I'm a cell, I'm fragmented, I change my form;
I'm a repository of song, I'm a dynamic state.
I love a wooded slope and a snug shelter,
and a creative poet who doesn't buy his advancement.
Wyf kell, wyf dellt, wyf datweirllet;
wyf llogell kerd, wyf lle ynnyet.
Karaf-y gorwyd a goreil clyt,
a bard a bryt ny pryn y ret.
From: Legendary Poems from the Book of Taliesin, edited and translated by Marged Haycock
Sunday, 5 June 2011
Calling All Dragons - Heart of the Dragon Festival
Come and join the gathering of the dragons on 2nd July 2011 at Newcastle Emlyn, Castell Newydd Emlyn, in the Heart of the Teifi Valley in west Wales.
From the Heart of the Dragon Festival organisers
This amazing festival that hatched a new baby dragon in July 2007 at Newcastle Emlyn on the banks of the Teifi River in West Wales is sending this call to all dragons and dragon keepers around the world to come and join them in celebration of the return of the Dragon and the fulfilment of Merlin's prophecy on 2nd July 2011. In a combination of myths, new stories, ceremonies, a parade of dragons, a green fayre, and many other magical and exciting events for all.
A beautiful Golden Dragon Gate was installed at the entrance to the castle, thanks to the Town Council.
Also a giant carved oak chair now sits at the back of the Castle overlooking the grounds and the River Teifi, surounded by a mosaic telling the story of our dragon.
(Thanks to Pamela Gaunt, the Small Awards Lottery Fund and Sculptor Ian Johnston)
ON THE DAY
Merlin, the Dragon Queen, Tiamat, and the baby dragon will be there to bless the ground to fulfil the prophecy:
'When dragon oak is truly found, Merlin and Dragon will bless the ground.
With oak within the castle wall, the town will prosper for one and all.'
We Need HELPERS!
Both before and on the day to help us organise our dragons and their keepers. Also to help with the running of the Green Fayre and events of the day.
An amazing chance to work behind the scenes of a festival.
Contact Annette or Marc
If you have a product or service that would fit into the philosophy of the festival and fayre and would like to have a stall or space at the event; or advertise in the programme; or even become a sponsor of the festival then please Contact Annette or Marc
Please forward this - That way we can possibly reach every corner of the world and encourage all to come and join the gathering of the dragons at Newcastle Emlyn, Castell Newydd Emlyn, in the Heart of the Teifi Valley in west Wales. Also come yourself of course!
A Call to all Dragons, Dragon Keepers & Dragon Lovers everywhere
from the Heart of the Dragon Festival
Join us, on 2nd July, in bringing together the largest collection of dragons ever, to celebrate the return of the dragon - both our baby hatched in 2007 and now the Golden Dragon in 2011.
So come along and bring a dragon.
Your dragon can be large, small, drawn or worn; in groups or on its own; on a flag or a T shirt; in your hat or on a ring; sculptured, knitted, sewn; carried, pushed, floating - we have a river! or even flying; as a drink, food, or something growing; you can even read, sing, dance or play us your dragon's tale.
Whatever, you and your dragon will be very welcome to join us in this exciting challenge of gathering the dragons.
Obviously real dragons will be especially welcome
The Green Fayre
The FREE ENTRY Heart of the Dragon Festival has always had demonstrations of crafts and workshops around sustainability and a positive future, so this year it has been decided to give over the lower field of Newcastle Emlyn Castle Grounds to a Green Fayre so that we can have more stalls, events and workshops showing sustainable ways of caring for the lands of the dragon. So come along, join in, have fun and share the spirit of the dragon.
If you do not have a dragon - do not despair, as there will be workshops to make dragons and dragony things at the fayre. so you can then join us in the celebratory Parade of Dragons through town and around the castle in the afternoon.
The Story behind the Festival
The Old Story
The Last Dragon in Wales was killed in Newcastle Emlyn… Centuries ago on a hot summer’s day, the townsfolk were gathered for the annual fair. Suddenly above the noise of tradesmen, cattle, music and song was heard the most extraordinary sound. Grown men quaked in their boots and the onlookers were paralyzed with fear. There, in the sky above them, was hovering an enormous winged serpent. After circling for some time it came to alight upon one of the turrets of the castle and appeared to fall asleep.
The people were desperate to be rid of this fearsome beast. At last a tall young man strode to the front of the crowd, a red shawl under his arm, and a musket over his shoulder. He went into the river until he was waist deep and spread the shawl over his shoulders and took steady aim. The serpent rose into the clear sky. A shot rang out. The Dragon swooped towards the floating shawl and clutched it in its talons .Writhing in a whirlpool of blood, shawl and venom the serpent sank beneath the water never to be seen again.
