"In 1999, the Hazelnut Grove, NRDNA, in a period of isolation and frustration with no reading material on Dalon Ap Landu (a God only known to the RDNA (apparently they discovered him in 1963)) decided to replace him with the much better documented “Hu Gadarn,who has a history running back to 1703 when Iolo Morganwg discovered him."
"The reason for the story about the battle is that the AD wanted to just ditch Dalon Ap Landu because he couldn't find any literature on him, and he was afraid that we would be laughed out of the room by those for whom we did demo rituals. He did, however, find literature on Hu Gadern. Well, as always in the Reform, there were those who rebelled and felt that Dalon Ap Landu should not be just unceremoniously dumped like a bad date. And it hit one of them that If DAL must die, let him die as any Celt would want to, in battle. Thus was the chronicle of DAL's death conceived."
"They figured that he was a thought form created by the founding fathers of the Reform, because still being Christians, they felt uneasy about calling up any real Pagan deities. It is this writers belief that by now as a result of having been called upon for 30 plus years, he is at least an eggregore by now, and one day could attain true godhood. And in ritual, whenever Hu Gadern's name is mentioned, we whisper Dalon Ap Landu’s name that it may remain a mystery to the multitude."
The Death of Dalon ap Landu
And in those days a great cry went up from those of the cross traditional circles that a ritual shall be held to show the multitude what the Druids of the Reform did in their worship. In the writing of the ritual for the common worship, the scholars and Druids had pored through tome after tome in the Arch Druid’s great Celtic library, but could find no reference for the name Dalon ap Landu, or even of his progenitor Landu, and much did the ArchDruid fear the ridicule of the scholars of the cross traditional circles. But a name did come up. One Hu Gadern was the Lord of the Groves for the ancient Cymry, and so his name replaced that of Dalon Ap Landu.
But there were those in the Grove who mourned the passing of Dalon Ap Landu. To them, even a young god was a fit deity who should not be cast aside as a worn shoe. Long did they whisper whenever the name of Hu Gadern was mentioned the doughty name of Dalon Ap Landu. To some it did seem as an in-joke, and to others a mystery.
But there was one who gathered her courage to speak onto the ArchDruid, “If he is to be dead, let him die a fit death for a Celtic deity. Let him die in battle."
And behold, the ArchDruid objected not.
Long had Hu Gadern slumbered under the barrows of the honored Celtic dead. But as gods will often do, Hu Gadern stirred when he heard his name being called. Lo, did they call upon his name to bless the sacrifice of life and the libation. And when he stirred, he knew that there was another god he must face in combat for the privilege of being called upon to bestow the blessings. And behold did he know this, because when his name was called, the other’s name, Dalon Ap Landu, was whispered softly.
And when that name was called, be it ever so softly, Dalon Ap Landu did hearken onto his name, even as so youthful a god was he, did hearken onto his name. He knew he must face his nemesis in open combat, in a duel to the death. He armed himself with a spear made of the deadly yew, and armored himself with a targe of solid oak and armor of oaken bark; for after all was he not Lord of the Groves? His shining copper locks were held back by a strip of under-bark, and his blue eyes flashed in the sun.
When the two came together, thunder roared among the boughs of the trees and the ground under them shook. Dalon Ap Landu struck first a blow upon Hu Gadern’s mighty thew. But that did not even slow Hu Gadern down, and he, with his spear also of deadly yew, ran Dalon Ap Landu’s noble chest through. All the youths who were looking on wept bitter tears for the death of the young and doughty Dalon Ap Landu. Manfully did he struggle with Death. But the Cailleach did scoop up her charge and sped away with Dalon Ap Landu.
The Resurrection of Dalon ap Landu
God’s do not die, though sometimes they may appear to be dead. And so it was that the Cailleach, who knew this only too well, took the comatose Dalon Ap Landu to a far off place, a place where he would be born anew, a place where she knew they would honor the young God.
And it came to pass that the Cailleach brought the comatose body of Dalon Ap Landu to a place known to human kind as “Big Basin Redwoods State Park,” in the area of North America known as California.
It was mid March, near the turn of the century. Two magicians sat together in the park, amongst the Old Ones, having partaken of much Guiness Stout and a little bit of Garberville Purple. They were drawn to a “fairy ring,” a circle of Redwoods all growing from the same root system, once owned by a long dead old growth, who is but a memory now. In the center of the ring the pair thought they could see a faint glow. A pair of antlers could be seen laying sideways, as if their owner were taking a nap. The magi backed off a bit, as there was nothing more dangerous than a startled buck Elk.
As Elrond backed off though, he stepped on a twig. “Snap” went the twig, the sound being heard for yards around. Suddenly the Elk stood up! But it was no elk, nay, it was what looked like a man with wearing the antlers of an elk. But the two magi knew only too well that this was no man they looked upon, it was a God! Perhaps Cernunnos or Hern? But no, this God was not as tall or as old looking as they would have expected the elder God of the forest to be.
