The Valley Spirit is deathless,
It is called the Dark Mare.
The door of the Dark Mare,
Is called the root of Heaven and Earth.
Tao Te Ching 6
Before Dewi Sant and his illuminated deeds
Earned him the patron-saintship of Cymru
There was wild Nona the blessed mother
Taken in lust who laboured in a cave of choice
And became the darkness of the womb.
And in the conceiving meadow she
Clasped a Welsh stone excruciatingly
Imprinting eight finger-channels
In the benign and yielding rock while
On her shoulder a callow dove settled.
Once this son tilled the ground his own
Pale hands raised a mound on which to stand.
His homilies were lost in sea-breezes until
He stood above and miracled the wind
To impart his words and images.
And so he ferries the spirits of the dying
To a safe harbour while she in small acts
Observes stag salmon and scented bees
And dreams him safe within her Mystery
As she did before his longed-for nativity.
Forthcoming in In Praise of Darkness
The Valley Spirit and the Dark Mare are both symbols of fertility and indicate that Tao is the female creative power. David was the son of a King Sandde of Ceredigion, (an ancient principality of Wales), and a woman, Non or Nona who was raped after he saw her one day when he was out walking and hadn’t yet learned the message that “No means No!!!” Non was devastated so went to live in a cave (womb image) on the hillside where she gave birth to her son alone. Among heroic mythical figures conception is often accompanied by an Otherworldly (liminal) spirit, and having an absent father is almost a requirement for sainthood. Non was a strong and capable woman and raised her son well. She later became a nun and was a saint in her own right. David is best known in West Wales but also did missionary work in Ireland. He founded ten monasteries. St David celebrated his life as an austere and miracle-producing saint. He drank only water and encouraged his monks to do likewise and was given the nickname “Aquaticus.” March 1, 588 is believed to be his death date and is now the day for celebrating him in Wales as the patron saint. The site at St David’s in South Wales has been a Christian settlement since the 14th century and was called Hebllan. Non also has a chapel dedicated to her. David is said to also have founded a settlement at Glastonbury. “Behind every good man is a good woman.”