|This cromlech lies by a brook in a steep sided valley. Twlc y Filiast means 'Lair of the Greyhound Bitch'.
I couldn't find anything to connect it directly with this site, but Ceridwen (moon goddess) had the greyhound bitch as one of her symbols - in fact she could turn herself into one:
"The dog was an animal of importance in the mythology and folk-lore of Wales. Ceridwen, the moon goddess, had for one of her symbols a "miliast," or greyhound bitch. When initiating Gwion the Little into her mysteries, Ceridwen transformed herself into a "milast."
The canine symbol of Ceridwen was well known in Wales, and is perpetuated in many places to this day. Gwal y Filiast, "the lair of the greyhound bitch," in the parish of Llanbendy, Carmarthenshire, consists of a large stone supported by four pillars. There is another Gwal y Filiast in Glamorgan, and in Cardiganshire a similar stone is called Llech yr Ast, "the flat stone of the bitch." In the parish of Llanhamlwch, Breconshire, there is a place called Maen yr Ast, "the bitch stone," abbreviated into Mannest."
(chapter 6 of Marie Trevelyan's 'Folklore and Folkstories of Wales' 1909).
You may be familiar with an example of it which is part of the story of Taliesin. As a boy he was being employed to keep an eye on a cauldron she was brewing up, full of a spell that would make the drinker the wisest person in the world. A bit of the mixture spat out and burned his thumb, so he instinctively put it in his mouth to soothe it. But of course he'd swallowed some of the mixture! So realising that Ceridwen would be very angry (she is portrayed as a miserable old witch in the story) he legged it.
When she found out what had happened and started running after him, he found he could become a hare to run faster. She then turned herself into a greyhound and began to gain on him. As they passed a river he quickly turned himself into a fish and dived in - but he wasn't safe because she followed him as an otter. Jumping out of the water he transformed himself into a songbird and flew higher and higher - but was once more pursued as she sprouted wings and became a hawk. Quick thinking, he changed himself into a tiny grain of wheat, and plummeted to the ground, but she landed next to him, became a hen, and gobbled him up. Later on, when she'd turned back into a woman, she found she was pregnant (but that's a different story...)
Posted by Rhiannon
16th May 2002ce
Edited 2nd September 2008ce