An Encounter With Nwyfre In London? [Revisited]

20181127 AN ENCOUNTER WITH NWYFRE IN LONDON

There is a forest not far from where I live in north Wales, old and dense; it is ancient and just walking in it one can feel the weight of the ages there. I love it. And there, after a long, winding trek through the thick forest is a small clearing, stands ‘Y goeden mellt’, the much-loved Lightning Tree. (See here). It was there that I first had an experience of ‘it’ and was able to put a name to ‘it’.

But, I’m still in town, still in the city, still in London, and won’t be back in Capel Curig for at least another few days. And yet….deep in my spirit there’s a restlessness. There are several places where I’ve experienced Nwyfre (pronounced ‘noo-iv ruh’) , and one of those it when in the presence of that Lightning Tree.

Yes, that ‘it’ was, and is, Nwyfre.

Nwyfre, isn’t life, but is Life! It is the activating, animating, creative force that flows through nature. Traditionally, and literally, it has to do with the wind and the sky. If you can imagine fast flowing, light clouds, low in the sky, say, or the wind ‘howling’ of the tops of trees, then that’s evidence of Nwyfre. But, it’s more than just an atmospheric phenomenon – to those with deep awareness, insight, enlightenment, to those who are poets and those who might have a ‘romantic’ inclination, it’s more.

There is always more.

‘Time and attention are the most precious gifts we can give.’ Rob Liano

Nwyfre, at its deepest and most profound, and I would say its most real level, is: Spirit, and the connectedness of everything because of Spirit, and the flow of energy (love etc) between everything. And, rather than an ‘it’, Nwyfre is personal (and can be referred to as ‘he or she’, and preferably as ‘he and she’ (such is the cumbersome limitations of out language). Nwyfre is the Welsh name known to the Welsh, ancient and latter-day Celts and Druids, and others. Nwyfre is known by other names by different ‘tribes’, and perhaps the most well-known (locally, and to Christians) is that Nwyfre is referred to as the Spirit, the Holy Spirit, also known as the Counsellor, Intercessor, Revealer, Teacher, Spirit of Life).

And so, feeling a fair amount of ennui last evening, I went for a walk along the banks of the River Thames in the heart of London. It was late and the air was now cold, very cold, and the wind was howling over the rooftops of nearby high-rise buildings, making a wailing sound like some kind of invisible bansidhe (pronounced ‘ban-shee’). Oh, the wind moaned a deep, mournful, relentless groan.

I felt small in comparison to the power of the wind that raced across city rooftops and shook the trees. I felt separated, as something of a different order altogether to that barometric pressure that moved noisily, and yet invisibly, nearby. And yet, I felt connected, contentment, a oneness. That’s Nwyfre!

The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with… the Spirit.’ John 3:8a, The Book

Gazing at the river, only dimly lit by street-lighting, I breathed in – air. Nwyfre! The same wind that blew high above me, that howled across the rooftops, that had come from unknown parts in its journey to who knows where, was now in my lungs and coursing through my veins. I ‘discovered’ that I am no longer separate because of Nwyfre! That which was outside, is inside me. And as I exhale, that which was inside me is now outside. We are encompassed by Nwyfre. Cocooned. Connected. Congruent.

‘The cosmos is within us. We are made of star-stuff. We are a way for the universe to know itself.’ Carl Sagan

Walking now, to keep warm – it seemed colder than ever, and the fog was moving in – I ‘discovered’ also that I no longer felt that small. Nwyfre! Not separated, not small, but deep in my soul I knew that we are all connected. Connected and powerful. Our status is such that we have great power and great opportunities to do good.

I experienced that at Y goeden mellt’, the Lightning Tree in Wales on many occasions when surrounded by that deep forest, and in solitude; and now in the heart of London – surrounded by ‘mountains’ of bricks and mortar, and ‘trees’ of ‘street furniture (is what the Council call lampposts, traffic signs etc), and in a ‘forest’ of eight million souls  – I experienced Nwyfre once more.

I ‘discovered’ a third fact. And this one that affects you, wherever you are. You too, can experienced that connectedness of Nwyfre. In thinking of spiritual experiences many think of out-of-the-way and difficult places to visit, but that doesn’t have to be only that way. Where you are, right now, is as special, and as sacred, and as holy as Y goeden mellt, and so is every place, too.

‘Relationships are all there is. Everything in the universe only exists because it is in relationship to everything else. Nothing exists in isolation. We have to stop pretending we are individuals that can go it alone.’– Margaret J Wheatley

In the heart of London I experienced the connectedness of Nwyfre, and wherever you are, you can too. Ofcourse, if our minds are too busy, or if we’re distracted, then we’ll miss the invitation of Nwyfre. It seems we have a choice. Nwyfre, metaphorically, opens the door, issues an invitation with a ‘silent call’, as deep calls to deep, but we must walk through that door (or not).

