Posts Tagged ‘awen’
As druids how do we understand concepts such as ritual, offerings and gifts? What IS the nature of our interaction with Nature? To what purpose do we strive to live ethically and energetically? In this short post I hope to propose the concept of a Triad of Life - three powers that work together in harmony - that will go towards answering these questions.
To do this I employ some of the ideas and discoveries of the psychedelic guru Terence McKenna. McKenna was an explorer of the psychic space beyond the three-dimensional structures. To aid his exploration he employed entheogens – plants that naturally facilitate journeying much as shamans in most cultures employ such techniques. In order to better understand the following concepts that I am about to discuss I would recommend that you are at least familiar with some of McKenna’s work and ideas. Please go here for an excellent archive of much of McKenna’s audio/visual talks.
Firstly, let’s talk about Flow. In my opinion Druidry is an attempt to align oneself with and add one’s energies to The Flow of the Universe – the natural course of all intention from the grandest to the smallest possible level. This is the same notion as the Observer Effect – or the idea that all of our actions, no matter how small, have a consequence and an influence. However, what is important to followers of the druid path is that those actions be in harmony with the Great Motion of the progression of the Universe, or of God, towards its eventual fulfilment or culmination point – what McKenna would call the Omega Point of Transcendence.
The concept of flow encapsulated in Bruce Lee‘s memorable phrase “Be like water” contains within it the idea that this natural path is one of least resistance – a path through the landscape where the least perturbation to the natural cycles is found. I see in this concept the kernel of the ecological and ethical moments that are fundamental to the druidic ethos. That is not to say that influences cannot be profound – they certainly can – but the starting point is always to be in harmony with the force that is currently in “flow”. In other words, if the change required is great and natural, then the influence intended by the druid in his work should be one that equals or harmonises with this momentum. That is how one stays in accordance with The Flow – by becoming the ripple or the tidal wave depending upon the environmental conditions generated by Nature herself.
What is it that is “flowing”? Yes, it is all of the physical elements that go to make up the Universe, but when we consider that these physical elements are really just low-density vibrations, then what is the rest of it that is carried along or upon which we are carried along? Is it not some subtle energy form that we can perceive but cannot pin down? Is it not the energy that we can feel but cannot substantiate? And is that not the Awen of ancient mythology and modern re-interpretation? [see here for an alternative explanation of Awen, and here for the traditional explanation]. It is Animus and Anima at play together, the male and female forces whose spiral dance motivates the interchange of subtle and gross energies between all things. It is the elusive subtle energy or life force that is sought after by the druids as the key to creativity and life itself. It is the Ankh of Egyptian lore.
So, we have Awen - the force that stimulates life, and we have Flow – the direction in which the Awen is motivated to move, or at least to direct our attention. With these co-ordinates can we now define some purpose for these forces at play in the world? I believe we can. In my opinion, the expression of Awen via the Flow of the Universe results in what I term Abundance. Abundance is not just the creation principle, it has contained within it the idea of fruition and enervation of potential. It is abundance that propels the creation cycle – it is the invisible hand on the wheel that spins the dynamo of creation.
I remember Terence McKenna talking about his DMT experiences, and how several times when he broke through into another frequency of existence he was surrounded by curious sentient entities. These ‘imps’ (for want of a better word) encouraged Terence to manifest energy forms from his imagination, and then would take great delight in seeing him do this. When I hear accounts from the edge of hyperspace such as this it makes me think that within all levels and frequencies that are available within our Universe there is positive feedback and encouragement for the act of manifesting life and the act of creation. Terence went on to consider that the universe sought increasing complexity, but I consider that the Universe is instead seeking an increase in abundance – it is seeking to evolve through the fruition of potential into realisation.
If we consider that everything in stasis (i.e not being actively considered or acted upon) has potential. When touched by the motivational force of Awen in Flow then a bio-feedback relationship is established – in other words – giving our energy to something stimulates it and promotes the potential for it to return some transformed energy to us in a reciprocal manner. That stimulating effect is how I think of aabundance, and for me it answers the whole question of “why?”. Why is the Universe or God seeking to encourage abundance? Because it is evolving towards the realisation of all potential, and so the cycle of the bio-energetic feedback loop gives humans the opportunity to gain new energies from those which they discharge or offer to Nature. The recipient of the intention of Awen, whatever that might be, is motivated to grow, increase, come to fruition, blossom, increase and improve. The giver then becomes a receiver too, and the encouragement results in more potential for a repeated experience, thus fulfilling the evolutionary drive – the Flow of the Universe towards Ultimate Fulfilment – the final endpoint of the unfolding of the Universe – McKenna’s Eschaton.