Indeed, they were right for this was Dalon ap Landu, reborn and refreshed. He stood before them in the moonlight. Young, strong and commanding, and yet, serene, like a Buddhist monk. And he was glowing with the light of Awen, emanating from a single star – with seven points.
Dalon spoke to the two: “Hail and welcome, my two Druids! Tell me: who are you?”
The younger spoke first: “Though I am a Bard, neither of us are of the Druids. We are but nestlings of the Church of All Worlds.” “Ah, my friends! So you think,” said the God, “I recognize Druidry when I see it. And you two are definitely Druids, of the Reformed type I perceive.” “How do you know,” asked Elrond, perplexed and wondering if this was all a dream. “I know because I am the very God of the Druids, and the Patron of those ranked 3rd among them.” “Your friend is a Bard, which is a type of Druid anyway.” “You, Sybok, are not only a Druid, but you are destined to pilot the ship of Reformed Druid revival.” “But my name is Elrond,” exclaimed Elrond. “Ah!,” said Dalon., “Your name WAS Elrond, but this night, under this moon, I name thee “Sybok” – and the two of you shall go forth, and you shall found a new order of the Reformed Druids, an order that shall honor my name, and these, my sacred trees.” “In this new order you shall teach your fellow earthlings to abandon the dogma and doctrine of conventional society, and embrace the freedom, equality and liberty of the fraternity of the Gods, and in so doing you shall all become Gods and Goddesses among men.” “As a sign of your solidarity to nature, ye shall wear the sign of the seven pointed star of mithril and it shall be to you as an inspiration and source of the Awen, and I shall be thy protector and thy patron forevermore, for the Druids of the new reform have abandoned me to death, and I so I have likewise abandoned them to stagnation.”
And so it was that in the great Redwood forest Dalon ap Landu founded the Order of the Mithril Star.
* * *
A few years later, in Redwood National Park, a Druid was taking her vigil for the 3rd Order. This is her account:
It must have been three AM at least, and I was having trouble staying awake. Suddenly, I heard a noise from what seemed to be a few yards from my campsite. I sat quietly, my entire attention riveted towards the source of the sound - a "fairy ring" that I had purposely camped close to. I thought I could see antlers between the great trees, both in the shadow and in the light of the Full Moon. I heard a rustle in the trees, and then a voice: "Ceridwen, daughter of the Goddess, are you here?" It was a male voice - a human male voice. Was I tripping? I heard it again: "Ceridwen, daughter of the Goddess, are you here?" A voice inside my head, my spirit guide I believe, nudged me to answer, but I was too awe-struck. Once more the God inquired: "Ceridwen, daughter of the Goddess, are you here?" Finally I said, "I am here, Lord!" And out of the fairy ring, a mystical portal, appeared a tall naked man. Naked except for some jewelry, and covered in wode. A living snake hung around his neck like a chain. But most remarkably, he had antlers!
"I am called Dalon Ap Landu!," he said. "I am patron of those Druids called to the Priesthood." "I know who you are Lord," I said, my heart pounding in my chest. "Thank you for attending my vigil." "It is my pleasure my lady," said the God, "I have a message for you, and I have someone I want you to meet." "A message, m'lord?," I said, wanting to give all due respect. "Yes, m'lady," said Dalon, "But first you must meet my friend."
Then, on the Redwood nearest me, which must have been at least 1,000 years old, judging from it's great gerth, a burl began to glow with a soft green light. As it glowed, it grew into an oval shape, and as I watched, fascinated, I could see that it was also a portal. Within it I began to see a shape forming. The shape was that of a woman, and she appeared as if stepping out of the tree itself. "Is she a Dryad?," I thought to myself. And lo, as she took form in the moonlight, I could see that she was in fact a Goddess. The most beautiful woman I have ever seen. Her naked body was framed by the longest red hair I have ever seen. On her body was painted various symbols, spirals, triskelles, some of which I recognized and some I did not. On her forehead, on the place called the "third Eye" was a seven pointed star in silver.
Dalon spoke: "Her name is Sequoia, and she is the Goddess of the great coast Redwoods and Queen of the elves, faeries and devas that live in these ancient forests. It is she that has a message for you, and a mission for those whom you will soon lead..."
(The next part is, of course, personal...but it had such a profound effect on Ceridwen's life that she emerged from her vigil a changed Druid - one with a silent strength and a renewed purpose - who, as Arch-Druid, would eventually lead the Mithrils in a new direction...)
(To be continued...)
Even today Dalon and his friend Sequoia can be encountered in the Redwoods of Humboldt County, a few hundred miles north of that first meeting place of the Mithrils. Here today a Druid candidate for the third degree, in vigil as preparation for that calling, is very likely to encounter one or both of them while in vigil, for they are waiting for you in the trees of Redwood National Park...