Barddas: A Collection of Original Documents, Illustrative of the Theology Wisdom, and Usages of the Bardo-Druidic Systems of the Isle of Britain [NOOK Book]


Serious students of Druidism and Paganism, as well as Celtic historians, are sure to include Barddas in their libraries. Barddas contains the only extant description of Bardo-Druidic Celtic philosophy. It is a metaphysical and spiritual description of beliefs handed down by word of mouth by Druidic initiates from before the Roman occupation of the British isles.

Culled from 16th-century notes and compiled into book form, Barddas reveals a belief system with a wide range of ...

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Barddas: A Collection of Original Documents, Illustrative of the Theology Wisdom, and Usages of the Bardo-Druidic Systems of the Isle of Britain

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Serious students of Druidism and Paganism, as well as Celtic historians, are sure to include Barddas in their libraries. Barddas contains the only extant description of Bardo-Druidic Celtic philosophy. It is a metaphysical and spiritual description of beliefs handed down by word of mouth by Druidic initiates from before the Roman occupation of the British isles.

Culled from 16th-century notes and compiled into book form, Barddas reveals a belief system with a wide range of influences, including Judeo-Christian and ancient Roman. Yet there are beliefs and views expressed within that appear to be unique to Celtic thought and oddly similar to Eastern traditions.

On its publication in the 19th century, Barddas stirred controversy. Some critics claimed that it was completely made up or based on forgeries. Others defended it by pointing out similarities to other surviving Celtic documents with clear provenance.

Photo-offset from the first printing, this edition of Barddas includes the original Welsh on verso pages with the English translation running on the recto pages.

John Matthews, popular writer about all things Celtic, provides an introduction outlining the history and contemporary importance of Barddas.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781609253783
  • Publisher: Red Wheel/Weiser
  • Publication date: 6/1/2004
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 425
  • File size: 6 MB

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The Barddas of Iolo Morganwg

A Collection of Original Documents, Illustrative of the Theology, Wisdom, and Usages of the Bardo-Druidic System of the Isle of Britain

By J. Williams ab Ithel

Red Wheel/Weiser, LLC

Copyright © 2004 Red Wheel/Weiser, LLC
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-60925-378-3





May it please your information, my beloved teacher; pray, tell me who was the first that made a Letter?

Einiged the Giant, son of Huon, son of Alser, son of Javan, son of Japheth, son of Noah the Aged, after the death of his father, for the purpose of preserving a memorial of what he did, and of his praiseworthy actions, warranted in respect of credibility and information. And because it was on wood (pren) that such belief was first placed, both the letters, and what they were inscribed on, were called Coelbren.

Pwy a wnaeth rôl gyntaf ar lythyr?

Who was the first that made a Roll in connection with letters?

Bendigeidfran fab Llyr Llediaith a ddysgawdd y ffordd honno yn Rhufain ag ai dug gydac ef i Brydain lle yi dysges ef hi ir Cymry. a'r modd y trinid crwyn mynnod a geifr mal y gellid ysgrifen o lythyr arnynt. a'r ffordd honno a aeth ar arfer hyd nad oedd namyn y Beirdd yn ymarfer megis o graffymachub ar hen ffordd o ddodi llythyrennau ar goed, er cof a chadw ar hen brifwybodau Cenedl y Cymry ag o hynny ydd aethpwyd iddei galw hi Coelbren y Beirdd. ag nid oes yr awr honn namyn y Beirdd ai ceidw ar gof drwy naddu yi cerddi au coelion cof ar goed herwydd yr hen gelfyddyd. a hynny er cadw cof coeliadwy ar brifwybodau cenedl y Cymry.

Pwy a wnaeth bapir gyntaf?

Gwr o Gonstinoblys ydoedd ai enw Moran ag ef a fales lîn ac a hwnnw o'i ledu yn deneu papur.

Beth yw rhinwedd llythyreneu.

