Druidry talks a lot about Awen, both in the sense of “bardic inspiration” and as the life force that flows through all the worlds. In the second sense, of course, we all partake of Awen just by virtue of being alive. My perception, though, is that a lot of people – particularly those who don’t consider themselves to be “creative” – don’t think that Awen in the first sense has anything to do with them, that it’s only for “arty” stuff like music, art and writing. Even those whose understanding of creativity runs deeper, and tap into the current of Awen that can raise more “mundane” activities (cooking, childrearing… you know, the little stuff ;) to a higher pitch, seem mainly to consider it in terms of active doing, of making and producing something.
But there is also another aspect to the flow of Awen – for lack of a better term, I’ll call it the “perceptive” aspect – that I haven’t seen discussed much. When someone creates a song, or a piece of needlework, or even a blog post, if they do it with due intention and with an open and receptive spirit, I believe that Awen flows through that work and makes it more than it would be through their effort alone – more polished, more holy, more itself. That’s understood by pretty much everyone, I think. BUT – I also believe that when someone engages openly and receptively with the work of others, that Awen flows through that experience as well, and deepens their perception of the experience and the work.
Back in December, Thorn Coyle interviewed Jason Pitzl-Waters on her podcast (I just listened to it today, which is mostly what sparked this post). During the interview Jason talked about certain “holy” (his term) moments in his DJ career when the mix came together just right, he could feel all the pieces falling into place, and ecstatic people would mob the dance floor. I might say (and I will, at least for the purposes of this discussion) that he was clearly tapping in to the flow of Awen, that it was flowing through his mix out through the crowd and back to him – everyone responding to this amazing creative energy.
To truly experience a piece of music, to feel it so deeply that you have to dance, or cry, or laugh out loud; to actively study a piece of art or a poem; to be mindfully present with the eating of a meal… this is also a creative act, the making of a unique encounter that will never again happen in exactly the same way. How often have you heard people say, “Every time I read that book I come away with something different”? Of course they do – they are not the same as they were the last time they read it, or as they will be the next time. The work itself doesn’t change (much), but we and our circumstances certainly do, constantly. How, then, should our experience of the work – or of our entire life, for that matter – not flow and change?