Ten Year Anniversary of Dedication to Gwyn ap Nudd – from Glastonbury Tor to Beyond the Expected

Glastonbury Tor

On star circled tor You stand lawless vigil.
Tower swallows cloud in Your endless waiting.
Years I have run the edges of Your world
Yet quietly my destruction You disdain.
Call to the stars shining out the full moon,
One blast of Your horn draws my soul back home.
In Your sublunar shrine springs from Annwn
Pour a cauldron of infinite wisdom.
Daughters of Avalon dance at its ridge.
Their shadows twist to the roaring song.
I see You, White Keeper of Time and Mist,
Watching patiently beyond mortal bonds.
The moment rings clear as Your guidance sure:
Let the words be spoke and the path be walked.

Hail Gwyn ap Nudd, King of Spirits! (January 26th 2013)

I wrote this sonnet ten years ago following my initial dedication to my patron God, Gwyn ap Nudd, at the White Spring beneath Glastonbury Tor. It was a magical and transformative moment and has changed and shaped my life.

My service to him as his awenydd ‘person inspired’ has gifted me with meaning and purpose beyond the rules and norms of this world. I’ve written three books for Him and the other Gods and Goddesses of ancient Britain and the spirits of the land along with countless poems, stories, and articles.

My relationship with Him continues to lead ever deeper into Annwn and into His mysteries. To getting to know myself better and more wonderfully to know Him. Most recently it has led to me becoming a nun of Annwn.

To mark the occasion my friend Aurora J Stone* made me some prayer beads. They are the colours of Annwn – howlite (white), carnelian (red) and onyx (black) and feature animals and symbols I associate with Gwyn. A hound, a horse, an owl, a raven, a spiral and a star. Aurora lives near Wells and very kindly laid them out on Glastonbury Tor to pick up some of its energy and sent some leaves and twigs from the tor when she posted the package. Receiving them around this time felt symbolic of the completion of a ten year journey.

Last night I journeyed with Gwyn to see what lies ahead. I can’t disclose what He showed me yet but His main message was that I must go ‘beyond the expected’.

This spoke to my fears about my series of books focusing on Gwyn’s story from origins to end being less accessible to my existing audience because they go beyond known Brythonic lore into personal gnosis and the realms of fiction. His words reassured me that this is exactly what I need to do. It also seemed meaningful that I recalled it was on my initial dedication day He appeared to me as a black dragon and that deciphering how Gwyn ‘White’ takes this form is one of the mysteries behind me writing these books.

I cannot guess what the next ten years might hold but ‘beyond the expected’ sounds like an exciting prospect.

*You can find Aurora’s writing online at ‘Grey Bear in the Middle’ HERE.

The Dancing Girl

See her dancing on the circumference of the world,
on the point of the compass that divided
night from day, on a needle point
with a thousand devils.

See her tip the globe

and go off dancing on the ball point
of her foot shaking her rattle at the heavens

dancing between the fortresses in the summer stars
and the winter stars who call forth
the Lords of Annwn

summoning

all the horses from the Song of the Horses
and all the oxen from the Triad of the Three Prominent Oxen
and all the dead from the Stanzas of the Graves

to the city where the people have made a patchwork dragon

from old discarded clothes and are parading it down
through the subway from the drunken streets.

Someone lifts an umbrella spinning in the colours of her soul.

A wooly mammoth appears and joins the dance as she passes by.

It is said she will leave no corpse or she will leave a multitude of corpses
of those she has possessed and one day they will be resurrected
to dance with her again haloed in star dust spinning…

The spinning of the stars / the spinning of the Abyss…

She broke the surface of the waters of the cauldron and stole the awen
not for herself but to scatter the drops in the darkest
most mysterious and most unexpected places.

Who will find them in the necropolises we have built,
in the nameless archways, in the manes of horses,
in the terrible names I cannot speak
to thee tonight or ever?

I wrote this poem after drawing the Ecstasy card from the Wildwood Tarot as part of a reading I did on the morning of my dedication as a nun of Annwn.

On the one hand I was slightly surprised as ecstasy isn’t the first thing I associate with monasticism (although there are examples of ecstatics even in the Christian tradition – most famously the ecstasy of St Theresa*) but on the other I was not as ecstasis is central to my path as an awenydd and devotee of Gwyn ap Nudd, a ruler of Annwn, in the Brythonic tradition.

On my walk the previous day, Gwyn had already shown me by leading me from the roads where the Benedictine Priory once stood on Castle Hill to the wooden sculptures I have come to know as ‘the Oldest Animal of Peneverdant’, He wants my vocation to remain shamanistic and animistic.

Another interesting coincidence is that the girl in the tarot card is holding a rattle. In a journey previous to this I had been given a rattle by one of my guides and used it in a dance to awaken a serpent. This prompted me to buy a rattle from my friends, Jason and Nicola Smalley, who live nearby in Anglezarke and run the Way of the Buzzard Mystery School. Coincidentally, after my ‘Strength’ blog post I found a rattle crafted with the focus on strength. I knew it was the right one and have been using it to connect with the serpents since and now… they’ve taken over my writing and come into my life…

I’m 41 today and looking at this card reminds me of the birthdays when I used to go out clubbing and how my first experiences of ecstatic states and with the spirits of Annwn came from dancing all night in night clubs and at festivals. 

