In ancient Keltia, the Druid Order consisted of learned men, those educated in Bardic Arts: cosmology, native history, legendary history of heroes and spirituality, penal laws and punishments, geography, healing, botanical medicine, astronomy, astrology and magic…
–Joshua Free explains in the preface to Pheryllt.
It is no wonder the Bardd is viewed as transmitter or catalyst of awen, the essence, divine spark or spirit of inspiration that the Greeks termed gnosis. It is to the ‘ebb and flow’ of the ‘awen field‘ that the poetic genius of Bards is attributed.
Diverse facets of knowledge, from practical magic, to the Bardic Arts, to Celtic history or even philosophies assimilated from cultures that Druids encountered throughout Europe, all appear in Douglas Monroe‘s works under the premise of being referenced from the Book of Pheryllt – or more accurately the Books of Fferyllt, a collective body of knowledge (what is literally called the Body of the Dragon in his preface to the 21 Lessons of Merlyn).
Following the lead of Monroe‘s citations, other cycles of Welsh material are also incorporated into the Book of Pheryllt, namely the Cad Goddeu (or Battle of the Trees) and the Gorchan of Maeldrew and both are contained in Volume I of the Books of Pheryllt. The three do not overlap or necessarily pertain to practical methodology in the sense the Seeker is left with when examining the “grimoire” portions of Douglas Monroe’s Lost Books of Merlyn. The “cantos” depicted on page 252 from that text are actually derived from a cycle of Norse mythology titled: Fridthjof’s Saga.
“The Druids believed in books more ancient than the flood. They styled them the ‘Books of Pheryllt’ and the writings of Hu.”
– Ignatius Donnelly, ‘Atlantis’
“Oxford is old, even in England… its foundations date from Alfred, and even from Arthur, if, as is alleged, the Pheryllt of the Druids had a seminary there.”
– Ralph Waldo Emerson, English Traits
According to Douglas Monroe a manuscript known as the ‘Book of Pheryllt‘ from the 16th century collection is attributed to a modern antiquarian Bard: Llywelyn Sion of Glamorgan, Wales. It is purportedly moved from the library of Owen Morgan “Morian” to the private collection of the Albion Lodge of the ‘United Ancient Order of Druids of Oxford‘ before coming into Monroe’s possession. Barddas, also by Llywelyn Sion, strongly influenced work of Douglas Monroe, neodruidism and the National Welsh Eisteddfod. In addition to Monroe‘s work, Barddas is highly recommended as a companion to the Pheryllt.
“It became rapidly clear that to give the ‘Body of the Dragon’ its true justice, given the many diverse subjects and scattered references from Douglas Monroe’s trilogy and the mysterious manner which Bards conceal knowledge, that my facsimile of the Pheryllt material required more than one volume to be complete.”
— Joshua Free
ADDITIONAL EDITOR’S NOTES: The reader will quickly find that much of the herbal lore, formulas and Ogham knowledge is held back from the first volume in order to establish proper roots of doctrine and tradition. As a debut volume it was important for it to carry integrity of authentic Welsh Bardism; not simply one more ‘book of shadows‘ on the market overrun by incense blends and notes for self-guided visualizations. How long it will take to bring this venture to its completion is another matter altogether. It has already taken years to muster the spiritual courage and mental fortitude to even consider such a feat, even though I am well versed in Douglas Monroe‘s specific brand of Druidry and have written extensively on the topic in previous books…
“–Ac yna yr ordeinodd hi drwy gelfyddydd llyfrau Pheryllt I ferwi pair o Awen.”
“–So she (Ceridwen) took to the crafts of the Book of Pheryllt to boil a cauldron of Awen.”
– from the ‘Hanes Taliesen’, Peniarth MS
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 in-depth critique of their founder, a figure named Pharaon (FAR-ah-on), and translated by some scholars to mean ‘higher powers‘. 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…
Where the Druids are concerned, hundreds of years of diverse academic and philosophical debate await the Seeker on their look back. It is now even more controversial to speak of the Pheryllt in neodruid circles – supposed rings of open minds that remain closed in reality…
JOSHUA FREE explains in the preface to the newly released volume: PHERYLLT.
For two decades a modern movement of neodruids
influenced by modern Pheryllt Druidism have become bystanders amidst the unbreakable schism. Alleged authorities on Druidry raise one hand screaming how these documents supporting an ancient Welsh Bardic Druid (and Pheryllt) tradition are a hoax, but with the other hand they borrow from these same sources for their own purposes.
It is by no surprise to many that I find myself tackling the venture of compiling a readable and accessible version of the Books of Pheryllt. My metaphysical and spiritual involvement in the modern New Age consists primarily in the cultural genres of Druidism and Mesopotamia. That being said, my presentation generally is in favor of ancient writings, often collected in the style of an infamous book that is notoriously considered pseudoepigrapha in the literary and underground communities.
