MoonBear

Druid

Modern Druidry is, in essence a recreation or re-construction of an Earth Based spiritual tradition.

The realms of the Sea, Land and Sky are those the Druids explore and there is the idea that the world of the spirit is not a word of transcendence but one of immanence.

Geomancer

Geomancy, literally 'earth divination'. Part of the Druid path is the path of the Oracle, the Seer or the Wise.

Listening to and being present in nature is a path to inner wisdom and discovery.

A space where Being and Becoming join.



Bard

The Bardic tradition is one of poetry, storytelling and song through which traditions are maintained, magical lessons are taught and wisdom is earned.

Traditionally it seems that all Druids were Bards..

And it was the Bard who learned to open themselves to the spirit of Inspiration - The Awen


Posts

Of Ley Lines and Other Earth Mysteries

Of Ley Lines and Other Earth Mysteries

woolhope

 

A recent holiday to the area in which I grew up, Hereford, was one which not only brought some personal re-connections, but a reminder of some of my early excursions into the mystery traditions.

The holiday was in a little village just outside of Hereford known as Fownhope and this was the area in which I conducted by university graduate project – the Silurian In-lier of the Woolhope Dome (yes I was completing my Geology degree).

What was fascinating about my return to this area was the way in which I could use the rocks and landscape to orient myself even after being away for more than three decades.

I was also reminded of my membership of The Woolhope Society, a local natural history society of whom Alfred Watkins was a member.

On June 30, 1921, Watkins after a  visit to Blackwardine in Herefordshire, and riding near some hills in the vicinity of Bredwardine  noted many of the footpaths therein seemed to connect one hilltop to another in a straight line.

He was studying a map when he noticed that a number of significant places were in alignment.

In his book The Old Straight Track he proposed that there were ‘line of sight’ track ways between places along a route way many of which were focused upon highland features, natural rifts and gully’s in the rock and so on. These lines he called Ley Lines.

The idea may not have been original with him since one William Henry Black gave a talk entitled Boundaries and Landmarks to the British Archaeological Association in Hereford in September 1870 in which he speculated that “Monuments exist marking grand geometrical lines which cover the whole of Western Europe”.

It is possible that Watkins’ experience stemmed from some half-recollected memories of an account of that presentation.

Watkins believed that in ancient times, when Britain had been far more densely forested, the country had been crisscrossed by a network of straight-line travel routes – ley lines.

Watkins’ ideas have been adapted by later so many writers.

Some of his ideas were taken up by the occultist Dion Fortune who featured them in her 1936 novel The Goat-footed God. Since then, ley lines have become the subject of many magical and mystical theories – the idea of lines of energy.

Many dowsers have taken the idea of ley lines and linked them to underground waters, magnetic fields and some other earth-related energy.

In fact it was two German Nazi researchers Wilhelm Teudt and Josef Heinsch who  claimed that ancient Teutonic peoples contributed to the construction of a network of astronomical lines, called “Holy lines” (Heilige Linien), which could be mapped onto the geographical layout of ancient or sacred sites.

Teudt located the Teutoburger Wald district in Lower Saxony, centered around the dramatic rock formation called Die Externsteine as the centre of Germany.

Since the 1960’s the ideas of a landscape crossed with straight lines had become conflated with ideas from various geomantic traditions; mapping ley lines, according to New Age geomancers, can foster “harmony with the Earth” or reveal pre-historic trade routes.

Lets look at the word geo-MANCY shall we…

The suffix “mancy” is from the Greek which means ‘divination’ in the terms of prophecy, fortune telling; or to interpret signs so “practical” decisions can be made.

So Geomancy literally means divination by use of the earth in the same way that cartomancy related to divination by use of cards.geomancy

A number of dowsers today use the term Geomancy to describe what they do and in some senses, when used for interpretation of (earth) signs to make practical decisions.

Geomancy (and therefore Geomancer) refers to the method of divination that interprets markings on the ground or the patterns formed by tossed handfuls of soil, rocks, or sand.

Geomancy, from Ancient Greek geōmanteía translates literally to “foresight by earth”; it is a translation of the Arabic term ‛ilm al-raml, or the “science of the sand”.

The most prevalent form of divinatory geomancy involves interpreting a series of 16 figures formed by a randomized process that involves recursion followed by analyzing them, often augmented with astrological interpretations. (more of that another time).

What I find interesting is the idea that words sometimes transcend their original definitions and take on new meanings.

This is the nature of evolution.

What I find distressing is the notion that users of the evolved meanings often fail to recognise or honour the source of the words they are using especially when using those words to create a generalised belief linked to the ancestry but not the use of the word.

Watkin’s Ley Lines are not the Ley Lines of most modern mystical and spiritual writers. The modern usage seems to relate more to Eastern Ideas of Feng Shui rather than social-anthropological ideas expressed by Watkins.

This may not be a ‘bad’ or indeed a ‘good’ thing – but it can be confusing.

The existence of the observed alignments is not overly controversial. Both believers in magical and ancient theories of ley lines and skeptics of these theories agree that these alignments exist between megaliths and ancient sites.It is the interpretation or ‘meanings’ ascribed to such alignments as well as their explanations which cause confusion and disagreement.

Most skeptics believe that their null hypothesis of ley-line-like alignments being due to random chance is consistent with all known evidence.

They believe that this removes the need to explain these alignments in any other way.

Some Chaos Magicians have views consistent with this, and claim this is in accord with their generative view of chance.

Dowsers, among others, claim that these lines represent a recognition of earth energies which can be felt by those who are sensitive enough and, perhaps more contentiously, inspired the ancient peoples to build their monuments in specific places.

In a very real sense we can never really know the minds of our ancestors and we often make assumptions about what ‘they believed’.

The British Society of Dowsers, for whom I have been honoured to lecture, have an Earth Energies Section …

Their website states:-

The EEG was formed in 1995, and is the longest-running Special Interest Group of the BSD. We provide a platform for the free exchange of information and ideas between those involved in the study of Earth Energies. We are interested in:

Earth Mysteries and Earth Healing – including the study of ancient sites and the practice of geomancy; the nature of subtle earth energies and the harmonisation of detrimental earth radiation; crop circles; the effect of celestial mechanics on terrestial energies, and pretty much any other aspect of energy dowsing.

Numerous writers conflate the idea of Earth Energy Lines with ideas related to Sacred Geometry – which is of course interesting but based upon what specifically?

As human beings I believe we relate to our environment in practical, emotional, mystical (spiritual) ways.

