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There will be no future blogs on this site.

Some material will be archived at awenydd.cymru 

Future blogs will be on my re-configured Hill’s Chronicle blog (now Cronicl yr Awen) or on the devotional pages of The Horse Goddess or The Guardian of the Well

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Cynghanedd and Multi-Culturalism

vikram-iyengar_photo-sumiron-ghosh-493x273
Vikram Lyengar

Multi-culturalism is sometimes seen as a melting pot: cultures all mix together and the result is a universal, globally similar, amalgam which encompasses all. But people also value diversity. Visiting a place and finding it is the same as where you came from seems to defeat the object of travel. I am reflecting on these things after attending an evening of Welsh and Indian poetry interactions. Poets from Wales and from India have been involved in a project to see how each can learn from, and benefit from, the other while also acknowledging the value and distinctiveness of each of their traditions. The poets visited each other’s countries and held sessions to explore the particularities of their artistic practices and how they could compare and contrast them, and of course translate each other’s work.

The latest instalment for two of these poets culminated in an evening of activities including a traditional Indian dancer who had been working with them. The dancer, Vikram Lyengar, spoke of his use of music as a base rhythm over which the steps of his dance were made. This was compared to the rhythmic pulse of a line of verse, arranging the syllables of each line around the accents of the main stresses, shortening or lengthening them for emphasis. The poets, one writing in Bangla (Bengali) and the other in Welsh cynghanedd metres, sought to emulate this in their verse and the dancer separately sought to to dance the rhythms of their verse.

It was difficult for me to evaluate the way Sampurna Chattarji wrote the rhythms of the dance in her verse in Bangla, or how Vikram Lyengar danced the work of either poet, though his performance was both impressive and enjoyable in its own right. But I was fascinated by the way that Eurig Salisbury transformed the dance steps into a series of cynghanedd lines across some englyn forms chosen because of the correspendence between the required syllable count and the number of steps he had to ‘translate’ in each case. It couldn’t be said that the englynion produced said anything significant in terms of their meaning. But they did seem charged as forms with the energy of the exercise and the cross-cultural frisson by which the Welsh verse patterns were enlivened without in any way diluting their distinct character and mode of expression. Reflecting on the evening, it seems to me that something very deep was achieved. But, as often with such things, its significance remains elusive, even mysterious.  As it should be.

Awenydd Definition — Signposts in the Mist

Re-posted from Lorna Smithers :

Over the past few months Greg Hill, Lia Hunter, and I have been working on a definition of the awenydd path for Awen & Awenydd. Greg has done the mainstay of the work with input from myself and Lia and feedback from the contributors to the site. ‘An awenydd is a spirit worker and inspired […]

via Awenydd Definition — Signposts in the Mist

There is a direct link to the definition in the sidebar of this  blog ->

BRIGANTICA – A Seasonal Prayer

Re-blogged from

Dun Brython

BeithBrigid, Bríg, Bride, Brigantia;
Birch, beith, bedw, betula –
Bright boles break the dark of winter
Buds swell on branches of pubescens and pendula.

Deep wells springing with rising waters,
Sunlight growing as snowlight falters,
Swift streams tumbling over mountain boulders
Swelling through valleys to meet wide rivers.

So fills the cup that she will bear
To the feast of the brightening of the year
As across these islands by each name we call her:
Brigid, Bríg, Bride, Brigantia.

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Annuvian Awen

Annuvian Awen : Re-blogged from Lorna Smithers

Fruits of Annwn

Annuvian Awen

Allan o dywyllwch caf fy ngeni
Allan o waed caf fy ngeni
Allan o ysbryd caf fy ngeni

Yn canu o Annwn

Tri phelydryn golau
Tri phelydryn llais
Tri phelydryn wirionedd

I oleuo â rhyfeddod
Ac yn torri’r galon wytnaf

Yn canu o Annwn

~

Out of darkness I am born
Out of blood I am born
Out of spirit I am born

Singing from Annwn

Three rays of light
Three rays of voice
Three rays of truth

To illuminate with wonder
And break the hardest heart

Singing from Annwn

~

About a month ago I awoke with the symbol above in my mind with the name ‘Annuvian Awen’. Awen derives from the Indo-European *-uel ‘to blow’ and has the same root as the Welsh awel ‘breeze’. It is the primordial breath that binds all things, as Kristoffer Hughes says, ‘the voice of the universe speaking to itself’.

The Awen…

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MAPONOS

Dun Brython

Gogyfarch Vabon o arall vro
-*-
Call upon Mabon from the Other Realm

(Book of Taliesin : 38)

Matrona Gaul goddess altMatrona with Child Divine Son of Divine Mother, taken at three nights old into the Otherworld but brought back out of the darkness into the light of this world. Playing the Harp of Time ~>  he brings the music of the world out of silence into the sights and sounds of Summer. His is the bright step into the eternal present of Now, the act of Being, the vitality of youth grown to manhood. He may come as a hunter decked in leaves with a sheaf of arrows to inspire a bard, as the Welsh poet Henry Vaughan relates (~>).

