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" Seek the truth and run from

those who claim to have found it "

after André Gide

Magical Transformations – Taliesin, Christ and Sophia

July 6th, 2012
Sculpture of Taliesin at the Order of Sancta Sophia, Pennal, Wales. Photo David Iona.

Sculpture of Taliesin at the Order of Sancta Sophia, Pennal, Wales. Photo David Iona.

The Order’s 2012 Mt Haemus lecture has just been published. It has been written and researched by Kris Hughes. In this paper he explores the way the Welsh Taliesin material may contain keys to help us in our inner transformation, and he discusses a way in which the forts in the Spoils of Annwn can be associated with the endocrinal system, forming a ‘Western’ or local understanding of the chakra system. This relates his paper nicely to the lecture for 2011, in which the herbalist Julian Barker discusses the relationship between the endocrinal system and the seasonal cycle.

In looking for an image to illustrate Kris’ paper I discovered this photo of a sculpture from the garden of the Order of Sancta Sophia in Wales. What is that Order? Here’s a quote from another blog about it:

A Welsh chum of mine, the Reverend Geraint ap Iorwerth, was never happy with a Holy Trinity of “two he’s and an it“.

Forty years ago he founded the Order of Sancta Sophia which sees God as the Divine Feminine. Believers from all over the world visit first his website and then make pilgrimages to the Church of Wales’ St Peter ad Vincula at Pennal, near Aberdovey, where he is rector. ap Iorwerth told me: “People are fed up with traditional religious structures. The church is dying because most people live outside the old religious commitments. Less than eight per cent of people in Wales go to church or chapel on Sundays so there has got to be something wrong.

“I still function as a traditional Anglican priest for those who see me in that role, but I promote the ancient Celtic church as well. It was gentler and more tolerant. They are more in touch with the feminine and more akin to the Eastern Church. Praise and thanksgiving rather than doom, gloom and hell fire.

“The Wisdom of God, always feminine, can bring people together. She is almost like a Divine Consort. Pennal is where Christ and Sophia dance together.”They dance in greatly altered surroundings. Next to the altar is a sanctuary dedicated to all religions with an icon of the Divine Wisdom from the Byzantine church. A barn has been converted into an Ashram. There are sacred trees in the churchyard and a slate picnic table which doubles as an altar. Nearby is a barbecue and a bonfire site where, on all major feast days, fires are lit as they would have been in pre-Christian times to celebrate Midsummer (Feast of St John the Baptist) and the Celtic New Year (All Hallows’ Eve).

The Open Writing Blog

To read Kris’ paper follow the link below.

If you’d like to come to the Order’s Mt Haemus day in September you need to book soon. Only a few places are left. Click here for details.

2012 – Magical Transformation in the Spoils of Annwn and the Book of Taliesin – Exploring the Backbone of Druidry

Kris Hughes

Kristoffer Hughes, author of Natural Druidry, is a writer, teacher, workshop leader and Head of the Anglesey Druid Order. He is an Ovate of the Order of Bards, Ovates & Druids. He is a native Welsh speaker, born to a Welsh family in the mountains of Snowdonia in 1971. He is a keen student of Celtic literature and teacher of the Celtic mystery tradition, and a reader at the National Library of Wales. He lives on the Island of Anglesey. In his Mount Haemus research Kristoffer explores and interprets material from the legendary Welsh manuscript ‘The Book of Taliesin’ and presents an analysis of the magical transformations and mysteries it conveys.

8 Responses to “Magical Transformations – Taliesin, Christ and Sophia”

    • Dear Alina, I hope I am writing to the person who made some observations about the sculpture of Taliesin. You wondered if it was based on a real person. I have to tell you that you guessed correctly. The face is that of my beloved son who died of cancer some six years ago. He was a good song writer and lived the life of a true shaman.
      yours sincerely,
      David Iona.

  1. That sounds very interesting. I will have a look at the blog.
    The statue is very beautiful. Great work !!
    Have a wonderful weekend.

  2. So, have you ever heard this one? “What color was George Washingtons white horse?” Obviously, it was not immediately apparent me who the artist was. Perhaps I should blame it on the early hour I read it. I was thinking David Iona was the photographer exclusively. Whatever. Zigging when
    when one should have zagged is a part of life. How kind no one pointed out my error. Thank you ~

  3. Hi Lilly – I hadn’t managed to find that out – I thought David Iona was just the photographer too! What an interesting man. Here’s his bio:
    David Iona has been practising sculpture and other arts for over fifty years, He served in the R.A.F. for three years as a medic. After his time in the Airforce, he left and joined the Merchant Marine in order to see much more of the world. Over the years Iona has travelled the world visiting many countries, staying in Germany, Switzerland, U.S.A. and Australia, where as a young man he jumped ship and toured New South Wales. On his eventual return to the ship he was hauled up to the bridge where he was faced with the captain across the British Union Flag bedekked table on which was placed the captain’s loaded revolver. Iona was heavily fined with a loss of pay. He tells us “This discipline was worth every penny, just for this expeience alone”!

    Since well before his twenties he had immersed himself in making sculpture and practicing Zen and Christian mysticism, particularly the mysticism of Meister Eckhardt, St John of the Cross and Julian of Norwich. Subsequently under the influence of his readings of Thomas Merton, Iona entered the Zen priesthood. He was ordained in 1999 at the Hsu Yun Temple in Hawaii, the islands he had visited on a voyage many years before as a young man. On his ordination he was given the name ‘Shi Küng’ by his highly esteemed Master and Abbot, Ji Din, now deceased. Coincidently the meaning of Iona’s Zen name is ‘Emptiness’, latterly Iona added the name ‘Wu’ in deference to one of his spiritual ‘mentors’, Wu Wei Wu

    David Iona has for the last few years contemplated the possibility of presenting what he intuits as a possible nexus between Zen ’emptiness’, Judeo-Christian and Sufi mysicism through the material means of his Archestructures which are proving to be his most important works. Some of these can be found at:

  4. Hi Philip
    Just- ah – saying ‘hello’ via D.Peters, n crew- off to Devon rain with family and dogs and wishing you joy, love and light- wonderful blog. Would love to come to a tin shack gathering and well………………..
    Just wonder who else sees the ‘Long Man’ stands within his/her own green womb, enfolded, as peeked over the Yoni from the graveyard? SOmething opposite to the bare scarp/ flag pole at Mere?

  5. Hi,

    my sense is that the artist portrayed a real existing man. Might be a friend of him. The statue looks very real and is very nice!

    See Ya

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