As someone who has studied Geology I am happy to agree with the notion that human interaction with the Earth is defined by the rocks beneath our feet. The form and shape of the Earth, the soil in which vegetation takes route, surface and ground water, minerals and resources are dependent upon geology. This is not a mystical view but a pragmatic one.

I am more than willing to accept that we, as humans, can have  sense of place which can be expressed as ‘the spirit’ of place.

My emotional and mystical reaction to a place is mine – I can share it, I can feel it and I can respond to it. I may decide it has a special ‘energy’ for me and perhaps for the people I share it with. Neither he Druid or Human being  in me never wants to loose that sense of connection – that poetic understanding. As I have written elsewhere, whilst I say a can feel energised by such places in nature, its more difficult to find pragmatic ways to ‘measure’ that energy. In purely scientific terms energy has a measurement – it is the ability to do work.

So when we talk about ‘earth energies’ what are we really talking about?

Of course there are measurable energies on, around and within the Earth -we measure the effect of this energy in terms of temperature, pressure, magnetism, light, sound … and we do, as human beings respond to energies on this scale. But what of the ‘subtle’ energies referred to by mystics? Are they anything more than personal or shared emotional connections?

Telluric Energy – Telluric Currents

A telluric current (from Latin tellūs, “earth”), or Earth current, is an electric current which moves underground or through the sea. Telluric currents result from both natural causes and human activity, and the discrete currents interact in a complex pattern. The currents are extremely low frequency and because of this travel over large areas at or near the surface of the Earth.

These currents are changes in the outer part of the Earth’s magnetic field, which are usually caused by interactions between the solar wind and the magnetosphere or solar radiation effects on the ionosphere.

Telluric currents flow in the surface layers of the earth. The electric potential on the Earth’s surface can be measured at different points, enabling the calculation of the magnitudes and directions of the telluric currents and hence the Earth’s conductance.

These currents are known to have diurnal characteristics wherein the general direction of flow is towards the sun

Telluric currents will move between each half of the terrestrial globe at all times. Telluric currents move equator-ward (daytime – facing the sun) and pole-ward (nighttime – facing away from the sun).

It is these currents which have given rise to the idea of an Earth Battery …

As one website notes …

An earth battery is a pair of electrodes made of two dissimilar metals, such as iron and copper, which are buried in the soil or immersed in the sea. Earth batteries act as water activated batteries and if the plates are sufficiently far apart, they can tap telluric currents. Earth batteries are sometimes referred to as Telluric power sources and Telluric generators. One of the earliest examples of an earth battery was built by Alexander Bain 1841 in order to drive a prime mover. Bain buried plates of zinc and copper in the ground about one metre apart and used the resulting voltage of about one volt, to operate a clock. 

The real problem in this thinking is that the current powering the clock comes from the corrosion of the metal rods which is assisted by the conductive properties of the soil. More importantly it is indicative of some of the slightly woolly thinking which takes a scientifically established idea and makes unsubstantiated claims or creative consequences.

The problem, and strength of science, is that it tries to explore ideas and test claims by reducing all variables other than those being tested. Experiments in earth energy conducted by dowsers and others tend not to be ‘blinded’ or have ‘controlled variables’ and so conclusions are overly generalised and largely subjective.

In 1990 double-blind study was undertaken in Kassel, Germany, under the direction of the Gesellschaft zur Wissenschaftlichen Untersuchung von Parawissenschaften (Society for the Scientific Investigation of the Parasciences).

The three-day test was of some 30 dowsers involved plastic pipes through which water flow could be controlled and directed.

The pipes were buried 50 centimeters (19.7 in) under a level field, the position of each marked on the surface with a colored strip.

The dowsers had to tell whether water was running through each pipe.

All the dowsers signed a statement agreeing this was a fair test of their abilities and that they expected a 100 percent success rate.

However, the results were no better than chance.

This is the kind of result obtained in all such trials where dowsing has been used to locate what dowsers suggest they can do in the field.

In all of the experimental trials the variables which have been removed are those very variables upon which the emotional and personal connection to the Earth relies – the landscape!

Please understand this IS NOT meant as an attempt to discredit the dowsing community, but only to recognise that something subjective and personal is happening. It is perhaps better to think in terms of poetry rather than science; emotional connections rather than empiricism.

If, however, mystics want to use the language of science and the principles which underpin the discipline then they must be ready to receive scientific criticism – and in my experience many do not want to apply the required intellectual rigour. This means having thoroughly studied the experimental protocols involved within the discipline being used whether that’s geology, physics, archaeology, psychology, chemistry and so on. Failure to understand these protocols result in pseudoscience or research which has little or no objective value.

Some modern archaeological approaches include the idea of gaining a ‘sense of place’.

Cognitive Archaeology, whilst speculative and conjectural, sees the archaeologist bringing together what we know of neuroscience, psychology, linguistics, philosophy and anthropology to create an understanding of the links between human and landscape.

In essence this approach relies upon the knowledge, experience and intuitions of the researcher. Of course such insights are made available for critique and not rely on misappropriation of other scientific ideas. Among New Age pseudoscience the appeal to Quantum Physics is a key example of such borrowing – generally stemming from marketing rather than research agendas.

So what am I saying….

Science and scientific research is one way of trying to understand the world. It has a structure and a specific language.

Mysticism is another way of seeking to understand the world. It has a vague structure and a vague language.

The wonders of the Earth and the Cosmos can become a wonderful source of intellectual debate and scientific investigation.

The wonders of the Earth and the Cosmos can become a wonderful source of inspiration and personal/inter-personal exploration.

Both are valued and whilst my rational self enjoys the intellectual challenge of studying the earth, my spiritual self bathes in the poetry, the awen.

The awen and my relationship with the cosmos is not a puzzle to be solved or an equation to balance.

My integrated, Rational Mystic self, seeks to play between philosophical approaches as easily as I can step between worlds.

In terms of dowsers – perhaps the earth energy lines discovered by them are subjective and a shared response to the landscape. Indeed in two different dowsing conferences at which I spoke some dowsers told me that they could move earth energy lines.

To sanitize this personal connection to variable controlled, laboratory conditions is to miss the point and perhaps devalues the real power of being part of and  within the cosmos.

Alan /|\

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Published: November 15, 2014

The Seven Pointed Star – Revisited

The Seven Pointed Star – Revisited

 

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The Seven Pointed Star and the Seven Paths was explored in an earlier article.

Meditation on this symbol has formed part of my reflections over the last few months and I’d like to share some further thoughts – maybe none of them original, but all of them with relevance to my learning.

The layout of the star above suggests that we can move along the pathways defined by days of the week.