These tomes in question are thought not to exist, or entirely the subject of fantasy or fiction. Those who are at all familiar with my historical presentation of the Mesopotamian tradition using the Necronomicon paradigm understand this. In spite of this, the Necronomicon Anunnaki Legacy (Silver Edition),currently available via the Mardukite Research Organization, is the only “version” of a ‘Necronomicon’ on the market today that even begins to meet the vast and fantastic descriptions lent to the book’s existence in the writings of H.P. Lovecraft.
The banner of the National Welsh Eisteddfodd continues to read to this day: Y GWIR YN ERBYN BYD, meaning: Truth Against The World. It is in this light that I have worked over the past twenty years in my modern Pheryllt Druidry and other efforts – both privately in practice and publicly in my literary contributions to the Spirit of the Times. In such, I take the matter of presenting the Books of Pheryllt quite seriously. They exist as a ‘body’ of much misunderstood literary work solidified from ancient oral traditions preserved by the Bardic Druids – bridging prehistory with modern times!
Many antiquated scholarly references to Books of Pheryllt and the Pheryllt themselves may be found by a diligent seeker – some of which are included or paraphrased within this very book. It is, however, Douglas Monroe‘s modern work that brings the Pheryllt to debate among the tables and councils of neodruid Orders. He has used the unpublished Books of Pheryllt in his writings as a paradigm to present a uniquely eclectic form of modern Druidry.
Douglas Monroe undertakes a remarkable feat spanning a trilogy of intensive writings, most famously his debut and bestselling 21 Lessons of Merlyn in 1992, in relaying the 3 memories of the Bard: the history, the poetry and the lineage of the tradition as survived by the hands of Bardic Druids. The authentic premise guiding the modern Pheryllt Druid tradition is the remaining works that do exist from the Welsh MS. Society and the continuing efforts of the National Welsh Eisteddfodd in preserving the Bardic tradition…
GREETINGS & WELCOME !!!
I have spent the better part of two decades bringing “The Druid Compleat“ to ‘completion‘. The text of this anthology is compiled from three (technically five) different volumes of material that I have personally put forth as: Druidry, the Draconomicon and Book of Elven-Faerie. Combined, they compose nothing short of A Complete Course Curriculum in Druidry!
Never would I have imagined that the magnum opus of my work with Druidry in this life took so relatively ‘long’ to put forth – but perhaps I should not be as surprised, for the mysteries of the Druid are not simply ‘learned’, but ‘lived’ and ‘experienced’. The lessons are never truly ‘over’, and the path of the seeker goes on following a continuous flow – moving closer and closer to the oneness and unifying wholeness that is the very beauty and harmony reflected in Nature, in all of its existences, manifestations and expressions throughout the universe.
The task of relaying the wisdom and teachings of Druidry is not something I take lightly; for though my explorations into Mesopotamia, the Anunnaki and other facets of ‘magick’ and ‘occultism’ may have earned me (or my name) the most recognition, it is Druidry – or at least my ‘Druidry’ – that I consider the height of what the modern ‘New Age’ has had to offer in and among a host of varying revivals from all cultures and pantheons come and gone – and even a few constructed within the last centuries that have been given life by a host of followers and would-be cult members.
The main tenet of this Druid School is based on the notebooks kept from 1996 until 2002 in the “Merlyn Stone” archives. Even at that time, the more ‘public’ interest in my work was not ‘Druidic’ – being the Sorcerer’s Handbook of Merlyn Stone, though that work had also been the result of notebooks kept by a quasi-Druidic group in the mid-1990’s.
In 1995, my work was mainly focused on the ‘Dragon’, hence the Draconomicon notebooks being kept at that time for the ‘Mystics of the Earth’ in Minnesota and the ‘Draconic Celtic Lodge of Druids‘ in Colorado. The later Sorcerer’s Handbook and further works of “Merlyn Stone” were all tied to another Colorado based organization the ‘Elven Fellowship Circle of Magick‘ (hence the origins of the Book of Elven-Faerie as well; and so we come full circle). These ‘Druidry’ notebooks were later fragmented and then, for the most part, unreleased.
Combined, the Druidic Legacy presented in the current volume is perhaps one of the most complete synthesis available to the modern seeker who has few solid avenues to turn to for contemporary apprenticeship in the 21st century. The work I have done has been held in such high regard, however, that it has earned the recognition of some very esteemed colleagues in this genre, affording me even to offer an interlogue for the third book by legendary neo-druidic author, Douglas Monroe, Deepteachings of Merlyn (released Autumn Equinox, 2011).
Druidry, in essence, is the ‘craft of the wise’ as observed under the semantics and language of a certain culture, geography, time in history and class of human. What it represents in the depths of all of its history, mysticism, enchantments and lore is, yes, even more of such things, but in an unending spiral into a greater and more complete understanding of Nature and the universe – as well as our place within it.
ENJOY THE LEGACY !!!
—Nabu “Merlyn” Joshua Free