In the tale of Culhwch and Olwen he is Mabon, released from the dungeon of Caer Loyw to join Arthur and his men to hunt Twrch Trwyth. He is simultaneously…

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Bards who Sing … Bards who Praise

I have just posted this on the BRYTHON blog

Dun Brython

Beirdd copy copy

It is the bards of the world who judge men of valour’ – Gododdin

So says Aneirin in the oldest surviving text in the Welsh language. Aneirin was one of the bards mentioned in the 9th century Historia Brittonum (1) as having been active in the 6th century:

Talhaern Tat Aguen was then renowned in poetry, and Aneirin and Taliesin and Bluchbard and Cian who was called Gwenith Guaut, were all renowned at this time.

Of these, only Aneirin and Taliesin have surviving poems attributed to them and, in the case of Taliesin, poems continued to be written in his name by bards using him as the mouthpiece of the awen up until the end of the thirteenth century. The language of the Historia is Latin, but the epithets for Talhaearn and Cian are in early Welsh. Talhaearn is described as ‘the father of the Awen’, which…

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The Elusive Source

Finding the source, where streams come from
that’s a thing to be sought. So I went up on the path
through the wood, following the tumble of water

….[More of this poem on my other blog HERE]

A Meditation for Manawydan

man
Manawydan’s Glass Door – Water Colour by David Jones

Weldy racco … y drws ny dylywn ni y agori  
Look there … the door we should not open

(Spoken by Manawydan as the Company arrive in Gwales with the head of Bran in the second branch of the medieval Welsh  Mabinogi tales.)

 

Meditation

He has lingered at the doors of perception for so long I could not imagine him not being there. But never forthright, never an intrusive presence, sometimes barely a presence at all, as if he said:

“You wanted me for a god but I am not a god for you now … though I am here for you, for counsel should you want to listen – keeping the door that you might not open, but when you do open it telling you what I have to tell about the path that opens through it should you choose to listen, and take me for a companion, walking with you on that path. I am patient and will wait for days, weeks, months, years … longer if it is necessary, for the right time and until then I will be at the threshold watching from beneath my hood of shadow, like the shadow of trees in the corner of a field where the hidden path leads into the wood.

So you ask – or dare not ask – why I did not walk with Pryderi and Rhiannon when the door opened for them? When the Divine Son is snatched away and the Divine Mother follows as she did not follow before, then though I offer counsel which would be wise for you, for them, who are beyond counsel, I could only watch, and wait, and bide my time for action, to bring them back into the world, and bring the world back to its right shaping.

But for you … for you too I wait and will speak the words you need to hear when you need to hear them. The door is not locked; you have already seen through it. You know what is to be found there and that there is a task to fulfil when you walk that path.

But for now, learn patience. Do not call before the appointed time, do not bid me speak before I have something to tell you. But know that I am here for you, acknowledge me and I will hold my counsel and reveal to you its hidden depths: Standing aside from the busy-ness of the world to better see the way through and tell it in quiet words for those who listen.

This for you and for all of those.”

Reflection

When I was taught the art of focused meditation I always had a commentary, a reflection, on what I reported. So here I provide my own. Clearly this meditation results from many years of passive reflection on what it contains. Clearly too it contains things gained from study, from reading, from explorations of Brythonic lore, and so is not without some cultural influence. But it is not consciously shaped from these studies so much as emanating from having internalised them. Like the poet who has learned the verse forms and finds them providing a shape for the shapeless inspiration that is breathed through the breath of words.

So I knew that Manawydan was held to be ‘oet guis y cusil’ (profound of counsel). So I knew that he identified the door in Gwales that must remain shut for eighty years before the Company of the Head must leave their sojourn in that place and take the head of Bran to the White Mount and bury it there; … that he had refrained from claiming the lordship over Britain which had been usurped but retreated to Dyfed to marry the now widowed Rhiannon and ‘there was no woman more beautiful than she’; … that he lived simply but outwitted the Otherworld adversaries that had cast a spell over Dyfed and brought back Pryderi and Rhiannon from Annwn to live among us once again. All these things and more I ‘knew’ in the way that I knew how to breathe rather than as dry academic knowledge.

But more – I have perceived Manawydan on the edge of my meditations, my reflections, my perceptions of the Otherworld, the Gods, the deep presences of deity. And he has stayed there, biding his time quite apart from any cultural conception of him as a mythological figure, a cultural construct or a willed identity. So now as his hood is drawn back to reveal … what? I can only report his words as they came to me and, as he requests, acknowledge him as he has appeared to me.

*

A note on the painting by David Jones.
The reproduction doesn’t do it justice. The original water colour paints have a luminosity that is almost transparent so that the outside and the inside of the room seem to flow into each other. The glass door is a boundary between the two, but one that allows the scene outside to be an extension of the space inside and the carpet similarly seems to flow out of the room. The two worlds are one. Yet they remain apart.