Trefn Gwyddoniad is what we formerly called the American/Welsh hybrid our lineage practices. Its "Greater Book", our sacred book of dogma and ritual, which is also known as "The Greater Book of Knowing", is in English, as is all our ritual and practice. And while many of our priests are enviously fascinated by persons who speak native Celtic languages, very few are able to hold even a rudimentary discussion in one. The last one of us fluent in Gaelic and Welsh was the "Raven Messenger", the Cordemanon Anna Ravenwood who died in the 1970's and was most active up to the mid 1950's. We are unashamedly Americans, speak American English and are products of our environment. The Earth of this place is who speaks to us; thus we have peculiarities all our own. Our fate was sealed in this by Anna Ravenwood herself in the 1950's when she modernized our sacred book to American English, first translated into English over 200 years ago, from its earlier, archaic Welsh, Gaelic and Olde English and only allowed this version to be passed on to us.
This is not to say that we have any less an understanding of the teachings of our elders. Quite the contrary, this modernization has allowed us the freedom to absorb the doctrine and inspirational messages at a vastly accelerated rate than would be possible if a student were required to learn Welsh first. We are also enabled to relate it to daily life, integrate it into personal experience and transmit it to others in this culture more readily. Gwyddons are ever a practical people.
We respect, support and honor the culture of our elders, but do not hold the growth of the esoteric hostage to it. In this way we share a common path with Buddhists (Dozchen in particular), who hold that nothing exoteric (that which is based on outer trappings or ritual) should interfere with the esoteric (that which allows for the inner growth of the individual practitioner); knowledge that all things are but one boundless being of which we are all a part. We, like they, are taught that anything that, in fact, does interfere with our clarity of understanding this "Concept of Oneness" (not just if we think we're smarter or like it put a different way) needs be discarded without hesitation, regardless of its sacredness or antiquity.
One danger we face is that a self-important person could justify disregarding our ritual and law by declaring it old or "passe". For this reason we do not disregard the wisdom of our elders lightly. Before any disregard or alter any of our texts or traditions, they must demonstrate that they completely understand the meaning and intent of the original instruction. Then, and only then, can the Tuatha member be taken seriously in his/her desire to change our teaching as an improvement.
Ironically, after this rigorous examination, the would-be reformer most often finds there is no reason to alter the teachings after all. Thus in the mainstream of our tradition, our Greater Book (formerly called "of the Art and Craft") has only undergone two major alterations in over 200 years; a conversion from UK English to American English, and second and most recent, being with the founding of Y Awenechen itself. But even this most recent revision is not one of true substance, but rather one to re-flavor our words and actions with its original Cymraeg content. We do have off-shoot groups, many of which have, in fact, come and rejoined the core, as they're always welcome to do. It is a human thing to do, and most families (spiritual or blood) are the same.
At its root, our path is the path of the "spiritual warrior", who is relentless in the pursuit of wisdom and understanding while mindful of the traps of "Ego Self-Importance", the ultimate foil to the perception of the Boundlessness.
Y Awenechen is the name that those who take our clan oath are called. It simply means the clan, or family or source of the people who seek to know the Awen. Historically, as a group, they have called themselves 'Gwyddon'. "Gwyddon" translates in a few ways, but the most common rendering is "wizard" or, in its feminine form, Gwidden, as Wise Woman. This usually refers to practitioners from North Western Wales - however, "Gwyddon" is a term used in the more southerly areas as well. The root word of Gwyddon is shared with the Welsh words for science, the alphabet, knowledge, trees and the Irish. As the development of words from a common root can give a clue to their social origin, these source words of Cymraeg (Welsh) give a valuable clue to the origins of the Gwyddon teachings.
Most historical references ascribe the Great Colleges who acted to train the priest, professional and artist classes in Celtic society to locations centralized in the islands of AnglAnglsyMann between Wales and Ireland, and also in various location in both regions. In addition, Ireland had long functioned as a preserver of the Celtic "technological" culture, spreading its influence back into the areas populated by the Cymru, Prytani and Britons who help onto these spiritual shamanic beliefs of these earlier old tribes. These old tribes had a stronger base in the isles of Britain, particularly in northern Wales - Gwynydd. From this it is easy to see a reference to the Irish in relation to the educated class. If not from Ireland itself, the direction from and to which religious and cultural trends traveled was certainly defined by the position of the Colleges in the direction of Ireland.
