The Awen

When you think of Druids, a few things often come to mind: trees, acorns, and the awen. This last, the awen, is of particular interest to us as it is the symbol of our grove. So, what does it mean, what does it stand for, and why is it important to us?

Awen, pronounced “ah-when”, is derived from the Indo-European root *-uel, meaning “to blow”, and has the same root as the Welsh word awel, meaning “breeze'”.  There is a parallel word to ‘awen’ in Irish, ai, which means “poetic inspiration”.

In the Welsh tradition, the awen is seen as the spark of creative or divine inspiration or illumination. It is that which motivates an idea and gives it form. It’s likeness can be meditated upon to draw creative insight for artistic projects of all kinds.

awen

The three dots, or “points of light”, represent the triple aspect of Deity and, on another level, the rising of the sun on the equinoxes and solstices.

The three “rays of light” serve to remind us of the importance of the number three, a sacred number in druidry, as it is in many pagan paths. It is represented, for example, by the three realms: land, sea, and sky (or middle world, upper world, under world);  the three methods of studying/experiencing druidry: the bard, the ovate, and the druid;  and the “triads”, which were ancient Celtic laws and bits of wisdom expressed in threes.

The awen represents not only inspiration but also the creation that ensues and the spirit embedded in it. These are qualities important to any Druid, ancient or modern.