Names of God: Part 2

The Degrees of Consciousness


Naf

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

Definitions

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.

Metaphysical Understanding

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.

Ceugant

My next posting will be following the development of the Universal Conciousness as it develops an awareness of itself.

Names of God: Part One

The Awen: An Exploration of Inspiration

Awen-Traditional

Preamble

The above image is one of the commonest symbols to be found to represent the Awen. The usual explanation for the source of this symbol is that this symbol evolved from the writings of Iolo Morganwg and can be found in his great work ‘The Barddas of Iolo Morganwg Vol. 1 & 2’, a collection of manuscripts surrounded by controversy.

Iolo Morganwg

Born the 10th March 1747 in Pen-onn, Glamorgan, Wales he lived a most interesting, some would say infamous, life until his death at the age of 79 on 18th December 1826

But research carried out by a Welsh scholar, Angela Grant, has brought to light the possibility that this symbol significantly predated Iolo conception of the Awen symbol. Angela Grant states the following:

I came across a manuscript in my researches that may have given Iolo the idea, his mind always being unable, under the influence of laudanum, to distinguish between what he found in manuscripts and what came from his own awen. That manuscript (now in the Bodleian Library in Oxford) describes how the historian Nennius, on being challenged by an English scholar that the Welsh had no alphabet of their own, produced for his challenger an alphabet that bears a considerable resemblance to Coelbren, though more complex. It also contains an awen symbol (joined at the top) as one of its letters. This does not represent an individual letter but the Latin word ‘ego’ is ascribed to it : ‘I am that I am …’

I will leave, for another day, the debate regarding Iolo’s manuscripts and how much of the content may have been genuinely sourced from ancient manuscripts and how much was from his own imagination, suffice it to say that I consider this infamous character to have been a man ahead of his time, a true polymath and genius, whose inspired writings have had a profound influence on the development of Welsh culture, Druidry and modern neo-paganism.

Before I explore what was written about the Awen and its symbol in ‘The Barddas’ I feel it is important to remind the reader that Iolo was a man of his time, and a well-known Unitarian and, as such, his writings are couched in Christian terminology. All I ask is that, if you decide to read his works, you take the time to see the sentiments and deeper meanings behind the text. If you approach ‘The Barddas’ with a spirit of openness and willingness to see beyond the Christian terminology you will be rewarded with a glimpse of the deep insights that Iolo had regarding the creation of our Universe.

Awen

We can begin our journey to understand Awen by considering how it has been variously defined.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Awen gives the following definition:

In the Welsh tradition, awen is the inspiration of the poet bards; or, in its personification, Awen is the inspirational muse of creative artists in general: the inspired individual (often a poet or a soothsayer) is described as an awenydd.

A very well researched article has been written by the British Druid Order BDO and is well worth reading where they write the following:

The feminine noun, Awen, has been variously translated as ‘inspiration’, ‘muse’, ‘genius’, or even ‘poetic frenzy’. According to a 19th century Welsh dictionary, the word itself is formed by combining the two words, aw, meaning ‘a fluid, a flowing’, and en, meaning ‘a living principle, a being, a spirit, essential’. So Awen may be rendered literally as ‘a fluid essence’, or ‘flowing spirit’. However, more recent dictionaries do not support this interpretation.

With regard to the suggestion that Awen was formed by combining aw and en Angela Grant has this to say:

 I could say, and be right in doing so, that the ‘flowing spirit’ idea was invented by a contemporary of Iolo’s, William Owen(-Pughe), who decided it came from two ancient words ‘aw’ and ‘en’, one meaning flow and the other spirit. Neither word, of course, ever existed in actuality.

The Geiriadur Prifysgol Cymru defines Awen as:

a. Poetic inspiration, muse, poetic genius or gift,
b. Disposition, inclination, desire, will, enjoyment, joy, delight, zest, liking; inspiration, genius, ?mind

It can be seen from the above definitions and descriptions that Awen has a wide variety of meanings, from ‘poetic inspiration’ to ‘flowing spirit’. But Iolo, in the Barddas, develops an aspect of Awen that, he suggests, relates to the very creation of our Universe. This supports my use of the symbol in my previous post regarding the Triadic Nature of the Universe.

Iolo Morganwg’s words on the Awen

So, what does Iolo say regarding the Awen? let us examine a few of his preliminary words.

