Thursday, 17 April 2008

Elen's Ford

The late Russian linguist Vladislav Illich-Svitych wrote:

“Language is a ford through the river of time …”

Equally true of world mythology, I feel, and so this disquisition into ancient deities and historically remote systems of belief, must ever remain something of a work-in-progress, in a shifting, evolving, four dimensional context. This stated, I hope you will bear with me, as I strike out into the contested and imperfectly recalled world of the past.

There is a ford crossing a stream in North Wales called Rhyd yr Helen, 'Elen's Ford', following an ancient track called Sarn Elen, or Elen's Way. This track was certainly used by the Romans, during their occupation of Wales, but it may be much older, since in certain stretches it forms a 'ridge way', such as the same-named, elevated trail, followed by prehistoric farmers local to the megalithic Avebury region. It is Elen's (or Helen's) name which initiated this retrospective glance into the silvery mists of time, and led on to an altered prospect of the past.

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