of Mabinogi) and recount stories of ancient Briton kings and queens and their encounters with the Otherworld and its inhabitants.

The second four are shorter tales, two of which feature King Arthur in his earliest incarnations. The final three are later Arthurian stories strongly influenced by French romance and the chivalric tradition.

Buy Books about Welsh Mythology
The Mabinogion
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The Mabinogion
edited by Gwyn Jones and Thomas Jones

An inexpensive paperback edition with a gorgeous cover, this version includes all eleven tales in a very readable format that includes a pronunciation guide for the Welsh names. A great place to start exploring Welsh mythology.
The Mabinogi and Other Medieval Welsh Tales
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The Mabinogi, and Other Medieval Welsh Tales
translated and edited by Patrick K. Ford

Professor Ford has produced both a readable modern translation and a scholarly discussion for each of the stories (eight) presented. Includes discussion of Indo-european roots and Celtic symbolism, while excluding later stories with a strong French Arthurian influence. Includes the Tale of Taliesin. Considered an expert in Celtic studies, Ford's book is highly recommended.
Merlin and Wales
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Merlin and Wales: A Magician's Landscape
by Michael Dames

Michael Dames reviews the folklore and myths concerning Merlin, illustrating his text with a wealth of photographs and maps, showing the art, artifacts and natural landscapes that are a backdrop to the Merlin myth. A great book for planning a trip to Wales or for anyone with an interest in Merlin.
Taliesin : The Last Celtic Shaman
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Taliesin: The Last Celtic Shaman
translated by John Matthews
with commentary by Caitlin Matthews

The Matthews are world-renowned Celtic scholars who are also unashamedly pagan - a potent combination for those interested in ancient druidic spirituality. Here, John Matthews has retranslated the poems of Taliesin and discusses their meaning within the framework of the druid religion.
The Mabinogion Tetralogy
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The Mabinogion Tetralogy
by Evangeline Walton

The four branches of the Mabinogion come to life in Walton's acclaimed fictional retelling of the great Welsh myths. At almost 1000 pages, this is a fabulous read. The single hardback volume contains The Prince of Annwn, The Children of Llyr, The Song of Rhiannon, and The Island of the Mighty.
Mabon and the Guardians of Celtic Britain
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Mabon and the Guardians of Celtic Britain: Hero Myths in the Mabinogion
by Caitlin Matthews

Celtic scholar and shaman Caitlin Matthews "unlocks the encoded meanings of the Mabinogion" emphasizing the mythic Mabon, deliverer and protector of the people (aka Arthur, etc.) and his mother, the great goddess Modron. This is an updated edition of Mabon and the Mysteries of Britain.
King Arthur and the Goddess of the Land
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King Arthur and the Goddess of the Land: The Divine Feminine in the Mabinogion
by Caitlin Matthews

Matthews discusses the relationship between the king and the goddess, who represents both sovereignty and the land. This notion of sovereignty residing in the feminine is a fascinating aspect of Celtic mythology (prominent in Irish mythology also) and well worth study. This is a new, updated edition of Arthur and the Sovereignty of Britain.
A Bard's Book of Pagan Songs
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A Bard's Book of Pagan Songs: Stories and Music from the Celtic World
by Hugin the Bard

What a delightful book! Hugin has set the Mabinogion tales to music, for listening or playing. Each song is introduced with a short retelling of the tale, words and music are both provided, and you get a CD with Hugin performing some of the songs!
Chronicles of the Celts
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The Chronicles of the Celts: New Tellings of Their Myths and Legends
by Peter Berresford Ellis

Ellis has reconstructed representative tales from all the Celtic countries, seeking to eliminate later Christian influence. Reconstructionist history of Celtic myth and legend is very prevalent at present. One must carefully evaluate who is doing the reconstruction and with what agenda. Ellis is a respected Celtic scholar and historian.

You can find a very informative article by Mike Nichols at A Welsh Myth Concordance listing the place names referred to in the Mabinogion.