The Day’s Eight Tides   2 comments

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backyard — bluets, with a few dandelions — too lovely to mow

Adapted from the Barddas of Iolo Morganwg:

Here are Morganwg’s eight tides or holy times of the day, consisting of three hours each:

1. Dewaint: 12:00-3:00 am (2400-0300)
2. Pylgeint: 3:00-6:00 am (0300-0600)
3. Bore: 6:00-9:00 am (0600-0900)
4. Anterth: 9:00-12:00 (0900-1200)
5. Nawn: 12:00-3:00 pm (1200-1500)
6. Echwydd: 3:00-6:00 pm (1500-1800)
7. Hwyr: 6:00-9:00 pm (1800-2100)
8. Ucher: 9:00-12:00 pm (2100-2400)

If we wish to align these hours with the Four Directions, one possible table could work out like this:

Pylgeint and Bore, late night to mid-morning — East
Anterth and Nawn, mid-morning to mid-afternoon — South
Echwydd and Hwyr, mid-afternoon to evening — West
Ucher and Dewaint, early to late night — North

Here each pair of tides is a time of transition with ever-shifting energies, as the flow created by the “daily generator” of our diurnal cycle moves from the North around the compass and back again.

Or to give a specific example, say it’s 8:00 in the morning. That puts us in the second part of Bore (the Welsh word for “morning”, as in bore da “good morning”), and nearing the transition to South, as daylight continues to grow. This time of year in the Northern Hemisphere, Bore and the Solstice link closely, as light and heat wax and increase day by day, and also during each day. Each day shows in miniature the cycle of the year, with light growing and lessening, dark growing and lessening.

What possible uses of this naming and patterning come to mind?

Well, if I’m awake, a prayer or charm I recite for each of the eight tides, or of the four pairs of them, as I become aware of them. They offer a chance to lift me out of narrow concerns into larger ones. They are a freedom I can give to myself.

Acknowledging the dominant direction and tide at the time of any significant action I (or others) undertake.

Meditating on the shifting force of each direction on each tide as the light and dark ebb and flow, alternating through the year.

Mapping on my own locale the activity and impact of actions taken during the different tides, of weather (especially as the planetary and local climate shifts and heats up), bird and animal and plant life, my own energy and awareness, and so on. To give one obvious example, this time of year our back yard doesn’t receive direct sunlight until well into Bore. Our house lies north-south, with much of the backyard in shadow by late afternoon. What can it teach me, this “Shadow of the West”? An opportunity the land where I live offers me.

Devising personal ritual and dedicating my awareness according to the tides of the days. This can shift daily, or seasonally, as I desire and need. The tides give me a focus for meditation, and a chosen context or “energy border” for my work with the Ovate grade.

As I finish up this post, I’ve entered Nawn, 12:00 to 3:00 pm. Though it’s a rainy day, and I can celebrate the coming of water to plants and trees, keeping the Northeastern U.S. its habitual and lovely green, and replenishing water tables, I can also sense the waxing sun behind the clouds. Delighting in the enchantment of the apparent world, and watching as that enchantment fades, as OBOD ritual frequently proclaims, are twin kinds of awareness that deserve exploration and cultivation.

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2 responses to “The Day’s Eight Tides

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  1. I hadn’t come across this before and do like the idea of using the Welsh words as names for the tides of the day. As a Welsh learner I recognise bore – morning, and hwyr – late, and guess ‘nawn’ is from prynhawn – afternoon. I’d be interested to hear what the others mean.

  2. Hi Lorna! Not sure about the other words yet, but I’ve been looking. Maybe material for a subsequent post … Thanks for visiting.

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