The Morien Institute - skywatching through the ages

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flourished all over planet Earth on what are now sunken lands.

the 'Hanes Taliesin' riddle-poem

translated by Lady Charlotte Guest

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he translation of the riddle-poem "Hanes Taliesin" below is reproduced exactly as printed in the book "The White Goddess" by Robert Graves. All spellings and use of upper and lower cases are as they appear in the book, which must rank as one of the most important contributions to our understanding of 'the triple goddess' concept that was a central feature of the beliefs of many ancient cultures. In archaic times this seems to have been a global phenomena, as attested to by the abundance of 'earth goddess' artifacts discovered all over the world. In many areas, where evidence of hurriedly abandoned settlement has shown the existence of past civilisation, some of these figurines would have been treasured possessions.

She was the personification of the Earth at its different seasons, and the various names of the 'the triple goddess' commonly used in many ancient cultures are names that are descritptive of the Earth at those seasons. The interaction between the 'Earth Mother' and the 'Sky Father' throughout the course of the natural (solar) year was a matter of great concern to ancient peoples all over the world, and was the focus of their cosmologies, which governed their science and religion. It is not surprising therefore that their oral traditions are steeped in sky lore, which, when de-coded, is increasingly proving to contain the accurate observations of ancient skywatchers, as is evident in the riddle-poem below.

 

"Hanes Taliesin"

"Primary chief bard am I to Elphin,
And my original country is the region of the summer stars;
Idno and Heinin called me Merddin,
At length every king will call me Taliesin.

5. I was with my Lord in the highest sphere,
On the fall of Lucifer into the depth of hell
I have borne a banner before Alexander;
I know the names of the stars from north to the south;
I have been on the Galaxy at the throne of the Distributor;

10. I was in Canaan when Absalom was slain;
I conveyed Awen [the Divine Spirit] to the level of the vale of Hebron
I was in the court of Dn before the birth of Gwydion.
I was instructor to Eli and Enoch;
I have been winged by the genius of the splendid crozier;

15. I have been loquacious prior to being gifted with speech;
I was at the place of the crucifixion of the merciful son of God;
I have been three periods in the prison of Arianrhod;
I have been the chief director of the work of the tower of Nimrod;
I am a wonder whose origin is not known.

20. I have been in Asia with Noah in the Ark,
I have witnessed the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah;
I have been in India when Rome was built;
I am now come here to the remnant of Troia.
I have been with my Lord in the manger of the ass;

25. I strenghtened Moses through the waters of Jordan;
I have been in the firmament with Mary Magdalene;
I have obtained the muse from the Cauldron of Caridwen;
I have been bard of the harp to Lleon of Lochlin.
I have been on the White Hill, in the court of Cynvelyn,

30. For a year and a day in stocks and fetters,
I have suffered hunger for the Son of the Virgin,
I have been fostered in the land of the Deity,
I have been teacher to all intelligences,
I am able to instruct the whole universe.

35. I shall be until the day of doom on the face of the earth;
And it is not known if my body is flesh or fish.
Then I was for nine months
In the womb of the hag Caridwen;
I was originally little Gwion,
And at length I am Taliesin."

 

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