The British Druid Order › Forums › BDO Public Forum › Revisiting Druidry, A practical and inspirational guide, by Philip Shallcrass › Reply To: Revisiting Druidry, A practical and inspirational guide, by Philip Shallcrass
Chapter three is about awen, and there is also a lot about awen on the BDO website. The chapter starts off with a short bit about Taliesin, which I am sure every druid has heard the story of Taliesin and Ceridwen one Gazillion times, just like they have heard about awen.
What is interesting is Chief Graywolf points out that “From early medieval times Irish bards have referred to inspiration as fire in the head. Others, like the Welsh Taliesin, see it in liquid form, and yet others as breath or bread, the fundamentals of life.” (p. 49 Druidry) I like this idea of awen being like a liquid. And I like people who are creative and find metaphors for things. To me a druid is a creative person and not a person who just follows whatever a druid priest says.
And while I am at it, in my opinion, why use the word Priest when talking about a druid? I see the word priest as meaning that druidry is a religion and we have a priest and priestess. Which makes druidry smell of the church’s oppression of free thought and creativity . How about not using the word priest and just calling a druid a teacher or guide. And I think that the word priest is a loaded word. Next, Chief talks about how we can access Awen through ritual and magical means. However, in my opinion, I think that you access awen with working at your craft and not just by some magical means. Awen is there, but you find it when you are actively writing or playing or practicing your art. Then Chief goes on to talk about the way some druids make the sound of awen, and I find his instructions makes a sound more like a 50s horror movie soundtrack. I think that awen sounds closer to the word om, but every druid should express their druidry in the way they want to, and I am always glad to see druids getting creative. Chief goes on to express how the whole universe is connected at some cosmic level, which at some cosmic level I agree. But in the real magic world, I always find that idea that everything is connected a wee bit of a stretch because I see the real doors and gates of the magic world, and they are not open to all. But at a cosmic level, I can see what Chief is getting at. In contrast, in my opinion, I think everything is in relationship to each other, but not connected to each other, unless you want to get cosmic, way out there. The Chapter ends with Chief talking about The Cell of Song, and I always wonder where this idea came from. I mean, who said that druids sat around in dark caves with stones on their chests composing poetry. Again, I find that it is hard to work to compose poetry, and that all writing is rewriting, and there is a lot of editing in creating poetry, so I just don’t really buy the whole idea of The Cell of Song, and doubt it has ever worked for any poet. I think, in my opinion, that druids need to celebrate creativity. And not harass or put down other druids who are creative and imaginative. I like all of the Chief’s ideas about Awen and creativity, and understand where he is coming from. Still, I feel that it is important for each druid to think for himself or herself, so there are always going to be many different views on what a druid believes, and this is a good thing. Further, I think that if we make druidry into a religion, with priests and priestess, druidry will stagnate, and the flowing liquid power of awen will dry up, no longer inspiring the creative living spirit. I want to add one more thought, in my opinion, I can see how asking the gods and goddesses and faeries and the otherworld folk for awen could help you get some awen. I can also see how you could get awen from a power animal or talking to a tree. But still I feel that sitting your bum down in a chair and writing is the best way to come up with some creative stuff. Yes, use magic, but also put in the hard work of writing or exercising or painting to make your dreams come true. In short, in my opinion, it is best to be magical and practical.