It is interesting that many modern druid orders thrash the BARDDAS while simultaneously adopting many of its teachings, even if inadvertently. The Sign of Awen frequently used to distinguish Druidry as well as the lore of the Druid’s Cabala (and it’s terminology) mainly originate with the “Barddas.” The Coelbren of the Bards, the Alban calendar and hundreds of triad teachings are also translated from this work for contemporary use.
Originally published as the “Barddas of Iolo Morganwg: A Collection of Original Documents, Illustrative of Theology, Wisdom and the Usages of the Bardo-Druidic System of the Isle of Britain.” It first appeared in 1862, edited by J. William ab Iithel and presented as a translation of an earlier Welsh manuscript penned by Llewellyn Sion, a Bard of Glamorgan. This claim is still under dispute.
THE BARDDAS is perhaps the most controversial facet appearing in neodruidism as are all of the revival traditions that stemmed from it. Regardless, it is a unique and impressive work.
Several versions are examined here for the benefit of the seeker.
Version One: The Prayer of Gwyddonaid
[Book of Margam]
God impart thy strength;
And in strength, the power to suffer;
And to suffer for the Truth;
And in the Truth, all light;
And in all Light, all Gwynedd;
And in Gwynedd, love;
And in love, God;
And in God, all goodness.
Version Two: The Gorsedd Prayer
[Book of Trahaiarn]
Grant, God, thy protection,
And in protection, reason;
And in reason, light;
And in light, Truth;
And in Truth, justice;
And in justice, love;
And in love, the love of God;
And in that love of God, all Gwynedd,
God and all goodness.
Version Three: Gorsedd Prayer
[common Welsh version]
Dyro Dduw dy nawdd;
Ag yn nawdd, nerth;
Ag yn nerth, deall;
Ag yn neall, gwybod;
Ac yngwybod, gwybod y cyflawn;
Ag yngwybod y cyflawn, ei garu;
Ag of garu, caru pob hanfod;
Ag ymhod hanfod, caru Duw,
Duw a phob daioni.
Version Four: Gorsedd Prayer
[common version translated]
Grant, O God, thy protection;
And in protection, strength;
And in strength, understanding;
And in understanding, knowledge;
And in knowledge, the knowledge of justice;
And in the knowledge of justice, the love of it;
And in that love, the love of all existences;
And in the love of all existences, the love of
God, God and all goodness.
Another example of philosophy relayed in the BARDDAS is that humans are composed from eight elements, facets or dimensions illustrated in the following verse:
From the Earth, the flesh;
From the water, the blood;
From the air, the breath;
From the calas, the bones;
From the salt, the feeling;
From the Sun, the fire of his agitation;
From the Truth, his understanding (knowledge)
From the Awen, his spirit, soul or life.
PHERYLLT (Vol. 1)
A Modern Guide to the First Systematizers of the Ancient Celts & The Pre-Druidic Religion
edited by Joshua Free — (P1)
We have been given little in classical literature or even antiquarian druidism to satisfy hunger for Pheryllt (pronounced FAIR-ee-llt or VAIR-ult) research, and even less to support an indepth critique of their founder, a figure named Pharaon – translated by some scholars to mean ‘higher powers’. “–So Ceridwen took to the crafts of the Book of Pheryllt to boil a cauldron of Awen.” Perhaps it is ‘Druid Craft’ to call down ‘higher powers’ to conjure inspiration and magic – perhaps that is what Ceridwen is doing in the famous reference above. In either case, it has spawned an entire branch of modern druid methodology and a natural universalist philosophy — even if only in spirit.
PHERYLLT (Vol. 2)
Secrets of the Ogham: The 21 Leaves of Druid Wisdom from the Book of Ogma Sun-Face
edited by Joshua Free — (P2)
Trees are an inseparable icon to the Druidic archetype and they are central to this second volume of the Fferyllt series. The Seeker is led into deep forests of woodland mystery wherein lies the Great Magical Arcanum, initiation to the Divine Secrets of the Universe hidden within the runes of twenty-one Keys – the OGHAM – the secret language and alphabet of the woods.
PHERYLLT (Vol. 3)
Secrets of the Merlin Temple & The Blue Book of Welsh Bards and Druids
edited by Joshua Free — (P3)
The final volume! Completing the series of a classic archetype of “The Book” …of secrets, power and/or magic for the Druid Tradition, the Books of Fferyllt trilogy now exist both immaterially in spirit and as a ‘body’ (“corpus”) of literary work solidified in modern times from surviving fragments of ancient Druidry.