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Becoming the Enchanter by Lyn Webster Wilde
A student of mine passed me her copy of Becoming the Enchanter saying she felt I should read it. I’m glad she did! The book tells of a personal voyage into the British Mysteries. When I found out that the author also lived in Wales I went to see her.
I was clearly meant to meet Lyn Webster Wilde. As I read the last pages of Becoming the Enchanter I determined I would get in touch with her, expecting to contact her through the publishers. I was visiting Hay on Wye later in the day to visit Spellbound, one of Hay’s newest bookshops, located beneath the Nepal Bazaar, and meet the owner, author Adele Nozedar. She has made Spellbound into an enchanting and welcoming place, complete with cosy table and chairs.
I sat down to chat and glanced over to Adele’s bookshelves. There facing out was Becoming the Enchanter. I remarked that I’d just finished reading it, had really loved it and would like to meet the author. Adele looked amused and said Lyn might be popping in later, but she’d put me in touch if not. By great synchronicity Lyn is local and she and Adele are good friends. I felt the Universe was on especially sparkling form that day!
Lyn and I arranged to meet at her home, a converted chapel in the Welsh hills. I drove to see her with butterflies in my tummy. She is clearly a woman of power and I wondered what she’d be like. As I wound my way up a single track road nearing her home my mind was buzzing. I crested the hill, crossed a cattle grid and all my busy thoughts ceased as found myself in an Otherworldly landscape. It was breathtakingly beautiful and utterly enchanting. There before me lay a large pool of still water reflecting weak sunlight. Here and there tiny tree-topped islands looked as if they were floating and a flotilla of white swans searched the shallows for titbits.
I needn’t have worried about meeting Lyn, she was perfectly friendly and hospitable. In Becoming the Enchanter Lyn retells her personal adventure through the British Mysteries, which are every bit as fascinating and powerful as the Egyptian, Greek, or Native American traditions, though less commonly pursued. After some ‘tough training’ in a women’s group she had been drawn deeply into the story of Arianrhod as told in the ancient Welsh tales of the Mabinigion. The task of keeping the House of Arianrhod alive was passed on to her by a dying woman, Margaret. Finding a way to fulfil this huge responsibility through solving seemingly impossible puzzles makes very interesting reading.
Lyn was guided on her quest by an enigmatic Welshman, Cyril, and Margaret herself. They presented her with the keys to establishing the House of Arianrhod, but Lyn had to work out how to use them. Cyril presents her with a diagram, titled the Whirling Board, labelled in Basque. Margaret gives her an old copy of the Mabinigion, a large nail and some riddles. How does something come out of nothing? How does the virgin bear a child? She is forced to work the myth to found the new House of Arianrhod. There were no easy answers or handy instruction manuals.
We follow Lyn as she painstakingly puts together a group to help solve the puzzles and see all of the frustrations, perils and pitfalls of working with others, but also the power of the group mind when fully engaged with a task and the moments of delight and breakthrough when everyone seems to ‘light up’.
I had to ask Lyn about her reference to ‘triple-irised eyes’ in the book. I’d already had a good look in the mirror and sure enough my own are banded with three distinct colours, but what was the significance? She explained that she’d come across the striking image of Fedelm, the prophet who appears in the tale of the Tain, where she meets Maeve. Fedelm wears her hair in three tresses and has triple-irised eyes, she is armed, carries a light gold weaving rod and her chariot is pulled by two black horses. Lyn was also influenced by Carlos Casteneda, one of her inspirations, who talks of the shining eyes of those who are engaged in inner work; a sign of one who is able to look within as well as without.
Reading the book is more than reading a story or an autobiography. Lyn draws you into her adventure and you have a good feel for what it is like to work with something as ephemeral and magical as ancient myth and legend. Some of the more extraordinary and visionary events have prompted incredulity from reviewers, but having met Lyn I felt she was genuine and not given to boastfulness. She has deliberately arranged her story into a coherent, engaging and readable form as life never unfolds quite as neatly as fiction and she wanted to be able to share the feeling of being in the magic. She sees the power of writing as a magical act, in other words it can transform the reader.
Lyn explained that Cyril had been charged with keeping the Ancient Houses of the Britons alive and as pure as possible. There was a concern that the British Mysteries were being diluted, muddled up and losing their integrity. The Celtic Gods and Goddesses are still in this land and can be contacted by those of the lineage who wish to honour them. I know this is true and if you are meant to work with them they will find you! Despite Cyril’s dedication to the task he had no publicity in life and made no profit from his endeavours, however he did read and approve of Becoming the Enchanter. Cyril has now passed over to the other side and Lyn says they all miss him greatly.
The Houses still continue their work to this day and Lyn maintains her work in the House of Arianrhod. She listens for the call from the Lady to act, which can often be heard in the insistent cry of a night owl.
Read Becoming the Enchanter and allow yourself to be carried into the story. Suspend disbelief and you will experience a magical world, you may even be carried deeper into the magic in your dreams.
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