So if we start on SUN(day) we can move towards MOON(day) and so on… the pattern of creation of the lines of connection this go from…

  • Sun to Moon
  • Moon – Mars
  • Mars – Mercury
  • Mercury – Jupiter
  • Jupiter – Venus
  • Venus – Saturn
  • Saturn – Sun

Some basic astrology allows us to derive keywords for each of the planets

  • Sun – I integrate – self, will, energy, power
  • Moon – I react – dream, emotion, imagination
  • Mars – I assert – passion, drive, lust, express will
  • Mercury – I communicate – intellect, mind, inform
  • Jupiter – I expand –  spiritual and intellectual exploration
  • Venus – I harmonise – feelings, emotions, love, social attitudes
  • Saturn – I control – structure, limit, discipline
  • Sun – I integrate – self, will, energy, power

In terms of self learning, acquiring knowledge and experience on the path towards wisdom we can find a pathway from any point of our lives within the elven star.

I seek to manifest my will (SUN) so I use my imagination to dream of possible courses of actions (MOON).

I assert my will and considered course of action (MARS) and in doing so communicate my ideas to myself and others (MERCURY)

In doing so I explore and expand my awareness (JUPITER) and make changes by bringing my feelings and emotions into balance (VENUS).

I accept the need to plan and structure in order to achieve (SATURN)

I integrate the changes into myself (SUN)

Another way to consider these paths would be…

I take CONSCIOUS action (Sun) and recognise that I am being driven by UN CONSCIOUS energy (Moon).

I direct my actions (MARS) and communicate myself, my desires, my thoughts to the world (Mercury).

I expand my understanding (Jupiter) engage my emotions to fuel and check my actions (Venus) so accepting and creatively challenging limitations (perceived or otherwise) (Saturn).

I am conscious of may actions and the consequences thereof.

Speaking as a transpersonal therapist these seven stages of change and development provide an interesting framework for discussion, exploration and movement in personal coaching work.

In the Gnostic Gospels of  Didymos Judas Thomas, Jesus is quoted as saying,

“If those who lead say to you,’see, the kingdom is in the sky.’ then the birds of the sky will precede you. If they say to you, ‘It is in the sea,’  then the fish will precede you. Rather, the kingdom is inside of you, and it is outside of you. When you come to know yourselves, you  will then become known, and you will realize that it is you who are the sons of the living father. But if you will not know yourselves, you dwell in poverty and it is you who is that poverty.”

(The Gnostic Gospel of Thomas : The Nag Hamadi Library)

Meditation on symbols, especially complex symbols with layers of meaning and subtlety, is about self-discovery and in self-discovery we can recognise any elements of self-sabotage..

So that …

The Sun – Moon path can be seen as the ‘battle’ between the conscious and the unconscious and the other planets could be taken, in negative aspect, to identify patterns of limiting self-talk…

Mars – I don’t have enough energy : it’s dull : it’s boring

Mercury – I can’t : If only : Someday I’ll : I wish I’d ...

Jupiter – I’m not that lucky : It’s too restricting : It’s all too limiting

Venus – I don’t care : It doesn’t matter that much

Saturn – Yes … BUT !!!!

elfstar

Food for thought perhaps …

Alan /|\

 

Published: August 10, 2014

Blood and Mistletoe 2

Blood and Mistletoe 2

hutton

 

Blood and Mistletoe

By Ronald Hutton

A Review

Dr Hutton’s style is fluid and he manages to weave stories with the information he tries to share.

When I started reading Blood and Mistletoe I had intended to create a chapter by chapter review. My eagerness resulted in the first post which can be found here ….

So I started on this task…

But then something else took over.

It became apparent that the story Hutton was telling was one which itself denied such reductionism. To simply report on the work chapter by chapter does the book a great dis-service since it is about the evolving ‘image’ of Druids and Druidry rather than about key moments in history.

Chapters 2,3 and 4 speak of what could be seen as the political manipulation of the image of the Druid. From one perspective within the myths of the Druids we find cultural icons and iconographies which, once easy to dismiss and distance ourselves from, actually speak of ‘ancient’ seats of learning; wisdom and reverence. Just as the Arthurian myths gave some kind of legitimacy to kings who needs to cast themselves in the role of being saviours of the land. (for example Henry VIII’s creation of the ‘Winchester Round Table’ with him painted as central to him), the Druidic history was polished, and refined in order to create nationalist propaganda.

Chapter 5 deals with a name and character familiar to all who have read anything about Druidry – Iolo Morganwg (Edward Williams), Of course this name is muttered with almost equal amounts of respect and annoyance; a literary collector and, for want of a better phrase, forger who manages to muddy the already murky waters of Druidic history and lore.

It was a time of passion for all things ‘Celtic’ and inspired the romantic approaches to such histories by people like William Blake. Perhaps the most sobering thing in this whole episode is that many of Williams’ forgeries are better known that many of the original texts. The influence he will have had on Lady Charlotte Guests version of The Mabinogion must be questioned.

Chapters 6 and 7 really record the growth and development of British Druidry to an all time high. The eighteenth and nineteenth centuries were in many ways times of ‘rediscovery’ of all kinds of esoteric teachings and ‘magical lore’. However by the 1860’s interest in Druidry seems to have been in decline.

In Huttons book chapters 8 and 9 are really dedicated to an exploration of this fading of the ‘druidic star’. The Gorsedd of Bards of the British Isles had been established by Williams (1792) and the society of poets, musicians and artists continued. Today, like the Cornish Gorseth (established 1928) serve to keep the British Celtic Languages alive – Welsh and Cornish in these particular examples.

The final chapters of Huttons work explore what he calls the ‘afterglow’ and what can only be described as the revivalist movement within the neopagan tradition… and that brings us up to date.

So whilst the image of the Druid has been borrowed, stolen and annexed by particular people at particular times the re-invention of a nature based, Celtic inspired approach to spirituality has caught the green-spiritual zeitgiest the tag line offered  by the Reformed Druids of Gaia holds more than a keen element of honesty –  “we’re doing religion the old fashioned way — making it up as we go!”.

Ronald Huttons book is best considered as mammoth read and full of well referenced, well researched information considering the development of Druidry from the point of view of its waning and waxing socio-political significance. Not necessarily sidling the spirituality but placing everything within a framework which leads to the comforting notion that we are involved in a vibrant re-creation and re-invention of a system and not keepers of stale, traditional lore.

It is a MUST read for all interested  in really getting to grips with the background of the path they are walking,

Consider Purchasing Ronald Hutton’s Superb Works here …

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Published: July 13, 2014

Eleven Commitments of Modern Druids

Eleven Commitments of Modern Druids

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We are involved in a movement which is built around re-connection to and re-construction of tradition.

