WICCA- AND NEOPAGANISM FOLK /
PENDDERWEN GWYDION
1946-1982

Gwydion was born in a family of a long-term California residents as Thomas deLong around May 21st or 22nd 1946. He met the blind seer and poet Victor Anderson, known in many Pagan circles as a high priest of the Feri Tradition, ancient teaching that span the globe, and found in aboriginal people everywhere teacher of the Feri tradition of Witchcraft. Gwydion had met him through his son (from the same birth date, 22 may) of the same age at school. From the early age of 13 Victor became also his primer teacher and mentor. Until his twenties he studied with him.

In college he majored in theatre. He was a consummate actor and was fascinated with the mysteries of masks and personae. The works of Shakespeare and Greek Playwrights impressed him most strongly, but he expressed impatience and even disgust with modern theatre. For him theatre was truest when it was closest to its spiritual roots as religious dromenon.

Gwydion had a great store of poetic and anthropological lore, but was clearly more under the spell of the strength of a tale than of scientific method. He had an excellent ear for cadences and rhythms of words, which made listening to him an enchanting event. Later, when he moved to the land to homestead, he was in great demand as a reader on long winter nights or to pass the time during periods of stormy weather. A gentile and generous host, he was also quite the trickster, often going to extreme lengths in hatching plots for practical jokes. His tongue was witty and could be dangerously barbed, in true barbic fashion : Gwydion's derision could be crushing.

He retired early and spent much of each night in trance, asking not to be awaked or disturbed. He was deeply interested in linguistics. and spoke and wrote in Welsh. He was active in the Society for Creative Anachronism in its early years. He was the Court Bard in the SCA's Kingdom of the West for many years : a glib, courtly and foppish figure.

By the early '70's, neo-Paganism was beginning to grow spurth of its current renaissance. One of the landmarks of artistic merit in this rebirth was Gwydion's first recording, Songs for the Old Religion. This album has songs for each Sabbath as well as songs of the seasonal round and love songs to the Goddess and the God, and brought Gwydion a measure of fame and standing in the Pagan community.

Gwydion actually felt himself to be a druid, and was one of the members of the New and Reformed Order of the Golden Down, a latter-day Druidic sect. More information about that can be found in the book Margot Adler : Drowning Down the Moon. Gwydion actually went to Wales one time in 1976. The trip had a profound influence on him. He not only met his Welsh correspondent, Deri ap Arthur, but also many other active figures in the Wicca movement, among them Alex Saunders and Stuart Farrar. He made a pilgrimage to the Eistedffodd in Wales, the ancient Welsh Druid Poetry contest. He was amongst those called to the stage on the last days of the ceremonies, when foreigners of Welsh

descent are honoured, an event which proved profoundly moving to him. He felt he had regained his path, and it was not that of hubris and fame.  In visiting Ireland he had a terrifying vision of the Morrigan upon Tara Hill, which called to his mind his identification with the archetype of "the Sacred King".  Seeking peace, he quit his job upon returning to the US and began homesteading on Greenfield Ranch in Mendocino County, naming his parcel "Annwfn", the Welsh underworld.

Gwydion's writing, never profilic suffered under the hardships of a demanding life, but was able to adopt a humorous and philosophic view ("sometimes I wonder").During this time he published the book of his music and poems Wheel of the year, with production help from Isaac Bonewits, Craig Millen and Andraste.

In 1980, after many years of seclusion in the wilderness, Gwydion appeared in concert and ritual a Circle's Pagan Spirit Gathering in Wisconsin, an event of particular power. From this point on he became more active publicly, sponsoring and organizing Pagan gatherings, such as the Solstice Celebration in the Oakland Hills, and continuing New Year's tree plantings.

Forever Forests was the tree-planting organisation. Gwydion had a special connection to trees and felt it was his life's work. He had a vision about reforesting the earth. By the way Gwydion's (assumed) name is Welsh and Druidic as well, where Gwydion was named after one of the Gods in the Mabonogian, and Pendderwen, which means Head of the Oaks, or Leader of the oaks. Nowadays this tree-planting is done by Church of all Worlds when they are invited to come do so on country properties around Northern California. They used to sit up half the night making flyers and posters for the tree planting and creating rituals and ceremonies to augment the basic outdoor work. It was held over New Year's finding it any how much more healthier and fun to do this rather than going out and getting drunk at a noisy party. The event was attended by as many as 30 or 40 people, a 2 or 3 hard work day affair, with afterwards a warm fire, a hearty meal and an entertainment they called a bardic circle where anyone who whished sang or recited poetry, mostly from their own.

