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…
SECRET KNOWLEDGE FROM THE OTHERWORLD!!!
The Book of Elven-Faerie was written during the preliminary planning stages of the Mardukite Research Organization when it was still under the umbrella parentage of the former Elven Fellowship Circle of Magick. Although completed in 2004, this book was never released to the public until 2009 (after a private electronic beta release in 2008)…
THE BOOK OF ELVEN-FAERIE
by Joshua Free
“Being a Revelation of the
Elven Histories, Faerie Traditions,
Wizardry and Language
Of the Ancient and Shinning Ones”
NOW AVAILABLE AS THE 2012 SECOND EDITION!!!
[This blog post excerpted from the original electronic beta release introduction: “The Secret to Being an Elf in a Mortal Body” by Joshua Free.]
There are only two things that I knew for certain as a child, almost as if via some kind of genetic memory. Firstly, that the Mystery School and/or Hermetic Order of Merlyn is real, those secret places where Wizards learn their magick, copying as much down to their personal ‘grimoires’ or magickal notebooks as they find useful. Secondly, that there did exist inter-dimensional, albeit “invisible,” entities allowing me the realization when I entered adolescence (and you must brace yourself for this, dear reader) that I am an Elf. Of course, I do not necessarily resemble the contemporary vision of “Santa Claus elves” or the “imaginary beings” that most people conceive of in their head, except for perhaps the model of J.R.R. Tolkein, who spent a great deal of time studying the Ancient Elven Tradition and languages in the research for his fantasy of ‘Middle Earth.’
There is an increasing interest in the Elven Tradition as a result of fantasy products over the past years, but practically no solid avenue for a seeker to explore. Internet forums on Elven Ways and Magick are filled mainly with unsolvable inquiries concerning where to find a manual on this topic. While many other books “dabble” into aspects considered Elven or even the Celtic Faerie Tradition, they have a tendency to fall short in establishing the grand legacy and significance the Elven-Ffayrie race played in Human development. The Book of Elven-Faerie is no role-playing game (though it most certainly could be used to supplement one,) nor is it intended as a companion to fantasy literature (again perhaps a secondary use.) It is in fact that ‘Tome of Knowledge and Magick’ that those drawn or inclined to the Elven Way have long sought after.
The emergence of the “New Age Movement” brought a revival of interest in Elves and Faerie beings–Nature Spirits in general. Until recently, the “Faerie” section of ‘Ye Olde New Age Shoppe’ contained mainly A-Z encyclopedias, art books containing original works or pressed flowers, and manuals to ‘guide the reader to the Otherworld’ via imagery and guided meditation. This is certainly not enough to base a tradition off of. What’s more, there are many misconceptions that continue to be reprinted in some of these ‘Faery-Wicca’ books that mostly contain rehashes of simple ritual magick and spellcraft mixed with a bit of Celtic history and the use of Celtic Mythology of deities in their rituals. While often employed with great success by magickal practitioners with ceremonial skills, only a small portion of the actual story ends up being relayed to the reader. It is, however, not my wish to speak ill of the work of others, as most of them have at least positively affected global consciousness, furthering the mainstream awareness of the mystical Earthwork and the observation of the Solar Festivals.
Fortunately, the Elven Way has been carried on by a lineage of which is quite broad at this point, just as a tree branches out with an astronomical number of shoots as it matures. Much of the original knowledge is held by the hereditary/genetic folk memory and practices of mystical ‘family traditions’ and the passing down of ‘innate gifts’ through generations and completely separate from Wicca (which is only about 100 years old at best.) We have often heard and read of the tradition and practices of the village folk witch who lived in a secluded portion of the forest working with their ‘Ffayrie Gardens’ and herbal tinctures, selling potions to girls seeking lovers and men coming to get help in getting laid. What of the Wizard, now? What of the mystic hermit in the forests, living in shanties, caves and on the mountainsides? What of the true Elvish Druids and their secret histories kept long before the Dark Ages when modern civilization was thrust into spiritual ignorance? Yes, their story can finally be revealed in this tome!