Think of how many situations we see this triad of Flow, Awen and Abundance in action every day! Think how often we see potential realised through motivation into fruition! The planted seed is stimulated to grow by the action of the sun warming the earth. The child is encouraged to grow by the appreciating smile of the mother. The musician is inspired to create a song by a natural event like an eclipse or tidal wave. See how this natural cycle is neutral (neither good nor bad) and how it engenders an increase in life and the quality of life on this planet?
Realisation in druid life
How do druids make this triad of Awen, Flow and Abundance real? Their rituals, their timing, their energy feedback, their creativity – the Bard stimulates the Awen; the Ovate learns to align himself with the Flow of the Universe; the Druid promotes the feedback loop to create Abundance. So, every day I consider that druids are seeking to use educate themselves in the ways of this triad of life, and that they are inventing or re-discovering the ways that increase the natural life of whatever they interact with. This is how I see the benefit that druidry provides in the form of the Triad of Life.
I have just finished two of the most impressive books on the subject of the Western Mystery Tradition’s greatest and original prophet: Merlin.To most of us, to almost everyone, Merlin has been portrayed as a caricature, a cartoon character, and a convenient symbol of a “wizard” with a Celtic flavour. With the exception of John Boorman’s excellent film “Excalibur” Merlin has been degraded into a mythical similie of mystical power.
For a more level-headed, considered, erudite and focused study I urge you to read Robert J.Stewart’s two books in sequence: “The Prophesies of Merlin” and the even more astounding “The Mystic Life of Merlin“. In the prophesies book, as you might expect, we get a clever deconstruction and interpretation of the meaning of Merlin’s supposed prophetic utterances. The back story is remarkably well explained and decoded, which leads beautifully into the convincing middle section. This is where Merlin’s predictions are considered in the light of historical record, and with startling results. Stewart then goes on to reveal Merlin’s continued stream of consciousness until the end of mankind. We are left with a clear wake-up call to our own consciousness – our consciousness of life, the universe, history and future.
In the partner sequel, “The Mystic Life of Merlin” Stewart delves into a number of interesting areas. He follows Geoffrey of Monmouth’s “Vita Merlini“ in terms of exposition, but interweaves elements of the Prophesies where it re-enforces his argument for an extremely early Celtic origin for the story. It derives, he claims with consistent evidence, from a western mystery tradition of training in natural magick – although that is my terminology that I’m employing. Taliesin, the Welsh bard of legend, is also associated closely with helping Merlin understand the world through an ancient catechism in which Taliesin reveals that forces at work in the world and beyond it. Stewart presents a good case for a geometric link between the forces at play in Merlin’s life as it pertains to the stages of psychological development along the path from king to madman, to seer, magician and prophet, and eventually into enlightenment.
We also get a link in with the origins of Tarot Cards, relating the characters of Merlin’s life story with the original Major Arcana depictions. The Rider Waite set also retain many of the personae and events from the story of Merlin’s life in their composition, meaning and detail.
It’s an astounding and revealing interpretation of a system of magickal teachings passed down through first oral, then written tradition. For those who seek to re-discover some of those abilities, these books point the way.
Following in the footsteps of the dragon.
Caitlin Matthews has the kind of voice that imparts a majestic aura. Her lecture on the ways of druidic learning and wisdom that appears on the latest OBOD (Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids) Druidcast MP3 (Number 24) is a clear and carefully researched lecture.
We have a link to it in the right-hand links panel, and I can highly recommend it for those who wish to obtain a ‘sound’ background in the concepts of the use of sonics and linguistics as methods of passing oral traditions down the ages. Also, Caitlin delivers and interprets some catechistic poetry – question and answer done as only the old bards could do. The rap music of its day!
Check out the sneeze at 23:23! Ha ha. I’m sure I heard a zippo lighter too.
Following delightful diction.
Wednesday, 5th November 2008
The still of the day
All week the weather had been still, hanging around, not doing much. I felt that as the week wore on the tension was building, as the mist was forming. I have been at home this week working through some decorating, but Wednesday seemed like an opportunity to take a breath of air that didn’t smell of turps, glue or fresh paint!
