The Gwyddonic Order

The Gwyddonic Order is a Welsh-Celtic spiritual, philosophical, and metaphysical Pagan tradition.

A male is a 'gwyddon' (gwih-thun), and a female is a 'gwiddon' (gwie-thun). A Second Degree Gwyddon is considered a Priest, while a Third Degree Gwyddon is considered a High Priest.

The Welsh word 'gwyddonydd' translates into English as 'scientist'. The root of the word ('gwydd') translates as 'tree'. It is possible the name Trefn Gwyddoniad was born from 'gwyddoniaeth or 'science'. In that vein, Trefn Gwyddoniad translates as 'Order of Science'. Some Gwyddons translate 'gwyddon' to mean 'priest-scientist'–whereas the Welsh 'offeiriad' (or offeiriaid) translates to 'priest' in English.

Trefn Gwyddoniad founder and first known Cordemanon (teacher/preserver of the Craft) is known only as MEM. MEM founded the first College in London, and a man known as Corvin became her first High Priest. Soon, these Cordemanons undertook the task of putting into written form that which had been imparted by oral transmission; thus, the [I]Greater Book of the Art and Craft[/I] was written the first time, in the Welsh. When MEM neared the end of her life, she designated Corvin as the Second Cordemanon and gave him the task of continuing her work. In 1792, the year the Iola Morganwg re-instituted the Eisteddfod, Corvin left London for Salem, Massachusetts, carrying the teachings of the Gwyddoniad to the New World.

Corvin found an eager mind in Lughkin, whom he designated as Cordemanon, and entrusted the teachings to him. Lughkin then moved to Baltimore, Maryland. That city had a large Welsh population where he fit in without drawing undue notice. Lughkin found his own charge, the Lady Anna, whose given name was Anna Ravenwood. In 1899, with the death of Lughkin, Anna began her work as the fourth Cordemanon.

Anna moved from Baltimore to San Francisco and in 1947 began translating the [I]Greater Book of the Art and Craft[/I] into English. The book was revised in 1949 and again in 1954. Anna wanted to spend her time in teaching the Craft, rather than all her time in teaching a foreign language. In post-war San Francisco, Anna gave lectures on metaphysics for local groups. At one of these, a young man, while in the Coast Guard, came into contact with her in 1954.

In time, Anna gave the responsibility and direction of the Gwyddoniad into the care of this young priest, who had taken the name Merlinos. Through the next ten years, Merlinos earned both a formal and an informal education. He majored in anthropology, with a minor in education, at the California State University at Sacramento.

Lady Anna, though very old, did not cease her activities, and moved to Sacramento. While there, she lived next to another of the future Cordemanons, known as Llyr. Anna died in the early 1970s.

In the time between 1965 and 1970, Merlinos returned to San Francisco to regain contact with Lady Anna. He was informed she was gone. From San Francisco he traveled to Hawaii where, with the Lady Morgana, another College was founded (which later became The New Reformed Gwyddoniad). He then continued back to Sacramento while keeping in touch with the Hawaiian College. Once in Sacramento, he associated with the Wicca of the Order Magestic of Queen Ladora, having become lonely for contact with others who loved the old gods. Sadly, he found only limited contentment among those who called themselves English Traditionalists.

What he did find was the Lady Megan-Rose, third initiation priestess of the Order Magestic. She was drawn to the teachings of the Gwyddoniad. On Beltane 1976, Megan-Rose and Merlinos became the founding priests of the College of the Three Cranes.

Several years later, Merlinos left California for his home, Whitesburg, Kentucky, where the College of Anu, the first Gwyddon college in Kentucky, was founded at Litha's day 1983. RoseAnna acted as the founding High Priestess, McLugh the founding High Priest. The founding members were Newfox, Nanta-Branwen, Besidhe, and Triana. The sponsors of the new college were Bel-Adain and Gwalchmai of the College of the Three Cranes.

Newfox subsequently left the mountains for Campbellsville, Kentucky, where he lived until his death in 2004. The College of Anu is now located in Somerset, Kentucky, and is entrusted to the care of High Priest Gwyliedydd.

In 1988, Mairwen y Gwydd found Wicca while attending Eastern Kentucky University. By 1991, she lived in rural Central Kentucky in close proximity to Merlinos, who now called himself Newfox. The pair arranged a meeting, and Newfox put her in touch with his former College of the Three Cranes student D’Epone, who by this time had formed the College of the Silvering Wheel in Reno, Nevada, before settling in Butte County, California. D’Epone, who now went by Anna Hawk (no relation to Anna Ravenwood, and the two never met), took over part of Mairwen’s teaching. After the 'retirement' of Newfox in August 1994, Anna Hawk became Mairwen’s full-time teacher.

