An early Song of Ffraed article from my dragon healing journey with Y Ddraig Ffraed – The Ffraed Project. First published on the subscribers’ blog on 17th July 2016. This is a Part 1.
It was warm, a tiny breeze, butterflies flitted through the rampant hedges, songbirds accompanied the bees’ kazoos and I was picking my way through tangles of prolific brambles and nettles on my way to rendezvous with Y Ddraig again.
I knew where She’d be, at the crossroads of paths where I’d left Her weeks previously. She’d made off across a verdant pasture to the other side of a hump in the land – I’d have liked to have gone with Her but I needed to gain permission from the landholder first.
Instead I had tracked Her remotely to a hawthorn in a fairy hill embankment by an ancient llan. There’d once stood, possibly for thousands of years, a tiny village here; its gorgeous fragrant roses that once decorated walls and gardens, rambling now through the May.
I’d met the farmer and his wife since, and they’d kindly given me permission to survey their fields. Such lovely people again.
Ffraed took me south-west across the field and along woods bordering an infant river to skirt the hump and then west to loop in a damp area at the bottom of the field, before heading eastwards. Several yards later, She turned south to cross a fence and climb a slope. I’d felt underwater, now we were surfacing. Over the slope wheeled Kria, the buzzard – She was letting me know that I’d soon be coming upon something extraordinary.
Not far into the field Y Ddraig began to weave tightly. In a straight line of 11 paces, She made 15 curves. After the 15th, She moved south-westwards for almost 2 yards and coiled once. Then Ffraed straightened up, like a rifle barrel, no weaving at all (uniquely so, so far), for 62 paces. I looked up, along the line, and there, in the distance, was a hilltop cairn, in the east. From the end of this stretch to the beginning of Her tight woven line, when She entered this field, is 70 paces. Where it was possible to see, each point lined up with hilltops and clefts in both directions.
Where Y Ddraig ended her straight run there was, in ancient times, a small rectangular hut. Open at its north end it was made of wattle and daub and had a wood and rushes roof. Its purpose was for a star-watchers’ shelter.
Ffraed wove out of what was once the open end and curved sharply to head south and up the steep-ish slope. Weaving for a few yards She then looped noticeably, the breeze picked up and my rods juddered. It felt like more than the wind causing this, so I went back 10 yards and retraced the path. Again the rods juddered, this time there was no gust…immediately I sensed this was a grave site….and here began a conversation…
Spectacularly watched over by the Sanctuary, it was the last resting place of a lady called Eirwen, who was a healer and herbalist. She had lived in a cottage close by with her three brothers who had passed away before her.
I asked her how to spell her name but she could not read or write, so didn’t know. I asked her what era she lived in, she didn’t know that either. She had heard of the Normans and the Flemmish, but their invasion had been long ago. She knew nothing of Oliver Cromwell or that civil war. I asked her if she was well known in the area. She said she was.¹
Were you, are you, religious? She said no. It didn’t feel like she had any bitterness towards religion it was more like she didn’t care for it, didn’t want anything to do with it.
She loved nature and helping people.
Eirwen was buried outside the churchyard when she passed away. I asked her if this saddened her. It didn’t…just the way things were, she said…and she loved being here. Her name means ‘White snow’.
Before I departed, she told me that she had been expecting me. I asked her if she knows of the goddess, Ffraed. She does, very well, and she said that Ffraed is very special to her.
I told her that I would return one day soon. She was happy to hear that. Such a beautiful soul.
I said goodbye for now and continued up the hill with Y Ddraig to the field wall and traced along it till the Dragon slipped through and into the fairy hill. Here I stood still and asked for leave to enter. ‘Not at this time’, was the clear response. I respected that.
Already knowing where Y Ddraig exited this place I made my way down the slope, out of the field, and back on to the track. As I was passing the point where I’d left Ffraed crossing the wall into the fairy hill, underneath a hawthorn tree, the figure of a tall, slim, silvery-white haired woman shimmered briefly, manifested quickly, and then vanished. She was dressed in a red cape or shawl and a long yellow dress with a pattern on it…and she was waving farewell to me. It was Eirwen!
Walking back to my car after this uplifting spirited meeting with Eirwen I felt ecstatic.
Thoughts drifted through my mind, some of them to the Tylwyth Teg, the Welsh fairies that I’ve mentioned before on this site and elsewhere. Her dress, her look, was just as they are often described. Yet, she had lived as a human. Could it be that the Tylwyth Teg are what some humans become when they pass over, or perhaps she was a Tylwyth Teg experiencing being human? I hope to be able to have answers one day soon.
1: Eirwen had passed away naturally.
17th July 2016
This was Part One. Part Two will follow soon.
Part Two: Taken by the fairies?
Addendum 19th July 2017:
I have just come across (without looking for it) a fascinating and informative work on the Tylwyth Teg. It is basically a collection of witness statements and folklore about them. Much of it is relevant to my meeting with Eirwen and the prior discovery of the straight line: The Fairy-Faith in Celtic Countries: Welsh fairies
….and in the same book, how the fairy folk are sometimes re-born as humans: The Celtic Doctrine of Re-Birth
Addendum 17th November 2017:
Some odd similarities:
In 1594, a 42-year-old weaver, and a healer of people and animals, was hanged for witchcraft, though she was clearly a believer in God, Christ and the Holy Spirit:
One of the ‘charms’ Gwen used to help people:
“In the name of God, the father, the son, and the holy spirit of God,
“And the three Marys, and the three consecrated altars,
“And the blessed son of grace,
“And by the stones and by the herbs,
“To which the son of grace bestowed their virtue,
“In order that they should defend thee, the sinner who suffered adversity,
“As Christ defended.”
Her name, Gwen, meaning ‘white’ and the daughter of a man named Ellis (or Elis). Her trial was held in Llansanffraid Church – though in Denbighshire and she was hanged in Denbigh town square. Was it snowing?
The story of the first woman in Wales to be hanged for witchcraft
Gwen Ferch Elis (1542-1594)
Addendum 24th March 2023
I intend to return to this location soon, to see how Ffraed’s healing has progressed there. More often than not Ffraed goes through several ‘patterns’ until She arrives at one She prefers.
2 thoughts on “White Snow”
Diolch, I find this very inspiring.
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Diolch Harry. T’was an unforgettable experience. I think these evidences of afterlife and ongoing, and potential for lost historical information encouraging too. There’s an update to add at some point.