Friday, March 25, 2011

The Immortal Kindred

Welsh genealogy is rooted in the Celtic world view which was passed down from one generation to the next. The Welsh adopted this world view making it their own in a series of stories. Their "creation story" is recorded in an account introduced in the last post entitled "The Council of The Immortals". The story begins by stating that a meeting was called by the head of the kindred, "Hu Gararn". This meeting took place " the House of Hu Gadarn in the Wyddfa Mountains in Wales". The name Wyddfa Mountains refers to an area around a series of mountains in north Wales anchored by the highest peak "Yr Wydda" or present day Snowdon. This peak is surrounded by six lakes which are intimately connected with the heights that gather round Yr Wyddfa. [Prehistoric dwellings are found around some of these lakes.] A lake only quarter of a mile long lies almost directly under Snowdon and still has an ancient standing stone.

In this account "Hu Gararn" is described as follows:

"As to who Hu Gararn was, should any one have heard no tidings about him, and about his power, and fame, and sovereignty over the Gods and the Cymry: he was the one that was supreme over both those races; he had led them out of the Summer Country into the Island of the Mighty, ages before; and tamed Nynnio and Peibio, the Exalted Oxen, and with them accomplished the ploughing of the whole island, and the destruction of the Afange of the Lake of Floods."

It is interesting to note that Hu lead "those races" out of the "Summer Country". Certainly any place on the continent would be warmer than in these mountains. However, I suspect this relates to the practice of transhumance which involves the seasonal movement of livestock (especially sheep) between mountain and lowland pastures under the care herders. This cultural pattern involved a "summer home"(hafod) and a "winter home"(hendre). Of course, the herders would be family.

The importance of ploughing land is expressed by the fact that Hu's first task was to tame oxen. In the Welsh, a farmyard is called buarth, which also means a cattle enclosure. The Spanish certainly know something about taming bulls! [Iberian-Celts share our DNA] Cattle became the money of the time and a sign of wealth.

Floods played a major part of the early stories of many races. Here, Hu is credited with the destruction of "Afange of the Lake of Floods". In the Welsh, "afanc" means monster, and I would guess that a monster would be of great challenge. With Wyddfa Mountains being surrounded by six lakes, there would have to be an explanation for all the water. Interestingly, "afanc" may also means beaver. A large beaver population would create a lot of dams around six lakes! Which would you choose, a monster or a beaver.


  1. Thanks. Glad you found the post of interest. Genealogy has been an interest of mine for more than 50 years.