THE BOOK OF ELVEN-FAERIE The first part of the book focuses on the History of the Elves and Ffayrie as a genetic race. The ‘Elven Histories’ are plural because they involve not only the story of Elves but the genesis of modern Humans too, and chronicle the development of the varying races and cultures. You will learn this secret history as we explore the suppressed and misunderstood journey into Ancient Aeurope including the Anunaki Star People and Ubaid Priesthood of Ancient Sumeria, pre-Eden life, The Mesopotamian Garden of Eden, the Egyptians, Babylonians and finally the dispersion of the Faerie race across the great continent into Keltia on the Western Shores. With the rise of the Milesians (Humans) the Elven-Ffayrie were mostly driven out of civilization, and received intensive persecution from Human religious leaders rooted in politics and the suppression of Truth (certainly not the Holy messages they proclaimed on the surface.) Still, the Elven Tradition survived this malice, transforming (evolving) through necessity as most of these enlightened folk ‘transitioned’ permanently into the Hollow Hills, Otherworld or ‘higher’ spatial dimension which is often equated with the ‘Astral Plane.’
Upon completion of the ‘Elven Histories’ we will explore the nature of the inter-dimensional Faerieland, the manner of its existence and its relationship with the physical plane. This includes the way in which the planes and their inhabitants interact and affect one another. With the resurfacing and interest in the works of Robert Kirk, the famous first-hand initiate of the Otherworld Tradition, this portion of The Book of Elven Faerie specifically will enhance the reader’s perceptions when interpreting supplemental materials of a similar nature. Understand that The Elven Way is quite colorful and variegated like the rays of light manifested in the rainbow. These rays become powerful co-magicians when employed by the awakened mind of the Wizard as we see in our investigation into the mystical side of the Elven Tradition…
Neodruids… Modern druidism emerged with (and essentially as the answer to) the development of an urban-oriented industrialization of society in human civilization. The revival far predates both the modern New Age Movement and contemporary Wicca as an underground counter-cultural movement or secret society — both public and private.
Explore this and hundreds of other facets of new age, metaphysical and occult mysteries in Joshua Free’s underground masterpiece: ARCANUM, the perfect compliment to THE DRUID COMPLEAT curriculum of Merlyn’s School of Druidry & Magick.
The early 18th Century revival in England coincides with the rebirth of the Freemasonic tradition. The Freemasons began to allow “Accepted Masons,” those who were not masons by trade, into their ranks. [Many founding figures of the early neodruid organizations were Masons and Rosicrucians.] Neodruidic revival occurred during the Anti-Witchcraft and Magick Acts (see Book of Elven Faerie or The Druid Compleat), so members were cautious not to be interpreted as “sorcerers” or “witches.” This forced many of the organizations to operate as ecological, charitable and social rotary clubs.
The sacred sites of the Celts and antiquarian interest in the Druids promoted a renaissance of “Celtic Reconstructionism” and neo-druidism. The interpretation of this revival, the differing beliefs and personal inclinations of individuals caused the first of many underground neodruidic schisms. [This entire blog/lesson is excerpted officially from ARCANUM by Joshua Free.]
John Toland originally sought to unify the antiquarian movement in 1717 when he founded the (British) Druid Circle of the Universal Bond [“An Druidh Uileach Braithreaches” (ADUB)]. It maintained international membership from the start and was rooted in Toland’s personal researches into the Druid Histories. [Toland’s secret society also went by the name of the “Ancient Druid Order” (ADO).]
Some “mesopagan” Druids, like Henry Hurle, saw neo-druidism as an extension, if not a purely Celtic equivalent, to Eurasian Freemasonry, which was revived in England in the same year and place [“The Apple Tree Tavern”] as John Toland’s ADO in 1717. Hurle led the formation of the “Ancient Order of Druids” (AOD) in 1781 emphasizing his background in Masonry, Rosicrucianism and the Kabbalah. Some members disliked the occult focus, preferring participation in the social-charitable organizations.
