Archetypes Barddas Creativity Crow Culture Cymru - Wales Druidic Virtues Druidry Education Gwyn ap Nudd Insight Iolo Morganwg Knowledge Learning Nature OBOD Theology Values Wisdom

More thoughts on cultural appropriation

Periodically, the OBOD forums I participate in see discussions arise about cultural appropriation.

I’ve already made my position clear on this: it annoys the heck out of me, and I get really angry at people who take elements of Welsh language and culture and casually try to redefine them turn them into something they are not – which most often seems to be a rebranded version of common pagan themes. For example, there are currently a number of people trying to treat Gwyn ap Nudd as a rebranded, touchy-feely, Cernunnos, when the extant body of myth clearly depicts him as quite different.

Annwn Deities Divination Druidry Education John Michael Greer Plant Annwfn Plant Dôn Plant Llŷr Polytheism

Living with many gods

In the tradition of Welsh Druidry that I am exploring in this blog, we believe in the reality of the Gods. I’ve explored something of their nature in, for example my series on the Three Great Families, and on Gwyn ap Nudd.

In our tradition, the Otherworld exists, and there are beings – the Tylwyth Teg, or the Fair Folk – who exist both in that world and in ours. There is a world of spirit, overlapping with our world, where dwell spirits which once were incarnate in flesh, and others which have never been incarnate.

Cymru - Wales Druidry Eisteddfod Iolo Morganwg Y Gymraeg - The Welsh Language

On fields of knowledge

I don’t want to get into any flame wars here, but I have to respond to an article by Lora O’Brien: What is the Difference between Druidism and Paganism? It’s a short piece, but it’s so wrong that I can’t even get annoyed about it.

Barddas Ceridwen Creativity Druidic Virtues Druidry Druids Gwyddno Garanhir Hanes Taliesin Insight Iolo Morganwg Knowledge Learning Morality Taliesin Three Branches Wisdom


I’ve been thinking recently about humans and our capacity for evil, provoked in part by a post by Nimue Brown: What Does It Mean to Unpeel a Monster?

There are, perhaps, two kinds of evil people. There are those who are driven by their animal nature; this is the evil caused by lust, anger, desire, and the like. Then there are those whose higher nature has become corrupt. They have come to believe that they know how to make the world perfect. Unfortunately, this usually means eliminating those of their fellow humans – and elements of nature – who fail to be perfect.

Cymru - Wales Druidry OBOD Ovates

A safe haven

I am delighted to say: I’m home. I have left China, and have moved back to Wales. I’m not in my native Glamorgan, rather in the old lands of Pwyll and Pryderi, the lands of the Demetae. I’ve bought an old house, which is very much a fixer-upper – I hope I can fix it up before funds run out, but we’ll see. It has a garden of a reasonable size, much plagued at the moment by bramble and bindweed, but even in my first few days here I’ve made some progress on that front. I have lots of plans for that garden.

Cymru - Wales Druidry Iolo Morganwg Penny Billington Y Gymraeg - The Welsh Language

Thoughts on cultural appropriation

Whenever we drove from our home in Glamorgan, just along the river from Iolo Morganwg’s cottage, to West Wales, my father would remark on the change at the Afon Llwchwr (in English, the river Loughour).

He was quite right: as you go west over the motorway bridge, with the railway bridge over the estuary to your left, something changes in the air. The Chinese might say that the qi is different; we Druids, that the nwyfre has a different property. The Llwchr – for all that the Gwendraeth  and Tawe and Amman valleys to the east, still speak Welsh – feels like the true transition, the boundary, between Anglo Wales and Y Fro Gymraeg, “Welsh Wales”. It’s the boundary between the Anglicised, globalised, post-industrial coalfields and the land where traditional Welsh culture still endures; the territories where the land is considered for what can be extracted, and the territory where the land is a partner in poetry. You feel that the light is softer, the colours more vivid, and the Tylwyth Teg still ride by moonlight.

Amaethon Arianrhod Barddas Druidry Gofannon Gwydion Gwyn ap Nudd Iolo Morganwg Ovates

The Voice of the Ovates

The third order was the Ovydd, or Ovate, to which the candidate could be immediately admitted without being obliged to pass through the regular disciplines. The requisite qualifications were, in general, an acquaintance with discoveries in science, the use of letters, medicine, language, and the like. On particular occasions, in consideration of other gifts, even the knowledge of, and a genius for, poetry might be dispensed with. The Ovydd was, however, enjoined to acquaint himself with the Bardic Institutes and traditions. For it might occur that the order of Ovates should alone continue, which in its original purity could not be done, unless they were acquainted with its true principles, nature and intention. The Ovydd could perform all the functions of Bardism; and by some particular performance he became entitled to other degrees, on the confirmation of a Gorsedd.
Welsh Sketches, Ernest Silvanus Appleyard, 1852

it is incumbent upon an Ovate to endeavour and seek after learning, as far as he can, by means of the hearing and voice of the world, of sight and contingency, and of attempt, awen, and imagination
Barddas: The Triads of Privilege and Usage

Culture Cymru - Wales Druidry Education Eisteddfod Nature Rewilding Y Gymraeg - The Welsh Language

Send the children to the woods

Every year in May, for nearly a century, a message of peace has been sent to the children of the World by the members of Urdd Gobaith Cymru (The League of the Hope of Wales, aka Welsh League of Youth), the Welsh-speaking youth organisation founded in 1922 by Sir Ifan ab Owen Edwards.

Barddas Community Culture Divination Dosparth Edeyrn Dafod Aur Druidry Druids Iolo Morganwg John Michael Greer John Williams ab Ithel The Coelbren The Coelbren Alphabet

Druids and resilience

The photo shows two letters from the Coelbren y Beirdd alphabet: ‘d’, and ‘dd’. The first is pronounced in the same way as in English; the second is pronounced like the English ‘th’ in ‘this’, ‘that’, or ‘there’.

Abred Community Druidry Druids Values

Think Resilience online course: a review

The Post-Carbon Institute has been raising awareness of energy-related policy issues since 2003. This is a critical task: our current way of life, which is based on cheap and abundant energy, is inevitably going to have to change, and change soon – because energy supplies are becoming scarcer, and ever more expensive (PDF). This isn’t because we’re running out of oil: it’s because discovering and extracting oil is becoming so expensive that a price high enough to keep oil companies in business is a price that’s too high for consumers to afford. If the price goes down, the producers go bust; if the price goes up, the consumers go bust. That’s where we are now, and for evermore, because there are no new sources of cheap oil.