I hastily printed off a random new stone circle near to Conwy in North Wales. Less than an hour to get to, and hopefully it wasn’t raining over in Wales. My trusty iron steed trundled unerringly along the A55 for almost and hour before I took the Conwy town centre turning, into the midst of Conwy Castle, through one of its narrow arches, and headed off on the climbing and winding B5106 road towards Trefriw.
At the first sign for Rowen village I turned right towards the valley that lined the hills at the back of Conwy, heading for the back edge of Tal-y-Fan hill. The stone circle I had picked on the south-western slope of that hill was called Cerrig Pryfaid, and though I knew it was a small and unobtrusive, some would say unimpressive, stone circle nevertheless I was excited by the prospect of what I would find there energetically.
As I inched my way through Rowen village and up the ever-steeper hillside along a track that got narrower and narrower I feared for the sturdiness of my little Peugeot. Imagine asking the AA to find this place! I opened a couple of gates, then eventually found the car park at the terminus point of the road. Wow, what a major climb for a little car! A well-earned rest for the engine, while I traipse half a mile back along the road to find somewhere to climb the wall that reveals a circle of ancient stones on the other side.
As I approached I could see three outlying stones at the western edges of the circle. The stones that comprised the circle itself were often shaped like incisor teeth, and almost immediately I spotted what looked like an alignment path from the closest outlier, through a stone at the western edge to one on the eastern side opposite.
In the white-grey silence provided by the gathering mist I could hear the faint crackle of the two lines of tall electricity pylons which followed the valley up through the surrounding hills and over the edge down to Penmaenmawr presumably. The Penmaenmawr set of circles and avenues lay just a few miles away over the spine of Tal-y-Fan.
The staff that comforts
I reached inside my bag for my L-rods to begin dowsing the energies. I felt the bottom of the bag. They weren’t there! No rods. Not one. Oh shit! The whole slog to get here flashed past me in a compressed moment of panicked time as I reckoned up the value of a dowseless visit….and I just had to think of something else! Some way out of this. I had done ‘deviceless’ dowsing before at Birchen Edge, in Delamere Forest, and when I had gone walking with a friend from work up Scafell Pike. Would it work today? That method had only worked because I had incidentally tuned into walking an energy trail, but I didn’t feel confident about actively seeking out patterns! Not confident at all!
I wondered about finding a y-shaped twig that I could try to use…but there wasn’t a serviceable tree in sight in any direction. Some gorse bushes, but no trees. I was above the tree-line here. Then, as I leaned thoughtfully on my staff an idea came to mind – my staff would act as a rod! Ridiculous, roared my outraged rational mind! That’s just stupid – it’s big and cumbersome, and, well….just silly!
It took a calm and soothing thought that washed through me emitting pheremones of confidence that made me want to try it anyway. I’d try it. It could only not work. And there was absolutely no-one around to distract me on a Wednesday afternoon high on a hill. I wondered how to even try this? How should I hold the staff? I balanced it horizontally on two fingers of my right hand. There it sat, poised and ready – balanced and still. OK – good start. Let’s try it. I practised walking forwards, turning and walking backwards to see how much the staff wandered around. Very little. Just gentle sways that quickly re-balanced themselves to remain horizontal. This was better than I could have hoped!
I decided to see if I could locate an energy line. I needed to program in the responses with this new dowsing tool, so I programmed “steady state” as being horizontal; a “yes” response was for the tip of the staff to rise a few inches; and a “no” response was for the tip to dip down a few inches. The staff duly obeyed these forced responses, and I then got mentally prepared to start dowsing. I relaxed and breathed a bit fuller. Then began.
“Find an energy spiral, please.” I requested. “Dip the staff down at it when you find one.” A new instruction, but I couldn’t think of any other new movement to ask for, so resorted to a kind of “point to it” action just to find it’s location – following it and asking about it could come later, if this wasn’t all nonsense!! I walked forwards a few feet towards the centre of the circle and within five feet the staff started to drop down to the ground. I noted the location, then changed to the instruction, “Please follow this energy line – any direction”. The staff came horizontal then started to slowly swing to the right. OK. I allowed it to twist, balanced on my two fingers, and waited a few seconds until it has stopped it’s slow deliberate swing to the right. Then I walked forwards very slowly feeling for the change in direction. After two minutes I was getting a tighter and tighter swing round until turning the staff any more would have been doing some drum majorette type of spins. I felt that was asking too much of a six foot staff!
Wow. A real and positive response.
