Awen - Muse / Ysbrydoliaeth - Inspiration




Awen is a Welsh, Breton and Cornish word for poetic or creative inspiration. The name derives from the Indo-European -uel = 'to blow', as well as the Welsh word awel = 'breeze'. It's English translation; Muse or Inspiration; the force that gives someone ideas and helps them to express themselves in a creative manner.  

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The symbol for the Awen is said to have been created by the bard Iolo Morganwg (1747-1826), a poet responsible for establishing the Gorsedd of the Bards; an association whose members consist of artists, writers, musicians, and poets, as well as individuals who have made a notable contribution to Welsh culture.

The symbol consists of three radiating rays of light within a circle, with multiple meanings.  
  1. The three grades of Druidry; Bard, Ovate and Druid.
  2. The outer lines being symbolic of man and women while the inside line represents balance.
  3. The druidic beliefs; to follow the path of wisdom, creativity, and love.
  4. Nature, Knowledge, and truth.
  5. Mind, body, and spirit.
  6. The three realms we inhabit: land, sea, and sky
  7. The underworld, middle world, and upper world
  8. Love, Wisdom, and Truth


The term inspires, or inspiration comes from the Latin word Inspiratus or Inspirare = to breathe into. In English, the word was used in the 16th century to describe “the drawing of air into the lungs”.  In a figurative sense, early written English use of the term inspire: “to influence, move, or guide (as to speech or action) through divine or supernatural agency or power.”  It has also a connection to the word Latin word for breath = spiritus, which is also from spirare.

So it seems that both these terms are associated with an act, or gesture, inspire links the spirit and breathing, and awen the breeze and breath....

Physiological and Psychological

In terms of psychological, there are two factors that come into play when we become inspired, one is values and other is self-worth.  As for physiological, when inspired our body produces higher levels of serotonin and dopamine. Hence the greater the inspiration the higher the serotonin levels.....resulting in well-being and happiness.



The feelings experienced whilst witnessing this spectacle were very similar to the definition linked to Awen-a breeze of inspiration. This photograph was taken on a stormy afternoon, taken from a sea cliff overlooking Tremadog Bay, in Gwynedd.
The shafts of sunlight penetrating through the clouds, forming magical light beams. The dramatic parallel and radial Crepuscular rays penetrating the storm clouds.


It became apparent that the beams were mirroring the three rays within the Awen symbol, and creative inspiration followed. The three realms we inhabit were also witnessed; the land, sea, and sky, as well as a sense of fulfillment and well-being, of the mind, body, and spirit. 
.............It seems on that day I found my own definition................
...........If "yr awen" could be bottled, this would be its essence..............


Image result for what is awen



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