Awen Revisited - What's In A Word Part 2
by Kevin O’Reilly
Awen is a complicated concept and hard to understand. Teaching its meaning is often not clear and imprecise. Okay, I started like that last time. But it's true.
During the year that has passed since I started the contemplation that lead to the first article I have occasionally read it and questioned it. Usually (on a personal level) I feel that I have said it all. What a fool.
Feedback since the original article appeared in June 2001 has been encouraging if few and far between. But what of the readers who didn't follow it and moved on. These silent ones have not influenced me. So I owe a special thank you to Birch who reminded me recently that descriptions are fine if everyone knows what you are describing, otherwise just what the hell am I talking about?
Throughout my adult life I have never taken anything at face value. It is my way to probe as many angles as possible, that way I gain a fuller understanding of any subject. Why then was I foolish enough to think that one perspective, even just for me, was enough? Birch inspired a different thought process because we are all different in our individual perceptions and understandings and if you wish to convey your thoughts to a wide audience then it is necessary to approach any subject from different avenues. So... here we go!
Philip Carr-Gomm wrote something that stays with me, actually many things that he says stay with me, but this was a poignant issue that is so true but sadly forgotten. "We have a great responsibility as a bridge between our ancestors and our descendants" (paraphrased). The world population has largely snubbed this responsibility. Awen personifies this in a way our ancient ancestors respected as normal and essential.
All living things have spirit; some would call this their soul. These are not separate spirits nor confined to the human race, rather it is all one small part of a Great Spirit. The Great Spirit is a concept ever thought of as omnipresent God.
This is can be thought of (without disrespect as an example) like electricity. We all see the large electricity pylons conveying power to all parts of the country. This is not piped straight into our homes, as it is thousands of volts. But our own domestic supply is not Îours' as an individual thing, it is a tiny part of the greater whole.
We are so starved of contact with the greater whole of living spirit in our modern environments that it is hard to remember the truth and respect for our kindred spirit is lost like litter in the dust and alley way's of our 'civilised' cities. How can we honour our ancestors when we cannot walk the soft earth as they walked it and respect every living piece of our world. Do we think of the worms that work the soil and keep it soft for our feet? No, we walk on concrete. Do we feed our world? No we rape it and destroy and take what we want, offering trash and pollution as barter. Who can win this scenario?
If we were dying of hunger would we cut off our feet to feed us? What then? Our lower leg, our thigh? If the action of feeding us to stay alive were gradually killing us would we see the folly and stop? So how do we reconnect? How do we find Awen?
How intolerant people are when the answer is given, it isn't an easy or effortless fix. It requires time and responsibility (ouch!). Yet it isn't difficult...
Walk in the countryside... Stop here, it really isn't that simple so only read on if this simple step is the doorway to spiritual growth, otherwise hit the ÎBACK' button now.
The sun hasn't quite risen and the trees stand stark in the winter twilight, frost paints their branches and mist seeps around the ground like wraiths flittering about your legs, tugging unfeeling at your trousers. Do you feel the atmosphere; are you frightened, spooked by every little creak of tree bough? Or do you feel welcome. If you move with respect and caution, not battering twigs out of your way but avoiding them or apologising for brushing by, you may well feel truly received with grace. Are you one with the woods, do you feel invisible, wafting, not trawling your way around to the glade? When you get there do you pause at the edge, fearfully glancing around for danger before you enter the heart of the natural circle or do you move comfortably to the centre? When you reach there what do you hear, the rustling of the trees or the whispering voices of your ancestors telling myth and stories of the place through the living spirit of the land?
If so you are in balance with the wood and all the myriad life forms sharing that place.
Can you pass the bubbling brook and hear the whispers of your ancestors guiding you?
When you reach the lake does its reflection remind you that nothing is truly perfect or balance could not occur? Can you see the clouds in the lake and their passing as they drift onwards into different shapes, forming the clues you have just missed? Can you feel the link between the land and the air that the lake has just given to you?
Your ancestors felt it.