Ermygion aflafar ydynt yn llafaru, a chorph heb enaid heb fywyd yn arwain meddwl, marw yn gwybod yn fwy na'r byw, Llaw yn llafaru yn well na thafawd, llygad yn clywed yn well no chlust heb na swn na sain, edraith heb dafawd, clyw heb glust, Iaith heb eiriau, Llun llafar, cen-

Bran the Blessed, son of Llyr of Defective Speech, learned that mode at Rome, and brought it with him to Britain, where he taught it to the Cymry, as well as the manner of dressing the skins of kids and goats, so as to he suitable for written letters. And that mode became customary, so that the Bards alone practised, as it were by bare rescue, the old style of inscribing letters on wood, for' the purpose of preserving the memorials of the old and primitive sciences of the nation of the Cymry; thence it came to be called Coelbren of the Bards. At present there are only the Bards that keep it in memory, by engraving their songs and records on wood, according to the ancient art, with the view of preserving in reliable memory the primitive sciences of the nation of the Cymry.

Who was the first that made paper?

A man from Constantinople, named Moran; he ground flax, which on its being thinly spread out, became paper.

What is the virtue of letters?

They are mute organs that speak—a body without a soul, and without life, guiding thought—dead ones, knowing more than the living—a hand speaking better than the tongue—an eye hearing better than the ear, without either noise or sound—speech without a tongue—hearing without an ear—

nad yn admdd y gwir heb ei wybod, marw yn dysgu 'r byw. Cof heb neb yn ei arwain. Deall y marw, a phennaf o gywreindeb celfyddyd y byw. a chadwedigaeth pob celfyddodau a gwybodau, a dangos ar bob dangos.


Yn rhodd fy Athraw celfyddbwyll, os teg ei ofyn, pa fodd y cafad Gwybodaeth gyntaf ar lythyr?

Dangosaf Gyfarwydd Gwyr doethion gwybodbell, sef pan roddes Duw ei enw ar lafar y tarddes gyda'r gair y goleuni ar bywyd sef cyn no hynny nid oedd bywyd namyn Duw ei hunan, sef modd ai llefair cyfarwyddyd Duw ai enw ar lafar, a chyda'r llafar tardd y goleuni a bywydoldeb, a Dyn, a phob arall bywydol sef cyttardd un ag arall o honynt, a Menw Hen ab y Menwyd a weles dardd y goleuni ai ddull ai olwg nid amgen nag yn llynn [??] yn dair colofn, ag ymhelydr y goleuni y llafar, sef un y clyw ar gweled, un cyfun llun a llais ag un cyfun ar llun a'r llais bywyd, ag un cyfun a'r tri hynn gallu, a'r gallu hynny Duw Tâd. A chan tair un cyfun bobun o'r rhain y dealles mai un cyfun a Duw pob llafar a chlyw a byw a bod a golwg a gweled, ag nid amgen na Duw y dim lleiaf, a chan weled y llun ag yn hynny clywed y llafar ac nid yn amgen, y gwybu 'r llun a'r olwg a ddylit ar lafar a chaffael daear y danaw yn gyttrm ar golenni, lluniaw 'r llafar ar goleuni ar y ddaear, a chan

language without words—form of voice—a messenger uttering the truth, without knowing it—the dead teaching the living—memory with no one guiding it—the understanding of the dead—the principal skill of the art of the living—the preservation of all arts and sciences—and the demonstration of all that is demonstrable.


Pray, my skilful and discreet teacher, if it be fair to ask, how was the knowledge of letters first obtained?

I will exhibit the information of men of wisdom and profound knowledge, thus;—When God pronounced His name, with the word sprang the light and the life; for previously there was no life except God Himself. And the mode in which it was spoken was of God's direction. His name was pronounced, and with the utterance was the springing of light and vitality, and man, and every other living thing; that is to say, each and all sprang together. And Menw1 the Aged, son of Menwyd, beheld the springing of the light, and its form and appearance, not otherwise than thus, , in three columns; and in the rays of light the vocalization—for one were the hearing and seeing, one unitedly the form and sound; and one unitedly with the form and sound was life, and one unitedly with these three was power, which power was God the Father. And since each of these was one unitedly, he understood that every voice, and hearing, and living, and being, and sight, and seeing, were one unitedly with God; nor is the least thing other than God. And by seeing the form, and in it hearing the voice—not otherwise—he knew what form and appearance voice should have. And having obtained earth under him coinstantaneously with the light, he drew the form of the voice and light

glywed ymlef y llafar ag ynddo ryw ag yngan trillais y cafas ef y tair llythyren ag y gwybu 'r arwydd a weddai ar un ag arall o honynt. sef a wnaeth ar lun ag arwydd Enw Duw yn rhith pelydr y goleuni, ag y canfu taw rhith a llun ag arwydd bywyd ydoeddynt. hefyd un a hynny bywyd, ag yn y bywyd Duw sef un Duw a bywyd, ag nid bywyd ond Duw, ag nid Duw ond bywyd.