‘When you make a choice, you change the future.’ Deepak Chopra

It was now bitterly cold, and as I headed home – about a four minute walk from where I was at that point, I looked at the lights in those high-rise apartments, the glow of tv screens ‘playing’ on curtains and the apartments’ ceilings, and the general busyness of the metropolis, and felt saddened that unwittingly some had made a choice, and had missed the opportunity of encountering Nwyfre. And, the really sad thing is that they never even knew that they had already made a choice to not walk through that metaphorical door.

‘When you have to make a choice and don’t make it, that is in itself a choice.’ William James.

The abovementioned was written two years ago, and has been slightly amended/adapted, and is still relevant, and contains some truth, I believe, and also it’s relevant because I am back in London for a while, it has got decidedly cold over the last few days and for the first time this year (post summer) river-hugging fog has appeared and has rolled into surrounding streets, and it enshrouds everything, and it is wonderful to see, so otherworldly, and arresting. Pause for deep thoughts.

‘You can’t outwit fate by standing on the sidelines placing little side bets about the outcome of life… if you don’t play you can’t win.’ Judith McNaught

Nwyfre is ubiquitous. And, there’s even more…Nwyfre is inviting you.

 

Gwyar: Ebb & Flow: A Closer Look

20170922 GWYAR AN EVEN CLOSER LOOKWarning: This article, just for today, contains theology.

There have been some fascinating programs on tv recently about the origin of the universe. Some programs looked at the smallest particles of matter than we know, so far: the quantum level. Other tv programs looked at the universe as a whole, and one has to marvel when informed that the observable universe is thought to be fifteen billions years old and contain eighteen million million million galaxies similar to our own.

The ancients, without contradiction to modern science, looked at it from another viewpoint – different, perhaps non-scientifically, but no less true.

To some of the ancients there was school of thought which stated that in the Universe the controlling power comprises of Three, and these Three operate as Three-in-One. Separate but a Unity, too! Paradox. And, between these Three energy flows. This flowing energy the ancients called perichoresis – the dance. They saw this ebb and flow of energy as a wonderful dance. It has always been this way. And, that ‘dance’ permeates the universe. It was their way of looking at the universe and trying to make sense of it.

I saw you dancing last night
on the roof of your house
all alone.

I felt your heart longing for the Friend.
I saw you whirling
beneath the soft bright rose
that hung from an invisible stem in the sky.

So I began to change into my best clothes
in hopes of joining you,
even though I live a thousand miles away.

And if you had spun like an immaculate sphere
just two more times,
then bowed again so sweetly to the east,
you would have found God and me
standing so near
and lifting you into our arms.

I saw you dancing last night
near the roof of this world.

Hafiz

Others may have viewed it differently and used other terminology. Each of them, and us (as we all come from different backgrounds may have differing views, but, hopefully, in sharing these we each come to a better understanding). I say that because what follows today, may be rather theological, and different to usual posts, but please read on and give me your views.

I’d suggest there is some value in it, whatever our wonderful theological backgrounds are, and whatever different words we use. There is a sense that, if we travel back far enough, we will arrive at what some would call a unified ‘perennial theology’ – back where it all started.

This divine dance, then, this flow, to the ancient Welsh Celts and Druids, and latter-day ones too, is known as Gwyar. Pronounced as ‘goo-yar’, it means water and generally in Druidic groups it is the flow of the liquid that the word describes, not the water itself. We looked in brief at Gwyar previously (see here), and how it flows through is and all around us, that it is ubiquitous, and is responsible for change, growth connectedness, communication. Today we delve a little deeper.

‘The energy in the universe is not in the planets, or in the protons or in neutrons, but in the relationship between them…In other words, it is an entirely relational universe.’ Richard Rohr.

As you take the bus to work, this energy is flowing through you, in and out, and in again. Walking down the street and pausing at a café, and when sitting outside to sip a latte, unbeknownst to you this energy may be flowing over the top of a neighbouring building, cascading down like a waterfall and you’re caught in an energetic, invisible, non-tangible spray. In the factory, in the schools, in a myriad of homes, in everyone, it is inclusive, never exclusive. That is Gwyar. And, as you gaze up at the stars at night, in the farthest reaches of space, Gwyar flows. Never static, always active, it flows where it pleases.

‘The foundational good news is that creation and humanity have been drawn into this flow! We are not outsider sor spectators but inherently part of the divine dance.’ Richard Rohr.

However, the more we try to ‘contain’ Gwyar and understand it using twenty-first century thought the more problematic our ‘theology’ becomes. In using the metaphor of flowing water, which is good in taking us so far, we still miss something. This movement, this flow, this energy, this Gwyar, is not impersonal. It is personal. It is alive. It is Life itself.

