Category Archives: Nine Maidens

The Power of Nine

Oh you maidens, numbered nine,
Who dance your way cross
Land and time: witches, sisters,
Oracles, shape-shifters.
What’s your wisdom?
What can you teach us?

Nine skerry-brides powered the mill,
Ground out the world
From the ice giant’s bones.
Nine sisters were nine mothers
To the hero Hiemidalir.
Nine Valkerie bring the brave to Valhalla,
As nine Morgana guide Arthur to Avalon.
There’s nine maiden mountains
And nine maiden wells,
Nine maidens painted on a cave in Cogal,
Nine witches of Caer Lyow,
Nine sisters of Mont Dol,
Nine ladies of Stanton Moor,
Nine maiden circles at Maldron,
Boskaden, Tregaseal, Waldron,
Nine druidesses of the Isle of Sien,
Nine who dance the Full Moon Rites,
Nine maenads and nine muses,
And then, with Cerridwen,
There’s nine whose breath kindles the fire
That heats the potion with the power to inspire
With Wisdom, Knowledge and Prophesy,
The initiate, willing to risk
All that they are in the name of truth.

In time, out of time, by time, through time,
Everywhere you look, you find them.
Thrice times three, trinity of trinities,
Over and again in myth and legend
These nine maidens weave their enchantment.
What’s their secret? What’s the mystery?
What do we learn from nine maidens’ histories?

Nine is the number of initiation.
Nine is the number of endings and beginnings.
Nine is the number of inspiration.
Nine is the number of transformation.
Nine moons to bring forth a babe.
Nine planets spinning round.
Nine dimensions to time.
Nine is the centre of all things.
Nine is the still point in the wind.
Eternally reoccurring,
Thrice time triple, nine-fold magical,
The power of three by the power of three
Can bind the world to our will.

Oh, you maidens who ever weave
In and out the fabric
Of time and place and story,
You nine whose sacred breath
Warms the cauldron of Cerridwen,
I stand before you now
Calling on your power.
I am a willing initiate
And I would drink
Of the cauldron of inspiration,
Of the potion of truth,
Open to the wisdom
Of those who’ve gone before.
I would know the nature of Awen,
Flowing of spirit,
Essence of life in motion.
Speak to me now.
Speak through me now.
Speak with the true voice of prophesy.
However we have called on you before
We have never needed you more.

“You have chosen this incarnation
To be part of the transformation
Of this sick ‘civilisation’,
Of an end to waste
And an end to greed
And the dawning understanding
Of what you truly need.
Listen to your hearts
Find the truth that’s beating there.
Open to your longing
For right living in the world.
Know that it is possible
For the point of power is now.

These are the most important things:
Hold your vision. Love with passion.
Speak your truth, and also listen.
Open to the dreams that call you
To a truer manifestation
Of the spirit of creation
And honouring of sacredness.”

It is time to own your power.
Heed the maidens’ message.
Eternally reoccurring,
Thrice times triple, nine-fold magical
The power of three by the power of three
Can bind the world to your will.

Open Gorsedh 2007

2007′s Open Gorsedd was organised in conjunction with the “Megalithomania” conference, which was also being held on the same weekend at the Assembly Rooms. Our thanks go to the Megalithomania team for helping to promote the Open Gorsedd along with the conference. It was with the greatest of sadness that this year’s proceedings had to be conducted without the presence of Tim Sebastion, former Archdruid of Caer Baddon and prime catalyst in the re-establishment of the Bardic Chairs of Albion, who died earlier in the year. This event became quite a moving memorial to his vision.

Nine Maidens

Tim HallWith the theme having been announced by Tim Hall , residing Bard of Glastonbury 05-07, as “Nine Maidens”, the competition was opened to ten contestants each performing for up to fifteen minutes and being judged on the following qualities : Inspiration; originality; working with the audience; presence; emotive appeal; spontaneity; artistry/craft; wisdom and/or foolishness and of course, relevance to the theme.

Judging the ContestThese qualities certainly were in evidence on Tuesday night, creating quite a task for the five judges, Tony Thomson, Denny Michell, Oshia Drury, Thalia Brown and Taruna Das, who had to choose six finalists from amongst them for the final on Saturday night.

Merlin of the WoodsFirst to take the stage was Merlin of the Woods, with his beautiful nine part symphony of the Tale of Nine Maidens. As he spoke his story unfolded, he sang his words and played his lute, and the magic of the evening immediately came to life. A true minstrel and storyteller in our midst, really, one thought the evening couldn’t get much better.

