Monday, 17 November 2008

Clas Myrddin

So. Who me and why Clas Myrddin.

I’m a Druid and a writer. On occasion, I have been a Druid writer.

My first steps into the Forest were taken a very long time ago* under the aegis of Myrddin and his twin sister Gwendydd. I spent a long time there before I began to put names like ‘pagan’ and ‘Druid’ to things, and I’ve been there ever since, still with the same mentors.

Being a Druid doesn’t mean putting on a white nightie and catching a cold by some windswept stone circle (although you can if you want). It doesn’t mean trying to recreate Iron Age life by living in a round house and doing without running water, sewers, and electricity (you can try that as well, if you want). To me, it means thinking and living by a metaphysic derived from ancestral Celtic thinking.

That last sentence is a minefield. I can hear various ‘experts’ and academics girding their loins as I type (and a very unpleasant sound it is). So I will add that, although I’m a bright person who knows his way round archaeology and ancient texts, who has done prodigious amounts of research into Iron Age life and the Celtic world, who studied philosophy as part of a degree, being Druid is not for me an academic exercise. You aren’t going to get footnotes or learnéd treatises.

This is about how I view the world and live my life and the precepts I have derived not just from study of texts, but from living in the world. It won’t be regular, it will rarely be profound, but I do hope it will be fun and prompt the occasional discussion.

So where does the Clas Myrddin bit come in?

1 Kyntaf henv a uu ar yr Ynys Hon, kyn no’e chael na’e chyuanhedu: Clas Merdin. Ac vedy y chael a’e chyuanhedu, Y Vel Ynys. Ac wedy y goresgyn o Brydein vab Aed Mavr, y dodet arnei Ynys Brydein.

1 The first Name that this Island bore, before it was taken or settled: Myrddin’s Precinct. And after it was taken and settled, the Island of Honey. And after it was conquered by Prydein son of Aedd the Great it was called the Island of Prydein.

(from Llyfr Gwyn Rhydderch, fo. 600)

That’s where it comes in. I was born in Myrddin’s Precinct and I have adopted the name not just for the place, but for the state of mind – the place within before it was taken or settled. There are many layers to this, not least those connected with Lud, the sacred marriage, the role of Gwendydd, and the importance to me of the Arthurian mythos – so you’ll excuse me if I don’t go into all just now.

*No, I’m not telling you, but it’s more than forty.


Cat Chapin-Bishop said...

I hear you, on the experts and academics reading over your shoulder as you write on certain topics. I almost never write anything about the ways that Norse mythology resonates for me, for instance, because I just don't want to wear myself out talking to the well-read Asatruir who are ready to explain to me why my trance encounters with various figures from that worldview are... wrong. Not in the Eddas, out of sync with archaeology, whatever.

"Look, dudes," I want to say to them. "I'm just tellin' you what the gods were tellin' me, OK? _You_ wanna call Odin a liar, well, be my guest..."

But that would just make me sound dumb. So I keep my mouth shut--except when I'm around friendly folks, who I can trust to understand that a lived mythology may diverge from a recorded one, not because the person experiencing it is a sloppy thinker, but because spiritual experience is always such a complicated tangle of culture, history, the personal subconcious, and, if we're lucky, the spirit world.


Complicated. Like Arthur, like Myrddin. What you gonna do?

(I know what I'm going to do--read your blog!)

Graeme K Talboys said...

Many thanks for dropping by.

I do so agree.

My 'book' is the natural world (yeah, I know, there's a few evening's worth of discussion about that phrase). My interpretation of it may be informed by my upbringing, my cultural heritage, my reading; but it is my interpretation, my relationship. It is the only way I can properly take responsibility for it.