Those days are gone but accessing ecstatic states through drumming, rattling, maybe even dancing, are going to remain central to my path as an awenydd as I continue to explore what it means to be a nun of Annwn. 

*The famous sculpture ‘the Ecstasy of St Teresa’ is based on her experience of a seraph piercing her heart with a ‘long spear of gold’ which she describes as leaving her ‘on fire with a great love of God’. Her ecstasy was depicted in a mural on the bike sheds in my local playing field and always spoke to me when I walked past. They were sadly knocked down a few years ago.

On Becoming a Nun of Annwn

I.
A small person
in a small room in a small suburb

looks up at her God riding dark and holy,
immense and terrifying through Van Gogh’s starry night

demanding that she become a creature of paradox closer to Him.

His hounds howl, His owls screech, His ravens scream,
yet His silence is what opens the skies
and cracks the earth of
her small place.

II.
She walks with Him
where monks once walked –
‘Monks Walk,’ ‘Castle Walk’, ‘Tower View’,
where the monastery once stood near Castle Hill,

tracing the labyrinth of the roads and houses instead,

Church Avenue from which the Fairy Funeral
was banished to Fairy Lane where
stands the leaning yew.

III.
He takes her
to visit the Oldest Animals of Peneverdant –
the tawny owl who speaks of the silence before owl time,
the hidden newt, the shapeshifting otter, the tickled brown trout
reminding her of laughter the sacred in all,
the common darter living out
her last days.

IV.
At the spring
which dried up long ago
but runs again for this night

He takes out her eyes, rinses them
clean and grants to her the gift of clear sight.

He takes out her tongue, drenches it in mead, makes it a scroll
of ancient vellum written in giant’s letters in a typeset

known only to monks and nuns of Annwn.

She translates it into nine vows.

V.
The next morning,
at sunrise, at moonrise,

when the Hunter is gone from the night skies

the three stars of his belt continue to shine in her eyes.

She consecrates her room as a monastic cell
and speaks to Him her vows

as a nun of Annwn,
seals her awen.

*This poem depicts experiences in the lead up to and upon my taking my nine vows as a nun within the Monastery of Annwn on this morning’s new moon. The God referred to is my patron, Gwyn ap Nudd, a ruler of Annwn.

He is my Truth – Reflections on my Ten Year Anniversary of Meeting Gwyn ap Nudd

On August 31st this year I celebrated the ten year anniversary of meeting my patron God, Gwyn ap Nudd, at the leaning yew on Fairy Lane in my home town of Penwortham. 

For those who don’t know the story, Gwyn appeared to me in a visionary encounter at the head of my local fairy funeral procession. He revealed His name and offered me the opportunity to journey with him in spirit to Annwn, (the Brythonic Otherworld) on the condition I give up my ambition to be a professional writer. 

Recognising Him as the deity who had long been calling me to the Otherworld and a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to establish a relationship with the God to whom my soul already belonged, I agreed.

The following January full moon I made my intitial vows to Him as my patron God, as his ‘apprentice’, and soon afterwards learnt the name of my path – awenydd ‘person inspired.’ On the super blood wolf moon in 2019 I made lifelong vows to Him.

It’s been ten years now and a lot has changed. On the day of my anniversary I visited the yew, made an offering of mead, gave my thanks to Gwyn and spent some time in meditation and in conversation with Him. 

Since then I have been reflecting on the past ten years and the ways my devotional relationship with Him have shaped and changed my life. 

During this period Gwyn has been there as a source of guidance and inspiration in my devotions, my journeywork, my prayers, guiding my work as His awenydd in poetry, storytelling, in writing my three books. 

He’s not only supported me through my successes but my messiness and meltdowns. I have been able to talk to Him about anything, no matter how dark, because I know that, as the Lord of Annwn and Gatherer of Souls, He’s been with the mad, the dying, the dead, will be there for me at the end and after.

On a more difficult note He has consistently called me to my truth. This has been a tough process which has involved quite a lot of unmasking and a surrendering of my desires to fit in, reach a wide audience, and gain financial security. 

After my latest straying into an attempt to become an ecologist I have again been stripped bare of all masks and brought back to my role as His awenydd and a step closer to my truth in His calling for me to become a nun of Annwn. 

Finally, at the age of forty, ten years since our meeting, I have come to realise that He is my truth. That only when I honour Him and do His work, I am blessed.

I am currently moving into a new phase of my life exploring what becoming a nun of Annwn will mean within the context of building the Monastery of Annwn.

I am developing a monastic routine and practices and treating my bedroom, which already holds every part of my life, including my altars, as a monastic cell. My work as an awenydd, devotional creativity, sharing inspiration, at present through writing my next book ‘In the Deep’ for my Gods, remains central. 

Having learnt from my mistakes I am looking forward to a life in which my relationship with Gwyn and my spiritual path are its truth and sacred heart.