Mairwen formally Initiated into Trefn Gwyddoniad at Beltane 1995. With the long-distance help of Anna Hawk, and the local assistance of Riverfox, the small group took the name College of the Blue Butterfly at Bridget's Fire 1996. The founding members were [COLOR=windowtext]Mairwen y Gwydd, Sebastion, and Silver Fox. These events took place in Loyall, Kentucky.[/COLOR]

In either late 1994 or very early 1995 (no one is positive), Newfox came out of 'retirement', and the College of Anu once again became active.

The Winter Season of 1997 proved eventful for the Gwyddoniad as a whole. The Colleges of Anu and Blue Butterfly celebrated Yule together, events there setting the path for the withdrawal from Trefn Gwyddoniad by the College of Anu in the spring of 1998. Craft Elders on the West Coast tested Mairwen, and she was Elevated to Third Degree. She prepared to move to Northern California to study full-time with the College of the Silvering Wheel.

Once in California, Mairwen took over High Priestess duties of the College of the Silvering Wheel in order to learn hands-on, immersion-style, what the position entailed. At the Dyad Moon, she was Inducted into the Druidry Mastery School. Everyone in the College of the Silvering Wheel agreed Newfox made a huge mistake by leaving California. But Mairwen knew a place is far more than its landscape, and everyone’s arguments only helped to reinforce this. She also began to see why Newfox longed to be home in Kentucky.

The events of that Summer stemmed from strong, unresolved emotional issues, centered around Newfox. Anna Hawk and Newfox pulled Mairwen (in particular) and the College of the Blue Butterfly (in general) into the middle of their ego-struggles and used them as someone and something to target. Anna Hawk saw Newfox as the father she never had, and he never lived up to her expectations. That, and to Anna Hawk, being part of a 'family' meant all involved being in the same general geographical area.

The Dyad Moon was the last ritual Mairwen participated in with the College of the Silvering Wheel.

Between the Dyad Moon and the Summer Solstice, she began having second thoughts about the Gwyddoniad and started to study on her own once more. She returned to eastern Kentucky late in July.

The Gwyddonic Order was founded in Loyall, Kentucky, at Lughnassad 1998 when Mairwen y Gwydd formally separated The College of the Blue Butterfly from the College of the Silvering Wheel, and thus Trefn Gwyddoniad (now y Awenechen, an American-Welsh Celtic Ár nDraíocht Féin: A Druid Fellowship (ADF) hybrid).

Remnants of Trefn Gwyddoniad remain scattered throughout the United States.

The Gwyddonic Order retained one contact within Trefn Gwyddoniad, Hunter Phoenix, who lives outside the San Francisco area.

After Beltane 1999, Mairwen and Silver Fox left the mountains for Lexington, Kentucky. This resulted in some minor shifting of the College membership. The Gwyddonic Order now uses an application process, which includes a six-month waiting period between the taking of the Tuatha Oath and the Initiation ritual, with certain tasks to be completed in the interim. [COLOR=windowtext]Unlike their Trefn Gwyddoniad parent, The Gwyddonic Order does not limit themselves to Seekers in their immediate region.[/COLOR]

The liturgy and dogma of The Gwyddonic Order is found within the Red Book of Anu, comprised of the Gwyddon Lesser Book of the Art and Craft, Greater Book of the Art and Craft, and the Traditions and Lore of the Art and Craft.

The Greater Book contains material which may not be changed unless a member understands the true intent and meaning of the original text–and even then, changes aren't undertaken lightly. Each College has leeway to change laws to fit its needs, however; these are called 'by-laws' and are contained in the Druidic Lore book.

The philosophical foundation of The Gwyddonic Order is The Concept of Oneness: 'Everything is the One, and the One is the All', meaning that no-thing and no-one is more or less the One than any-thing or any-one else. Nor can any aspect be more or less of the One.

The concept states that the whole universe and everyone and everything in it is a single homogenous being called 'The All' or 'The Boundless'.

Simply put, the Concept of Oneness maintains that all things, regardless of energy, state, form, color, density, duration, etc, are One Boundless Being. And though each aspect of this One is truly unique, that aspect (or any aspect) is completely and fully The All, The One, The Boundless.

The gods worshipped within The Gwyddonic Order are Irish, Gaelic, Welsh, and Teutonic. However, this doesn't mean Gwyddons are limited to these Gods. The Indo-European God-family has over 500 members. The Tuatha de Danaan, or Tribe of the Goddess D'Anu, the family members who are presently Gods, or humans who have transcended the physical limitations of their existence to become deity. D'Anu translates to 'of the Great Mother'. The Tuatha of Kerridwen, the family members who are presently human, incarnate here on Earth. Each Gwyddon, therefore, is a part of Kerridwen, each a microcosm of 'Her'.

