"... at a place near Dol Howel, at the Mountain Gate, still called Llidiad y Meddygon, The Physicians' Gate, the [Lady of the Lake] appeared suddenly, and accosted her eldest son, whose name was Rhiwallon, and told him that his mission on earth was to be a benefactor to mankind by relieving them from pain and misery, through healing all manner of their diseases; for which purpose she furnished him with a bag full of medical prescriptions and instructions for the preservation of health. That by strict attention thereto he and his family would become for many generations the most skilful physicians in the country. Then, promising to meet him when her counsel was most needed, she vanished. But on several occasions she met her sons near the banks of the lake, and once she even accompanied them on their return home as far as a place still called Pant-y-Meddygon, The Dingle of the Physicians, where she pointed out to them the various plants and herbs which grew in the dingle, and revealed to them their medicinal qualities or virtues; and the knowledge she imparted to them, together with their unrivalled skill, soon caused them to attain such celebrity that none ever possessed before them. And in order that their knowledge should not be lost, they wisely committed the same to writing, for the benefit of mankind throughout all ages."
Extract from The Physicians of Myddfai, 1861 edition published by the Welsh Manuscript Society.
The above extract demonstrates an ancient belief in the power of spirit beings to impart knowledge of healing techniques. The earliest surviving manuscript copy of the remedies of the Physicians of Myddfai is contained in the 15th century Red Book of Hergest. The remedies consist mainly of combinations of herbs to be taken as infusions or applied as ointments.
The growing sensitivity and awareness of the ovate makes possible a truly holistic approach to healing. Ovates use herbs, massage, spirit healing and other techniques. Some undertake orthodox clinical training, becoming nurses, midwives or doctors. Others train in various branches of complimentary medicine. Others rely solely on spiritual guidance and their own innate abilities