Sef o'r deall a gafad yn llynn ar hynn o lafar medru cydgyfelydd ar bob llafar amgen herwydd rhyw ag ansawdd a phwyll, a medru llythyren a weddai ar bob ymlef llais a llafar, ag mal hynny caffael y Gymraeg a phob iaith amgen, ag o'r tair llythyren gysefiniaid eiliaw pob llythyren amgen a llyna brif gyfrinach Beirdd Ynys Prydain ag o'r gyfrinach honn pob gwybod ar lythyr, a geffir yn alledig.

Mal hynn o ddodir llafar a glywsid ar gôf yn yr arwydd a dodi pwyll ar bob un o'r trillais, doded pwyll O i'r golofn gyntaf, a phwyll I i'r ail golofn sef yr un ganol, a phwyll V i'r drydedd, ag o hynny'r gair OIV. sef a'r gair hynn y datgenis Duw ei fodoldeb ai fywydoldeb ai wybodoldeb, ai alluoldeb, ai dragywyddoldeb a'i gyffredoldeb ag yn y datgan ei gariadoldeb sef yn gyttrem ag ef y tarddes mal mellten yr boll fydoldeb i fod a bywyd yn gymmloedd gyngan ag enw duw ar lafar, yn un cyfun can orfoledd a llawenydd. yna'r bydoedd oll hyd eithafoedd annwfn. sef yn hynn o fodd y gwnaeth Duw'r bydoedd, nid amgen datgan ei enw ai fodoldeb.

Pam nad iawn i ddyn rhoi enw Duw ar lafar, a llef iaith a thafawd?

Achaws nas gellir hynny heb gamenwi Duw, cans nid

on the earth. And it was on hearing the sound of the voice, which had in it the kind and utterance of three notes, that he obtained the three letters, and knew the sign that was suitable to one and other of them. Thus he made in form and sign the Name of God, after the semblance of rays of light, and perceived that they were the figure and form and sign of life; one also with them was life, and in life was God, that is to say, God is one with life, and there is no life but God, and there is no God but life.

It was from the understanding thus obtained in respect of this voice, that he was able to assimilate mutually every other voice as to kind, quality, and reason, and could make a letter suitable to the utterance of every sound and voice. Thus were obtained the Cymraeg, and every other language. And it was from the three primary letters that were constructed every other letter,—which is the principal secret of the Bards of the Isle of Britain; and from this secret comes every knowledge of letters that is possible.

Thus was the voice, that was heard, placed on record in the symbol, and meaning attached to each of the three notes:—the sense of O was given to the first column, the sense of I to the second or middle column, and the sense of V to the third; whence the word OIV. That is to say, it was by means of this word that God declared His existence, life, knowledge, power, eternity, and universality. And in the declaration was His love, that is, coinstantaneously with it sprang like lightening all the universe into life and existence, co-vocally and co- jubilantly with the uttered Name of God, in one united song of exultation and joy—then all the worlds to the extremities of Annwn. It was thus, then, that God made the worlds, namely, He declared His Name and existence [??].

Why is it not right that a man should commit the Name of God to vocalization, and the sound of language and tongue?

Because it cannot be done without misnaming God, for

oes o ddyn a glywes ei enwi ef erioed ar lafar, ag nid oes a wyr ei lefaru, cyda'i doder ar llythyrenau mal y gwyper beth a feddylier, ac am bwy mae, ac arwyddon a ddodid gynt sef y tri defnydd llafar lythr, a rhag amharch ar dduw ai ddianrhydeddu, gwahardder i fardd ei enwi amgen nag yngheudawd ac ar feddwl.

Yn rhodd fy athraw caredigbwyll, dangoswch imi yr arwyddon a safant am enw Duw? a'r modd au gwneir?