The Gwyddoniad uses 'Tuatha' because Lady Anna found it too difficult for the American tongue to pronounce the Welsh 'y Tylwyth Teg'.

In the Welsh mythology, Kerridwen was merely a sorceress, but in Gwyddonics she is elevated to the status of Kerridwen the Great, 'The All Mother', 'The Ninefold One'. In Gwyddonics, Kerridwen has two aspects: 'Kerridwen the Bright', also known as 'The Bright One', and 'Kerridwen the Dark', also known as 'The Dark One'.

That is to say, Kerridwen the Great has eight aspects–Bright and Dark, with three aspects each. Her names are D'Anna, Bridget, Nimué, Vivian, Morgana, Gabba, Kerridwen the Bright and Kerridwen the Dark.

In addition to 'The All Mother' deity, there is also a deity called the 'The All Father', Kernunnos. Gwyddon myth states that Kerridwen created Kernunnos from the Unmanifest. She fixed his Nature to the seasons so that in the winter his Bright Nature sleeps while His Dark Nature roams the land. But after Yule, his Bright Nature begins to awake and does so fully at the Spring Equinox. His Bright Nature rules for the full summer season.

Like Kerridwen, Kernunnos is divided into a bright aspect and a dark aspect. The Great Days of the Sun remind Gwyddons of Kernunnos' journey through the seasons:

Kernunnos is Tarvos
Tarvos is Bel
Bel is Hellith
Hellith is the Dying Sun
Lugh is the Moon
Lugh is the Lord of Death
Bel is the Lord of Life
Esus is an aspect of Lugh
Esus is the Lord of Destruction
Smertullos is the Preserver and the Lord of Protection
Smertullos is an aspect of Bel
Smertullos and Esus are twins.
Kernunnos is the Lord of Life and Death. Therefore,
Bel and Lugh are aspects of Kernunnos.

As for any Gwyddon deity having a consort, or male partner, along with two certain seasonal rituals, this is a later, Romantic Age addition to the teachings and is not contained in any of the original materials.

The Greater Book of the Art and Craft contains, among many other things, a list of the names and descriptions of 35 most easily approached deities. Each Gwyddon Seeker is expected to develop a relationship ('deity rapport') with the Tuatha gods, and at least one in particular the Seeker feels strong connections with (that number often grows the longer a Student studies within the Order).

The Gwyddonic Order has an ordered group structure with strict teachings.

Gwyddonics cannot be taught by anyone who is not of the Third Degree within the Order.

Gwyddons consider themselves an 'academic tradition'. Individual groups are called 'colleges'. As the name implies, the main purpose of a college is to teach. A 'collective' of colleges is considered a 'Nemeton', or a 'University'. It takes at least three Colleges to found a Nemeton.

A college consists of at least three people–a High Priestess, a High Priest, and one member, all three branching from a pre-existing college. Each college is served by a High Priestess and a High Priest. With the exception of the founding members, these positions are filled by Third Degree members, by group election, for a designated length of time (usually nine years). No individual college can be larger than 25 members.

A college must have a High Priestess (who may be of any Degree if a Third Degree is unavailable, but a Third Degree is preferred), or it’s not recognized as a legal college. A college must also have a High Priest (who must be Third Degree), and at least one founding member (some say two or three founding members). The word of the High Priestess is final.

When a Seeker is Initiated, he is 'born' into the Tuatha of Kerridwen; he becomes a member of the Tuatha, the tribe, the family.

The goal in Gwyddonics is to teach the 'Core Tradition'. Therefore, anything learned about herbalism, astrology, Tarot, ritual arts, College administration, myth and history, etc., either comes as a side interest or comes later in study after a Student reaches Third Degree.

Gwyddons have three special 'Priesthood Schools' (or 'Mastery Schools') set up for this, and they're completely optional training.

Each Student of the Gwyddon Craft works at his own pace, contacting his teacher for get-togethers, guidance, etc., as needed. Although each Teacher of the Craft is given a 'Teachers' Book', each Student is guided through his training by his own individual strengths and weaknesses. Students are not expected to do any rote learning or works, but are expected to learn and thoroughly comprehend the underlying patterns of what they are doing and what they are trying to accomplish.

No Gwyddon Craft tradition is binding upon a member of the Order. At the most, the many and varied traditions point to a way, or ways, whereby Students may enjoy the Craft more fully.

