The Dragon’s Tongue

How Can I

speak of dragons
when dragons from the world are gone?

How can I
be your inspired one
when the myths of the gods are lost?

To sing them back from the void before creation
I will need a dragon’s tongue!

Lord of Annwn
grant me the strength
by the breath of dragons
to write this book.

Over the past few weeks I have known possession by the awen; the inspiration, the divine breath that flows from Annwn, the breath of the gods, the breath of dragons; like I have never known it before.

It’s come after a couple of fallow years; sowing, reaping, dissatisfaction with flawed and failed crops.

I was beginning to fear that, after making my lifelong vows to Gwyn ap Nudd, to serve him as his awenydd, that the awen had dried up. What irony! A tiny part of me had begun to wonder if I’d made a mistake. Whether my powers of discernment were off. Whether he’d been having a laugh with me.

But my soul, to him eternally present, spoke otherwise. Only now I’ve realised I’d experienced a time of labouring, harrowing, preparing the ground for the oak to rise and the lightning to strike. For my fall from the tree amidst this collective shattering of the grounds of our society brought about by COVID-19 and into Annwn, the Deep, where I was to find the Prophet with the Dragon’s Tongue.

Thus has been born my next mythic book – The Dragon’s Tongue. Much of it has been gifted to me at dawn, in response, I believe to my evening prayers, in particular to Gwyn, Gwyn’s father, Nodens, Lord of Dream, Gwyn’s mother, Anrhuna, Dragon Mother of Annwn, and Gwyn’s beloved, Creiddylad.

You will probably not be surprised when I say their stories are central, with those of the dragons, and their conflict with the Children of the Stars*. There isn’t much evidence for dragons in the Brythonic/Welsh myths aside for an episode where Lludd/Nudd/Nodens ends a plague by ending the battle between two dragons and another where they appear, red and white, in a vision of Merlin Emrys. But there is the red dragon is on the Welsh flag and dragons are all around us in our folklore.

I’ve been reading mythic literature, journeying with the deep gods, the dragon-gods, long enough to know, when you get to the bottom of any myth, as Gordon White says, it is ‘dragons all the way down’.

I have long wanted to write the story of Anrhuna, the forgotten Dragon Mother, and also a creation myth. I have wanted what is lacking in the Brythonic/Welsh stories penned by medieval Welsh scribes. Something polytheistic, something penned by an inspired one of the gods, that provides insights into the mysteries of creation, of life, death, and rebirth, without the patriarchal Christian overlay.

Finding nothing else I realised I would have to do it myself. Following being gifted with the voice of the Prophet with the Dragon’s Tongue I started in the beginning, in the Deep, with Old Mother Universe and her Cauldron and how a dragon slipped from it and fell into the Abyss. How, from formlessness, she gave birth to the elements in dragon-form to form the world (yes – the world was made by dragons and not by God or some other demiurge). How the Children of the Stars slew Anrhuna, cut off her nine dragon heads with their long necks, and bound them on the Towers of the Wyrms…

From this flowed the story of the conflict between the Children of Annwn and the Children of the Stars, a tale of love and war, the mysteries of birth, death, and rebirth, of the coming of the Black Dragon.

After I swore to Gwyn that I would complete it beneath the leaning yew, where I met him, I got most of the first draft written over those days of thunder. When the lightning from the Spear of Lugus which killed Anrhuna lit the skies, when the rain poured, when the energy was strange and high.

This, I believe, would not have been possible if we were not in lockdown due to COVID-19. If I had not had this time without the pressures of finding paid work by volunteering with the Wildlife Trust and helping organise local poetry nights. If I had not stopped drinking, got off social media, started counselling for my anxiety and found out its root is having Asperger’s, which has helped me to stop blaming myself for my failures in ‘the real world’ and to cultivate space for my gods and my soul.

The birth of this book has restored by faith in my gods and through it I finally feel reborn as Gwyn’s awenydd. The first draft is complete, but is far from perfect, and I am predicting it may take months, even a year or so to firm it up. But, it has been born, and I am incredibly excited about it.

So if you’re interested watch this space and if you’re really interested you can find out more about my creative processes and see unseen work, including some of the drafts, by supporting me on Patreon HERE.

*My name for the Children of Bel(i) and Don.

12 thoughts on “The Dragon’s Tongue

  1. Greg Hill says:

    “Dragons all the way down” certainly captures the sense of them underlying the visible world, dwelling in the depths unseen but not unperceived and spanning many different folklores in different forms (‘wyrms’, serpents, other non-mammalian incarnations, as well as actual dragons). Their lore does seem to be the lore of origins as well as levels of consciousness which remains hidden, so to explore and seek guidance from them has always been seen as perilous as it is significant of what is deep and meaningful. The treasure they guard in some stories is not one that can be possessed like a material object, which is the mistake ‘heroes’ on dragon quests (or cauldron raiders in Annwn) make. Annwn is certainly the place to seek for dragon wisdom. May the Dragon Mother you seek in a Not-Space in the Not-World reward you with the boundless riches of not-treasure which she no doubts guards.

  2. Aurora J Stone says:

    Wow, Lorna. I know what it’s like to write a big project as you have done with this new book, though the impetus was different. Being shaped by the energy of such a project is staggering, humbling, so very exciting. You have work to do, as you said, to go from draft to completion, but you have what you need that can be shaped further, as it will shape and reshape you in the doing.

  3. ninamgeorge says:

    “I am gifted a full-length dragon-skin coat. It is smooth as snakeskin and every colour of the spectrum. It changes to fit in with my surroundings like a chameleon. I am becoming dragon.”
    I was reminded of something you wrote a while ago on “becoming dragon”…
    I cannot tell you how pleased I am – you know I share your sense that dragons and serpents are old old medicine… I can’t wait… so, just leaving a couple more quotes from your writing here…

    “On the day of my dedication to Gwyn ap Nudd at the White Spring beneath Glastonbury Tor (where on the tower St Michael is depicted with his left foot pinning down a dragon) Gwyn appeared to me in dragon-form and asked if I wanted to “join the Order of the Dragon”. I said “no” because I’d come to dedicate myself to him and not to join an order, although I often wonder what would have happened if I said “yes”. ”
    “This is no longer a time for dragon-slayers but for mead-soaked dreams of embracing the Other.
    This is no longer the age of Albion, the Eternal Man, but of becoming dragon.”…

    • lornasmithers says:

      You’ve hit the nail on the head exactly! Much of this book has been born from me trying to find out how and why the White One came to me as a Black Dragon that day. The final part is called ‘The Black of the Black Dragon’ and begins with the epigraph – ‘the Gods all change into serpents and underworld dragons in the end’ from Carl Jung. It is very much about becoming dragon!

  4. lilaiamoreliwordsaresacred says:

    Thanks for sharing this! The genesis of your book sounds absolutely riveting. I wish you the best of luck in completing your work.

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