In my recent meditations and revisiting of what some would call Bardic teachings I wanted to focus on what it means to be a Druid. A study of the Welsh and Irish Triads gives us a starting point and of course the poems and stories within the Welsh and Irish Bardic traditions offer some pointers.

With the movie Avatar on the television at the moment many of the core themes of shamanism are bouncing around in my head.

So what does it mean to be a Druid in today’s world?

Perhaps the following discussion piece created for the course I am running at the moment may be of interest…

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Published: July 13, 2014

Three Cauldrons Three Worlds

Three Cauldrons – Three Worlds

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Three Cauldrons – Three Worlds

Reconstructed Druidic Lore

If we accept the any of the scholarly work on Druidry we know that very little is really known about what the Druids actually did. Perhaps the only thing we can say with any certainty is that Druidic Lore has presented today is a ‘best guess’ about what was believed based upon quite late (historically) texts, narratives, poems and tales which began to circulate in the 11th and 12th Centuries.

Such reconstruction and re-creation is at the core of Western/European pagan tradition and should not be dismissed since the intention, to create a system through which personal-spiritual development within the context of the natural world is an honest and valid one. The truth is that all spiritual systems have been revised, revisited and restated in keeping with the needs of the time.

I would personally go as far to say that any spiritual system which refuses to develop to meet the needs of the people becomes ‘fixed, ‘dogmatic’ and a fertile ground for fundamentalist thinking. We see so much evidence in the world where religious teachings have been divorced from the context in which they were first recorded and held on to as irrevocable, unquestionable law.

But I digress.

My true Cauldron of Incubation
It has been taken by the Gods from the mysteries of the elemental abyss
A fitting decision that ennobles one from one’s center
that pours forth a terrifying stream of speech from the mouth. 

I sing of the Cauldron of Wisdom

which bestows the merit of every art,

through which treasure increases,

which magnifies every common artisan,

which builds up a person through their gift.

 I sing of the Cauldron of Motion 

understanding grace,
accumulating knowledge
streaming poetic inspiration as milk from the breast,
it is the tide-water point of knowledge union of sages 

 

Abstract from Cauldron of Posey – Amergin

 

The Cauldron of Posey was a poem attributed to Amergin White Knee a bard and poet within the Irish Mythological Cycle (featuring the stories of the Tuatha de Dannan).  During the 7th Century an Irish poet re-created the poem which was later recorded in a 16th Century Manuscript (Legal codex H.3.18, Trinity College, Dublin).

It is interesting since the poem proposes the idea that there are three cauldrons which can be considered to exist within the human body from which all poetry (inspiration) flows.

Inspiration, Poetry and Wisdom are three essential gifts which we can say are the result of a spiritual quest and hence the three cauldrons represent three aspects in the attainment of these gifts.

  • The Cauldron of Incubation (warming) is upright in a person from the beginning.
  • The Cauldron of Motion (vocation)  is tipped on its side in the newly born.
  • The Cauldron of Wisdom (knowledge) is seen as being up-side down in the newly born.

One way to think about these cauldrons is in considering how each may relate to human experience so that the :

Cauldron of Wisdom ‘speaks to’ Consciousness  : Future, Creation, Knowledge, Inspiration

Cauldron of Vocation : Experience – Present, Motion, Observation, Training

Cauldron of Formation :  Existence – Past Incubation, Formation, Tradition

As Amergin notes…

The Gods do not apportion the same to everyone

tipped, inverted, right-side-up;

no knowledge, half-knowledge, full-knowledge

 

The Cauldron of Formation

From whence we came, our source , our origin and as such the cauldron is upright ready to receive.

We owe our origins to the ‘Sea’ – we emerged from the sea and we develop within the ‘waters of amniotic fluid’.

Water in myth is also emotion and often the sea represents the unconscious. The idea of the ‘under ground stream’ in alchemy is about the passing of wisdom from one generation to another.

The key questions we can focus on here relate to our existence; our personal inner and outer worlds (the relationship between consciousness and unconsciousness) as well as the traditions which shape us.

Perhaps the key lesson of this cauldron is that we are shaped by our past and not defined or limited by it. Maybe then, we could consider traumas cause this cauldron to spill over and possibly diminish for a while, our capacity to engage in our own lives with vitality and motivation.

The Cauldron of Motion

It is by the recognition or denial of our gifts that this cauldron is turned or not. It is the realm of the Earth, the ‘middle-world’ upon which we act and that action results an a consequence.

We, as we define our selves, incubate ideas and connect to motivations through consideration of the Cauldron of Warming, but when working from the space of the Cauldron of Motion we are connecting and interacting with the world.  … and the world is acting upon us.

The question here perhaps is related to the effects of our actions and the consequences which stem from them.

Amergin notes that the Cauldron of Motion can be turned by sorrow or joy and by that we can possibly suggest that these result from our actions or inactions – in a sense karma.

The poem speaks of …

Longing, grief, the sorrows of jealousy and the discipline of pilgrimage to holy places.

 It is internally that these are borne although the cause is from outside.

So we must live and respond and know that we are being ‘here’ and ‘now’ – about responsibility in developing our skills and our gifts.  Through our inter-action with ‘the land’ we either create or destroy.

The Cauldron of Wisdom

Whilst knowledge comes from what he have learned, wisdom comes from experience – wisdom is earned not learned.

So we start to understand and work on a more profound level with those things we have incubated and those things we have created.

This Cauldron relates to the outer world of the Sky – the realm of deities and of ‘the future’

A question here is perhaps related to our responsibilities to the future and our connection with the Universe beyond the here and now.

Amergin notes that ..

There are then two divisions of joy that turn the Cauldron of Wisdom, these are divine joy and human joy.

In human joy there are four divisions among the wise.

There are four divisions of human joy among the wise — sexual intimacy, the joy of health and prosperity after years of studying poetry, the joy of wisdom after the harmonious creation of poems, and the joy of ecstasy from eating the fair nuts of the nine hazels of the Well of Segais in the Sidhe realm.

They cast themselves in multitudes, like a ram¹s fleece upon the ridges of the Boyne, moving upstream swifter than racehorses driven on midsummer¹s day every seven years. 

The Gods touch people through divine and human joys so that they are able to speak prophetic poems and dispense wisdom and perform miracles, giving wise judgment with precedents, and blessings in answer to every wish. The source of these joys is outside the person and added to their cauldrons to cause them to turn, although the cause of the joy is internal.