These members formed their own branch or offshoot called the “United Ancient Order of Druids” (UAOD) in 1833, which retained the “rotary club” ideals. Other Masonic-Druids joined the “Ancient Archaeological Order of Druids” (AAOD), which was formed by Robert Wentworth Little in 1874, later changing its name to the “Ancient Masonic Order of Druids” (AMOD) in 1886. These Masonic and Rosicrucian-oriented Druids went onto evolve the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn (GD). Other Hermetic and Kabbalistic organizations of neodruids continued to form.
Once the revival had been organized it immediately became a public and national identity. Sacred sites such as Stonehenge and Woodhenge would entertain guests by the thousands during neodruidic activities. Large media events were planned around the dramatic reenactments and ceremonies performed by neodruids in full wizard’s attire. The more publicized displays coincided with the autumn equinox and summer solstice festivals. The full eight-fold wheel of the year, now common in the New Age, was not yet a part of the revival. [See ARCANUM for further information regarding this.]
In the 19th Century, when Quasi-Masonic neodruidry was developing, a separate nationalist movement was growing alongside. These “reconstructionists” sought to reinvestigate the Bardic Tradition as a national custom in Wales. Figures such as Iolo Morganwg (compiler of the Barddas), William Blake and Edward Davies all desired to preservation of the language and Druidism of Wales. This led to a revival of the “Gorsedd of Bards” and a “National Eisteddfodd” held annually in public to celebrate the Welsh tradition. With some offbeat claims of “authenticity,” the Welsh revival (and the more recent neo-Pheryllt system) has been subject to historical and mystical controversy in relation to other organizations and revival efforts.
Organized neodruidism did not reach America until the early 1900s as an extension of AAOD/AMOD. Though originally a more Masonic-based secret society, the “Ancient Order of Druids in America” (AODA), as they called themselves, evolved into a standard green magick system under the direction of John Michael Greer, including neo-paganism and sacred geometry. The 1960s displayed a more publicly visible forum for “reformed” neodruidism, evident by the Reformed Druids of North America (RDNA), founded by Minnesota college students: first as a rebellion to the religious requirements of Carleton College, but it became a widespread modern contemporary avenue toward New Age ideals.
Ross Nichols had been a member of ADO for a decade when Arch Druid Robert MacGregor Reid passed away in 1963. The election for a new Chosen Chief produced a schism in the organization. Nichols felt that the Rosicrucian-Theosophical approach to neodruidism did not “feel” truly “druidic,” so he formed the Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids (OBOD). The order still incorporated some Eastern philosophies but remained primarily Celtic. After his death, OBOD was passed down to Philip Carr-Gomm who jump-started the organization again in 1988. Most of the modern revival traditions of the 1990s-to-present seem heavily dependent on the OBOD materials and social networking. Most major contemporary neodruidic figures/authors have some connection to OBOD in England (or to COBOD, the Council of British Orders of the Druids).
Back in America, the RDNA tradition gave rise to an only slightly more solemn practice in the early 1980s under the direction of Isaac Bonewits. The new order, A Druid Fellowship (ADF) sought to provide for America what OBOD does for Europe. Both organizations eventually became an international success. But then, as is common in neo-druidism, another schism erupted. In 1986, some members broke away from ADF to form the Henge of Keltria (HK), which justifiably sought to remove the wiccan influence that overran the ADF materials.
The neodruidism of the 21st Century really belongs to the youth of society, the young and middle-aged seekers. At one time it seemed to be a social organization aimed at the older and more established working class. Today, the ecological responsibility proposed by the “Druid Way” speaks to those that fear the near-future state of the Earth Planet. It is the younger generations that are feeling the effects and fearing the future as they work to solidify their own lives on an ever-changing canvas. The long-term effects of crude oil use, chlorine-based refrigerants, freshwater pollution and air quality are beginning to take affect, though it seems the elder mongers with cash interests in these products simply don’t care about those of us that will still be alive in the oncoming decades. The world of neodruidism has come into existence among the common classes because of the calling felt to aid in the restoration and balance of Nature… —Joshua Free
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