Reply To: Awen & Me


    Hi True Owl and Dowgri, and thank you for a really interesting thread. Translating any word from one language into another is always fraught with difficulty, especially when that word is in a medieval version of a language, even moreso if, like me, you do not speak even the modern language. When I do bite the bullet and attempt a translation from Welsh, the GPC online dictionary is always my go-to resource. It not only contains words from the language throughout its history, it even lists the original sources where the words are found. It also gives the range of possible meanings. This is especially useful since words that are spelt the same often have several very different meanings that can only be judged from context.
    Back to the primary topic, there have been many times throughout the 16 years I’ve been working on these courses when I have absolutely felt guided by the awen. One that crops up in the revised bardic course is my interpretation of ‘The Battle of the Trees’ as a healing spell similar to the Anglo-Saxon ‘Nine Herbs Charm.’ I had decided to perform ‘The Battle of the Trees’ as part of a ceremony we held in our Iron Age roundhouse a few years ago during a camp the theme of which was herbal healing. The decision was based solely on the fact that the poem mentions a number of herbs. However, while reading it again in preparation for performing it, I was overwhelmed with the understanding of it as a healing charm. Each time I read it again, I saw greater evidence of this. I performed it in the ceremony, which was pretty amazing. Then, when I began revising the relevant booklet, using Derwydd’s brilliant new translation of the poem, I did some serious research on it which made me even more sure I was right. Having sent the revised booklet to Ronald Hutton, he agreed that my interpretation was probably right and confirmed that no one had ever come up with it before. Throughout all of this, I could feel a kind of tingling sensation like static electricity, something I’ve encountered previously when the awen has been flowing particularly strongly. It’s an amazing feeling and its repeated occurrence throughout the last 16 years has been a powerful factor in keeping me working, and enjoying the work!
    All good blessings,
    Greywolf /|\