As a gift for my dedication as a nun of Annwn my friend Aurora J Stone made me some prayer beads. Crafted in the colours of Annwn from howlite (white), carnelian (red) and onyx (black) and the smaller ones from bone they include animals and symbols I associate with my patron God, Gwyn ap Nudd – a horse, a hound, an owl, a raven, a star, a spiral and the Awen. They are the most beautiful and meaningful gift I have ever been given.
When I received the beads earlier in January I was unsure what to do with them. I learnt that in the Christian tradition the person praying starts with the charm (the Awen) and the nearby symbols then moves onto the central bead, which is the invitation to prayer. There are then set prayers to be recited with the beads moving around in a clockwise direction from start to finish.
As we don’t have a set way of praying with beads or a body of prayers for Gwyn and the deities of Annwn in the Brythonic tradition I created my own by listening to the beads and for what came through from Gwyn and from the Awen. They are written below. The words in bold represent a bead or a symbol and can work as a pause for deeper meditation.
Prayer Beads of Annwn
Dedicated to Gwyn ap Nudd and the Mysteries of Annwn
The Awen: Annuvian Awen prayer*
Your Star: the first to shine and the last to die**
Your Spiral: I walk with You from beginning to end
Gwyn ap Nudd, White Son of Mist
by this white bead of howlite,
I respond to Your call
to prayer –
let it be a doorway
to Your deep mysteries,
a gateway to the depths of Annwn.
Your Hound: the opening howl
Black is for dark,
for the darkness of Annwn,
for the Cauldron of Pen Annwn,
for the womb of Old Mother Universe.
For the primordial material and the black dragon,
for the chaos and terror before the birth of stars and worlds.
Your Owl: wisdom in madness
White is for spirit,
for the spirits of Annwn,
for the horses and hounds of Your Hunt,
for the fury held in Your kingdom and in You,
for all souls gathered at the end of time,
for the divine breath uniting all.
Your Raven: croaks over gore
Red is for blood,
for the heartbeat of Annwn,
for the heart of Your Kingdom and the berries of the yew,
for the river of blood uniting us with our ancestors,
for our sacrifices and our eternal battles.
Your Horse: carries me home
*I wrote this in English and fellow awenydd Greg Hill translated it into Welsh HERE.
**This echoes a poem for Gwyn called ‘For the First Star’ by another fellow awenydd and Gwyn devotee Thornsilver Hollysong HERE.