Llyma fal au gwneir y cyntaf or arwyddon, ysgïen neu linell fechan ar oleddf gyda'r haul yn ueber fal hynn [??] ail ysgïen arall yn null post gyfarben unionsawn fal hynn [??] a'r trydedd ysgïen yr un faint ei goleddf a'r gyntaf eithr yngwrthwyneb iddi sef yn erbyn yr haul fal hynn [??], a dodi'r tair ynghyd fal hynn [??], ag yn lle ag yn nirprwy y rhai hynn y dodir y tair llythyren yma sef O. I., W, ag yn hynn o fodd y dodes y Bardd yr enw hwnn ar ei Englyn, nid amgen,

Iôr—Iôn—Dwyf–Dean, boed diwair genau Ar ganon ai llefair Arall enw a rhoi'r llawnair O. i ag w, [??] y gair.

Ieuan Rudd ai cant.

Ag enw hwn a roddes Duw arno ei hunan yn dangos ei fod mewn bod, ag nad oes namyn efe ei hun eithr o ddawn a chennathâd. sef yr ydym bawb o ddynion ag eraill fywydolion ar fod ac mewn bod namyn o ddawn a channiattâd

no man ever heard the vocalization of His Name, and no one knows how to pronounce it; but it is represented by letters, that it may be known what is meant, and for Whom it stands. Formerly signs were employed, namely, the three elements of vocal letters. However, to prevent disrespect and dishonour to God, a Bard is forbidden to name Him, except inwardly and in thought.

Pray, my beloved and discreet teacher, show me the signs that stand for the Name of God, and the manner in which they are made.

Thus are they made;—the first of the signs is a small cutting or line inclining with the sun at eventide, thus, [??]; the second is another cutting, in the form of a perpendicular, upright post, thus, [??]; and the third is a cutting of the same amount of inclination as the first, but in an opposite direction, that is, against the sun, thus [??]; and the three placed together, thus, [??]. But instead of, and as substitutes for these, are placed the three letters O I W. And it was in this manner that the Bard inserted this name in his stanza, thus,

The Eternal, Origin, Self-existent, Distributor,—holy be the lips That canonically pronounce them; Another name, in full word, Is O. I. and W—OIW the word.—Ieuan Rudd sang it.

This name God gave to Himself, to show that He is in existence, and that there is no one but Himself, except by gift and permission; for truly all of us men, and other living beings, are and exist only by the gift and permission

Duw. a Thrahausder y bernir llafaru yr enw hwnn ynghlyw dyn o'r byd, Eisioes er hynny, pob peth ai enwant ef yngheudawd gerfydd yr enw hwn, nid amgen no mor a thir, daiar ag awyr a boll weledigion ag anweledigion y byd ai yn naiar ai yn wybren y bont, yr holl fydoedd pob nefolion a daiarolion, pob dealledig ar fodolion a bodoldeb pob bywydol a phob ammywydol, am hynny nid oes a beirch Duw ai enwa gerfydd hynn o enw namyn yngheudawd.

Sef y Tair Llythyren rin arwyddaw Tair Angheneddyl Duw a wnant, nid amgen, Cariad, Gwybodaeth, a Gwirionedd, sef o'r tri hynn y tyf pob Cyfiawnder, ag heb bob un o'r tri nis gellir cyfiawnder, a phun bynnag o'r tair a saif i fynydd y ddwy eraill o'r arwyddon a bwysant att honno. A phob dwy ba bynag o honynt a roddant flaen a goreu i'r Drydedd ba un bynnag o'r tair y bo. ag wrth hynn o drefn ag ansawdd y dodwyd tair Ysgen raddawl a'r Feirdd Ynys Prydain, ac i bob yn o'r tair Braint a Blaen a goren, parth arbennicter anghenyddyl rhag y ddwy eraill, bynnag o rai y bônt, o dair angheneddyl Duw y tardd pob gallu a gwyllys a deddf.

