Menai Bridge (Pont Grog y Borth), Wales, U.K. The legends of the collection of Welsh tales, the Mabinogion, are still very much alive in the principality, including a proposal for a new bridge held up by a statue of the mythical giant Brân the Blessed. The proposed bridge is to cross the Menai Straits, separating the island of Anglesey (Ynys Môn) – often seen as the last stand of Britain’s Druids against the Romans – from the North Welsh mainland. The most famous tale involving this giant hero/god concerns the marriage of his sister, Branwen. Hoping for an alliance with other countries and tribes, Brân gave his sister Branwen’s hand in marriage to King Matholwch of Ireland – a common practice among tribes, to cement alliances. This was not a completely popular move and Bran’s brother, Efnisien, was furious – perhaps because he wanted Branwen for himself (incest being not unknown in such legends and depending whether Efnisien was, in fact, a foster brother).
UNITED KINGDOM — On Oct. 6 this year, the British Government granted fracking company Cuadrilla permission to begin operations at two sites in Lancashire (north-west England). This decision, taken by Business Secretary Sajid Javid, overturned a previous decision made by the Lancashire County Council to grant permission at just one of the two proposed sites. Under the banner of Frack Free Lancashire, a coalition of local anti-fracking groups has formed. Included in the coalition is the inimitable mothers and grandmothers group The Nanas.
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London — Many Pagans dream of being able to say ‘I do’ in a handfasting and have their vows recognised in law. ‘Why can’t a handfasting be legal?’ is a complaint we heard around the UK for decades. Well, in 2004, the Scottish Pagan Federation addressed it first and then, finally, England and Wales followed suit in a groundbreaking case.
The Glastonbury Goddess Temple was licensed for legal weddings after a whirlwind one-year process. In a first for Paganism, the Temple’s marriages are legally binding. The approval can now be used in precedent, which is incredibly important for the long term.
There are lots of articles and essays of interest to modern Pagans out there, sometimes more than I can write about in-depth in any given week. So The Wild Hunt must unleash the hounds in order to round them all up.
The Greek (and very Pagan) band Daemonia Nymphe has announced that they are in the studio recording a new album, and that it’s due to be out sometime in 2013. It’s been five years since their last album, the amazing “Krataia Asterope,” so this is welcome news indeed. I’ve embedded the video for their song “Divine Goddess of Fertility” above.