James Owen of Penrhos

and his descendants

Ruth's beliefs

Ruth, like most of the others in her family, was a very devout Christian but, unlike them and largely through the influence of a fellow actor during the war, she became a Quaker. In addition, from when she was very young, her grandmother Elizabeth, as well as her father, had taught her poems in Welsh and told her Welsh legends, including those from the Mabinogion, so Ruth's childhood was steeped in Welsh folklore. It was from this background and based on these legends that her pagan beliefs were later to evolve and the tenet that "All gods of light are one God", enabled her to maintain her Quaker beliefs alongside these pagan beliefs.

It was only in 1951 that the Witchcraft Act was repealed and pagan practices became acceptable; they were no longer seen as something menacing, sinister and evil though pagan believers are often perceived as 'cranky'. I knew very little about the subject until I started this project but I have discovered that Ruth’s 'tradition' of Plant Bran contrasts almost completely with general perceptions of witchcraft and I shall attempt to explain her beliefs in brief.

The lifestyle Plant Bran promotes is both good and tolerant. Its ethos depends on "communion with the natural world and the study of the Celtic mythological cycles"; there is no one God but "all things are godlike or part of Divinity". (Dr. Gareth Pengwerin of Y Plant Don). Members of 'the family' believe in the importance of understanding, appreciating and experiencing natural phenomena in all their manifestations. It is clear how the intellectual, imaginative and ritualistic aspects of the tradition would have had a natural appeal to Ruth. As in most beliefs, there is an element of ritual involved particularly at the changing of the seasons. She herself did not like words such as 'coven' and 'white witch', preferring to think of herself as a Druid. This site explains how Ruth saw the evolution of modern pagan beliefs ('Crafts') such as Y Plant Bran.