In a section titled ‘SYMBOL’ he does not specifically use the word ‘Awen’ but he does give the symbol he uses for Awen and a description of its meaning, he states the following:

When God pronounced his name, with the word sprang the light and the life; for previously there was no life except God Himself…  And Menw the Aged, son of Menwyd, beheld the springing of the light, and its form and appearance, not otherwise than thus, /|\, in three columns; and in the rays of light the vocalization–for one were the hearing and seeing, one unitedly the form and sound; and one unitedly with the form and the sound was life, and one unitedly with these three was power, which power was God the Father.

 

Later in this paragraph he goes on to write the following:

And it was on hearing the sound of the voice which had in it the kind of utterance of three notes, that he obtained the three letters, and knew the sign that was suitable to one and other of them. thus he made in form and sign the Name of God, after the semblance of rays of light…

How do we make sense of this?

The Geiriadur Prifysgol Cymru (GPC) gives some suggestions for the meaning of Menw and Menwyd and, although I’m not a Welsh Language expert or Scholar, I have gained some insight and understanding from these suggestions which I offer for your contemplation.

GPC suggests that Menw is a re-formation of Menwyd and can mean; intellect, mind. But Menw is also related to Benw and Benyw (Menyw) which indicates female, girl, woman. This reinforces the use of the word Awen, which is a feminine noun, for the description of this symbol. It also gives the following additional meanings for Menwyd; good nature, disposition; joy, delight, pleasure.

Iolo appears to be stating that somehow ‘vibration’ was part of the initiatory process that lead to the creation of the universe. Although he does not limit this to sound but adds light to the sound which lead to the springing forth of form. But it is the third principle of Life which imbues, what I suggest is consciousness, Menw (Mind) into the form of the Universe. My personal take on this particular description given by Iolo is that the ‘Feminine’ principle was that which enabled the manifestation of the Universe in a material form, and that the material universe is the carrier or container of consciousness. This clearly links the symbol of Awen with the creative processes of creation and therefore it is quite understandable that Awen is defined as creativity, muse and inspiration. These ideas will be discussed in-depth in later blogs.

This has been a short excursion into the world of Iolo Morganwg and his elusive and complex style of writing. I intend to delve deeper into his works and demonstrate how his work can be integrated into a number of other fields such as the ‘Flower of Life’, ‘The Kabbalah’ and even modern cosmology!

I hope that this little introduction has demonstrated that there are deeper mysteries to be explored within this very simple symbol /|\ and I hope I’ve wetted your appetite enough that you will enjoy following my future posts.

My next blog post will be looking into the ‘Names of God’ as given in The Barddas, which I have renamed as ‘The Degrees of Consciousness’.

 

The Triadic Nature of the Universe

An exploration of the Triadic Nature of the Universe and it’s Metaphysical implications.
How the number 3 is the foundation of our Universe.

Triquetra

During my many sojourns into the various records of ancient wisdom, be they Western, Eastern or for that matter Norther or Southern there is a recurring theme involving sacred numbers, but one number in particular has always piqued my interest and that is the number three. It appears to me that the number three somehow holds within it an understanding of the Universe that may be accessible to our human minds, for why else does it appear in so many traditions around the globe. Take the following few examples as evidence of this fact:

  • The Celtic Triads
  • The Christian Trinity; God the Father, Son & Holy Ghost
  • The Supernal Triangle in Jewish Mysticism; Kether, Chokmah & Binah
  • The washing of the face, arms etc three times during the Wada of Islam
  • The Hindu Trinity; Brahma, Vishnu and Maheshwar
  • The Three Treasures of Taoism; Compassion, Frugality & Humility
  • The Three Jewels of Buddhism; Buddha, Dharma & Sangha
  • The Triple Goddess of Paganism and Witchcraft
  • The Three Pillars of Zen; Teaching, Practice, and Enlightenment
  • The Three Sacred Vowels of Druidry; O, I, W
  • Celtic Realms; Land, Sea & Sky
  • The Three Original Beings of Norse Mythology; the primordial cow Audhumla, Ymir the first giant, and Búri the first god and grandfather of Odin.
  • The Three Worlds of Shamanism; Lower World, Middle World and Upper World.

This takes me into the realm of metaphysics, but does metaphysics have any relevance to anyone? So I ask myself the question, ‘Why Metaphysics?’ this question always bring to mind a quote from one of the famous German Idealist Philosophers of the modern era, that being, Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph Schelling.