In '82 Gwydion recorded his second album, The Fairy Shaman, with harps, pipes and drum of Sheila na Gig, an album which sounded more traditional as his first, with magic and faerie at its highpoint.

In the season of Samhain 1982, Gwydion was killed in an auto accident in which he was thrown from his car as it overturned. He seemed to know the time of his death was near : he had spent the previous days visiting family and friends all over the Bay Area. "Filled with joy we weep for the love known and missed". Gwydion died at the age of 36. It now was clear how charismatic, gifted song-writer and poet, a tireless correspondent (letters to all over the world) and a bit of a womaniser too he had been. He did love courting beautiful woman, and did made ordinary woman feel beautiful, and could be the most charming, elegant fellow. But he did have also had a tendency of drinking too much, engage in less-than-honest practices and get himself into trouble as result, which is possibly one reason the he left us so soon.

A group of five woman who were all lovers of Gwydion's inherited his work when he died. They were Oz Anderson, lives in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Ayisha Sheperd, Anna Korn, Anodea Judith and Farida Fox, live in California. Farida was lover and confidante of Gwydion's, Ayisha lived the last three years with him. Anna and Anodea know him the longest, Oz was the flaming (unrequited) love of his life for the last couple years of it. They attempted to answer his voluminous mail and keep Forever Forests going. The ideal would be for those who knew him well, and certainly those who were the original steards of Annwfn (often referred to as his windows) to just gather round the fire and tell the stories from their memories. After a year the five woman found they were unable to continue this and became less involved with maintaining the mystique of the Fairie Shaman. They all had separate lives to live and one of them even didn't live in California. But they still keep on trying to have close contact with each other as much as possible.

Annwfn is now owned by The Church of All Worlds (CAW) but it was not always so and Gwydion had a kind of ambiguous attitude toward it. He and Oberon did not always see eye to eye on things, and his background was quiet different.

Some people from Forever Forests made afterwards (1986) a tape Welcome to Annwfn to benefit the organisation but also in dedication to Gwydion who's previous musical efforts still served to inspire them. The tape has stronger moments, like the high voice of Deborah Hamouris greeting, Welcome to Annwfn or the ground rhythm based Horned one with magical male voice of Buffalo and the Anthem to the sun from Rick Hamouris.


Letter I received by someone Gwydion knew :

Gerald,

I am very grateful that you maintain the pages about Gwydion.
He became a family friend in the years before his murder.

I owned and operated Tintagel Printing and Publishing, Inc in Berkeley.
We were engaged to re-publish Thorns of the Blood Rose for Gwydion.
I still have the cover design and the proofs.

Gwydion taught us about Squat, the god of parking places, of course so much more, and a great deal about his learning as an IRS agent. Curiously I was residing in Lake County where Gwydion died and Anodea Judith and Anna Korn and Farida Fox came to my house and asked me to investigate his death.

When I examined and photographed Gwydion's car immediately following the accident, there was a distinct and undeniable indentation on the side with a pale white or beige paint transfer from the vehicle that sideswiped him. The CHP refused to investigate further. However exactly the same situation existed in the Karen Silkwood death. An unknown vehicle forcing the victim off the road. Gwydion almost never drank alcohol, although of course he did indulge in certain herbal products. The section of Hwy 20 where he went off the road is straight and narrow. On that night it was bright and dry.
The reactions of the California Highway Patrol were derisive and desultory, the FBI scarcely responded, and the IRS, thought nothing of dismissing the death of one of their former agents who had formulated the structure of Forever Forests and who openly decried the abusive "terrorist practises" of the IRS, at the time, against the poor and the underemployed.

I do remember Gwydion describing to me the training he had received in collections, encouraged to terrify taxpayers and non taxpayers alike, emboldened to threaten poor people with audits and fines and criminal prosecution if they failed to pay  taxes far in excess of what corporations like Exxon were then paying. But those were different times, and things have changed. Nonetheless, Gwydion compared his "membership" in the IRS to a "membership" in the Hells Angels. Once a member always a member, until death.

I have often wondered if Gwydion was assassinated by the government to which he meant no harm only growth. The government for which he once worked, walked away, believing that there was a better way and a better world. The slightly better world he dreamed of has arrived, but the struggle is not over. I don't know the answer.    Especially if they were advocates for a model of peace, dignity and tranquillity, good environmental temperance. And caution tempered with humour and song and a drag or two of good Mendocino weed.