No part of the Gwyddon Lore is binding upon a member of the Order. Lore may enrich, edify, amuse, or in some way bring enjoyment.

A small clause in Gwyddon Craft Law allows them to update the Laws as seen fit, when certain things are outgrown or no longer apply; however, most do so by creating By-Law for their College. A geas was set down many years ago which prohibits Gwyddons from ever writing down the Tuatha Oath or any Student's Secret Name. Gwyddons expect their Little Works will be left unchanged, as they are strict methods for learning this particular path. They also expect their ritual patterns and methods will be left unchanged.

The Gwyddoniad has Degreed Levels of Study for Initiated members, as well as for those interested in Solitary practice. They feel strongly that anyone wishing to learn Gwyddonics, in good faith, should not be prevented from doing so.

The criteria for accepting Students (College members) within the Gwyddoniad are simple. Seekers fill out a 'membership petition', which asks for information such as a contact within the Pagan community, who can be asked questions to verify the Seeker's background, etc. They find out what books the Seeker has been reading and what he would like to read, what his goals are, why he is Seeking membership with us (particularly if he is a member of another group). They ask, also, how he defines 'family' and how he views deity. The potential Seeker is asked what he hopes to bring into the Tradition and what he hopes to learn from his chosen college. There are other questions, as well.

After acceptance, the Seeker is given materials to study along with certain works to perform over a six-month period. Once this period and/or the tasks are completed, the Seeker may petition his Teacher for Initiation. In The Gwyddonic Order, a Seeker must be Initiated in order to Study. At Initiation, the Seeker is transformed to Student/Member, and his training starts. He has no set time beyond this for study. Study may take five months or five years–always at the Student's pace, and the Student's choice.

In order to progress, the Student must ask for the next step of lessons, and in order to be Elevated to the next Level (or Degree), he must petition his Teacher. The Teacher assigns certain studies and projects for the Student to accomplish–but that accomplishment is totally up to the Student. We don't 'hand hold' our Students/Priests like some groups do. The only way a Student can find himself and his Path is on his own.

The teaching methods of the Gwyddoniad are strict and exact. The Teacher has the responsibility to teach the Art and Craft as clearly and cleanly as possible. Learning and progressing in the Craft is the Student’s own responsibility and choice, and only his right to succeed or fail, as he chooses. If he follows the path of himself, he is turned away.

The Gwyddoniad has three Degrees of the Craft but Five Levels of learning:[/COLOR]

The Seeker
1. The Student (Initiate/Member) – First Degree
2. The Lesser Priests of the Craft – Second Degree
3. The High Priests of the Craft – Third Degree
4. The Masters of the Craft

First Degree
1. Hare
2. Green upright, five-pointed star

Second Degree
1. Raven
2. Red inverted, five-pointed star superimposed over First Degree symbol

Third Degree
1. Owl
2. Circle color of Mastership intended around other degree symbols

a. Druid – orange – fire – pattern maker
b. Vatis – green – earth – pattern reader
c. Bard – indigo – water – pattern breaker
d. Thrice Master – grey – air

A Student may discontinue his formal studies when he reaches the Level of High Priest of the Art and Craft, if he wishes. At this point, the Priest is able to form his own college. Or he may choose to continue his studies and become a Master of the Craft. The Priest may also form a College and continue study.

The Craft Masters are divided into Druids (ritualists and administrators), Vatis (natural doctors and scientists), and Bards (artists and historians). Craft Mastership is purely optional, although it is quite possible to become a Thrice Master of the Craft.

Members of the Gwyddonic Order generally meet at the Great Days of the Sun and High Days of the Moon. Each college sets its own dates and times of worship and study. Some colleges set up study groups for study and work outside a ritual environment.

During the God Feast, an extension of the ritual body, they toast the Gods to show love and respect for them; they discuss the Art and Craft and metaphysics for personal and group growth; they tell stories, sing songs, and compose poems for their (and their god family's) amusement and growth; and more.

What they do as Gwyddons encompasses more as worship as opposed to magic. Magic is secondary to the Gwyddon, whose goal is to know who he is and what deity is.

Worship is the love and rapport an individual Gwyddon or a college establishes with the gods. There are two types of rapport:

1. Personal Rapport– The friendship we establish with the Gods.

2. Group Rapport– The love and friendships established with the 'Tuatha' or 'Family'.

In the Gwyddoniad, the seasonal cycle follows the birth, death, and rebirth of Tarvos the Bull beginning at Yule. Each Great Day and each High Day has a Goddess and a Consort representing the energies present at these points in the cycle. Some college also opt to meet, work, and/or study at the New Moon.

