“among the Welsh there are certain individuals called Awenyddion who behave as if they are possessed…
When you consult them about some problem, they immediately go into a trance and lose control of their senses… They do not answer the question put to them in a logical way.
Words stream from their mouths, incoherently and apparently meaningless and lacking any sense at all, but all the same well expressed: and if you listen carefully to what they say you will receive the solution to your problem.
When it is all over, they will recover from their trance, as if they were ordinary people waking from a heavy sleep, but you have to give them a good shake before they regain control of themselves… and when they do return to their senses they can remember nothing of what they have said in the interval…
They seem to receive this gift of divination through visions which they see in their dreams. Some of them have the impression that honey or sugary milk is being smeared on their mouths; others say that a sheet of paper with words written on it is pressed against their lips.
As soon as they are roused from their trance and have come round from their prophesying, that is what they say has happened…”
12th century. Giraldus
Awen, has been translated as meaning ‘inspiration’, ‘muse’, ‘genius’, or even ‘poetic frenzy’.
Although a somewhat challenged 19th century Welsh dictionary suggested word itself is formed by combining the two words, aw, meaning ‘a fluid, a flowing’, and en, meaning ‘a living principle, a being, a spirit, essential’, the definition of ‘a fluid essence’, or ‘flowing spirit’ does fit modern Druidic ideas.
Awen can also be thought within or from ‘mind’ (in a Cosmic sense) which would make Nwyfre the ‘nerve’ which carries the thought into being – the path of becoming. It is the route through which we at our core (Cauldron of Motivation) connects with The Sky (Gywnfyd – Cauldron of Inspiration) and The Sea (Anwyn – Cauldron of Warming).
The fire of Nwyfre allowing the individual to connect the Sea, Land and Sky and so ‘merging’ into oneness.
In another sense the Awen is the logo, based on an original design by the 18th-19th century Druid revivalist, Iolo Morganwg. It represents three rays of light emanating from three points of light and symbolises, among other things, the triple nature of the Druid path, incorporating the paths of Bard, Ovate and Druid.