Bogs are land and they are water. Your ancestors revered the bogs for they are the link between the spirit world and the physical world. A bridge, not solid but wafting and drifting, like the clouds, like you through the misty wood. Decomposition smells in varying degrees reminding us of the unbreakable connection across the veil. Death and spirit are ever connected but not the fearful death that frightens many people but the death of spiritual enlightenment. That moment of peace and serenity that refreshes the truth of the spirit in our eyes and often touches the face of the dying when relatives look on in unseeing wonder. The light dawns. Awen is remembered and embraced.
Why can't we remember in this life? Why are we hurtling our species and many others into terrible and complete extinction?
What of the sky? When you look up to the sky is it bright and blue or is it cloudy and overcast? Should it not personify the air that gives you life beyond all else? Should you not see the life gift of Mother Nature? When the wind blows what do you think?
On a hot summer day when the tarmac melts on the street it is nice to have a gentle cooling breeze, as long as it is not too much of a bluster. Strong March winds blight the Northern Hemisphere and stop you sleeping, they damage property. And hurricanes... well, they are something else.
No! They are all the same wind that you draw when you leave the womb and gasp at the end of your life. Respect the wind and all its facets, it is your greatest ally and one of the four great spirits of life. Every part of this magical enigma has purpose.
How does the rain make you feel? Do you dread the rain and hate being caught in it?
Rain is water; water is 80% of our bodies thereabouts. We need water, we are mostly water. Our body is encompassed within our spirit. It spreads from our core and forms an aura about us. Water can cleanse you body and soul. I don't suggest that you do a Gene Kelly impression nor that you don't dress for the weather, but next time you are in the rain, don't hunch against it but relax and say hello to the spirit of the rain. Ask it to cleanse you body and soul, ask it to take away all bad things that affect you personally and spiritually at that time. Go on, give it a go!
The night sky can create the most powerful response from the spiritual Îdead'. No matter how ignorant modern folk may be, the night can still create an aura and atmosphere to raise the hair on the back of the stiffest neck. And it is not just darkness.
When breaking clouds scud across a half-clear night sky it stops the looker and holds their gaze. Can you see the moon goddess watching you on a full moon? She is revealed if you are capable of seeing her. Alba, the goddess, can be your friend. You just need respect. Say "Hi, thank you for your light and guidance".
And the stars. Like Alba they stood sentinel over your ancestors and your ancestor's ancestors, respect them too for they if nothing else should remind you how insignificant a part we are in the Great Spirit of creation.
If you could stand on the highest mountain on a bright clear night you would see stars you never dreamed existed. If you could see all around the world you would see stars shining like myriad fireflies all about you. Are we a part of this mass? Are the stars holding the earth in place, here in our bit of space, balanced precariously at their will? Imagine they are your ancestors and your descendants. We are the centre-point between them. It is an awesome responsibility. Are you shirking it? Now I pass this over to you.
Respect is the key. Acceptance and respect go hand in hand but are often separated and remoulded falsely for self-satisfaction. Bending the rules is really disrespectful and none acceptance of anything. It typifies our world and is destroying it.
What do you sense when you do the simplest of the actions mentioned? Do you look from the cocoon veneer of modern civilisation or do you open your heart and your soul and feel the immensity of it all. That is Awen. Awen gives life to the humble microbe and the mightiest elephant and yet they and everything in between are connected in the balance that survival depends on. Mother Nature is patient. Time has no place in the spirit world and she comes from there. Hundreds, thousands, or millions of our years, she cares not as she weaves the future. For the scientists who believe they are putting right Mother Nature's errors, I say that you are arrogant fools. If you were only that it would be fine but you are destroying lives in the long run and creating all kinds of nightmares for our children and our children's children. You disrespect your ancestors worse than any of us as you destroy the bridge that we form between our ancestors and our descendants. Stupidity stops you ever seeing the light. And so many in society follow, like lemmings.
Knowing Awen is empathy, not a physical unit to point at, touch or calculate. Respecting our world, especially the natural parts are endemic to proliferation of the species (all species). Try it. Apologise to the tree you brush passed, ask permission to pass the branches blocking your way. Say "Hi" to the beetle and the blackbird. If you feel stupid or nuts, that's okay. You need to re-educate yourself. It's amazing how quickly it can seem normal. Enjoy our world, respect all that you don't understand (and maybe don't like) and peaceful acceptance may creep up on you.