The Welsh term for inspiration, Awen, is often poetically translated in Druidry as “flowing spirit”. But what is a Druid to do when that very flow is blocked, or run dry?
To write is an act of Awen. If the Awen is a river then words are like boats, carrying ideas along that river from one mind to another. Boats aren’t much use without the water, and words aren’t much use without inspiration.
The current situation, with lockdowns and quaranties and anxiety, is not conducive to inspiration. My Druidry sings the song of the world, the Oran Mor. It is rooted in wild nature, in community and in living.
Druidry is not an ascetic spirituality that seeks to transcend or escape the world. It is in and of the world. Yet lately I feel removed from this world, unable to visit my beloved landscapes. A walk around the neighbourhood for essential exercise is better than nothing, and I am glad to have fields and ponds nearby, but I miss the sea, the fens, the forests, the open skies.
Things are not normal, so I suppose I shouldn’t expect my Druid practice to be normal either.
Looking inward, looking more locally, finding those small spots within my tiny ecosystem of home and garden and dog-walking trail, perhaps is the way forward.
Maybe the Awen is not only found in grandeur and wildness.
Maybe the Awen is the cheeping of the blue tit at the seed feeder.
Maybe the Awen is the breeze through the open window.
Maybe the Awen is the silence of a road without cars.
Or maybe the Awen is me, is you, is all of us in this moment together.
United by worry, anxiety and solitude.
Poised between fear and hope.
Perhaps, at the end, when the boats of our words are wrecked on the rocks of circumstance or left beached on the dried-up channel of our confined minds, perhaps the Awen is this:
And so, we rebuild. We stitch together our boats from words that hint at meaning while saying nothing, and wait for the tides to turn.