 This is the cauldron of poetic inspiration and wisdom beyond the moment.

As one writer notes:-

“Once upright the Cauldron of Wisdom and Knowledge is capable of holding much more knowledge and wisdom [it] is emblematic of the connection between the Skyworld of the Gods and the spiritual and mental aspects of life.” (Murphy, 2014)

 The Three Cauldrons and Their Associations

Incubation Motion Wisdom
SEA LAND SKY
The Underworld The Middle World The Upper World
Past Lives ‘Reality’ “The Awen”
Ancestors The intersection of the Web Poetic Inspiration
The Cycle of Death and Rebirth The ‘sacred’ directions Realisation of Goals
Senses Gifts Visions
Unconscious/Conscious Mind Ego/Consciousness Transpersonal Consciousness
THOUGHTS ACTIONS DREAMS
Keeper of Tradition Caretaker of the Earth Seer and Healer
Old Ways Initiation Transcendence
WATER EARTH FIRE
Primal Life Energy Motivating Force Spiritual Energy

 It would be a mistake to ignore the interdependence of these domains in the same way it would be artificial to deny anyone of them. Within the “New Age Spiritual” movement we constantly read of those who want to ‘dismiss their ego’ or ‘live only in the light’.

In the first instance letting go of egotism is not the same as abandoning that which at your core makes you – you (your ego).

In the latter case abandoning the material and not considering the effects you have on your environment is, I would argue, a kind of psychosis.“New Age Festivals”  are often subtitled Mind, Body and Spirit events for a reason – the recognition of the need to integrate the three domains and that they are interdependent.

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Published: July 12, 2014

Blood and Mistletoe – Chapter 1

Blood and Mistletoe – Chapter 1

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One of the most respected authors in neo-pagan traditions and practices is Professor Ronald Hutton. An academic with a sense of the poetic and a great way with sharing what he has learned.

As part of my own development I am working bit by bit through his book Blood and Mistletoe (The History of the Druids in Britain). Whilst I am prepared to be reminded of the recreationist, revisionist, reconstructionist nature of Druidry or Druidism I am expected to have some sacred tress rocked and some ideas challenged.

So this Chapter by Chapter blog will be my immediate reflections from reading the book and perhaps encourage some debate with fellow bloggers and Facebookers. I will NOT be going into all of the details in the book, I would hope that if intrigued you will read it yourself.

Introduction and Chapter 1

Huttons perspective and standpoint on what we ‘really know’ about Druidry has been mentioned else where on this website and in the introduction we are guided through some of the challenges faced in any attempt to talk ‘with authority’ about how the Druids were. I am reminded of the wonderful parody song Stonehenge by Spinal Tap  …

In ancient times…
Hundreds of years before the dawn of history
Lived a strange race of people… the Druids

No one knows who they were or what they were doing
But their legacy remains
Hewn into the living rock… Of Stonehenge

Spinal Tap : This is Spinal Tap
 

The key phrase … “No one knows who they were or what they were doing”… and indeed this the case.

Hutton points out that all we know of the Druids is really drawn from a very few historical sources and even they are suspect.

200 BCE    Sotion of Alexandria (quoted in Diogenes and wrongly attributed to Aristotle) mentions the Druidas of Keltois and Galatis

50  BCE     The writings of Julius Caeser mention two groups of Gaulish people well respected in their tribes. The Equites (horsemen) and theDruides. This latter group are described as priests, judges and teachers. It was also noted that those wishing to ‘learn’ came to Briton to study.

36 BCE      Diodorus suggests that the Gaulish people have adopted some of Pythagoras’ teachings, namely the transmigration of the soul

20 CE        Strabo mentions bourdos (speakers of stories and satires); drouidos philosophers and theologians) and ‘vates (seers)

60 CE       Tacitus reports on the savagery of  the Celts and  Druids and in particular of the Battle of Menai (mentioned elsewhere in this blog).

70 CE       Pliny speaks of Druids their beliefs and practices

And apart from a few other spurious sources that’s it!

More importantly we can question the motivation of some writers as well as their authenticity. Some researchers question whether Tacitus was ever present at the events he reported on and my simply be quoting from another source whose works are lost (Agicola) and Pliny’s is questioned as a reliable source.

Clearly we have reports of a people who are on the one hand ‘philosophical’ and ‘wise’ and on the other ‘barbaric’ and ‘wild’. There seems to be now middle ground and of course this may well be due to the need for spin-doctoring of information by ruling or invading forces. The desire to set Rome up as the exemplar society must, in some cases, require other cultures to be less favourably viewed.

In the Course Books for the Celtic Shamanism Course being offered through The Cornwall School of Mystery and Magick we deal with the problems of authority and the desire to look at the past to find some idea of the roots of magical practice within the UK and the opening chapter of Blood and Mistletoe reminds us of the challenges. Of partcular resonance for me tho’ was the calling into question the nature of some of the ‘traditional’ works – the epics and stories – often quoted as forming the basis of reconstructionist  approaches.

More to follow …..

Alan /|\

Consider Purchasing Ronald Hutton’s Superb Works here …

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Published: April 23, 2014

Reflections on The Seven Pointed Star

Reflections on the Seven Pointed Star

 

sevenstar2

 

This particular image has a long and varied history within the annuls of magick.

A Star with Seven Points – a Septagram as opposed to the familiar Pentagram.

The number seven itself has long had ‘mystical’ connotations. The seventh-son of a seventh son and of course The Seventh Day is the day following creative actions which created the cosmos.

Nachmanides (a 12th century Spanish Occultist) explores the number 7 in kabbalistic terms.

Seven is the number of the natural world. There are 7 days in the week, 7 notes on the musical scale and 7 directions (left, right, up, down, forward, back and center). “Seven” – represented by the 7 days of Sukkot, is the world of nature whilst “Eight“, represented by Shemini Atzeret, is that which is beyond nature.
There are seven aspects of physicality – Height , Width, Depth , Top and bottom (limits height) , Front and back (limits width), Left and right (limits depth)
and seven which connects the previous six.  Seven then is the final number in a series which represents the physical/material world.

SeptagramPythagoras, a ‘numbers geek’ if ever there was one, believed that numbers were ‘sacred’ and that to understand the universe all we needed to do was to understand the numbers which represented it. Many Cosmologists and Mathematicians of today seem to have a similar attitude.

In classical times there were seven planets, which, according to Pythagoras, generated the ‘music of the spheres’. It is easy to see how notions of seven planes of existence developed, We could find ourselves in Seventh Heaven, if we avoided the Seven Deadly Sins and adhered to the Seven ‘vital’ Virtues, whilst aligning our Seven Chakra centres to the energies of the Seven Heavenly bodies which influenced life on this planet.

