Forum Replies Created
Thank you, Dowgri,
I’ve been admiring and enjoying your forum posts. You’re definitely our kind of person 🙂
Myself, Philip Carr-Gomm, and other Druid writers were gently nudged towards more academic rigour by Ronald Hutton from the 1990s. I remain good friends with Ronald and have since met other Pagan academics who’ve provided encouragement, source material and suggestions for avenues of research. This is great because ever since I was a small child I’ve been fascinated with finding out as much as possible about the things that interest me. Mind you, the direction the courses have taken led one wag to refer to them as the Encyclopaedia Shallcrassia!
All good blessings,
Hale and welcome, Mark!
Good to virtually meet you. Having spent that last 14 months updating the bardic course, I’m as excited about it now as I was when it first went online a decade or so ago. I trust you’ll get as much out of it as I have. Apart from anything else, reworking it has helped keep me relatively sane throughout the pandemic and associated lockdowns. One of the biggest takeaways from it is the simple but vitally important message that creativity is good for us, for all those we come into contact with, and for the world at large. Enjoy the journey!
Welcome, Overthinking Chandra,
Being now in my 15th year of working on the BDO courses, I can definitely relate to overthinking 😉
Covid has made recluses of a lot of us and I was pretty reclusive to start with. Mind you, it was a youthful ambition of mine to be locked away in a garret room in a castle, surrounded by books, and devote myself to writing. The garret room is actually a spare bedroom in a fairly standard red-brick house, but I am certainly surrounded by books. In my youthful dream, I had a manservant who brought me meals. In reality, I have a son who does most of the cooking. So nearly there!
Good to virtually meet you. I have good friends in Norway. Beautiful country. Which part of the country are you in? Some of my friends live in a the middle of a forest in the south where any time you go for a walk you’re likely to run into a Moose or two. In winter, they’ve had Wolf tracks in the snow, though I’ve yet to meet one on my trips over there. Maybe next time?
Not too many by the look of it. We’re hoping to do something about that soon. Meanwhile, good to see you, and how are you getting on with the ovate material? Quite a shift in gear from the bardic. There are things in it that blew my mind even as I was writing them! I will be gently revising little bits of it over the next year so looking forward to having my mind blown again….
As ever I’m a bit late to the fray on this one having been offline revising the bardic course for the last year or so. While doing that, Nwyfre cropped up and here are my conclusions, mostly from a footnote in bardic booklet 8 which you should have access to either now or shortly:
As Dowgri says, the Welsh word, nwyfre, does mean ‘sky.’ Despite the paucity of evidence in the early literature, much has been made of Nwyfre by Druid revivalists. There is a possibility that Nwyfre is an alternate name for Nudd, meaning ‘cloud.’ An internet search reveals entire websites devoted to him, including one headed “Nwyfre – ‘Noo-if-rey’ Intuitive healing, yoga and celebrancy.” The actual pronunciation is more like NooIV-ruh, the Welsh single ‘f’ being pronounced as ‘v.’ The site’s owners confidently assert that “Nwyfre is the energy that binds all life together, it is the force that we feel coursing through us when we are in nature, or feeling great joy. It is that which connects us all. Nwyfre has many other names in other cultures: prana, chi, spirit to name just three.” Another website likens it to ‘The Force’ in Star Wars! This interpretation originated with our old friend, the renowned 18th century bard and forger of medieval manuscripts, Iolo Morgannwg. In a posthumous collection of his writings, Iolo refers to “nwyvre, which is God, from Whom proceeds every life, strength, and intellect, and every perception and sense” (J. Williams ap Ithel (ed.), Barddas: A Collection of Original Documents Illustrative of the Theology, Wisdom and Usages of the Bardo-Druidic System of the Isle of Britain, 1862, page 373). Iolo’s interpretation was taken up by the Ancient Druid Order, from which it was inherited by their offshoot, the Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids, who popularised the ‘prana’ interpretation via their courses.
