Eric Maddern
Writer, singer, storyteller

Eryri Omphalos: The Fort of Fiery Higher Powers

Dinas Emrys (‘Eternal Citadel’) is a hollow, cauldron-like hill in the heart of the mountains of Eryri (Snowdonia). Known far and wide in antiquity it was a gathering place and ceremonial centre for fifteen hundred years, from about 300 BC to 1200 AD. Near the foot of the sacred mountain of Yr Wyddfa, Snowdon, it can be considered a Delphi-like world navel or Omphalos. Perhaps the oldest name for the place was ‘The City of the Dragons of Beli’. It was where, according to legend, these dragons were released by the young Merlin, a ‘child of destiny’, who then uttered an immortal prophecy. It was also reputedly home to the Pheryllt, alchemists to whom Ceridwen came for the inspiration recipe, which ultimately led to the birth of the primary chief bard, Taliesin. Perhaps that’s why its other early name was Dinas Affaraon Dandde, the Fort of Fiery Higher Powers. In this piece he tells the stories of Modron, Mabon, Math, Merlin, Ceridwen and Taliesin and invokes their ‘fiery higher powers’ to heal, transform and see.

Australian born Eric spent ten years travelling round the world on quest for origins, identity and god, absorbing influences from California, the Mayans, Polynesia and Indigenous Australia. He now lives in Snowdonia where he has co-created Cae Mabon, an eco-retreat centre described as a ‘Welsh Shanghai-La’ and ‘the most Druid-like place in the world’. Eric is a writer, singer, storyteller and ‘mythic maintenance man’. This latter role involves keeping the old stories alive but also caring for ancient sacred sites, including the Eryri Omphalos, the subject of his offering at this Breaking Convention.