- Awen is also an alternate name for the Xavante.
Awen is a Welsh word historically used to describe the divine inspiration of gifted bards in the Welsh poetic tradition and, in a more general sense, sometimes ascribed to musicians and poets today. It can be compared to the Classical Muse. The first recorded reference to the Awen occurs in Nennius' Historia Brittonum, a Latin text of circa 796 CE, based on earlier writings by the Welsh monk, Gildas.
The feminine noun, Awen, is usually translated as '(poetic) inspiration' or 'muse', and sometimes as 'genius', or even 'poetic frenzy'. 'Awen' derives from the Indo-European root *-uel, meaning 'to blow', and has the same root as the Welsh word awel meaning 'breeze'. Awen is the breath of inspiration, or breath of the divine which gives inspiration. There is a parallel word to 'awen' in Irish, ai, also meaning 'poetic inspiration' which derives from the same ancient root.
In some forms of Neo-druidry the term is symbolized by an emblem showing three straight lines that spread apart as they move downward, drawn within a circle or a series of circles of varying thickness, often with a dot, or point, atop each line. The symbol was invented by Iolo Morganwg and adopted by some Neo-Druids.The Neo-Druid symbol of Awen
The Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids (OBOD) describe the three lines as rays emanating from three points of light, with those points representing the triple aspect of deity and, also, the points at which the sun rises on the equinoxes and solstices - known as the Triad of the Sunrises. The emblem as used by the OBOD is surrounded by three circles representing the three circles of creation.
Various Neo-druid groups and individuals have their own interpretation of the Awen. The three lines relate to earth, sea and air; body, mind and spirit; or love, wisdom and truth. It is also said that the Awen stands for not simply inspiration, but for inspiration of truth; without Awen one cannot proclaim truth. The three foundations of Awen are the understanding of truth, the love of truth, and the maintaining of truth. The rays also stand for the letters from which all others evolved: I, O, and U. It is said, "No one without Awen from God can pronounce these three letters correctly." 
The Wales Millennium Centre in Cardiff has two lines of poetry emblazoned across its frontage. The line in Welsh is "Creu gwir fel gwydr o ffwrnais awen": "creating truth like glass from inspiration's furnace".
Awen is also a feminine given name in Welsh culture.
- ^ Jarman, A.O.H. Jarman (ed.), A guide to Welsh literature', Vol. 1, chapter 1, by Lewis. Also Calvert-Watkins 'Indo-European metrics and archaic Irish verse', or P.K. Ford, 'The Celtic Poets: songs and tales from early Ireland and Wales', introduction, p. xxvii.
- ^ Order of Bards, Ovates & Druids. "Approaching The Forest: Gwers 2, Pg. 24", Oak Tree Press, 2001. Retrieved on July 26, 2007
- ^ "The Awen" on druidry.org
- Awen - "The Holy Spirit of Druidry" British Druid Order site
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