The Way of Awen

Early this summer I had the pleasure of reading Kevan Manwaring’s latest work The Way of Awen. It’s a book I very much recommend for anyone on, or drawn to the bardic path. You can read my full review of the book here.

In Druidry, and on the Bardic path (which can be the same thing, but aren’t always!) awen is sacred inspiration. Nothing is more important to a bard that inspiration. For any creative person, the energy that keeps us creating is a most essential thing. How we find it and work with it is highly individual. Druidry as a tradition holds inspiration as sacred and vitally important – not just for bardic work, but for ritual, relationship, and life as a whole.

Kevin has coined the gorgeous term ‘Way of Awen’ to denote a life that is devoted to following the call of inspiration. His book maps out his own personal journeys along this path and is a very heartening read for anyone called in the same direction.

I found the book and the term deeply resonant. About eighteen months ago I took a pledge ‘To love, serve and trust all that I can, as long as I can, wherever the awen takes me.’ It is an oath that has totally changed the shape of my life, taking me to my soul mate in America, and helping me see the aspects of my life that were not serving inspiration, nor were nourishing of my creativity. As I worked with the oath I had taken, I came to understand that where I find inspiration, I have a duty of care and to return something for what I am given, but where there is no inspiration, there is no duty for me. Realising that I am not obliged to do things that do not serve the call of the awen, was a big step onto this path for me. 

I’ve been through some radical upheavals this summer, but it’s put me in a place where I am both more able and more inclined to live creatively. I want to make creativity and inspiration the core of my life. I’m not just talking in the writing and the big, obvious expressions, either. But to have everything I do and every choice consciously informed by the flow of awen. There’s not much I do that isn’t consciously considered, but this is an act of moving deeper into my own values and creativity, and trying to bring that numinious awen light into everything I undertake.

I’ve talked with Kevan about my desire to work with his concept and blog about the process, and he’s been tremendously encouraging. So, this is a topic I shall be dipping into repeatedly, as I examine my life and look at how I work. I end today with a sweeping bow to Kevan, and offer my thanks for his wordcraft, vision and wonderful imagination.