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Barddas Bardism Chaplaincy Community Culture Druidic Virtues Druidry Gorsedd Insight Iolo Morganwg Knowledge Learning Linguistics Study

Bards: binding time and space

I’ve recently been working on a project covering how language and culture emerge, and their relationship with the brain. It’s led me to understand, in a new way, the brilliance of Iolo Morganwg, and just how much he was ahead of his time. Here, I want to briefly discuss how Barddas anticipates the work of Alfred Korzybski, whose dictum “the map is not the territory” is pretty well-known these days.

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Abred Annwn Archetypes Awen Barddas Bardism Culture Cymru - Wales Deities Druidic Virtues Druidry Education Gwynfyd Insight Iolo Morganwg Knowledge Learning Meditations Morality Polytheism Reflections Reincarnation Religion The Mabinogion Theology Wisdom

Druidry and God in Bardism

As I’ve made clear, this blog is my process of exploring the writings of Iolo Morganwg in Barddas, the source of contemporary Revival Druidry, and trying to put it into modern terms as a system firmly rooted in the authentic Welsh cultural tradition.

That means going beyond Barddas itself: recognising that the Four Branches of the Mabinogi contain a pantheon of ancient Brythonic deities, for example. My experience is that they exist; they are real, and represent real powers. Barddas, however, comes from Iolo’s spiritual insights, rooted in a Christian background, and his writings are full of references to God. Can these things be reconciled? I believe that they can.

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Awen Bardism Creativity Cymru - Wales Druidic Virtues Druidry Education Ethics Insight Knowledge Learning Reflections

The Wheel Turns

It’s New Year’s Day, and I haven’t written anything here for months. The key word there is “here”: I’ve been writing a lot elsewhere. I would like to say “I have been writing a book”, but that isn’t how it’s been working out. Rather, I can only say “A book has been using me to get itself written”.

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Abred Community Creativity Culture Druidic Virtues Druidry Education Ethics Gorsedd Healing Insight Iolo Morganwg Knowledge Learning Meditations Morality Reflections Religion Values Wisdom

Wanted: a Druidry for the end of our world

‘Pareidolia’ is the trait humans have for seeing patterns which aren’t really there – such as seeing a rabbit on the moon, or Elvis in an oddly shaped carrot. In my case, it’s seeing the end of the world in a patch of damp plaster on the wall. 

Still, one of the key tenets of Iolo Morganwg’s Bardism is “Y Gwir yn Erbyn y Byd” – The Truth Against the World. As Druids, we need to find out what is true – and we need to champion it even when it is unpopular or unpalatable.

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Awen Barddas Bards Celts Community Culture Cymru - Wales Druidic Virtues Druidry Druids Education Eisteddfod Ethics Gorsedd Healing Insight Iolo Morganwg Julius Caesar Knowledge Learning magic Study The Trivium Three Branches Values Wisdom Y Gymraeg - The Welsh Language

The database, the non-trivial Bard, and the colour of the sea

A Celt and a Saxon would agree that of the colour of the sea, the colour of ivy leaves, and the colour of an Ovate’s robe, two belong together and one is different. They would, however, disagree on what the two are.

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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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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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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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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.