In ancient times belief in the wee folk, the goodly people, the fae and other Celtic mythological creatures abounded, and though, in the main, this is not the case today, we can still learn a thing or two from that belief; still learn a few things from them! Whether you believe in them in the physical realm, the imaginal realm only, spanning both realms, or as a ‘romantic’ or poetic idea, there is some wisdom here to uncover and from which we can benefit.
But, first a brief overview of the Corlun Dŵr.
Name: Corlun Dŵr [pronounced kor-lun door], Welsh for water sprite.
Habitat: As one would expect, being water sprites, it is said that the Corlun Dŵr inhabit and/or live near water, especially near ‘the edge’ of their territory, such as rock pools on the beach, the waters edge at the seaside where waves crash against the sand, the river bank, and even in puddles of rainwater. And, perhaps, yes, even in your house, if you have a bowl of water on the table or if your house is connected to the mains water supply, sprites abound! All these places are liminal access points to their realm, and locations where they might be found. Wherever there’s water, there are water sprites.
Wherever water flows, life flourishes:
wherever tears fall, Divine mercy is shown.
Appearance: They are thought to be shape-shifters. Although their natural state may be half way between a green, water-like amphibian and that of a human (see right), they can adapt. There are accounts of them becoming frogs etc so that they can draw close to humans and observe us – so, that’s one good reason to respect frogs and other animals: you never know when it might be a water sprite.
There are reports of them becoming human-looking (almost). In such cases you might be forgiven that they are human, except that it is said that their outer clothing is always sopping wet, and that’s a clue to them being a water sprite in disguise. Nevertheless, they are described as beautiful beings.
‘Every wave is a water sprite who swims in the current, each current is a path which snakes towards my palace, and my palace is fluidly built at the bottom of the lake, in the triangle of earth, fire and water.’ (Emile Zola)
Traditional benefits: It is said that, though they are somewhat ‘shy’ of humans, drawing close to them can have benefits. They are renowned healers; they give protection; awaken our compassion and sensitivity; confer artistic inspiration and a creative imagination, and romance and sensuality, and more.
Other benefits: What can we learn from them, however we view them and their existence? I would like to suggest four things:
Firstly, we can learn to use our imagination, our mind’s eye and not just see the world as ‘bricks and mortar’, but , whether we live in a rural or urban environment (and even if it’s the latter, its good to ‘escape’ to a riverbank, forest or the beach occasionally) we can benefit from cultivating a ‘child’s perspective’ of the world around us, sometimes. It’s about growing a different perspective, and having a beginners’ mind.
‘There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,
Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.’ (William Shakespeare)
Secondly, we can learn to value (more) of the nature around us – even if we live in a city. It’s about appreciating the beauty of the world, a gift from the Great Provider, and ensuring that we, collectively and individually, and in large and small ways, leave the world as good a place as we found it – and so pass that gift onto the next generation, as the previous generation did for us. It’s about appreciation and passing it on.
Thirdly, it’s about thankfulness. We live on a planet where the oceans contain over 96% of the water on the Earth. Water abounds on this planet, and yet, according to our current scientific understanding, it may be the rarest element in the universe. And, therefore something to treasure. We use it and, indeed, depend on it for life, and yet we do waste it and ‘abuse it’. I guess, the third learning point is to value it and to give thanks to the Source of All. And even, occasionally, to take a glass of fresh water, meditate upon it, and give thanks as you take each vital energy-giving, healing, refreshing sip of water into our body. Thankfulness.
‘In one drop of water are found all the secrets of the oceans.’ (Khalil Gibran)
Fourthly, sometimes it’s good to have a focal point, a symbol, a picture in our mind’s eye of what could be, to galvanise our thoughts to remember something, to appreciate something or to do something. And, that’s where the Corlun Dŵr come in. However, you regard them – real in the physical realm, real in the imaginal realm, as a ‘romantic’ or poetic idea – they are a most useful and potent symbol to encourage us to appreciate water and the natural environment in all its forms. The Corlun Dŵr would like that. They are, after all, water sprites and are faithful, shy and somewhat reclusive Guardians of water.