dyn hysbys

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[W, wise man].

A title rather than a name, the most common term in Wales for a wizard, known in many districts. The soul of the druid, too imperfect for Christian heaven and too good for hell, inhabits the body of the dyn hysbys. Among the powers of the dyn hysbys is the ability to know and reveal the unknown, especially events in the future pertaining to love and death. Such powers might also be applied to commonplaces, like finding money that has been lost or helping a Welshman to escape from an English gaol. He was said to possess the power of breaking spells by undoing the evil perpetrated by witches and others. A dyn hysbys might also undertake to heal an animal or human by using charms and incantations. His powers were especially efficacious on those days when the world of the spirits was thought to come closer to that of humans, such as Calan Mai [May Day], St John's Day (24 June), and the eve of winter. There were three kinds of dyn hysbys: clerics, men who had learned their craft from esoteric books, and those who had inherited the power from their families. Other Welsh terms for wizard are: consuriwr [conjurer], dewin [magician], and swynwr [charmer]. The names of many dyn hysbys survive, and some were renowned beyond their time and place.

Subjects: Religion.

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