The paths of Cerrig Pryfaid
Firstly, I needed to find the outer edge of the circle – it’s nemeton. I walked fifteen feet away (I was hoping it wouldn’t be further than that – but none have yet) and walked past the nearest outlying stone. About seven feet from the circle the staff dipped to indicate the edge. I followed the edge around to ensure that I had picked up the right energy. Yep – it went all the way around seven feet out.
As I passed the outlier stone the edge continued, but this time a few feet closer to the circle. I continued around, feeling like I was wading against a stream the further round I went. As I passed the outlier a second time the energy path moved in again to be right at the edge of the stones. I lost where it went as I crossed the outlier stone for the third time. Something else had pulled the staff towards the circle. It was a double helix pattern of interweaving male and female waves that wrapped around the outlier and then weaved into the circle, and ended in the centre of the circle in a spiral.
I dowsed for the direction of the nemeton’s flow. Anti-clockwise. No wonder it has been difficult to walk – I had been walking against the energy flow as I walked clockwise around.
I spent the next few hours mapping out spirals in the circle, male and female spirals coming out of each stone except the two to the right of the nearest outlier. This looked just like the effects I had found at Nine Ladies and Gors Fawr circles. As I walked around the circle I found a pebble of white quartz that I pocketed for later. I guess I could dowse a manifestation with the staff, now that I had done all the other energies? I would try in a while. First there were some unusual lines that needed qualifying.
As I had walked around the circle I had got odd responses for male or female at two of the stones: one dowsed for neither, and the other dowsed for both. The one that dowsed for both was next to the close outlying stone, which as if similar size and shape to the circle stones. Opposite it, along the East-West alignment I had noticed on first approaching, was the stone that dowsed for neither male nor female. I asked the staff if the stone had a neutral energy running through it? Yes, strongly yes. Aha. A neutral alignment ley. This was getting very interesting – and all being done with a six-foot wooden stick!
As I checked each of the stones for male and female spirals inside and out (like at Moel-Ty-Uchaf circle) I found two that didn’t respond, the two stones to the right of the closest outlying stone. The two stones dowsed for an energy link between them that went in a circle between themselves – half under the ground and the other half curving through the air at an almost 45 degree angle. Again what came to mind were the same energy forms at Nine Ladies and Moel-Ty-Uchaf. Two stones linked together by a circular line. I forgot to ask whether it was a female, male or neutral form of energy, but I’ll get that next time!
Confident in the staff dowsing’s answers (if it could describe an arcing flow of energy then it could find any form) I went back to the power centre where I placed the white quartz pebble. I dowsed around the pebble and found a wonderful trefoil pattern (three petals) that was now becoming familiar and I smiled as I waltzed around the power centre in a perfect shape back and forth across the quartz pebble.
I decided, as it was all going so well, that I should take a different tack now. I wanted to know more druidically about this circle. What were it’s characteristics, it’s responses, it’s state of health, it’s power or purpose? These questions have started to matter as much to me as the mapping of a site’s energies. They’re the next level of investigation, and often lead to interesting encounters. Having learned lessons from previous experiences with energy work I spent a few minutes creating a shell of protective energy around myself, but during that process all I could hear was the buzzing of the pylons. Damn, that felt awful! I was trying to shut the electricity out but it was seeping into my newly-created sphere. I vowed to do some more reading about how to do this better, but this was all I could do for now.
I dowsed for the a power centre that would suit me and found one off-centre inside the circle, slightly towards the south-eastern edge, which is the direction I felt inclined to face looking down the valley, although it’s view was masked by the whisping mist that was thickening as it rolled up the valley’s inclined floor.
As I stood there I slowed down my thought processes. I concentrated on the silence. I began to hum and softly speak a few “Awens” to relax myself – a form of druid meditation. I don’t usually make any sound, but the sound seemed to suit the silence of the hillside and the circle seemed to bounce the hum back at me even though the stones were only a few feet high. As my mind stopped being demanding for stimuli I quietened to let the silence engulf me totally. Nothing was making a sound. No sheep. No car. No bird. It was utterly silent. All I could hear was my own slow breathing. My eyes narrowed slightly and I stopped focusing them on anything in particular outside of the stone circle. In that state I was able to see sparks of white horizontal flecks that fizzled and flashed like a TV screen without a channel tuned in. Wha…..?
As soon as I could see the sparks several “facts” about the situation became known to me. It took my slow brain a few minutes to go over them again in sequence to relate the story for my waking consciousness. These things I “gnew”:
- the sparks were electricity
- their source was the two lines of pylons nearby
- the ‘rain’ of electrical sparks was having an unhealthy effect on the energies of the circle
- if I could do anything I would be bringing relief and freeing the energies to work as they were intended
I came back to consciousness slowly, like waking from a pleasant dream.
