Archive for the ‘Order of the Black Awen’ Tag

Thirty Days of Druidry 20: Awen Dark and Light   Leave a comment

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[Some days, about all I can muster is a good gray awen.]

[Gray, grey. “If it’s good enough for Gandalf, then it’s good enough for me.”]

[Gra/ey magic(k). 1) a hair coloring product. 2a) Magic not performed for specifically beneficial purposes. 2b) (derogatory) Magic which avoids annoying ethical considerations. 2c) Magic practiced to confuse, mislead or perplex others. Roy Bowers’ version (link to article): “your opponent should never be allowed to confirm an opinion about you but should always remain undecided. This gives you a greater power over him, because the undecided is always the weaker.”]

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“Light is the left hand of Darkness.”

Finally the Chief of the Urdd Awen Ddu rose and called for silence with a curious circular gesture. He was a slim, short man who nevertheless had a commanding presence. His simple black robe accentuated his dark eyes. Power spoke in his voice.

“Opposition strengthens us, like a good resistance training exercise. Contrary to the fears of our opponents, it’s not our intention to ‘cover all the lands in a second darkness.’ Our opponents grow stronger as well. But we have a secret they do not know.”

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Almost no shadow

He paused to scan the room and gather eyes. “In the darkness we cast almost no shadow at all. With this energy freed, this psychic weight lifted, we may work our will with advantage. We read in the Hebrew scriptures how even God says, ‘I will give you the treasures of darkness and the hoards in secret places.’* And we have learned together how to recognize and gather these treasures that those who work in light never see, nor ever know. They cannot, not as long as they resist polarity, or think to vanquish one half of the universe.”

IMG_1332A good speaker weaves enchantment over an audience, and the Chief did so now. “Others may fear the Dark. But we have learned, my brothers and sisters, to know and respect its nature and its extent. Identifying with it, its reach becomes our own, and from the concealment darkness offers, we may extend our grasp to life in a way that light cannot. Anciently the Wise have declared, ‘Light is the left hand of Dark.’ Once prepared, as we have prepared ourselves, we can welcome it and grow from it — from the Dark.”

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“Moreover it doth not yet appear that these arts are fables: for unless there were such indeed, and by them many wonderful and hurtful things done, there would not be such strict divine, and human laws made concerning them …” (Henry Cornelius Agrippa, Three Books of Occult Philosophy. First published 1531. This edition translated by James Freake, edited and annotated by Donald Tyson, Llewellyn Publications, St. Paul MN, 8th printing, 2005).

Of course, this and the previous two posts on the hypothetical Order of the Black Awen are hardly the last word to be said on the subject, nor infallibly workable truths about either the Dark or the Light such as the unwary might conclude, but they are nonetheless one entry, one doorway, one path in themselves.

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*Isaiah 45:3.

 

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Thirty Days of Druidry 19: What’s So Dark About Your Awen?   Leave a comment

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“Well, Druid, you need to work on manifesting your intention. Lots of missing posts in your ‘Thirty Days of Druidry.'”

“I know. I’m doing the best I can. Really. Remember what it is that ‘happens when you’re making other plans’? Got some of that going on. Hey, look at that bird over there!”

I’m finding that occasionally setting an intention publicly, however modest it is, is good training. In my universe, the secret to success is to keep failing until I don’t anymore. They’re inevitable, really, both the failure and the eventual not-failing. And I find that remarkably comforting. All I have to do is to ‘keep on keeping on.’ I can even ‘give up,’ until I weary of that, too, and I start again. Of course failure is always an option — I’ve come to know this intimately. Don’t we all? Otherwise, what would success even mean?

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One of the listeners who had joined us a short while ago around the fire now spoke up. A small silver brooch on her robe at the left shoulder caught the firelight and flashed briefly, transmuted to gold in the flickering orange glow.

“Morgrugyn,” she said, and now I knew the old woman’s Druid name, though not yet its meaning. “You said earlier this evening that the Dark, like the Light, seeks a particular consciousness to manifest through. But doesn’t the world around us manifest both light and dark all the time, already? Why the need for specific individuals — people, or spirits, gods, other beings? Why does there have to be a designated ‘Order’ at all for this to happen? Isn’t this just already a part of the weave of things?”

“Daughter, the dark and light halves spiral up through consciousness like two vines that curl and climb round a support. They flower most vividly and distinctly through consciousness. It’s true they often seek the easiest channel to flow through, and they pervade all things, as you said, working through all those many channels. But what is ‘easy’? A developed consciousness in a manifest being that is active on all the planes affords an unusually vital and, I will say, attractive channel.”

Morgrugyn paused for a sip from her water bottle, then continued. “A paradox — the Dark is as bright as the Bright is dark. For there is a kind of brightness in the Dark, focused through consciousness, that draws the awen in and gives it life. Charisma, to give another example, chooses its favourites from both halves. There is a ‘sinister appeal,’ as it’s been called, to certain persons and things. It’s the intention of a consciousness that makes the Dark or Bright so intense, so polarizing and forceful. Energy all around us still continuously gathers and diffuses, always dancing, here in a growing forest, there in an earthquake or volcano, one slower, the other faster. The Dance rises and subsides, subsides and rises again, which is why the tide, the moon, the seasons, the ritual Wheel of the Year, the give and take of bodies in lovemaking, the cycles of death and rebirth, are all such splendid teachers of this rhythm.”

“You seem to be arguing against your earlier point,” the younger woman said. “Doesn’t everything move toward equilibrium? And it’s been doing so for a really long time, long before humans appeared. Any Order, even a ‘dark’ one, is part of that equilibrium, isn’t it? Why do we suddenly need to worry?”

