Yours is the
task to make us feel
The deep, the dark, the unknown.
the darkness visible.
awareness of the veil
That we may
long to fall a droplet
Into the deep
the dark waters’ wanton whispers
out for the blessed beloved.
1. Annwn or Annwfn is the name which is given in Welsh to an “otherworld“, which is complementary or, more accurately, inverse to the visible world of men. It is difficult to translate the meaning of this word, for “dwfn”, the second half of this word, could be traced back to either “deep” (dwfn) or dwfn with the meaning “world”. The first part is also of ambiguous meaning. The prefix an can mean either “not”, “very” or even “inner”. Thus possible meanings of Annwn are “Non-World”, the “Great Deep”, or “InnerWorld”.
Interestingly, the poem Preiddeu Annwn relates about a magical cauldron which is guarded by nine maidens, a motif which is certainly of interest for those who explore the meaning of divine or supernatural women in medieval Welsh literature.
The picture shows the White Spring at Glastonbury, which actually inspired the poem. The life of St. Collen (Buchedd Collen), which is found in early modern Welsh manuscripts, links Annwn to Glastonbury Tor. The manuscript relates that Saint Collen went to meet the king of Annwn, Gwyn ap Nudd, at mynydd glassymbyri which is interpreted by various scholars to be identical to Glastonbury Tor.
Maier, B 1994, Lexikon der keltischen Religion und Kultur, Alfred Körner Verlag, Stuttgart.
Haycock; M 1983/84, “’Preiddeu Annwn’ and the Figure of Taliesin” in: Studia Celtica, vol. XVIII/XIX, p.52-78.
Rhyddiaith Gymraeg, Y Gyfrol Gyntaf, Detholion o Lawysgrifau (1488-1609), 1954, Gwasg Prifysgol Cymru, Caerdydd, p.36-41.
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