Sunday April 30th
at the Horeb Chapel, Cawdor Hotel
HOLY WELLS OF WALES: illustrated talk by Phil Cope in the beautiful Horeb Chapel.
Phil Cope is the author of the major volumes HOLY WELLS: WALES, a photographic journey and BORDERLANDS: new photographs and old tales of the sacred springs, holy wells and spas of the Wales / England borders.
His illustrated talk will take us on a journey which travels from the water cult belief systems of earliest times; through the coming of Christianity to these shores (and its falling in and out of love with these wild places of myth and magic); on through the discovery of seemingly more rational and scientific explanations (during the late eighteenth century craze for spas); and back again, today, full circle perhaps, to a more holistic, more open, hopefully more sympathetic relationship with water, rock and earth.
His inspiring, illustrated presentation will be delivered through a wide range of histories, myths, poems and colourful images on the fascinating subject of the Holy Wells of Wales.
Phil Cope is a photographer, writer, teacher, and exhibition and book designer. As well as his four major books on sacred springs and holy wells in Wales, England, Cornwall and Scotland, previous publications of his have included: Working Models of Heaven (on the origins of the arts of vodou); The Gentle Giant (on John Charles and the future of football); Welsh Roots / Welsh Routes (about the Welsh communities in Liverpool); Let Paul Robeson Sing! (about the American singer, actor and activist’s close relationship with Wales); Wise and Foolish Dreamers (about Wales and the Spanish Civil War); The Dancing Pilgrimage of Water (writings on the rivers, lakes and reservoirs of Wales, with Dewi Roberts); and Following the Flame / Dilyn Y Fflam (a book, film and major exhibition about Wales at the Olympic and Paralympic Games, for London 2012).
In October 2008, the National Library of Wales purchased Phil’s collection of photographs of the Holy Wells of Wales for the nation.
In previous lives, Phil has been a Drama and English teacher, spending two years as the principal of an isolated Algonkin Native Indian Reserve in Northern Canada; teaching at the Shah of Iran’s Imperial Court in Tehran; as well as in Wales and in Greece. He set up and ran Valley and Vale, Wales’ largest community arts team. He is the chairperson of the educational charity, The Haiti Fund, and makes regular trips to this, the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. Currently, he’s working on Sacred North, about the journeys of the earliest missionaries to the north of England and Scotland; a book on the Holy Wells of the West Country; and is a major partner in Keep Wales Tidy’s new WELL-BEING Project exploring, saving and celebrating our wellspring heritage.
“the sense of recondite sanctity that attends the ancient wells of Wales, captured as it has never been before by the photographs in this book.”
Jan Morris, writing in her introduction to Holy Wells: Wales, a photographic journey
“Cardiff-born Cope spent five years visiting these wells and his application and his eye have made a volume to treasure.”
“Phil Cope is a genius with a camera.”
Cymdeithas Ffynhonnau Cymru