“Not suddenly. Everything does indeed ceaselessly seek out equilibrium. But when humans appeared, so did new opportunities for consciousness and manifestation of the equilibrium in new forms and patterns. Branching or diverging is one of things the universe ‘likes’ to do. And it makes sense to speak in such terms as ‘liking.’ We can see it in patterns as substances crystallize, we see it in snowflakes, in plants growing, in thoughts and ideas unfolding, in the outflung arms of spiral galaxies, in the whorls of seashells, in human groups and institutions which form and split and regroup and dissolve and are reborn. We see it in relationships, and we see it in new stars and planetary systems forming. The word, the idea of equilibrium, can mislead us, because people think ‘changeless.’ But equilibrium in this case is dynamic. It’s a living thing. The addition of consciousness to the local equilibrium — to this planet or solar system, which stretches the sense of ‘local,’ I admit — means that humans get to participate in the equilibrium in powerful ways. And they participate differently to how … how a rock does, for example.”

“So it’s our participation that makes the difference, then?”

“Yes,” said Morgrugyn, with a smile. “And an Order, as a potentially highly focused gathering of energy manifesting through human consciousness, can effect long-lasting changes in the equilibrium, for both ill and good together.”

“But those are human judgments, aren’t they?” asked Dragon, who had been frowning with concentration as he followed the thread of Morgrugyn’s argument. “What we consider good or bad may not be the same thing as what’s good or bad from a non-human standpoint.”

“The loss of branching or diversity, whatever else we think of it, means lives lost, animal and human, and a decline in equilibriating ability. With fewer options, an equilibrium deteriorates in stability. And increasingly violent shifts can shove an equilibrium to a new balance point that is far less conducive to the richness of lives we have known. Yes, that’s a judgment rendered largely from a human standpoint, but it does concern more than human lives. Some Orders and human groups may advocate from non-human standpoints, like those of a god-form. Yes, Lugh or Thor or Isis or Yemaya may perceive and cherish and pursue longer, deeper goals than most humans. However, they never cherish goals against life. But some few Orders work from standpoints that value some specific advantage or benefit at a cost most of us would refuse to pay, or even consider. From what I’ve seen of them, Urdd Awen Ddu is one of those latter Orders. And the nature of their “darkness”? It lies in this: the price they are planning for all of us to pay to achieve their goals — with neither our knowledge nor our consent.”

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Part 3 coming soon

 

 

Thirty Days of Druidry 18: Order of the Black Awen   Leave a comment

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“Now, my daughters and sons,” said the old woman, “because all things in this world dance with their opposites, and the Bright is the left hand of the Dark, it is meet that I, who am old and may not live to see the end of the next winter, should be the one who tells you of the Order of the Black Awen, Urdd Awen Ddu.”

She paused, and seeing her shiver I drew the blanket more closely around her. There was just a handful of us still gathered round the fire. Her words might have seemed overblown or contrived at any other time. But the fire and the evening and the mead had each done their work. We were ready to hear almost anything. The dew had descended a couple of hours ago, but the night chill only now was lapping at our skin. Dragon built up the fire again, and raked the coals together so the new logs would kindle sooner. The old woman smiled at us and continued.

“I give the Order its Welsh name, too, because it offers a valuable lesson. Taken apart from its meaning, the sound of it is lovely: oorth ah-wen thoo.* And so too its birth. All things carry in their breasts a spark of the Imperishable Flame at the heart of the world, the breath of the Formless. Anciently the Wise of the East knew this, and the Sage of the Way wrote in his book, ‘From the One comes Two; from the Two, Three; and from the Three the Ten Thousand Things.’ Without that balance, chaos follows. We might even welcome the appearance of the counterpart, the opposite, in a way, without doubting it will cost us dearly when we face it, as we eventually must. But it is the third of the Three that issue from the One which we will turn to for our way forward.”

She spoke now quite deliberately, not expecting questions as she had earlier, when a lot of good-natured banter enlivened the fire circle, and anyone who held forth and pontificated, never mind the subject, soon had to give it up and relearn if necessary the arts of true conversation, of actual give and take, rather than expecting a reverent silence from the rest of us. That earlier hour also saw the old woman depart for a nap after a brief appearance, so that she would be fresh for later. Which was now. And now we wanted her to hold forth, because she had something of considerable value to share with us, and because what she said was new to us. The singing and drinking carried us here, where we needed to listen. Night had shaped this place and space. So we were quite content mostly to listen and ponder her words.

Questions, however, bothered her not at all, and she sat at her ease when we occasionally asked them. Earlier she asked a good few of her own, though her hearing sometimes played tricks on her. Someone inquired where she had first encountered this Order, and this led to a sad but funny story that must keep for another time. Though she must have been in her late nineties and stooped, and the age-spotted skin of her hands slid loosely over her bones, her thought darted swift and sure, and her gaze out of eyes filmy with cataracts was nonetheless keen.

“Now this Order, dedicated as it is to things we must oppose who cherish the balance, comes into existence because we exist. Each thing calls forth its companion, its counterpart, and Dark is ever the companion and counterpart of Bright. It is a peculiar and perilous folly of these days to suppose we can all ‘just get along.’ We cannot. The world simmers always, and sometimes, as it must, it spills over into open conflict. When a Dark Order forms, the action of the Light has made some advance, yes, but it also stands in peril for that reason. The cause of the Light (or the Dark, for all that) is no mere cliche or child’s fantasy, and such a challenge from the Dark, one that claims and divides the awen, is one that we must answer.”

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*the th of this respelling of the sound dd in Welsh urdd and ddu is voiced, as in English this, them, not as in thick, thin.

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