Researching for a novel sends you down fascinating paths. Winding, overhung and with a thousand other paths leading off under the trees, some of these barely trodden ways have fired my inspiration in ways I could never have guessed at. My current wanderings have lured me into the land of British myths: goddesses and gods, brownies and black shuck, and now my garden feels full of Faerie.
I also feel slightly cheated that I was never told the stories of our native godesses. As a horse obssessed tomboy who excelled at archery and was never without a homemade spear, I would have loved all those towering female archetypes: feisty and free, tricksy and tough, wise and terrifying. So how can it be that I grew up surrounded by women just like those goddessess and yet most of the myths and stories I heard were about damsels in distress, or limp virgins too ineffectual to alter their destiny, and, of course, the wayward girls who broke the rules and ended up getting what the world thought they deserved. It goes without saying they were all young and beautiful….
I must take some comfort that these myths live on, ready to be discovered and all you need to meet Elen of the Roads, Ana of the Wells, Rhiannon the horse goddess, and Arianrhod of the moon, is to take one of those wandering paths. They are there for us if we only know where to look, along with Herne, Bran and Gwyn ap Nudd with his gabriel hounds and wild hunt.
You might even find the Green Man is closer than you think!
- The Mabinogion.
- The Cauldron Born – Kristoffer Hughes.
- The White Goddess – Robert Graves.
- The Lore of the Land – Westwood and Simpson.
- Anything by Ronald Hutton!
- The Mists Of Avalon – Marion Zimmer Bradley.
- The Dark is Rising sequence – Susan Cooper.