The Degrees of Consciousness
Following on from Names of God: Part 1 I have chosen another one of Iolo’s Names of God, or degrees of consciousness as I like to think of them, that I believe is a natural development from Hen Ddihenydd and to which he gave the name “NAF” pronounced Nav.
Naf: The Former, The Creator
In footnote 221:4 of the Barddas Naf is defined as The Former, The Creator. I am quite happy to accept this definition as it makes perfect sense to me as the natural development from Hen Ddihenydd. But lets see what Geiriadur Prifysgol Cymru have to say about this word:
The GPC have very little information about this word giving the definition of Lord, Boss, Master, although it appears to have been in use from circa 1300 where a manuscript seems to use it in the context of “main sovereignty Ruling” and another uses it in the context of “God of God”.
As you can see GPC does not really add much to this definition but looking at the older use of the word, in particular the term God of God, I can see where Iolo may have been getting his ideas from for the use of this word in the context a Divine Name.
The following is my attempt to develop a coherent metaphysical cosmology that helps me to put creation into some meaningful context and that allows me to gain some insight and meaning as to the reason for my existence. Obviously each person has to grapple with the philosophical existential questions in their own way in order to make some sense of existence that helps them live a full and exciting life. Therefore I offer these thoughts, using the structure offered in Barddas, as food for your own philosophical ponderings.
Whereas Hen Ddihenydd is infinite, formless and unknowable Naf is the first stage where our universe becomes bounded. What causes the unbounded, formless and infinite Hen Ddihenydd to create a part of itself is unknowable but I conceptualise the process as being similar to the process of swirls that you see in a body of moving water where the outer edge of the moving water forms a boundary with the slower moving water that surrounds it. The swirl is a part of the whole but yet it is separated by a boundry caused by movement. Many creation myth talk of God moving on the face of the waters which, in my mind, is an equivalent idea. This separation of itself into a bounded universe ‘floating’ within an unbounded existence is very similar to the idea of the Multiverse of M-Theory where membranes (unique, individual universes) float within a vast infinite Bulk, the nature of which is completely unknowable.
What is the nature of this bounded universe?
The first degree of consciousness was that of Hen Ddihenydd. Trying to conceptalise, and put into words, what kind of awareness, if any, an infinite and unbounded-consciousness could have of its own existence I decided to carry out a little thought experiment. I imagined what it would be like if I was all that existed, and that I existed in an infinite unbounded state. I came to the conclusion that it would be impossible to be consciously aware of my own existence as there would be nothing outside of myself that could enable me to conceptualise a state of ‘I’ and ‘Other’.
Extending this thought experiment by now enclosing my consciousness within a bounded universe it was clear to me that once there was a boundary it created the potential for awareness to develop. Although at this point this was still just a ‘potential’.
Naf represents a state of ‘Undifferentiated Consciousness-Existence’ bounded within our Universe but at this point it remains still and soundless, completely unaware of its own self and is completely unknowable. In effect Naf is a term used to represent the state of Undifferentiated Consciousness-Existence prior to the development of duality and the triadic nature of creation.
So we now have a part of the infinite separated from itself with a boundary caused by the movement of ‘Nothing (No-Thing) that is Something (Some-Thing). Does Iolo Morganwg have anything to say about this boundary?
The Circle of Ceugant
“The Circle of Ceugant, where there is only God” p184 Barddas
“Three things that are not capable of size or measure: Ceugant; duration; and God; because there can be no extremes to one or other of them – no beginning or end or middle to them.” p184 Barddas
“There are three circles of existence: the Circle of Ceugant, where there is nothing but God, of living or dead, and none but God can traverse it.” p159 Barddas
Thinking about the above quotes from The Barddas I understand that our Universe is bounded, yet infinite, therefore it would be impossible for us to traverse the boundary. This fits in perfectly with the Einsteinian idea of curved space-time, travel as we will, we can never reach the edge of the Universe, in fact we would eventually return to our starting point.
One more reference in The Barddas related to The Circle of Ceugant can be found in Footnote 175 which states the following:
“Cylch y Ceugant, translated by Ed. Williams, “the circle of infinity” and by M. Pictet, “le cercle de la region vide,” means literally, the circle of the enclosing circumference, that is, the perfect rim that bounds the entire space of existence.” p426 Barddas
Which I think is an excellent definition of what The Circle of Ceugant is!
As usual I have created a diagram to illustrate my understanding of this concept.
My next posting will be following the development of the Universal Conciousness as it develops an awareness of itself.