In talks with Philip Carr-Gomm, I’ve said that OBOD seems to use nwyfre to mean the sort of creative energy that I see as being part and parcel of what awen is. In terms of energies that course within the body, we tend to to use the Welsh anadl, which means ‘breath,’ from a root with the combined meaning of ‘breath’ and ‘soul.’
Dowgri’s right: don’t worry. Our courses are designed to be used differently by each student. The reason we put so much into them is because we know that everyone is different, which means that some of what’s in the courses will be right for you but not everything will. Go with where your own awen takes you. Follow those threads first and don’t warry about the rest. You have the courses forever and can always come back to parts later when they might have gained new relevance for you.
That said, I also find it easier to remember songs than just about anything else. Likewise, I understand your preference for hearing tales spoken. There’s nothing that quite compares with ‘live’ storytelling. We have plans to record the whole courses eventually, including the stories and poems. Till then, there are versions of some of the stories around. If you go to YouTube and type ‘mabinogion audiobook’ into their search engine you’ll find several versions and some very good introductions to the stories too. Most of the audiobook versions are, however, taken from the Lady Charlotte Guest version because it’s out of copyright. It is, however, not amazingly accurate and a bit clunky.
For a dramatic retelling of the story with actors and music by the great Robin Williamson, type in ‘The Mabinogi (1984).’
For a reading of the Sioned Davies translation that we use in the course, go to https://youtu.be/W5V3aAy2ZIg
For spiritual songs, Robin Williamson and the Incredible String Band have been favourites of mine since the 1960s and still are. They’re not to everyone’s taste, but then what is?
Also do an online search for videos featuring the band, Telling the Bees. Wonderful stuff.
And as Dowgri says, you can always turn the stories into songs and remember them that way. That would be an amazing bardic exercise!
Hope some of that helps.
Hello, Beech Nut, and welcome!
I live next to a small Beech wood so am well on board with the name…
All good blessings on your journey with us,
I’m just coming to the end of revising the bardic course, which feels a lot like having done it again as a student, so I’m looking forward to my own graduation! I will then be making some more minor revisions to the ovate course, so look forward to catching up with you there 🙂
All good blessings on your continuing journey,
Just noting that it’s taken me almost a year to get around to replying. In my defence, I have been putting in 40 plus hours a week revising the bardic course, but still, a year is a long time…
The Serpent pierced by a lightning bolt is found on several Pictish symbol stones in Scotland. You’re right. I included it in the video because it felt like lightning piercing the dark Serpent of the virus, though it could also be seen as the white Serpent of healing manifesting its power.
We’re not making best use of these student forums. We’re now thinking of moving all interactions with tutors onto here instead of via email. The first thing to do is to get all our tutors logging in on a more regular basis. I say this as one of the worst offenders. Having been devoting more-or-less all my time for the last year to upgrading the bardic course, I’ve only been dropping in here very infrequently. That said, our tutors are all volunteers and most have other jobs they must do to earn a crust, so don’t be too harsh on them.
On the Battle of Trees. Yes, there are a number of translations around, all of which read more or less differently from each other. Medieval Welsh is not the easiest to translate. The translation we have now is, we believe, the best currently available and certainly a lot more accurate than the Victorian one we were using before.
“I was in many forms
Before I was freed from restraint.”
Could refer to a group of previous existences/lives gone through before the final enlightenment is gained by drinking from the cauldron of Ceridwen.
As Dowgri says, an anti-spamming measure may have intervened. We did have to up our anti-spam protection a while back after attempts to swamp the site. I’ll ask our tech-wizard whether it’s possible to allow uploading of files. There have been times I’ve wanted to upload things and couldn’t…
That said, I love the poem. What a great re-purposing of the legend and skilfully carried out too. I’d love to hear this declaimed in our roundhouse by the flickering light of the central fire…
Ah! Apparently I’m now a moderator as well. Huzzah! 😀
Hi Amanda 🙂