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Abred Annwn Barddas Community Druidic Virtues Druidry Ethics Insight Iolo Morganwg Knowledge Learning Meditations Morality Reincarnation Theology Values Wisdom

The Loom of Life

In Welsh Druidry, we believe in reincarnation, and the gradual journey of the soul from Annwn, through untold incarnations in our own world of Abred, until it has become sufficiently wise to leave material incarnation behind and progress to Gwynfyd, the existence of purely spiritual life:

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Barddas Bards Community Creativity Druidic Virtues Druidry Druids Education Eisteddfod Ethics Insight Iolo Morganwg Knowledge Learning Morality Study The Quadrivium The Trivium Three Branches Wisdom Y Gymraeg - The Welsh Language

Iolo Morganwg’s (not so) Trivial vision of Liberty

Iolo Morganwg was known in his own day as ‘The Bard of Liberty’. There were very good reasons for this, and I want to explore some of those reasons because they will help us to understand why he and his system are so important to us today.

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Abred Annwn Awen Barddas Bards Celts Community Creativity Culture Cymru - Wales Divination Druidic Virtues Druidry Druids Education Ethics Gorsedd Gwynfyd Insight Iolo Morganwg Knowledge Learning Meditations Morality Nature OBOD Ovates Reflections Reincarnation Religion The Druid Network Theology Three Branches Values Wisdom

Thoughts on Druidic belief and authority

I wrote this as a contribution to a discussion that’s ongoing in the members’ forums of the Druid Network. Those are private, so I thought I might post it here so that a broader audience can read it and contribute their thoughts.

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Annwn Arawn Celts Community Culture Cymru - Wales Druidry Druids Dyfed First Branch Fourth Branch Gwydion Julius Caesar Myrddin Places Plant Annwfn Plant Dôn Pryderi Pwyll Religion Stonehenge The Mabinogion

Stones, pigs, and Druids: a historical jigsaw puzzle

History is a jigsaw puzzle. To gain a view of the past, we need to put together pieces gleaned from archaeology and from surviving records. Increasingly, it seems clear that we can also learn from myths, passed down through generations via the oral tradition to the point when they were recorded in writing.

There has been a flurry of articles recently about a paper published by Professor Mike Parker Pearson and his colleagues from a number of British Universities: The original Stonehenge? A dismantled stone circle in the Preseli Hills of west Wales:

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Cymru - Wales Druidic Virtues Druidry Gwragedd Annwn Iolo Morganwg Knowledge Learning Ovates Three Branches

Iolo the Ovate 2: the fruits of the earth

 

It will come as a surprise to many people to learn that Iolo Morganwg was a farmer; and not just a farmer but a competent one.

The myth that has grown up around Iolo, slanted and misleading, reflects his poetic and antiquarian talents. It over-emphasises his literary forgeries, misunderstanding and misrepresenting what he was doing. It pays lip service to his career as a stonemason, while not recognising that this undermines the myth itself: as we saw in the last post, no drug-addled dreamer could have cut and carved stone as well as Iolo Morganwg.

But a farmer? Who knew about that? In fact, this is an important aspect of Iolo’s life, and one which would have informed his vision of the world.

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Abred Annwn Awen Bards Deities Divination Druidic Virtues Druidry Druids Iolo Morganwg John Michael Greer Meditations Nature Ovates Reflections Religion Second Sight Theology Three Branches Values

Spiritual struggle and the way we frame the world

I was recently reading a Substack article by Rod Dreher, a member of the Eastern Orthodox Church, which led me to this piece by David Bentley Hart. Hart talks about a man called Reuben, who he met many years ago in Lancaster, England. I haven’t read anything by Hart before; Dreher, though devout in his Christian faith, has a mystic aspect to his faith which often overlaps the Druidic worldview. Hart has this to say of Reuben:

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Bards Britannia Cathbad Celts Culture Druids Ovates Polytheism Sidhe Mounds Three Branches Tylwyth Teg Values

Book review: The Crow Goddess

I first read The Crow Goddess decades ago, when I was an undergraduate. I must have found it in a second-hand bookshop somewhere – I have no recollection of where – because I’m pretty sure that it was long out of print even then. Still, if you can find a copy, it’s very much worth snapping it up as it’s the best work I’ve read of life in the ancient world of the Celts.

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Barddas Creativity Cymru - Wales Druidic Virtues Druidry Iolo Morganwg Knowledge Learning Nature Ovates Three Branches Values

Iolo the Ovate 1: the bones of the earth

Green is the colour of the Ovate, and under the sign of this colour are placed all the sciences of awen and reason and cogency, as distinct from what belongs to the principal sciences of Bardism, and all the improvement of sciences of whatever kind they may be, so that they are good. That is to say, they are assimilated to the green vegetation of the growth of earth, woods, and fields, which delights the heart and eye of those who behold them.
Barddas: The Triads of Privilege and Usage.

Iolo Morganwg was a stonemason. Most people who know anything about him could tell you that – but I suspect very few of them could tell you what it meant. Indeed, I suspect that, if pressed, people would guess it meant something like a bricklayer – a relatively unskilled manual job, of low social status.

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Abred Annwn Awen Bards Culture Cymru - Wales Druidic Virtues Druidry Druids Eisteddfod Gorsedd Iolo Morganwg OBOD Ovates Theology Three Branches Values Y Gymraeg - The Welsh Language

Gorsedd & Eisteddfod

The Gorsedd of the Bards of the Island of Britain, in public procession with banners:

In contemporary Druidry, we often find a number of Welsh words being used. Examples are Awen, Nwyfre, and Eisteddfod. They aren’t always used correctly, or properly understood. I’m getting ready to start writing a new series of posts about Iolo Morganwg’s achievements, Iolo the Ovate (I’ve already written a series on Iolo the Bard, and will eventually move on to Iolo the Druid). Before I can, though, I want to cover the difference between Gorsedd and Eisteddfod.

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Archetypes Community Culture Cymru - Wales Druidic Virtues Druidry Ethics Gwyn ap Nudd Mari Lwyd Morality Plant Annwfn Plant Dôn Plant Llŷr The Mabinogion Tylwyth Teg

Druids and Tower Time

I recently met up with a friend, another Welsh Druid, in a local pub. Over the course of a few beers, many topics came up in conversation, but one has stuck with me. We noted that before the year 2000, the Mari Lwyd was not at all well-known, even in Wales. Since then, though, she has become, not exactly mainstream, but quite recognisable and a definite part of contemporary Welsh culture, with new Maris and new groups popping up all over the place. A video which I watched recently shows dozens of Mari Lwyds gathering in one place, and there will of course have been others which didn’t attend. It’s very striking how this element of traditional culture rose from obscurity to a new prominence and vitality. Clearly the Mari is speaking to something in our collective psyche, even if I’m not sure what that is.