I'd like you to know that I possess several copies of Gwydion's first album before it went on tape and several more copies of the sheet music, Wheel of the Year. I should be pleased to reproduce the music and the sheet music for posting on the Web if it doesn't violate copyrights, or the spirit of Gwydion's quest for a better world.

Most importantly to me is the continued life of Forever Forests, Annwfn (owed by CAW or otherwise), and the continuation of the incredible dance that Gwydion began. That man was without question the Lord of the Dance.

I am proud that my family crest flew, if only briefly, a twin entwined Tudor rose on a field argent, over Gwydion's grave, for there are few I have ever truly loved and honored so much. 

Blessed be and merry meet,

Samuel D. Mayhew
CISO
Mayhew & Associates: Forensic Cybernetics
Gwydion's life:

compiled from an original fragment from Anna Korn's biography , (published as booklet-notes on the 2CD "The Wheel of the Year- the music of Gwydion Pendderwen"), completed with some additional information given by Farida and Ayisha) :
The Music from Gwydion:

I can describe this as a kind of slightly acid or rather psych folk flavoured style with a unique flavour as a first example of its kind for the Wicca / Neo-Pagan movement, which has similarities with some openness in music which was so valuable in the 70's folk movement. Gwydion is the oldest recorded example that I know of with written and recorded original/self-penned songs within the Faerie Tradition, different from traditional songs, but produced under a same level of inspirations. Some songs are celebrating songs, others are more melancholic. There were some other bards after him.
Links and contacts :
















Some Gwydion pages :
http://www.controverscial.com/Gwydion%20Pendderwen.htm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gwydion_Pendderwen
http://pandorasbazaar.blogspot.com/2006/05/gwydion-pendderwen.html
http://www.chasclifton.com/2006/01/gwydion-pendderwen-re-mastered-earlier.html
http://www.chasclifton.com/2005/09/celto-pagan-music-i-am-not-exactly-go.html
Review of music : http://wildhunt.org/blog/2006/02/review-music-of-gwydion-how-do-you.html

Audio file : "We Won't Wait Any Longer"
Gwydion's song "Sun God" but in a (very good) cover version performed by Wyld Olde Souls : "Sun God"
Another Gwydion song, "Spring Strathspey" in a cover version by Moonrise (Deborah "DJ" Hamouris, Robin Dolan & Denise Castleton) : "Spring Strathspey

For people looking for a few songtexts on the web, I did find some :
Gwydion's song "Spring Strathspey" : http://home.intranet.org/~maggi/true/bardicarts/songs/Sabbats/Ostara/springstrathspey.html
& http://www.pagangathering.com/Music_chants/spring_strathspey.htm
Gwydion's song : "The Wintry Queen" : http://www.earthspirit.org/twnls.html (together with other Winter (Pagan) Songs), and at : http://home.intranet.org/~maggi/true/bardicarts/songs/Sabbats/Yule/wintryqueen.html
"Lughnasadh Dance" (chorus) by Gwydion Pendderwen you can find at : thttp://www.msen.com/~robh/slg/songbook98.html and at http://home.intranet.org/~maggi/true/bardicarts/songs/Sabbats/Lughnassadh/lughnassadhdance1.html
His song "We won't wait any longer" you can find at : http://home.intranet.org/~maggi/true/bardicarts/songs/PaganPride/wewontwaitanylonger.html
His song "Cambrian Dream" you can find at :
http://home.intranet.org/~maggi/true/bardicarts/songs/Celtic/cambriandream.html
"Return of the King" you can find at my next page  (PS. A tip for the next page: if you save the jpg's there and open them again at home at your computer you can see them more readable)
A text more often used on the web, as a meditative thought of death by Gwydion, "Goodbye" you can see at : http://www.shpm.com/articles/stress/meditate/death3.html
"Lord of the Dance" at http://www.pagangathering.com/Music_chants/spring_strathspey.htm
"I'll be reborn" at http://www.restech.wustl.edu/~pagans/gwydion.html
Lyrics "Metempsychosis" : http://www.textfiles.com/music/gwydion.txt
Lyrics "Lughnassadh Dance" : www.bardicarts.org/songs/Sabbats/Lughnassadh/lughnassadhdance1.html

