Awen and Nwyfre

All things that we now "know" as Gwyddons are from a combination of practices, traditional in our methods that utilizes experiential learning, in conjunction with mythological decoding techniques to derive clues to understanding the wisdom of our Gwyddon predecessors. This process can be help us understand the subtle differences necessary to fully grasp the distinction between the Awen itself and the personified energy force called Nwyfre. In this understanding a greater ability to utilize Nwyfre and experience the Awen will result.

Wood AwenIn Gwyddon cosmology and practice, the Awen is like the thought of the Mind itself, whereas Nwyfre is the nerve conduit that carries that same thought throughout to Being; the nervous system, so to speak. Nwyfre has been associated with ley lines throughout the Earth, whose junctures are symbolized by the Dragon that sits beneath the fire pit in the center of the Nemeton and the Standing Stones that point out the intelligence of the stars above. It is the Fire at our Center, where the Sky (Gwynfyd) mixes with the Sea or Underworld (Annwyn) in our bodies and the "Leap" of sweet intelligence is made, just as occurs at a nerve juncture. We become connected, the Worlds within us "Merge" (hence the term) and we are One within as well as without. The divine knowing of Gwynfyd merges with the eternally creative Annwyn and we are able to see and manifest with understanding and control. It is our grounded center, Abred, that makes this joining possible; makes us able to completely experience the Awen in its true and balanced form. This energy network within us is Nwyfre, and is what we are working to activate whenever we do the Tree Meditation, or any other merging exercise.

Anthropomorphically, Nwyfre is called an Earth God (the core of Abred) who possesses the understanding of the Seas and the Stars (Annwyn and Gwynfyd), and therefore is called the God of Astronomy and Science. Thus, He is a special Patron of Gwyddons, and is symbolized by the Welsh red dragon, or gryphon. For the Y Awenechen, He sits at the core of the Nine Rings and thus at the center of our collective symbol. On the Welsh flag he has a similar function. He is the point of connection between Goddess and God, and also Land/Earth below and Sky above. (Green and White). He transmits the Intelligence of the One (the Awen) to everywhere and everywhen.

In Myth, Nwyfre (also called Nwyvre, Nwyvwr and Nynyaw) was the third son of four fathered by the High King, Beli. These four are similar to and contemporaries of the four sons of Llyr and Penardim of the Second Branch of the Mabinogion (though not nearly so tragic). Those sons were Bran, Manawyddan and Nissyen and Evnissyen, the twins. Bran the High King followed Beli, as his nephew was in turn followed by Lludd, his cousin, and Beli's birth son with his premature reign's end. Nwyfre is most like Manawyddan in this comparison, and is also known for his marriage as the second husband to the Great Queen of the Land. The legends say she was, in this case oddly, named Arienhrod. She bore Nwyfre three sons. She was said to have abandoned her original domain and come to this one as its Earth Mother. Is this the same Arienhrod as in the Fourth Branch? More on this later.

As an interesting aside: In actual practice, Gwyddons have discovered that the way a Nemeton is constructed makes a difference in how it generates and utilizes energy. For instance, in constructions where the number of stones in combinations of 8 and 3 are significant and there is a tendency to have both "arches" and menhirs or singular long standing stones, there is an energy manifestation that frequently occurs describable as the "Three Sons of Arienhrod".

When a fire pit is ignited in the center of the circular ritual area using these arches and menhir, and the Ancestral Mother and Father (Goddess and God) are brought together there, three energy patterns manifest or "birth" exactly half way between the fire pit and the stones in the South, Northwest and Northeast. These patterns are distinctly different in character and follow a pattern of Creativity, Life and Death respectively. Arches, formed by two upright and one top or crown stones or by three upright and one crown stones (Trithons) arranged in circular formations and combined with menhir were most common in the areas of far south Wales/Cornwall and southern Briton, the area centered on the rule of the High King Beli, followed by Bran and Lludd. "Stonehenge" is of this type, but not typical of it.

Caer de Mannan - ie 'Stonehenge'

To continue consideration of this mythos, the other two sons - Caswallawn and Llevelys are similar to Nissyen and Evnissyen. Caswallawn, like Evnissyen is both King/Kin murderer (destroyer) and the redeemer whose action saves what is left of the Clan when in need (Preserver). And, as such, he redeems himself. Llevelys and Nissyen are not "of this place", and impossibly wise and kind. They always serve good and love all the Clan and Kin. Llevelys, they say, goes to another land and weds the Maiden of that Land - becoming the "King of France" and a loyal ally to his older brother, Lludd.

Finally, we will return to the questions about Arienhrod. Since Pryderi is an old man by the time of the Arienhrod of the Fourth Branch of the Mabinogion, who is but a maiden still claiming to be a virgin, and the same Pryderi is but a newly married young king joining Bran and the others in the campaign to save Branwen from Ireland in the Second Branch of the Mabinogian (and Lludd and his brothers were contemporaries to Bran), then this Arienhrod is likely not the same one. However, the Mabinogion and other related stories do not make the distinction, and refers to her in the same way the later one is described and attributed. But this earlier version caused great sadness in her Land of Gwynydd, it was said, by her abandonment of it to go to the Lands of Beli (the region later known as London), Briton. So, who is she ? One might consider that she could have been the sister of Don, if not Don herself (who has no physical presence in the Fourth Branch of the Mabinogion except in name). There has always been an odd transference tendency in the myth to have Arienhrod be both herself and her own mother Don. If this were so, this truly would have been a great loss for Gwynydd.

We also forget that Arienhrod had three sisters - Elen, Gwennan, and Maelan, and though we always hear of her, they, together, were the Mothers of Gwynydd. Imagine if this were true also (and likely so) in the previous generation. It would have been no less of a blow to lose any one of them. They were ever together, these Great Mothers. They never left Arienhrod's side until she destroyed herself and they were unable to stop her. So it must have been for the Generation before. And if one did leave, it would have been a heartbreak for the Land and the People.

Yes, there is always more. But here is a taste to set you on the path.


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Background copyright 2002, Shamyn Whitehawk.