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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.

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Annwn Awen Cymru - Wales Deities Druidry Gwyn ap Nudd Meditations Values

On being inspired by Gwyn ap Nudd

I’ve recently been contemplating Gwyn ap Nudd, and my relationship with him. Unlike others such as Lorna Smithers, I have taken no vows and entered into no formal commitment. I am still exploring my relationship with the Gods of the Welsh and different gods, at different times, communicate things to me.

And yet, Gwyn ap Nudd’s voice has been the most insistent. Based on what he has told me, and which I conveyed in a series of posts on this blog, Gwyn is mobilising to restore balance to the world. Humanity has become too damaging to the world of nature, and to the forests – which are a part of his domain. Humanity has become too dangerous, and too damaging, to the Fair Folk, the Tylwyth Teg, who reside in this world as well as in the Otherworld.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

Monsters

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.

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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.

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Celts Cymru - Wales Druids

The fall of Môn

We know from Greek and Roman sources that Anglesey, the island separated from north Wales by the narrow, tidal, Menai Strait, was the centre of European Druidry: the place where noble youth from across the Celtic world went to study the lore and mysteries of the Druids.