Sef o'r gwybodau a'r ddeall parth Llafar Iaith ag ymadrodd o gymmhwyl y Tair prif Lythyren y lluniwyd unllythyren ar bymtheg un eiliedig o'r gysefin golofnau nid amgen y tair prif lythyren ar ddull pelydr y goleuni, a medru fal hynny llun a golwg ar bob llafar Iaith ag ymadrodd, ag ar bob ymlef gysefin, a lluniau arwydd cof yn weledig ar bren a maen ag yn gymmedr a chof clyw cof y golwg, a chymmedru fal hyn yn mhwyll arwydd pob ymlef llafar yn weledig i'r llygad, hyd y dichonai clyst glywed a lafarai tafawd ag y medrai Awen o Dduw. Yna wedi eiliaw un llythyren ar bymtheg o'r

of God. It is considered presumptuous to utter this name in the hearing of any man in the world. Nevertheless, every thing calls Him inwardly by this name—the sea and land, earth and air, and all the visibles and invisibles of the world, whether on the earth or in the sky—all the worlds of all the celestials and terrestrials—every intellectual being and existence—every thing animate and inanimate; wherefore none that honours God, will call Him by this name, except inwardly.

The three mystic letters signify the three attriliutes of God, namely, love, knowledge, and truth; and it is out of these three that justice springs, and without one of the three there can be no justice. Which one so ever of the three stands up, the other two will incline towards it; and every two of them whatsoever will yield precedency and pre-eminence to the third, whichever of the three it may be. It was according to this order and principle that three degrees were conferred upon the Bards of the Isle of Britain, and each of the three was invested with privilege, precedency, and pre-eminence, in respect of the particularity of necessity, over the other two, whichsoever they might be. Out of the three attributes of God spring every power and will and law.

It was out of the knowledge and understanding of the vocalization of language and speech, by reason of the three principal letters, that sixteen letters were formed, constructed from the primary columns, namely, the three principal letters in the form of rays of light. And it was thus that form and appearance could be imparted to every vocalization of language and speech, and to every primary sound, and symbolic forms of memory be made visible on wood and stone. Accordingly the memory of seeing could thus take place simultaneously with the memory of hearing; and, by means of signs, every sound of voice could be rendered visible to the eye, as far as the ear could hear what the tongue spoke, and what awen from God was capable of. Then when sixteen letters were constructed out of the principal

prif-golofnau sef y rhai hynn [??], can nas gellir llythyren ar goelbren a chyfrinach Beirdd Ynys Prydain nas caffer ei defnyddau ai cymmalau o un neu arall or tair prifgolofn, ag o dorri 'r arwyddon hynn ar bren y gelwyd [??] arnynt, a gwedi torri pob un o'r llythyrau ar bren doded enwau a phwyll ar bob un o henynt herwydd ymlef a llafar yn warantedig ag yn ddosparthus; sef i bob un ei lafar heb yn amgen, gan gadarnhau celfyddyd arnynt, ag mal hynn y cafad arwydd a gwyddor llafar warantedig yr bonn a elwir yr Abic. ac eraill ai geilw yr Abcedilros. mal hynn y cafad celfyddyd golwg a llaw ar lafar a meddwl, ag o hynny cof golwg a defnydd ar wybodau, yna ymroddasant ddoethion ag awenyddion i wellhâu gwybodau ag Iaith ag ymadrodd, ag i farnu yn fwy celfyddbwyll a manolbwnc ar lafar, ag amrafaeliant ymlef ag a ymgywreiniaw arnynt, yn medrwyd ar ddwy lythyren eraill onid aeth yr egwyddor ar ddeunaw llythyren, gwedi hynny gwelwyd achos dwy eraill onid aethant yn ugain, yna dwy ar hugain ag yn orphen y gwaith pedair llythyren ar hugain o brif lythyrau, ag nid oes mwy yn odidogion ar wyddor y goelbren, sef yn gysefiniaid ymlef, etto y mae eraill yn lythyrau cyfansoddedigion yn arwyddaw newid llafar a phwys ar lythyren, ag o'r rhai hynny y mae herwydd gwyr yn athrawon celfyddgamp hyd rif unarbymtheg ag eraill a fynnant ddeunaw, ac i rai onaddynt nis gellir nag awdurdawd na gwarant, o'r hyn lleiaf. nis gellir anghen arnynt o gymhwyll anhepcor. elsioes nid rhydd gwahardd amwellbâu ar wybodau, a rhydd pob awen a chelfyddyd cyd nas drygont, ag y tywyllont neu a ddyrysont wybodau moliannus.

Excerpted from The Barddas of Iolo Morganwg by J. Williams ab Ithel. Copyright © 2004 Red Wheel/Weiser, LLC. Excerpted by permission of Red Wheel/Weiser, LLC.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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