Cleansing and tensing
So, what should I do, I wondered? Did I have the energy to do anything, because I was starting off with a cold and ….I couldn’t even finish the objection because I felt weak and there was a knot in my stomach – a gentle squeezing, like a protracted hunger pang but different. I needed help. I knew I needed the relief of a healing or energising stone or place. But why? I was standing on my supposed power centre – a place where I should be able to draw energy from, but I couldn’t. I didn’t feel anything on this spot right now. I looked up, still facing south-east. Twenty feet outside the SE edge there was a large square stone that marked the end of the rocky ridge on which the stone circle sat. I really noticed it. I stared at it. I knew it was the place to be.
I walked out of the circle slowly, with no energy, and flopped towards the square stone. I followed what felt like an energy path and sat on the flat top of the square stone. There was a convenient place to prop my staff up too, so I did. As I sat there I felt comfortable but peculiar. I had felt this before at a stone circle. It was a slow, draining feeling, like your energy is being drawn downwards into the earth beneath you. This was an effect for myself and Kal at one of the stone of the Nine Ladies circle, and also at Arbor Low. So much so that Kal refused to stand there for anything longer than five seconds before jumping away again. I stood there for a minute, marvelling at the tangible feeling of the energy being drawn from me. Then I felt like it would be stupid to stay there any longer and had to drag myself back into the stone circle again. It felt like scaling a mountain getting back to the power centre again, but I felt cleansed. Cleansed of bad energies, I wondered? I noticed as I walked back that I was walking the complete opposite path to the one I had walked down on – another inter-linking double helix pattern between the “cleansing” square stone and my power centre!
The second I stood on the power centre again I felt an upsurge of energy. Literally I felt like a battery being charged up super-fast. It was flooding into me in pulsing strong waves, invigorating with every wave. I bathed in that feeling for a few minutes, smiling broadly. This felt like the Pentre Ifan middle stone that had almost tickled me with energy it had been that strong. Here it was lovely and smooth, and regulated in small doses. After a few minutes I felt alive and alert, and ready for action. It seems I needed to be cleansed before I could be re-charged. How peculiar. Kal had been told that he needed to be cleansed once at a site too which he interpreted as him not being “pure” enough at that time for the experience. Maybe that could be remedied ‘on-site’ as it were?
Spinning at the beginning
I walked out of the circle to the outlying stone. Because I knew the energy paths now I started to walk the three spirals that formed the nemeton’s edge, starting from seven feet out, close to the outlier stone, and walked slowly clockwise around. I felt like I could hold the nemeton itself, so I took hold of it and walked it around as I walked. Second time around I was closer to the circle and walking faster. Third time around I was walking very fast and next to the stones. I could feel the nemeton spinning with me as I walked and knew that I was changing its flow direction with what I was doing.
When I had got it spinning I went back to the power centre and imagined a sphere of energy the same shape as the nemeton, and spinning in the same direction. Then I added further layers of energy spheres (three) all spinning on different planes of rotation, but forming a fully enclosed sphere of light energy. Then I willed the sphere to harden against the sparking energy shower of the pylons. As before this required feelings of love and gratitude to Nature for using her energies to produce the effect. Moments later I was just standing there, in the circle, back to normal waking consciousness, without the acetate-like overlays that I see when imagining the energies. I was back.
I felt like that was the end of that visit, and so I packed my stuff away and said my thanks for the experience, and hopes that I had done some good. Another interesting afternoon well spent. There were lots of correlations with other sites, same patterns, similar problems with invading energies, and a beautiful trefoil manifestation again, as I have produced many times now. As I left I checked my watch: 3:00pm. I walked back to the car a short distance away. There I texted M. I noticed my phone said 4:15pm. What? I checked my watch: 3:15pm. Had I lost an hour in the stone circle? Had it stopped my watch for an hour?
When I mentioned my experiences to M she said the site was “full of intertweaving energies”. I liked that! She confirmed the time for me: we had recently put the clocks back an hour and I had forgotten that I had to do that with my phone’s time too! Aha! The mystery solved! Fool that I am. Dowsing with a staff, though. That was something else. It must have looked totally mad. I was glad I was on my own that afternoon, but at least I know I have a fallback position if I forget my rods again.
What do they say: necessity is the mother of invention? What a strange family.
Follow the long stick.