Reply To: fall September 22 equinox

The British Druid Order Forums BDO Public Forum fall September 22 equinox Reply To: fall September 22 equinox


    but is there evidence of what awen is?

    Well, awen is an abstract concept and ideal, but in terms of inspiration – I suppose you have the entire corpus of bardic poetry to attest to some kind of inspiration. Let’s not forget the shadowy figure of Talhaearn Tad Awen (Talhaern Tat Aguen) referred to in the early 9th century CE and placed in the the 6th-7th centuries CE. Therefore, it seems that the concept of “awen” has been around in Brythonic Celtic culture for a long time.

    As for Samhain, it seems indeed to have been an end-of-harvest festival, with an emphasis on livestock and the slaughtering of animals that could not be overwintered easily. Similar customs and traditions abound throughout European traditions, the Anglo-Saxon name for November being the “Blood Month” (Blōtmōnaþ) in reference to this. Some form of these traditions, albeit Christianised to an extent and less bloody, have continued to the present day in rural areas. The overwintering of livestock only became feasible for most people in the British Isles and Ireland in the late-17th to early-18th centuries with the introduction of farming practices such as four-crop rotation and the cultivation of turnips that could provide winter fodder, this in turn allowed for the selective breeding of farm animals too, so the necessity of slaughtering animals before winter set in remained a practical one until well after the Medieval period.

    In terms of Samhain, and also Hallowe’en, there’s a lot of nonsense that has been written, so it’s best to exercise caution when drawing any conclusions. Nevertheless, the connection with apples is interesting because both the Welsh and Cornish festivals of Nos Galan Gaeaf and Nos Kalan Gwav (the Calends of Winter) include(d) traditions with apples and, of course, apple bobbing is a typical Hallowe’en game too. Interestingly, it seems that the Romans introduced the apple to the British Isles and there was a Roman goddess, Pomona, associated with fruit trees and orchards, however, there is no evidence to suggest that a Roman festival influenced the Celtic festivals of Britain or indeed Ireland and I don’t think we have any recorded date for a Roman festival of Pomona either. All the same, it does provide food for thought, pardon the pun, and it is interesting considering the importance of apples in mythology.