Nwyfre and Neart

The word “neart” is a Scots Gaelic word (“nirt” in Irish Gaelic and “nwyfre” in Middle Welsh) meaning “life energy” or “vigor.”

Iolo Morganwg popularized the use of the Welsh version of the word (nwyfre) as a “magical” word. He probably misunderstood the etymology of the word, which originally had no mystical connotation, but “nwyfre” has taken on a life of its own (no pun intended) among contemporary Druid circles of Welsh origin, as has its counterpart, “neart” in Scottish Druid circles, and “nirt” in Irish Druid circles. The way modern Druids use the word, it now means “life force” or “life energy.” Some claim that this concept is the inspiration for the Force in the Star Wars saga. The historical mythologist Joseph Campbell was rumored to be an advisor on Star Wars, so there may be a grain of truth to this claim.

To a Druid in the Order of the Morrigan, everything is alive, including rocks, trees, plants, animals, and even the Earth herself. Everything has the potential to generate energy, and the sum total of the energy in the universe is the life force itself. This is the concept Morganwg was trying to get across when he chose the word “nwyfre.”

You might ask, “How can rocks be alive?” The answer is that they contain potential life force, rather than actuated life force. Rocks become dirt. Plants feed on dirt, converting its material into life energy. Then animals eat the plants, and humans eat both the plants and the animals. Think of it this way: If you take a vitamin pill with mineral supplements, those minerals came from rocks. At what point in the digestive process does that mineral cease to be inanimate, and become alive by becoming a part of you?

One of the deeper mysteries of the Way of the Druid in the Order of the Morrigan is that we are all interconnected. A quote (falsely) attributed to Chief Seattle of the Suquamish Tribe says that we are all part of the web of life, and that what we do to others, including our four-legged brothers and sisters, we do to ourselves as well. This is sometimes expressed in Wicca as the Threefold Law, or the Rule of Threes: What you do comes back to you threefold.

When a Druid talks of “magic,” she is referring to the use of neart to achieve a desired end. One of the shades of meaning of the word “neart” is the idea of weaving. We are energy weavers. So Druids are those who weave the life force to evoke changes within themselves. These inner changes lead to a higher consciousness and a deeper connection to nature and to others.


Apprenticeship in the Order of the Morrigan

In both ancient and modern practice of Druidry, a period of apprenticeship is usually required prior to taking the path of the Druid. This is also true of the Order of the Morrigan. The Way of the Druid is a lifelong path, and such a path requires a lifetime of dedication. Such a commitment is not a decision to be taken lightly. Because of this, many Druid and Pagan groups require a period of reflection on what it means to be a Druid (or Pagan) before accepting a Dedicant into full membership.

Brehon Law (the code of laws used by Ireland during the Gaelic period) prescribes a period of a year and a day of consideration before making many major decisions, and many Orders adhere to this rule. Our Order is no exception.

Over the next year or so this blog will be discussing information available in the Dedicant Path series of courses. If you would like to follow along, at the end of this year you should have a good basic understanding of what it means to be a Druid in the Order of the Morrigan. There is also a Dedicant Path audio series that will be available over the coming months. These audio recordings are free to members of our Order, and available for purchase for those who are not members.

The exercises and meditations contained in this blog series  and in the Dedicant Path audio courses are designed to be completed over the period of a year and a day. During this year, you will spend time learning about the trees and plants of the Ogham (the Celtic Tree Alphabet) in following the Earth Path. You will also have the opportunity to celebrate the Wheel of the Year by participating in all eight of the High Days of the Wheel in the Sun Path. Finally, you will be able to reflect on your own inner spiritual journey by completing the exercises in the Moon Path. At the end of the year, you will have a good basic understanding of what it means to walk in the light of the Druid Path. If, at the end of this year, you find that the Way of the Druid as practiced by the Order of the Morrigan is the path for you, there will be a series of blogs that will serve as a guide to self-initiation as a Druid. There will also be instructions on finding a group in your area that may welcome you into the fold. Be aware that if you are interested in joining a particular Order, each has its own path for Dedicants, so other Orders may not accept the work you do here in this book as meeting their requirements for initiation. Of  course, if you are particularly interested in the Order of the Morrigan, then the work you do here will give you a good basic grounding in our ways and teachings. Completion of the Dedicant Path coursework qualifies you for First Degree in our Order.

The Order of the Morrigan tends to be more solitary, although we do get together on occasion as well. Since many contemporary Pagans of all stripes tend to follow a more solitary path, largely due to the fact that it can often be difficult to find a local group, this series is written with solitaries in mind.

When Druids get together to celebrate the High Days, their groups are usually referred to as “Groves.” If you find after the end of your year of dedication that you would like to start your own Grove, there will be a section on this website with tips and suggestions on how to do so, as well as a resource list of existing Groves and Druidic Orders throughout the world.

Finally, since posts are written specifically for the purpose of introducing you to the Way of the Druid as practiced by the Order of the Morrigan, you may consider joining our Order as well. Membership is free, and we offer both online and face-to-face instruction through our website at www.orderofthemorrigan.com. If you choose to join our Order, you may find information on the website about us.

Also, if you have any questions about any of the material in this block series, feel free to contact us using the form below!


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