Apologies if that sounded a little flippant, it wasn’t really meant to.

 

The Kabbalistic Text Sefer Yetzira highlights the number seven and its multiples in the creation story of Bereshit  (Genesis):

35 times God (Elohim) is found.
7 times “On the Earth (Hebrew only)” is found.
21 times “Earth, earth, or land” are found.
7 times “heaven(s), sky (excluding “heavenly sky”)” are found.
7 times “Good” is found.
7 times “Water(s) (beneath the heavens)” are found.
7 times “flying, fly, or birds” are found.
7 times “crawls, walks, land animals” are found.
14 times “day or days” are found.

Rabbi Dr. Hillel ben David on his website (The Significance of the Number 7)  presents 49 ‘sacred’ reasons for the number 7 to be important and its not without significance that 49 is 7 x 7!

Make of that what you will, but it is all very interesting.

The Seven Pointed star could be seen as a representation of  synthesis as it brings together the four directions and the three worlds.  (see earlier thoughts on The Four Directions and The Triads). It is in this guise that perhaps much of the recent neo-pagan, reconstructionist magicks apply. In Kabbalistic terms Netzach is the seventh Sefiroth  – it  is “endurance,” the fortitude, and patience to follow through on your passions.

IThis star is also known as the Feary or Elven Star

Seven Pointed Stars, called “Faerie or Elven Stars” represent a gift from Faerie to humans to bridge the understanding between the Mortal human realm and that of Faerieland. – or so claim those versed in Faerie Lore (this by the way is a subject to which I am sure we will return). However, for now let’s look at what else is said ..

The 7 pointed star is known as a gateway symbol, a Gate or entrance between our world and that of Faery, the Otherworld. Each point on the star represents a gateway or path of the Higher Self to prepare one for entrance into Faery.

  1. Power, Personal Will, Determination, Prosperity, Justice, the Gate.
  2. Unconditional Love, Wisdom, Growth, Friendship, Healing.
  3. Knowledge, Intelligence, Creativity, Sexuality, Awakening.
  4. Harmony, Tranquility, Blessings, Love.
  5. Powers of Mind and Science, Balance, Dexterity.
  6. Devotion, Honesty, justice, Healing.
  7. Magick, Success, the Gaian Hypothesis.

There is little in this ‘pathway’ that I would disagree with or challenge since each of the ‘steps’ are worthy of study, practice and attainment. Indeed the Second Age of  the Reformed Druid  (RDG) have adopted this has their symbol for 2nd degree practitioners of Druidry. They list each of the points as representing the seven attributes of a Druid…

 

  1. Wisdom
  2. Compasion
  3. Liberal
  4. Abundance
  5. Non-Conformity
  6. Learning
  7. Idealist

Again attributes which are worth of our attention and aspiration.

How we explore these values and attitudes as we walk upon the Earth is the spiritual quest.

Alan /|\

 

elven

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Published: April 23, 2014

Community

Community

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When you hear the word community what do you think of?

Your friends, your village, your school … ??

When you think of “The Green Movement” what do you think of?

Greenpeace, Environmental Activism, Saving the Planet… ??

Perhaps community is about relationship and the ‘green movement’ is about connection?

For me Green Politics is a peculiar thing – at the core of what is being said is that we need to preserve the Earth for us…

This is bothersome in some respects since the Geologist and Earth Scientist in me is aware of three fundamental truths ..

The Earth will not end in the sense that many suggest – it may change form and spacial existence over time

Everything on the Earth is part of a vast web of interdependent connections – some organisms on the web may seem to be more dominant than others

The Earth is probably more fecund, fertile without us being around – we are temporary ‘blips’ on a larger timescale

So no matter what we do, or how careless we are in our treatment of the Earth and its resources, when we are gone the processes of life – those which maintain the Earth within the Cosmos, will continue. The Earth will recover from our misuse in the long term.

So the choice is quiet simple. If we, as a species chose to live ‘out of relationship’ with the processes of the Earth we will soon cease to exist. If we want tto enjoy, feel and sense the beauty of the planet we live upon then we need to find a way of being in harmony with it.

This, perhaps, is something the singer-songwriter Don Mclean spoke of in is wonderful 70’s song Tapestry..

 

The Earth is our Community – we are ‘in relationship’ with everything on the Earth and,. to everything within the Cosmos. How we choose to manage that relationship is what will determine our survival or not and, to a great extent the Universe can be just as OK with us in it as it is with us ‘out of it’.

The challenge we face is not simply one of trying to undo the technologies we use and the systems we have created, but to use them with wisdom, understanding and love.

We have numerous New Age Folk complaining that ‘science’has brought us to the edge of extinction and yet those some Folk carry crystals that have been mined, use oils which have been commercially farmed and may subscribe to ‘folk remedies’ which are part of the propaganda of the same Big Pharma they protest about.  OK, now perhaps that was a bit unfair, but not without an element of truth I add.

The issue is about what we, as humans, are willing to think about. It is far easier to find a single scapegoat for the ills of environmental decline than it is to really think about the degree to which we are all complicit. It is easier, perhaps, to stand aside and moan about the conflicts of interest within the world than it is to consider that those same conflicts and motivations can exist within each and everyone of us. Let those who have no ax to grind or prejudice to fuel speak out now!

 

 

The Gaia Hypothesis proposes that our planet functions as a single organism which maintains conditions necessary for its survival. It was  proposed by James Lovelock in the mid-1960s and published in a book in 1979. It is an idea that holds much sway within certain groups and  while Lovelock’s
hypothesis has not  been substantiated, it makes sense in terms of the interaction of physical, chemical, geological, and biological processes on Earth. Whilst some may want to propose a ‘consciousness’ within the Earths processes I prefer to refrain from limiting them with anthropomorphic limitations.

In a sense nature is the ultimate arbiter – it is ‘good’, not in some Judeo-Christian sense of morality, but ‘good’ in the sense perhaps that is ‘sound’, ‘wonderful’, ‘precious’, ‘excellent’, ‘valuable;….

Nature is neither ‘good’ or ‘bad’ within the moralistic sense since it is beyond that – it simply ‘is’ all that there ‘is’.

Now we can pretty this up and romanticise about this as much as we want, but in every and all senses Nature, and by extension the Earth, gave rise to us. Now ‘parerntal’ metaphors can abound…. personified as Earth Mother or Mother Nature it is one of the oldest archetypes in existence.

Why does this idea have cross-cultural significance?