The fact is that most Knowledge was always associated with Ireland for other reasons as well. The very connection of knowledge, trees and alphabet identifies the linguistic source of the educated class. During the breakdown of the Roman Empire, many educated Gaulish Celts escaped the invasions of the Goths and Vandals by fleeing to Ireland and Southern England. Thus, major portions of Amorican Druid knowledge was reinforced through the Q- Celtic language base of Ireland and thus the direct connection to the Tree Ogham. Although the Gauls had become P- Celtic speakers like the Welsh and Britons, they were at the source of the area that invented the Ogham alphabet itself and encoded all its knowledge into it. So, despite no longer using it as a common alphabet for everyday speech, the learned class still understood how it worked. And then, suddenly, they were in Ireland. It has been likened to having half of the faculty of Cambridge and Oxford plop down in the middle of the Australian Outback. Needless to say, students seeking knowledge and opportunity would take the now-short trip to Ireland, whereas they would not have ventured to the Continent. Ireland came to be known as the source of Education, the Source of Knowledge, and certainly as the Source of the Knowledge of the Trees. The Welsh root word for alphabet is the same as that for knowledge and tree, despite the fact that there was no connection of Ogham and its alphabet to the Welsh words for those same trees any longer. And that same word for those facts, that Knowledge of the Trees, became the Welsh word and root word for science and the scientist today - Gwyddonydd. The Old Scientists or Wizards were simply known as Gwyddons.
Science is distinctly connected to what it is to be a Gwyddon. The study of metaphysics is concerned with ultimate causes and the underlying nature of things. Just as the physical sciences have matured to seek out knowledge beyond that experienced by the physical senses, the advances of science that have included quantum mechanics, theories regarding hyperspace and the existence of parallel dimensions, have only brought that which the Priest-Scientist or Gwyddon has known all along. Magic is no more than science ahead of its time. As science allows itself to become more magical, more full of wonder in its expression, the Gwyddon can allow himself to revel in his scientific curiosity. We are at a time in human development again, as were the Ancients, wherein the forces of inspiration seated in the spiritual and religious aspects of humanity are in a position to give purpose and drive to enrich scientific exploration to its greatest potential. And for the Gwyddon, science has now matured to the point of fulfilling its need of verification of that which we allow ourselves to envision. Like two wings of the same bird, when science and faith are able to work together freely, each fly forward into a bright future.
The wealth of our history and cultural background has defined who and what we are in many ways, but not in all. The act of becoming native to another part of this planet than where our Mythos originated has had some interesting consequences. Particularly in America, the broad range of contact with other cultures often native to yet other parts of the planet has served to spotlight their similarities more than their differences. This is true whether they are Celt, Hindu, Chinese, African, Australian Aborigine, Japanese or Native American. Having shared the same earth space with the Native Americans over the last 200 years has allowed us a particular vantage into understanding and recognizing our commonality. Having "walked a mile in our brother's moccasins", it has been almost shocking how the native cultures of peoples, separated by an ocean, could have developed along such similar paths.
The glamour fades, however, when you consider that, when it is the Earth itself who speaks to you, the methods of expression and archetypal symbol that each 'YOU' or culture will utilize or create will be very similar. They will share the same symbology of myth, goal and dreams. This broadened view has led us to appreciate the shared nativity to this planet and has led us to cherish its diversity, which is its greatest strength.
Important to our understanding, though, is that it is the differences between ourselves and other schools of thought that creates the richness of the mixture. No matter our respect and kinship with our fellow spiritual seekers, we do not substitute their words and forms for our own. We maintain our ways and uniqueness for the purpose of adding to the beauty of the Whole. The One.
We entreat all those seeking wisdom to master a deep understanding of one world view at a time, honoring each as the unique individual that it is. As you do, the commonality between the truths of each metaphysical school of thought will come to you in sharp focus. As you encounter each parallel and experience their uniqueness, you will find that, rather being the "same", they verify the truth behind truths. But if one were to focus only on the parallels, the unique truths could be lost forever. Our similarities direct our purpose and give us a sense of joy, but it is our differences that have made us strong as Humans.
SO WHAT IS IT TO BE A GWYDDON?
It is to be both Reverent and Analytical, Scientific and Magical
Looking to the Past and the Future, to the Tribal and the World.
But most of all,
To be a Gwyddon is to do all these things and
To know that they are but One.