Schelling

So, in my opinion, the study of Nature is the study of Spirit, and the study of Spirit is the study of Nature. Therefore, if you choose to accept the above statement, there is no way to avoid metaphysics.

Merriam-Webster defines metaphysics as follows:

a division of philosophy that is concerned with the fundamental nature of reality and being and that includes ontology, cosmology, and often epistemology

When I began studying the truth of the triad I had in mind the following aphorism:

We are the sum totality of all that has gone before.
And
We are the seeds of all becoming

(Acknowledgement to Kristoffer Hughes, for introducing me to the first part of this aphorism. The final sentence was added by myself to include the future.)

tree

The Past, Present and Future

Is this all purely imagination and mystical thinking from the minds of philosophers or new age followers? or are there people who are open to exploring these topics within the scientific paradigm?

One such person is a scientist called Max Tegmark who, in his book “Our Mathematical Universe: My Quest for the Ultimate Nature of Reality” makes the following statements:

“There’s something very mathematical about our Universe, and that the more carefully we look, the more math we seem to find”

“Everything in our world is purely mathematical – including you!”

“Equations aren’t the only hints of mathematics that are built into nature: there are also numbers”

“I’m now talking about numbers that are basic
properties of our physical reality.”

And, what clinched the deal for me was the following question raised by Max Tegmark:

how many pencils can you arrange so that
they’re all perpendicular (at 90 degrees) to each other?

The answer of course is 3 – The most basic expression of the reality of our three dimensional world!

A summary of Max’s book can be found in Scientific American at the following link:
https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/is-the-universe-made-of-math-excerpt

So begins my search for meaning within the numerical nature of our Universe. For the remainder of this particular blog post I will be using the above aphorism as a starting point. I hope to demonstrate that the triad is the foundation of our Universe and contains deep wisdom and meaning.

Following on from this exploration of the triad it is my intention, over the next few blog posts, to build upon this knowledge to construct a complete holistic system that will integrate a number of areas of research and philosophy that I have been interested in for a number of years. These posts will encompass a number of topics, not least; Druidic knowledge, Kabbalah, the Flower of Life and Tarot.

Sum Totality

Using the above aphorism I began to explore the number system most familiar to me, that is the base 10 system. Using the sum totality as my starting point I gained the following insights:

Using the principle of “we are the sum total of all that has gone before” and applying it to the numerical series so that, as each number becomes the sum of its predecessors, we develop a new series of numbers.

0+1=1
1+2=3
3+3=6
6+4=10
10+5=15
15+6=21
21+7=28 etc…

These numbers in turn, using the numerological method of reduction, can be reduced to their basic single numerical quality as represented by a single digit between 1 and 9. Due to the esoteric understanding that the essence of any number can be understood in such a way that the complexity represented by any individual number is simply a higher and more complex representation of the simple truth seen within its base digit.

The following list demonstrates how this works:

Truth of the triad

At first sight this list of numbers seem to have little meaning, but looking deeper, it can be seen that they form a new series that can be organised into three groupings which, when put into relationship, demonstrate an underlying Unity and Duality that is an expression of the Triad within nature.

Developing the numerical series, based upon the aphorism, ‘we are the sum totality of all that has gone before, and the seeds of all becoming’, we get the following numerically reduced series, which progresses into infinity:

truth of the triad 2

This series may appear to be meaningless but I have deduced a meaningful pattern based upon my studies of ancient Celtic wisdom. During my exploration of my native spirituality, that of the British Isles, I studied Druidry in-depth including the works of Iolo Morganwg of which I will have more to say in a future post. Within his work I was introduced to the idea and symbolism of the Awen, of which I will also discuss in more depth in a future post, which I later explored with the Anglesey Druid Order. Suffice it to say, at this stage, that the symbol used by Iolo Morganwg contains within it the deepest of esoteric meaning. He links the Awen to the three primal vowels that were sung out into the Universe at the point of creation, of which my future posts will explore and elucidate. But the purpose of this post is to examine the triadic nature of reality that is deeply embedded in our Universe, and as such will confine itself to exploring the symbolism that can be extracted from the numerology of the triad and how this relates to the symbol of the Awen.

