Tag Archives: druid

A Riddle?

BELTAINE_2

A Riddle?

 

284007

 

Taken from my Journal following a journey…

And the Bear said “there is but one path which can be derived from the Hawks three ideas”

And the Hawk said “the three ideas will lead to the six actions of the Stag”

The Salmon offered nine insights which would inform the one path and so the cycle begins again.

And the Bear said “What is the path?”

And the Hawn questioned the three ideas.

The Stag asked “What are the six actions?”

And the Salmon questioned the transformation held within the ideas, which led to the actions which derived the insights all of which formed the path the Bear could follow.

  • One Path
  • Three Ideas
  • Six Actions
  • Nine Insights

 

Published: May 12, 2016

Alban Arthan

druidMistletoe

Alban Arthan

holly-oak-kings-battle

All Hail  Iolo Morganwg, the 19th-century radical poet and forger who gave us Alban Arthan which is said to translate to  “The Quarter or Light of the Little Bear” and inspired the alternative respelling is Alban Arthuan – ‘light of Arthur’…

Of course we’ve very little idea of what the Druids did or did not believe, but re-creationist tradition sees the four astronomical festivals (The Solstices and Equinoxes) as being ‘high times’ for celebrations. With the amazing solstice alignments at Newgrange, Stonehenge and other neolithic sites there was certainly some tradition relating to this time of (and these times) of year – but all of these pre-date the Druids (as well as the Pyramids).

druidMistletoeRomantic re-creationists  speculate that druids would gather by the oldest mistletoe-clad oak where the Chief Druid would make his way to the mistletoe to be cut whilst below, other Druids would hold open a sheet to catch it, making sure none of it touched the ground. With his golden sickle, and in one chop, the Chief Druid would remove the mistletoe to be caught below. (Thank you Robert Graves)…

Of course the winter solstice may have been immensely important because the people were economically dependent on monitoring the progress of the seasons.

Starvation was common during the first months of the winter and in temperate climates, the midwinter festival was the last feast celebration, before deep winter began.

Isolstice_stones_by_badgersoph-d5dzsgmt is suggested at this time  cattle were slaughtered so they would not have to be fed during the winter, thus it was almost the only time of year when a plentiful supply of fresh meat was available.

The majority of wine and beer made during the year was finally fermented and ready for drinking at this time. The concentration of the observances were not always on the day commencing at midnight or at dawn, but the beginning of the pagan day, which in many cultures fell on the previous eve.

Because the event was seen as the reversal of the Sun’s ebbing presence in the sky, concepts of the birth or rebirth of sun gods became common and, in cultures which used cyclic calendars based on the winter solstice, the “year as reborn” was celebrated with reference to life-death-rebirth deities or “new beginnings” .

 

For Celtic pagans, Yule is the time when the Sun God Lugh is reborn in human form to rejoin his  beloved wife Eriu

She is described as a hag, who transformed into a beautiful Goddess by the marriage and personifies the land of Ireland in her every feature and character. She becomes known in legend as the “Sovereignty of Ireland”.

In these legends, Lugh takes his bride in the form of the Maiden Goddess, to look out upon their land and in seeing the suffering of their people they grow worried and concerned.

The summer High Holy Day Lughnasadh is celebrated by many traditions as the moment when Lugh, as the Sacred King, sacrifices his own life to save his suffering people.

In doing so his blood is spread across the fields to ensure the fertility of the fields and a bountiful harvest of crop and herd.

As the harvests are brought in, and winters covers the land, the Great Mother (the Mother Goddess) resurrects Lugh from the ground, rising him up into the dark sky and returns him (as the Sun) to the universe.

The effort to raise Lugh into the sky causes Eriu to grow old as she shared her knowledge with the God to teach him all he needed to know to govern over his people once more.

Bestowing her Old Crone wisdom upon Lugh brings the cycle back to the  beginning of the legend.

Yule is also the celebration of the cycle of life through Eriu and all her incarnations as the Maiden, Mother and Crone Goddess.

YuleNews2014

The Goddess Eriu at Uisneach

Today’s celebrations of the Solstice, Yule and Christmas-tide represent a patch-work of solar traditions, pagan practices, Christian symbolism and neo-Pagan folklore.