Contact for Church of All Worlds, or for ordering Gwydion's music,
Deborrah,Rick Hamouris & friends, Gaia's voice, tapes CAW,books,magazine & gatherings or the label : CAW/Nemeton,960 Berry St.,Toledo, OH 43605-3044. www.caw.org; E-mails : office@caw.org or nemeton@caw.org Church of All Worlds through Nemeton : PO Box 8247 Toledo, OH 43605 (419) 697-1919
with a page about Oberon : http://www.caw.org/clergy/oberon/index.html
with a page about Anodea : http://www.caw.org/clergy/anodea/index.html
and a page about Forever Forests : http://www.caw.org/foreverforests/index.html
A brief history of the C.A.W. : http://www.sacred-texts.com/bos/bos572.htm and http://www.caw.org/home/
Another page : http://www.paganlibrary.com/reference/church_of_all_worlds.php
Forever Forests, Box 48, Calpella, CA 95418, or postbox 212, Redwood Valley, CA 95470, USA.
and Annwfn : http://www.caw.org/annwfn/index.html or http://www.annwfn.org
http://www.flickr.com/groups/632172@N21/ & http://annwfnpodcast.blogspot.com/

Cds are also available from http://www.serpentinemusic.com or on
http://www.moonflower-starfire.com/site/1321714/product/993-37492796


















Annwfn : Post Office Box 48, Calpella, California 95418 USA
Some extra links : http://www.caw.org/hotlinks.html
Green Egg magazine : 32 East San Francisco Ave, Willits CA, 95490-3957 :
(Close friends of Gwydion (only E-mail when necessary :Aeona@aol.com (Aeona, Farida (Toadthroat@metro.net and  Monkey@aol.com for Oberon Zell-Riverhart from CAW).

Further related links :
Page about Victor Anderson : http://www.lilithslantern.com/victor.htm
About Victor Anderson's and Gwydion's "Feri/Faery tradition" : http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Rhodes/5569/Faery_Trad_Intro.html and  http://www.cog.org/wicca/trads/faery.html and http://www.thefaerycrossing.com/
and http://www.pooklaroux.com/faeriewho.html and http://www.lilithslantern.com/branches.htm
and http://www.coven-of-cythrawl.com/Faery_Wicca.htm and http://www.paralumun.com/witchfaery.htm
and http://feri-tradition.wikiverse.org/
& http://www.lilithslantern.com/Faery%20Trad.htm
& http://wiki.wiccanweb.ca/index.php?title=Feri_Tradition

with about Gardnerian Wicca : http://gardnerian-wicca.wikiverse.org/
A list which compairs different types of Witchcraft and within those list they explain the Feri tradition :
http://www.pathcom.com/~newmoon/diff.htm
Further we have The third Road Farie Tradition : http://www.well.com/user/zthirdrd/, Fransisca's Faerie tradition : http://www.well.com/user/zthirdrd/vita.html (all coming forth from Victor's traditions), and the further related "Pictish Elven Witchkraft" (website moved)).
There exist also a magazine about the Faerie tradition : http://www.feritradition.org/witcheye/ (magazine nr.2 has an article from Gwydion) E-mail : witcheye@lustydevil.com
Offshoot of this tradition, the Draconian Pictish-Elven Witchcraft : http://www.pictdom.org/WhatIs.html

A page about "the old religion" : http://www.coven-of-cythrawl.com/Old_Religion.htm

There are too many pages for the New Reformed Orthodox Order of the Golden Dawn. I found a page which mentioned Gwydion but it moved now. (PS. All kinds of Golden Dawn organisations  are in one big list : http://www.esonet.org/pg/seeker/goldendawn.htm
with the NROOGD at http://www.cog.org/wicca/trads/nroogd.html
with a publication "the witches Trine : http://www.conjure.com/TRINE/

(For the more advanced interested I collected a few more links : about the award which Gwydion received : there was a page at http://www.west.sca.org/OP/ALPHAG13.HTM, which moved to another page somewhere at http://www.westkingdom.org/ )

Remembrance day May21 : B-Day: Gwydion Pendderwen
and from May 1998, 21 was said: Thursday Waning 4th Qtr E. Aries 6:06 AM SUN E. Gemini 1:05 AM Green Wintergreen Gwydion Pendderwen, cofounder of the Faery Tradition of Witchcraft, born 1946; Day of Tefnut (Egypt); Plato born, 429 B.C.E.)

More about trees : http://www.geocities.com/Area51/Shire/3951/dryadart.html
(PS. An interesting Pagan magazine related to trees : http://www.treeleaves.com/oracle/oracle@treeleaves.com ; PS. One of the magazines on line about (Pagan) music used to be "Tree Leaves")http://www.treeleaves.com/oracle/tlo8/)

A new tribute page to Gwydion : http://www.restech.wustl.edu/~pagans/gwydion.html

(page and links are updated 2004-08-25 ; new links added 2009-8)
go to page 2 of Gwydion ->