The Gwyddonic Order is not an earth-based tradition. A Gwyddon honors All Things. The typical definition of an Earth-based religion is one that believes in the divinity of the planet. The Gwyddoniad does not take the view that nature (or natural magic) is the only way to get results. They do not worship Earth spirits, land wights, or elementals. They also do not entreaty such for aid. The gods of the Gwyddoniad exist in a transcendent state beyond the consideration of what is the 'Earth'. The Gwyddonic Order does not center their religion (or their metaphysical practices) on this planet since they consider themselves One with everything in the universe.

Group College meetings are held on the Great Days of the Sun and High Days of the Moon. Additional festivals and meetings are determined by the practice of each individual College.Meetings on the Great Days are considered 'Open Meetings', available to anyone wishing to celebrate the seasons with a given college. The High Days are for Initiations, Elevations, Inductions, Family study; this is a time to bring the group closer together–these meetings are closed.

At open meetings, the guest is allowed to view the Rituals but not any Initiations, Elevations, or Inductions. Before someone is brought to an Open Meeting, he is told exactly what to expect and proper behavior is required. A prior meeting with the High Priest and High Priestess is also highly recommended.

Solar celebrations are just that, an opportunity for the whole Tuatha to meet together in celebration.

1. Yule – Winter Solstice (New Year) – 00.00 degrees Capricorn
2. Imbolc – Bridget’s Fire – 15.00 degrees Aquarius
3. Herdda’s Day – Lady’s Day (Vernal Equinox) – 00.00 degrees Aries
4. Beltane – Adventure of the Sun – 15.00 degrees Taurus
5. Litha’s Day – Midsummer (Summer Solstice) – 00.00 degrees Cancer
6. Lughnassad – Lugh’s Wedding Feast – 15.00 degrees Leo
7. Hellith’s Day – (Autumnal Equinox) – 00.00 degrees Libra
8. Samhain – End of Summer – 15.00 degrees Scorpio

Some Gwyddon colleges have retained the old Welsh names for certain holidays:

Samhain - Nos Galen-gaeof (Night of the Winter Calends)
Beltane - Galan-Mai (Calends of May)
Lughnasad - Gwyl Awst (August Feast)

Moons are for colleges to study and work together as Priests, for education. Begin with the first Full Moon after Yule:

Wolf Moon
Storm Moon
Chaste Moon
Seed Moon
Hare Moon
Dyad Moon
Mead Moon
Wort Moon
Barley Moon
Wine Moon
Blood Moon
Snow Moon
Oak Moon (note: Oak Moon is not used in twelve-moon years)

Ritual is not sacred in and of itself. Ritual is a tool and only a tool, and Gwyddons use it only as such. All meeting rules and God Feast rules are enforced. No alcohol abuse, no drugs, no sex used as a part of group ritual.

Ritual and practical functions may be performed by either the High Priest or the High Priestess, or the Wayland (Second Degree male specially elected Officer), or the Maiden (Second Degree female specially elected Officer).

Gwyddon rituals were written in a 'call and response' pattern. Their 'quarter calls', ritual of wine, and 'wards' call under the headings of the 'Preliminary Rituals' or the 'Ritual of Magic'.

The First Preliminary is to push/pull elemental energy and color patterns into the ritual area. The Second Preliminary is to push/pull/invite male and female as well as god and goddess energy into the ritual area; this preliminary is also used to pull together the 'group mind'.

Gwyddons don’t cast circles. Because of the Concept of Oneness, everything is already sacred. They do, however, have all rituals in the same space and always use the same patterns, methods and words. Any 'cleansing' that occurs is to purge the ego from entering the ritual space, not to rid the area of 'negative' energies. Rituals are never memorized. Over time, many Gwyddons learn the rituals due to repetition.

'Ritual of Magic' This is a group of four Great Elementals which is called to guard the four cardinal points. They already exist, so that new elementals are not created whenever they’re needed. This ritual is used very rarely. The space for this area is made with Unmanifest blue fire, and are a reflection of the Moon. Standing inside such a ritual area is called 'standing in the Moon'. These 'circles' are used for sacrificing energy, sacrificing ourselves by giving a piece of ourselves to construct an energy confine in which to do a Great Work, such as an Initiation, or an intensified Healing. Therefore, they’re used only when absolutely necessary, such as for Initiations.

They sometimes raise and send energy when warranted or requested but not always.

The God Feast is an extension of the previous rituals, not a potluck party. It is a ritual feast at which Gwyddons celebrate and commemorate their relationships with their Tuatha gods. This is the time metaphysical games are played and classes take place.

  • pagan/gwyddonicorder.txt
  • Last modified: 2019/08/05 08:26
  • by RandallS