Ezmerelda SangerEzmerelda Sanger, an artist who entered the competition as a result of a broken arm, came up with a wonderful performance, the story beginning with the virgin Mary, who gives birth to hope, and then wended her magical way, to bring us up to date with the birth of her own daughter. Her impersonation of Margaret Thatcher being a particularly funny and unexpected note in this gem of a piece.

CraigCraig presented a forthright interpretation of the nine-fold theme with his own brand of high performance poetry.

Marco CoppenhagenMarco Koppenhagen gave us a whimsical, bittersweet folksong and a rather humorous treatment of the theme.

Dearbhaile BradleyDearbhaile Bradley,who originally had thought the theme to be the number nine, had clearly researched her subject thoroughly and as a result brought to the Gorsedd a most thoughtful piece of poetry, “The Power of Nine,” full of power, stunningly written, and delivered with a passion that had the entire audience hooked.

David ReakesDavid Reakes, the Fiddler; told his tale in the style of the Pied Piper, disturbing, original, brilliant. The tale of a wedding, the guests transfixed by a spell, they danced till they became stone. Unfinished was his tale on Tuesday, but still remarkable enough to get him through to the final, we had to wait in anticipation to hear the end of his story.

Tony AtkinsonTony Atkinson took the theme of Nine Maidens to a genuinely Bardic level, creating his poem “999” with nine verses, nine lines to each verse and nine syllables to each line. His tale of classical allusion was a remarkable structural achievement.

MichaelaMichaela, a true Bard in the making, has clearly worked really hard on her performing skills since entering last year, and brought us a ballad of the maidens, alluringly sung and accompanied by Merlin, a beguiling performance.

John JohnsonJohn Johnson’s contribution seemed a little ill-prepared, although pleasant enough, it didn’t really touch on the given theme.

Rohini 2007The evening of profound entertainment was wonderfully wrapped up for us by Rohini, who unfortunately had not realized there was a theme for the competition , but was still kind enough to entertain us with his talking drum and his beautiful words. He began with a Sanskrit invocation which then led into a song of three parts. The first part tells us how the sound of nature inspires the song writer, the second of the appreciation of mother earth and the nurturing and shelter she gives us, and finally in the third part talks of the spiritual world, that as we roam the physical world we are each making our personal journey to our spiritual world. This piece was possibly not quite what the judges were asking for, but nevertheless a fine reminder of what we were doing there and a fitting end to the evening.

Tony ThompsonWe were back to the Assembly Rooms on Thursday for open mike night where artists who did not wish to enter the competition were invited to take to the stage. We were treated to a wealth of talent which included more from the fabulous Tim Hall, still the chaired Bard,performing alone as well as with the uber talented Oshia Drury, who also performed solo this evening. Beautiful guitar playing from Tony Thompson, bespoke guitar maker and chair of judges, the deeply haunting sounds of Brian’s vocal improvisation. Kevan, the third Bard of Bath, treated us to his version of the story if Taliesin’s birth. A memorable experience and an honour to be present.


Gorsedh Circle 2007The traditional open air Gorsedd ceremony was held at the Fairfields on Glastonbury Tor and four new Bards: Merlin of the Woods; Ezmerelda Sanger; Craig and Bryan Holder were given the Awen initiation and admitted to the order. We remembered Tim Sebastion and gave thanks for his life and closed with the cry for peace, then the newly initiated bards along with the Elder Bards and the judges made their way back to the Assembly Rooms for the final heat.


We were again treated to the six finalists performing their entries, starting off with more wonderful songs from Tim on this, his final evening as chaired bard.

Guest performances included:

Ash MandrakeAsh Mandrake, Bard of Caer Baddon (Bath);

Kevan Manwaring reading the Brown BookKevan Manwaring;

MarkMark Lindsey Earley, Bard of Caer Wyse (Exeter);

and Bryan Holder, demonstrating the art of the Awenyddion.

After much deliberation the judges returned with the verdict being eloquently pronounced by the leader of the panel, Tony Thompson.

Nathan TSMT 2007The Tim Sebastian Memorial Trophy was awarded to Stevie P. and received by Nathan Williams in his absence.

Merlin receives the crownThe Deputy Bard’s Crown was awarded to Merlin.

Dearbhaile Bradleyand Dearbhaile Bradley won the Chair
All hail the Bard!

Story: Jo Raphael
Photos: Barnaby J Hodges & Jo Raphael