Forest Jones talks about his novel…
Receyt of Awen
For some time I had wondered how Ceridwen, credited with creating the famous Welsh bard, Taliesin, came to be known as a goddess. There is no archaeological or written record (of which I am aware) which suggests that she ever was anything but a witch (and one with a nasty disposition at that) – but clearly she is a goddess to countless people today, myself included.
In 2006 when I first realized that my curiosity about Ceridwen might grow into a book, I began with these words:
Many are the unanswered questions in the tale of Gwion Bach, or is it the tale of Taliesin? Or of Ceridwen? As we shall see it is all of these and more.
Perhaps we should start with the tale of how Ceridwen came to have the books of Vergil in the first place – no mean feat at the dawn of the sixth century.
Or maybe we should examine how it was that Gwion Bach came to be tending the famous cauldron.
And what is this business about a baby growing from a grain of wheat and floating in the water for who knows how long?
But maybe you are like me – for whom the mysterious blind man was a most intriguing part of the puzzle.
The story runs in so many directions – perhaps it will be easiest to start at the beginning…but how far back
Two years into my research and meditation on Ceridwen and her story I decided to join O.B.O.D. Somehow I had overlooked the line in the course description on the O.B.O.D. website which says, “You then start to follow a path laid down, initially probably thousands of years ago, and which has been encoded in an old story about a young boy who becomes the finest Bard in the land – Taliesin.”
Realizing my research was turning into a novel and, not wanting to run the risk of unconscious plagiarism, I reluctantly put my Druidry studies aside before I had even begun, and vowed to take them up as soon as the book was finished. It was such a tease, watching those Gwersi pile up, only daring to read the Touchstone which came with the lessons.
It was two more years before the book was finished (and I could finally begin the Bardic grade in earnest). The original “Preface” is long gone, but I did find answers to all of those questions, and more. The research was great fun and included two trips toWales. I sat on the hill, on top of which stand the remains of King Maelgwn’s stronghold. From that hill one has a view of the mouth of the Conwy in which Taliesin became trapped in Maelgwn’s weir.
I stayed nine days near the shores of Llyn Tegid, wading in its chilly waters and finally communing with Ceridwen and her family in their homeland which, until that time, I had only done from afar. I wanted to make sense of her all-too-brief story which has come down to us. I wanted to know what happened before that fateful day of Morfran’s birth. I hoped she could walk me through her experience and help me understand its deeper meanings. She did not disappoint me. I look forward to sharing with others what she shared with me.
Because I like doing things the hard way I decided to craft the book myself. So, for now, it is available only in a limited edition of 100 numbered copies – printed on acid-free paper, hand-sewn and hardbound, covered with Italian book cloth. It is available on my website: http://summerislebooks.com