The Four Branches Course

Frederic Cayley Robinson, 1920

Illustration by Frederic Cayley Robinson, c. 1920.

Exploring a medieval Welsh classic and what it says about the myth of Britain.

If you have enrolled on the Four Branches course and completed a chapter, please click on the button below to book a private session. If you haven’t enrolled, read on below.

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The Four Branches Course 2018

If you haven’t already done so, take a look at the video and course description on this page, then come back here to enrol.

 

The Shape of the Course

All of the information you need about taking part is provided below, but should you have any further questions, please get in touch on this page.

If you’re reading this page on the welshmythology website, then I’m accepting new students and you can start whenever you want. Because this is a one-on-one course, not a group discussion course, so long as there are time slots available (see below), you can begin. If the course page is ever taken down, then I’m not receiving new students.

The course lasts 8 weeks, and is made up of 8 chapters. Students are encouraged to complete one chapter of the course every week, although this isn’t set in stone (see below).

It can take about 2 hours to go through all of the materials in a chapter, depending on how familiar you are with The Four Branches of the Mabinogi. Naturally, the more familiar you are with the tales, the quicker you can get to the interesting stuff.

Each chapter of the course is made up of:

  1. A section from The Four Branches. It helps if you’re already familiar with the tales, but you can also read the appropriate section for each chapter as you work through the course. The text of The Four Branches of the Mabinogi is not supplied with the course materials, you will have to buy a copy. The translation I prefer is by Sioned Davies in The Mabinogion (OUP 2007). There is also a Kindle edition. Please DON’T use the Lady Charlotte Guest translation that’s freely available online. Don’t use any translations earlier than 1960.
  2. An MP3 (audio recording) of a lecture on the relevant section of the tales, each lasting between 30 minutes and 1 hour.
  3. A PDF (digital document) of notes and some questions to be answered. The notes can be followed as you listen to the lecture MP3. You will need to provide answers to the questions in your private session, so give them some thought before you book your private session (see no. 4). But don’t worry! These are questions of interpretation, not fact checking. They’re more to do with your responses to the tales than providing the ‘right answer’.
  4. After you’ve gone through the above materials, you will be ready to book your session through the website (see below). The private session lasts 30 minutes and is an opportunity to discuss your answers and ask any questions of your own. Only after the private session will you be given access to the following week’s materials. This is to make sure you’re getting the most out of the course.

Participants have a lot of choice when in the week they wish to arrange the private session. Essentially, there are two ways of completing the course. You can either

  1. Complete the course one chapter a week: you simply book your weekly private session at a regular time or whenever is most convenient for you.
  2. Complete the course quicker or slower than one chapter a week: you can book your private session anytime after you’ve finished a chapter. If you’ve finished a chapter by Tuesday, by all means book your private session for Wednesday, and if you finish the next chapter by Thursday, again book for Friday. You can complete each chapter as quickly or as slowly as you wish. Just don’t run out of time if you’re going slow. Be aware that you won’t be able to book a session after the 8th and final week.

The available time slots for the private sessions (in green) are the same every week:

The Four Branches appointment timetable.

The appointment schedule above is in UK time. If you’re participating from a different time zone, please adjust to reflect your local time. When you book your session, the online booking system will automatically adjust to your time zone.

Take a look at the booking system by clicking on any of the the big blue buttons on this page, like this one:

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It’s straight forward enough, but if you have any questions or difficulties, please get in touch on this page.

Skype and Recording

You will need a Skype account to attend the private sessions. It’s free and easy to use. The software is easy to find and download. Once you’ve created a new account, just follow the instructions on the Skype website. You will also need speakers and a microphone attached to your computer if you don’t already have them, or a laptop that has them built in. We only use audio for the private sessions so please turn your camera off by clicking the video camera icon.

Before you book your first private session, it’s a good idea to have a quick 10 minute Skype call just to introduce yourself and make sure you have everything you need and understand how the course will work. We’ll communicate via email to arrange this. Please email your Skype name or contact email to welshmythology@gmail.com as soon as you can after paying the course fee (see below).

It’s your responsibility to ensure your Skype connection works and that you have sufficient bandwidth to maintain the connection. Audio tends to use much less data than video so unless your connection is very slow, you should be fine. If you can watch youtube.com videos without any problem you will have enough bandwidth to use Skype audio.

If for any reason the connection drops out during a session, then I will try and reconnect. If we can’t re-connect, try sending me a text message through Skype. This is done by clicking on the speech balloon icon. If that doesn’t work, try email, and if there’s still no joy we’ll have to wait until your connection improves.

I will be recording every session and posting the best answers I receive on a private Facebook page for the course. Only course participants can see and use this page, but if you would rather your answers were not recorded, please just say and I’ll keep the sessions private. I would like to share the best answers so that all of the participants can benefit from each other’s knowledge, and also have the opportunity to discuss things further on the Facebook page.

What to do next? 

1.Get yourself a copy of The Four Branches of the Mabinogi, preferably the translation by Sioned Davies in The Mabinogion (OUP 2007), then read it; or at least the first branch, Pwyll. Don’t use the Lady Charlotte Guest translation, or any translation after the 1960s.

2.Pay the course fee of £80 at least 48 hours before you wish to begin. You can pay either by Paypal, direct your payments to:

gwilym_morus@hotmail.com

. . . or by bank transfer:

Gwilym Morus, Co-operative Bank, acc. no. 07256776, sort code 08-93-00.

3. IMPORTANT: Once you’ve paid, please email welshmythology@gmail.com to let me know how you’ve paid and when you’d like to receive the first chapter of the course.

4. Then, search for ‘Gwilym Morus-Baird’ on Facebook and send me a friend request; after that, search for ‘The Four Branches Course’ page and request to join.

Any further questions, please get in touch. More information, including free materials (books, audio courses and music) can be found on this website using the menu above.

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Gwilym