Because at our core we recognise there exists a relationship between us and ‘her’.

So whilst science talks of ‘ecosystems’  the mystic talks of ‘the web’ and whilst people abuse their relationship with ‘the mother’ they do so because they are ‘out of relationship’ with themselves. In the pain of separation from the ‘web’ the psychology of ‘need’ becomes expressed not as  a sense of ‘belonging’ but as an attitude of ‘rebellion’.

So Community perhaps starts with yourself, then moves to your relationship and attitudes to others and thence to the social groups you aspire to. All of which are based upon the Earth – from it, within it, around it. Just as some struggle to find peace within themselves, so many find it difficult to find peace between each other. The end result of this imbalance is one of caring less about community and more about ruler-ship. The Earth and Nature can have no ruler and if we choose to fall out of relationship with it (them) they won’t care or put a stop to their processes…. It will be the children of the people who could not understand ‘community’ who will grieve for the loss.

So ends this set of reflections and meanderings …

 

Alan /|\

 

 

 

 

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Published: April 21, 2014

The Celtic Triads

The Celtic Traids

500px-Triple-Spiral-Symbol.svg

 

Wikipedia notes that “The Triple Spiral symbol, based on motifs found at the prehistoric site at Newgrange, Ireland, and used as a neo-pagan or Triple Goddess symbol.”

Well that’s fine as far as it goes, but notwithstanding the oversimplification of The Divine Feminine (i.e. the Triple Goddess  – something I commented upon in the article on Bath in the Cornwall School of Mystery and Magick)) – there is something more to be said about the importance and nature of triads, triples and three-somes within Celtic culture.

Whilst the Celts may not have been much for writing, their oral tradition survived through the telling of tales and the speaking of laws. Many of these laws, traditions and tales are summarised in the form of Triads are have been recorded in numerous manuscripts albeit in an Christianised form.

So whilst we can agree with Ronald Hutton that :-

“All that we know about the Druids is that they were the most highly respected magical practitioners and spiritual experts of the tribes of
northwest Europe. The trouble is that we don’t have a single word of writing left by a Druid, and we don’t have a single archeological artifact that
everyone agrees is associated with the Druids. We know so little about  them in fact that they are almost legendary characters.”
Prof. Ronald Hutton

we are able to make some useful inferences from what does exist in early writings. Indeed it is these writings upon which much of the reconstructed (reinvented) Druidic practices rely.

One commentator writes:-

” It is a proven fact that most the old ways of the Celtic people were held onto. The olds ways were simply hidden under a thin veneer of the Christianity. With the Triads it was simply a matter of having the context of one or two words changed ; this then brought the old Pagan into line with the new Christian ; and in such a way as to bring into the Christian fold the stubborn traditionalists.”

John F. Wright

No I’m not overly happy with the ‘proven fact’ opening to the quote, but there is a very real sense in which the acculturalisation of pre-existing systems was common within Christian expansionism.

The Three Fold Universe

There are numerous sources which note the Celtic, and in all likelihood Ancient Briton’s (as they could be seen as one in the same, certainly in the later periods of pre-history ??)  notion of the three worlds of the Sea, Earth and Sky. – and we infer from this the idea that is from the sea that life emerges (consider the stories of discoveries and colonization of early people by Gods who came from the Sea); that the Earth is that space not only upon which we stand but also the place of our ancestral connection to place and Sky as being the realm of the ‘cosmic spirits’ and starry deities which influence and in some cases direct us.

This ‘evolutionary triad’ then forms a framework for laws of moral, ethical and civil conduct – also it is possibly easier to remember things in groups of three especially of there is some kind of rhyme involved.

In the Druid Path materials produced by The Reformed Druids of Gaia we read..

“”There are Irish Triads, Scottish Triads and Welsh Triads. Most of these are concerned  with history. The Triads were a method used by the Bards to remember things by associating them in groups of threes. A large body of the Triads concerns ethics. Following are some  examples we found were the most pertinent”

El Arseneau

To list all of these Triads is (a) to complex and task and (b) beyond the scope of this piece but we can get a flavour of them in the following. twenty-one celtic triads  …

 

  1. Three false sisters: “perhaps”, “maybe”, and “I dare say”
  2. Three keys that unlock thoughts: drunkenness; trustfulness; love
  3. Three things from which never to be moved: one’s oaths; one’s Gods; and the truth.
  4. There are three things excellent among worldly affairs: hating folly; loving excellence; and endeavoring constantly to learn
  5. Three manifestations of humanity: Affectionate bounty; loving manner; and praiseworthy knowledge.
  6. IIn three things a person may be as the Divine: justice , knowledge , and mercy.
  7. Three roots of every evil: covetousness, falsehood, and arrogance
  8. There are three foundations of law and custom: order, justice, and peace.
  9. Three chief obligations of a person to their country and family: to gain possessions by diligence and integrity, to profit their country and their kindred in all they do, and to seek lawful learning wherever they go.
  10. Three things which the good poet preserves for posterity: memory of the praiseworthy, delight in thought, and instruction in knowledge
  11. Three to whom it is right to give food: the stranger, the solitary, and the orphan.
  12. Three things which we cannot control: the Void , the planets , and truth.
  13. There are three things that are never at rest in anyone: the heart in working, the breath in moving, and the soul in purposing.
  14. Three things which keep their word faithfully: death, retribution, and remorse.
  15. Three things never end: the flowering of charity, the soul, and perfect love.
  16. Three kinds of knowledge : the nature of each thing , the cause of each thing , the influence of each thing.
  17. There are three springs of knowledge: reason, phenomenon, and necessity
  18. Three things necessary for the doing of every act: knowledge, ability, and desire
  19. Three things essential for the wise to know: their Gods, themselves, and the deceits of the world.
  20. Three teachers of humankind: one is event, that is from seeing and hearing; the second is intelligence, and that comes from reflection and meditation; and the third is genius, individual, a gift from the Mighty Ones.
  21. Three counsels of the yellow bird: do not grieve greatly about what has happened, do not believe what cannot be, and do not desire what cannot be obtained.

I had no particular message ti give in choosing these twenty-one triads other than that each will provoke some reaction and  I would hope inspire some meditation.

For those of you new to exploring aspects of what we could call ‘Celtic Spirituality’ there may be more here than you could have imagined and for those who are on a path spiritual development there is much you can learn.

