Gwynn Ap Nudd, the Welsh God of the Dead
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Gwynn Ap Nudd, the Welsh God of the Dead

Like most of the Gods of the old Pagan religions, Gwynn ap Nudd carried many titles. Gwynn ap Nudd was a God of the dead and was the conductor of souls to the afterlife. He was a God of war, of battle, of death and of the hunt. Gwynn ap Nudd was also Lord of the Underworld, and the patron Deity of fallen soldiers. He was also said to have ridden with the wild hunt and helped to hunt down souls that hid in the crags trying to escape moving on to the afterlife.

In old Welsh lore, Gwynn ap Nudd was king and protector of the Tylwyth Teg or fairy folk, and ruled over all the goblins and other Fey that lived in the otherworld called Annwn. Despite, his many death oriented titles, Gwynn ap Nudd was not without compassion; he was a God that well understood life and death, joy and sorrow, and friendship and loss. Gwynn ap Nudd was said to once reside beneath Glastonbury Tor and to hold great feasts and revelry atop of it. Glastonbury Tor was believed to be a doorway to the realms of Fairy and the otherworld. In some Arthurian legends, Glastonbury Tor was the gateway to Avalon.

Like many of the old Celtic Gods, Gwynn ap Nudd is mentioned in many old Christian myths. Old Welsh legend says that once Christianity came in, Gwynn ap Nudd’s role changed from guardian of the otherworld and the Fairies, to guardian of the gateway to Hell and protector of the human race from the demons and devils that lived in it. In later Welsh Christian mythology, it is said that Saint Tollen or Collen, vanquished Gwynn ap Nudd and his court of Fairies with holy water one evening when the group was celebrating on top of the Tor, banishing them all back to the Otherworld.

Gwynn ap Nudd’s father was Nudd (also called Llud). Like his son, Nudd was also a God of Death and was also a Sun God. Gwynn ap Nudd’s name means “white son of darkness” and his name is pronounced “gwin ap neethe”. Gwynn ap Nudd’s sacred animal is the owl, as it represents both the night and death. In times long past, the Welsh people honoured Gwynn ap Nudd annually on September 28th with feasting and revelry. Gwynn ap Nudd is mentioned numerous times in old Welsh legends and poetry, and is mentioned in connection to King Arthur several times.

Like most of the old Celtic Gods, Gwynn ap Nudd has faded into almost obscurity, now only being a part of the ancient lore and legends of the Welsh people. However, he is not entirely gone from this world, as many Celtic Pagans still hold him in their hearts and still pay tribute to him on their holy days. Today’s Pagans most commonly tribute Gwynn ap Nudd in September on the traditional day the ancient Welsh people did and on Samhain, October 31st.

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Interesting folklore