The numbers identified above have been held as sacred for millenia, even in more modern times the genius of Tesla was aware of the significance of these numbers when he stated the following:

Tesla

The Numerology of the Awen

The usual symbol of the Awen is:

awen

But due to my understanding of the importance of the Triad and the mystery it contains I have adapted the Awen symbol to incorporate the Celtic Triskelion, which itself symbolises the Triad and the three Celtic Realms; Land, Sea and Sky. My reasons for this adoption will be explored and explained in later posts, but for the remainder of my posts the following symbol is the one I use for the Awen and upon which I project the triadic numerology:

Spiralawen

According to the works of Iolo Morganwg, and alluded to in a number of the legendary poems attributed to the Welsh Bard Taliesin, the three rays of the Awen represent the three Vowels, or Shouts, that were sung out at the beginning of time and were the cause of the creation of the material Universe. In my modified symbol I represent the three shouts/vowels by the three arms of the Triskelion and it is the interaction and movement between these three shouts that generate the three rays which, for me, represent the three realms of the manifest Universe; Land, Sea and Sky.

Placing the sequence of numbers generated on to the Awen symbol we obtain the following diagram:

SpiralAwen2

What understanding can be gained from meditating upon this diagram?

Following much thought and meditation upon this symbol I have created an image that contains many of the ideas and insights that I have gained from my pondering’s. I present this as purely my own ideas and thoughts. I offer the information to you to find whatever meaning you can from it. If your ideas differ from mine that is as it should be for we are all on our own journey of discovery.

SpiralAwen3

The following explanation for this understanding is offered as a means to stimulate your own thoughts. Accept them or not as you see fit.

There is a constant ‘set point’ represented by the number 1, in numerology this represents unity, wholeness, completion and is the primal number from which all other spring forth. Therefore I associate it with the central ray, the fulcrum, from which all action finds balance, stillness and peace. The word Taw, associated with the central ray, is a Brythonic word which means; silence, hush, quiet, peace, calm and is the root many modern Welsh words such as; Tawel= calm, even, still; Tawelu= becalm, quiet, still; Distaw= mute, quiet, silent. On a spiritual level it represents the Love which permeates the Universe and which underpins the whole of creation, it is Life itself, that which animates, the very consciousness of the Universe that permeates all that exists. It is the small still point that lies at the centre of our being where peace resides.

It can be noted that in the two outer rays the sequence of number flows in an opposite direction from each other. The left ray decreases from 9 to 3 whereas the right ray increases from 3 to 9. The importance of 3, 6 and 9 needs some thought before we ponder the meaning of the two rays.

3 is the child of 1+2 it symbolises the creative force within the Universe and within us. 3 is the force that keeps creation moving forward and evolving. 3 is like an embryo created from the joining of the sperm and the egg, full of potential.

6 is harmony, it is a reflection of the 1 of Taw as it is the midpoint between 3 and 9. It is often called motherhood as it has the maternal/paternal quality of love, nourishment and protection offered to the family or local community.

9 is completion, 9 is the fulfillment of the act of creation and it is not possible to go beyond 9 as can be seen when one tries to multiply 9 by any other number ie. 9*8=72 which reduces to 7+2=9 if you try this with any number it always reduces back to 9. 9 is the ultimate expression of Love, where the Love of self in 1, the Love of the family in 3, finally expands to be the Love of all creation as expressed in 9.

Using some of these thoughts I have come to an understanding of the two outer rays as being expressions of the expansive and contractive forces of the Universe. The states of catabolism and anabolism, growth and decay.

In the right hand ray we have the embryo of 3 being nurtured by 6 and reaching the completion of 9. It is the inhalation of the universe and symbolic of the anabolic, expansive forces that leads the consciousness of the Universe to expand into its creation and gain Knowledge of who and what it is. It is the journey of the creation of the Universe, the playground and learning environment of Universal consciousness.

In the left hand ray we have the completion of the process where Knowledge has been gained through the growth of consciousness and its exploration of self. This knowledge is nurtured and assimilated by the love of 6 until it finally becomes the embryonic seed of Wisdom. Knowledge leads to Wisdom through the power of Love.

The symbol also indicates that this process is eternal, once one cycle is completed a new one begins. 3 always grows outwards towards 9 and always collapses back to 3. The Universal pendulum of life oscillating about the Fulcrum of Taw.

In my next blog post I will be exploring how the Triskelion of creation allows the evolution of the Universe and how the works of Iolo Morganwg can give us insight into the meaning of this process. But until then I’d like to provide a link to a very thought-provoking video related to the number 9