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Sunday, June 24, 2012

The Awen, lost in translation

The Welsh legend of Taliesin begins with Ceridwen creating a Cauldron filled with a Magical elixir. This is where something tends to get lost in translation. Usually when the story is told, even by me as in this video, it is said that she is stirring the Cauldron of Inspiration. That isn’t exactly correct. Ceridwen is creating Awen.
The Welsh word for “inspiration” is ysbrydoliaeth the legend talks of Awen and that is not so easy to translate. Awen refers to that force in nature that creates inspiration. Frequently the word is translated as “muse” as in a line from the third verse of the Welsh national anthem “Ni liddwyd yr Awen trwy erchyll law brad” The Muse is not hindered by the awful hand of treason. However it means a lot more than that.
Consider the universe as being the ultimate in creativity. Everything in the universe includes all creativity. Creativity permeates the universe because it happens all the time. The universe is also the ultimate in inspiration. The existence of the universe is the product of the greatest inspiration. Awen is the personalization of all the inspiration and creativity that exists. Awen is untranslatable because it is a concept and an event. The event occurs when someone touches the Awen.
In the story of Taliesin he touches the Awen and is transformed forever. He becomes more than he ever could have been. This is the lesson and the challenge for us all. If we could just touch, just take three small drops of the Awen, there is nothing we could not create. We too would be transformed into something beyond our present imaginings. Can we touch the creativity and inspiration of the universe? It’s worth a try. Can we also drink from the Cauldron of Ceridwen?
See you around the fire.

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