As for the brave man, as soon as the shot had left his gun he had dived beneath the water and swum to the farther bank of the river and climbed out, none the worse for his ordeal. It was said that the fishing on the Teifi was not good that year, but whether it was due to the contaminated water or fear of the beast nobody knew.
Stories are passed down orally over hundreds of years by many tellers and later written generally from one point of view for political propaganda, as well as entertainment!
The version above is the well known and recorded legend of Newcastle Emlyn - where heroes are good and dragons are bad.
But are they?
All around the world, for thousands of years, the dragon was a creature representing the power of nature, and still is beloved and revered in many cultures. In Wales we still see the magnificent creature on our flag, a symbol of national pride.
The castle in Newcastle Emlyn is one of the few built by the Welsh, and tracing the various versions of the story back over the different dates given, is, in itself, a fascinating exploration of Welsh history, of invasions, occupations and resistance.
Research reveals that the story could have originated as a record of a battle in 1403 when chieftain Owain Glyndwr, whose standard was a red winged Gwiber/serpent, seized the castle briefly from the occupiers, but the falling of his flag and the accompanying bloodshed ended this resistance… so is it a tragedy or a heroic feat, This killing of the Dragon?
The New Story
However, all good stories have a new beginning and this one is called Heart of The Dragon.
In midsummer 2006, a story was found in Newcastle Emlyn's shop windows telling of people’s love for the dragon. The Scouts made a nest and Protectors of the Dragon’s Nest and Guardians of the Dragon’s Story were appointed when over a hundred people called to the dragon from the hill top of the castle ruins. They were rewarded with finding a floating coracle on the serpent shaped river, which contained a dragon's egg! The dragon returned to where it was last seen: Newcastle Emlyn.
This egg was carefully tended by the protectors and guardian. During the year between the finding and the hatching of the egg it travelled across to other Dragon festivals around Europe: Ireland, Portugal and Poland.
The Festival… HEART OF THE DRAGON
Newcastle Emlyn hosted a two day Heart of the Dragon Festival in July 2007 that literally stepped into the story at the castle, with a medieval fayre and re-enactment of
the Last Dragon of Wales story and saw over 3000 people pass through its gates! There were prop making and historical costumes tents, birds of prey, music, storytelling, puppets, and much, much more for everyone to enjoy and participate in. There was an exhibition of the history of the castle and Owain Glyndwr for people to visit.
Then to bring the present into the stories of bloodshed and the wars of history, local schools, community and youth groups made processional dragons for a parade through the town accompanied by marching bands, stilt walkers and jugglers in the celebration of the return of the dragon. For the giant egg hatched and the birth of a new Baby Dragon was seen and given a welcoming ceremony.
In 2009 the baby was named amid further ceremonies, with Tiamat the Dragon Queen and Owain Glyndwr, and Merlin returned from the crystal cave who gave the prophecy that
‘When dragon oak is truly found, Merlin and Dragon will bless the ground
With oak within the castle wall, the town will prosper for one and all.’
Now on 2nd July 2011 this prophecy will be fulfilled with the oak tree found and carved into a Dragon Chair sitting in the castle grounds overlooking the River Teifi, and now to be blessed by Merlin. With this festival there is to be a call to all dragons and dragon keepers across the world to come and join the celebrations of this auspicious event at the Heart of the Dragon Festival and Green Fayre in the presence of Tiamat and especially the Golden Dragon.
HEART OF THE DRAGON began as a community arts project in 2005 and around five thousand people have been involved in one way or another over that time in the festivals, events, workshops, writing, drama etc.
Heart of the Dragon has looked at this mythologically where locally, in our town, which has the legend of the Last Dragon being killed… we have reborn the dragon as a symbol of unity, hope for the future and care for our land of the dragon. We have attempted to honour the dragon as a national symbol (whilst not supporting nationalism) and bring the dragon off its perch on flags and castle turrets right down to the land, in fact as the Spirit of the Land. We have a creation story where the whole world is a living and breathing Dragon.
In our medieval fayres we have had demonstrations of scything, coppicing, natural dyeing and weaving etc. As we are primarily an arts project, people of all ages and backgrounds come to our events, because ceremony, procession, fun, magic, myths and storytelling, costume, music, dance and more appeal to all. Therefore we can be a platform for the so called ‘alternative’ to get seen by many in the so called ‘mainstream’ These are of course just words, basically we have been aiming to create a story which heals divisions in our community, created historically and politically, that reconnects people with their community and environment.
Like most movements that are pioneering new ways of being, especially environmental and sustainable, Heart of the Dragon looks back to the wisdom of the ancient and from that looking at how we can now begin to repair the damage we have done and are doing to our planet. So we work on the local, then national and then global levels, as do all projects endeavouring to bring in sustainability and global responsibility.
Links to Festival Sites
follow facebook links to see baby dragon being born
Pamela Gaunt Artistic Director
Annette Ecuyere FestivalOrganiser
Marc Gordon Co-Ordinator