In the Druid Prayer presented to Ross Nichols in the Book of Druidry we read that love can have three manifestations. This prayer exists in various forms but perhaps owes its orgin (or popularity) to – Iolo Morganwg,,,

Grant, O God/Goddess Thy protection;
And in protection, strength;
And in strength, understanding;
And in understanding, knowledge;
And in knowledge, the knowledge of justice;
And in the knowledge of justice, the love of it;
And in that love, the love of all existences;
And in the love of all existences,

Perhaps you might like to create meaningful personal ‘triads’ from it…

The Three Paths of Druidry

Modern, reconstructionist Druid movements have within them a Three Fold system of training ..

Year 1 : The Bardic Tradition

The theme here is one of connection to ancestors and ‘traditional tales’. Self-discovery comes through exploring personal relationship between ourselves, each other the land and the cosmos.

Creativity, Ritual, Storytelling and Self Expression are linked to a study of the Celtic peoples, what we know of their culture and values and what myth has suggested. We explore altered states and grasp what may be meant by The Awen.

Year 2 The Ovate Tradition

The key themes are healing, divination and service. The Bard knows and connects and the Ovate develops intuition to become wise.

Year 3 The Druid Tradition

Broadly a ‘priest;y’ role in which all of the arts, crafts and magicks of the Bardic and Ovate grade are interwoven in a more complex tapestry of understandings. Shamanic based counselling and therapy will be developed within this grade and decisions on how best the Bard, the Ovate and the Druid can serve the land and their communities will be explored.

This framework forms the syllabus of the Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids, The British Druid Order and The Cornwall School of Mystery and Magicks own training and Drudic Clan of  Celliwig. The Reformed Druids of Gaia also have a three-degree system.

The symbol of the Triskele is often used to denote someone who has walked the three paths..

aurora tr

 alan /|\

 

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Published: April 21, 2014

Brwydr Mena

Brwydr Mena

Mona_Battle01_full

Yn Llyn Cerrig Bach ein offrymau a wnaed
Ceisio i droi’r llanw Romam
O’er Bedd Branwen y ddrudwen yn hedfan
A rhyfel a gwaed yn dod yn cynghreiriaid

Ar lan hen Menai
Tir a môr Cymru gwadu
Croesi diogel rhwng y banciau
Mae ein ryfelwyr sefyll mewn rhengoedd gwylltio

Ceasers perthynas agosaf a gynhaliwyd ddisymud
Gyda felltith Druid ac mae ein fearlessness
Gan Lleu Llaw Gyffes , mae ein gwaywffyn ni yn colli
Ac pierce , a pigo siwtiau imperial

Mae ein merched , Cerridwen posess
Gyda gynt cyhyraeth ond serch hynny
Mae eu rhyfelwyr codi tâl , a darnia a slaes
Nad ydynt yn cael eu cadw bwyell, cleddyf a gwaywffon a dash

Mae ein perthynas agosaf y maent ladd , ein plant yn rhy
Curo i lawr yng nghanol y stiw gwaedlyd
Mae ein allorau torrodd ein lwyni yn cael eu llosgi
Mae ein gwir yn cael ei golli ac mae’r olwyn yn troi .

Nawr rydym yn cysgu yn Din Dryfol
Neu gorwedd sêr neath
Yn Barclodiad y Gawres
Er ein bod yn marw ac wedi mynd hir
Mae ein stori yn mynd ymlaen ac ymlaen

Ac os ydych yn croesi’r Straight Menai
Tarvel rhwng y giatiau concrid hynny
Syllu i lawr ar y lan drencehd llanw Ynys Môn yn
A gofyn pam yr ydym yn dim mwy.

Rydym yn gorffwys mewn Annwn ond yn byw mewn breuddwydion
Ac yn siarad mewn craciau rhwng y gwythiennau
Mae’n Bardd byddwn yn ysbrydoli
I gadw THS yn fyw tân sanctaidd

A dylai tocyn Derwyddon mournful
Gweddïwch codi diod , codi gwydraid
Oherwydd nid ydym yn marw nac erioed wedi bod
Rydym yn troi o bren i garreg i ddaear ….

Moonbear

Please excuse the Welsh, my translation may not be that accurate.

Here’s the ‘original’ English

The Battle of Menai

At Llyn Cerrig Bach our offerings made
Attempt to turn the Romam tide
O’er Bedd Branwen the starlings fly
And war and blood become allies

Upon the shore of old Menai
Welsh land and sea denied
Safe crossing between the banks
Our warriors stand in angered ranks

Ceasers kin held motionless
With Druid curse and our fearlessness
By Lleu Llaw Gyffes, our spears we loose
And pierce, and sting imperial suits

Our women, Cerridwen posess
With cyhyraeth sighs but nonetheless
Their warriors charge, and hack and slash
Non are saved ax, sword and spear and dash

Our kin they slay, our children too
Beaten down amid the bloody stew
Our altars broke our groves are burned
Our truth is lost and the wheel is turned.

Now we sleep at Din Dryfol
Or lie neath stars
At Barclodiad y Gawres
Though we are dead and long gone
Our story goes on and on

And if you cross the Menai Straight
Tarvel between those concrete gates
Stare down on Angelsey’s tide drencehd shore
And ask why we are no more.

We rest in Annwn but live in dreams
And speak in cracks between the seams
It is the Bard we will inspire
To keep alive ths sacred fire

And should a mournful Druid pass
Pray raise a drink, raise a glass
For we are not dead nor ever were
We turn from wood to stone to earth….

Moonbear

The Battle – or perhaps Massacre – of Menai in AD60 is well documented and could be seen as a key moment in the decline of Druidry. It is the Roman write Tacitus who writes with venom and propaganda of the battle…

“[Paulinus] prepared to attack the island of Mona which had a powerful population and was a refuge for fugitives. He built flat-bottomed vessels to cope with the shallows, and uncertain depths of the sea. Thus the infantry crossed, while the cavalry followed by fording, or, where the water was deep, swam by the side of their horses. On the shore stood the opposing army with its dense array of armed warriors, while between the ranks dashed women, in black attire like the Furies, with hair dishevelled, waving brands. All around, the Druids, lifting up their hands to heaven, and pouring forth dreadful imprecations, scared our soldiers by the unfamiliar sight, so that, as if their limbs were paralysed, they stood motionless, and exposed to wounds. Then urged by their general’s appeals and mutual encouragements not to quail before a troop of frenzied women, they bore the standards onwards, smote down all resistance, and wrapped the foe in the flames of his own brands. A force was next set over the conquered, and their groves, devoted to inhuman superstitions, were destroyed. They deemed it indeed a duty to cover their altars with the blood of captives and to consult their deities through human entrails.”

One wonders who the barbarians were and what gives one culture the right to call another culture civilised..

Moonbear

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Published: April 9, 2014

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