Yet beneath it all there is one simple observation…

We are at mid-winter, the shortest day.Before the Winter Solstice there was the promise of coming darkness – after the promise of the light.

The symbolic battle between the Oak and the Holly, the wren and the robin mark the turning points of the year – and by extension the turning points in our own lives and communities. It is this cycle which we celebrate, by whatever name or mythology we choose … it is the perpetual cycle of life death and re-birth of the nature which inspires us in our darkest depths.

So may I wish you all a Cool Yule, a Super Solstice and a Creative Christmas …

May You Never Thirst

moonbear

/|\

 

 

 

 

Published: December 21, 2014

Blood and Mistletoe 2

hutton

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 …

Enhanced by Zemanta

 

 

 

 

 

Published: July 13, 2014

Blood and Mistletoe – Chapter 1

Good-Hutton-Pic

Blood and Mistletoe – Chapter 1

Good-Hutton-Pic

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 …

Enhanced by Zemanta

Published: April 23, 2014

Reflections on The Seven Pointed Star

sevenstar2

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Enhanced by Zemanta

Published: April 23, 2014

The Celtic Triads

500px-Triple-Spiral-Symbol.svg

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 /|\

 

Related articles

Enhanced by Zemanta

Published: April 21, 2014

Brwydr Mena

Mona_Battle01_full

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

Enhanced by Zemanta

Published: April 9, 2014

Neo-Pagan Reconstructionism

event_209144902

Neo-Pagan Reconstructionism

event_209144902

I wonder how many pagans, wiccans and “Earth Magicians” claim an unbroken tradition  of their tradition?

I tend to feel that this is a rather romantic notion which although has appeal cannot really be verified historically or through social anthropology. Most of those now  following a Druid-path accept that what they are involved in is a reconstruction; a recreation  possibly influenced by what is known about extant cultures and pagan traditions.

In 1792, a stonemason named Edward Williams, who fancied himself a bard, gathered together some friends and held his own homegrown bardic initiation ceremony, which he called the Gorsedd (Welsh, meaning “throne”). Unlike the other Welsh bards, Williams’s group claimed an unbroken lineage from an ancient order of druids. Williams rechristened himself Iolo Morganwg (Ned of Glamorgan), and embarked on a long career of scholarship and creativity punctuated by fraud, alternately translating ancient Welsh poetry and creating forged documents of his own. Morganwg championed Welsh poetic traditions and even rediscovered a number of important works, including that of Dafydd ap Gwilym, who is now acknowledged as Wales’s greatest poet.

So whilst Iolo kick-started a movement and complicated things by ‘fraud’ he nonetheless generated an interest in the works and words of commentators from long ago. The stories, the myths and the folk tales from which we can draw inspiration. The Mabinogion, The Book of Invasions, the stories of Talesin, Merlin and Arthur – these texts can be read and used to remind us of tradition but not necessarily to call for a return to a pre-scientific state of being.

There are many seeking ‘traditional paths’ as an escape from the orthodoxies which seem to have created disharmony. There are some calling for a kind of return to Eden, to simpler times – but we can’t unlearn what we have unlearned nor un-invent that which has been invented. What we can do is reconnect ourselves to the source of inspiration; to the relevance of myth in order to explore the subjective self that sometimes sits on conflict with the objective mind.

We now understand some of the cycles of nature; we now recognize something of the interdependence of all things and perhaps Druidry, with its theatre, its art and its exploration of myth can offer ways of being which are as relevant as ever but with an edge which relates to the rational-mystic we could all become. In such a state we understand that magic is a natural rather than supernatural act; that art and science need not be antagonistic and that the petty spiritual jealousies which drive theists apart can be resolved within mystical spaces of the mind rather than over simplifications of animistic and numenistic philosophies.

For your consideration allow me to present some thoughts by Carl Sagan, who was a scientist, a humanist and atheist. His book ‘The Demon Haunted World’ would seem to stand in stark contrast to some of the ideals of the modern pagan movement BUT whose observations inspire and could help create a bridge between worlds.

Until next time …

Alan

 

Enhanced by Zemanta

Published: March 24, 2014

Facebook Auto Publish Powered By : XYZScripts.com