The more we try to compartmentalise  it and make it exclusive to us (or our group), and the more we try to ‘localise’ it – I have this flow but you don’t, then the less of Gwyar we benefit from. Oh, it always flows, but in such circumstances we may not be aware of it (so much), nor benefit from it (so much), and so miss out. We have a choice to put ourselves in the way of the flow, or not.

I was in London for the whole of August, and more than ever London’s weather was changeable. Some days were cloudy, sometimes it rained, and on a few days the sky was totally blue, the sun shone and it was ‘scorching’ with temperatures hitting 32c/90f. I have to confess that, in London at that time of the year, it is too hot for me. As the sun shone down on me as I walked along the city street – far too hot for me – I chose to cross the busy road and walked on the shaded side of the street.

‘It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.’

J K Rowling, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

We have a choice to ‘walk’ within the flow or to ‘work’ against it. Times when we deal with a diffcult challenge calmly and fairly, when we relax and just laugh, times when we’re working hard at our job and achieving something, playing sport, seeing a baby giggle, witnessing a flock of birds swirling around in the sky, trees blowing in the wind, someone assisting someone across the road, being hospitable, feeling ‘cocooned’ in love or expressing our love for others,  and more, all these are the flow flowing through us, all these are hints of Gwyber, and we can be aware of it.

‘The Great Flow [this divine dance] makes use of everything, absolutely everything. Even your mistakes will be used in your favour, if you allow them.’ Richard Rohr

Now here’s a thought. And, here it gets theological. Many of us may have been taught about sin – even if you’re not part of a group that uses that word, you may be familiar with the notion. To many, sin is an action (or inaction) that upsets God (the Universe or whatever word you wish to use), and there are some who then believe that God delights in punishing sinners. And, yet the same people will also admit that we’re all sinners. Now, here’s the main thought. Suppose God (maybe, That Which Is Bigger Than Us) is upset at sin and not you and I, and has a distaste for sin because of its negative effect on us. And suppose sin is whatever we do that interrupts the flow, and it’s standing within the flow that God (or The Source of All) wants us to be? Suppose sin is stepping outside of the flow?

My son had just started to walk, and so this is a memory of some time ago. Oh, one he found his balancing skills, leg-motor skills he was off. It quickly becomes apparent to me as a new parent that other skills take some time to develop. On one occassion, before I could catch him, my son darted off, looked back at me chasing him and giggled. To him it was a game. To me, it was a case of catching my ‘runaway’ son before he… And then he tripped over some uneven paving stones, fell and cried. I picked him up, soothed him, as any loving parent would do, and gave him words of comfort, such as, ‘There, there, its all better now. Daddy’s here. But please don’t run away, and why not stand over there!’

Perhaps, those ancient ‘Thou shalt not’s as restrictions, the idea of sin being an opportunity for God to punish us, perhaps when I point the finger and say to others ‘I’m right, but you’re not’, is perhaps a wrong perception of what is going on. Perhaps, God, being an even better Daddy than I can ever be, just wants us to stand next to Him (or Her, and that would make God our Mummy, but I’m okay with that), and just be there in the flow. Perhaps those are encouragements, not admonishments, to step back into the flow?

‘Sin is behovely [useful or necessary], but all shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well,’ The Lady Julian of Norwich

Ofcourse, you may not ‘see’ things like this. Nevertheless, it seems to work. But, putting that aside, as we look around at the world, at events, awesome people, marvellous human acheivements on a cultural level and a personal level – yes, what you do is important – as we look at the wonders of nature, don’t we witness this flow, the Gwybar? And, don’t we feel the urge to be ‘absored’ by it, to revel in it?

Who hasn’t laughed when a baby recognises your face and a split second smiles, or paused at a magnificent sunset, or given thanks (hopefully, not sarcastically) when finishing a task at work, or played a musical instrument or listed to one being played and got ‘lost’ in the moment? That’s Gwyar, and we can choose to revel and dance in the flow, or resist it.

Yes, Gwyar is the flow of Life itself, and Gwyar is inclusive, ubiquitous and invitational, and regardless of what faith group we belong to, what words we use, we have a choice to go deeper and revel in the flow, this movement, this energy, to participate if we so choose, and realise that Gwyar is the Universe itself and is Personal. If we rest, if we look around us with a ‘softened’ gaze, if we open ourselves to the prompting of this ubiquitous Gwyar then we might, and I think we will, just ‘feel’ it pulsing through us.

This universe is a banner
that keeps fluttering.
Your heart sees the banner;
your soul thinks it’s the air that makes it move.
But the one who knows
how helpless air is
recognizes that everything
is nothing but God.

Rumi