Prynhawn da. Croeso. Dw i Aneirin Dein (Ren)
A Small Introduction to My Path
I have been asked to contribute to this site as someone who is interested in Welsh history and paganism. The Celts are mostly known for being from the British Isles, but thanks to persecution by Christianity, they were wiped out, some expanded to other areas of Northern Europe, but still became victims of the Christianity’s expansion.
So unfortunately, like many Pagan paths, this is a path being reconstructed. Or rather the path of Druidry, a Celtic path, must be reconstructed. Since modern day society tends to associate the Celts in large part as Irish or Scottish, it has proven quite difficult to find much related to Wales, which is where I felt my calling. (More of that story in next section) My research has come from some of these sources which in particular focus on Ireland, but mostly, studying Welsh history and traditions, and even the language, has proved more beneficial.
A Little About How I Got Here
Two years ago and some change, I joined Gender Fluid Support Network, which branches from Sanctuary of the Phoenix. At the time I joined, I was not out of the closet yet, not publicly anyway. I think part of my motive for joining a bunch of trans and non-binary groups was I was hoping someone would see my groups and call me out. No one ever did. But I am going on a tangent. As a requirement (which has since changed I believe), a rule was to befriend Odin. This rule also said you could unfriend them after. I never did. At the time I was kinda sorta Christian, but definitely fallen from the denomination of my childhood. For about a year I looked for a Christian path that lined true for me.
All this while, Odin taught me about their own path, how they got there. I learned a lot from them. And my curiosity only grew. I can’t remember if it was last Christmas or the prior Christmas I finally was blessed with a DNA kit. You see I am adopted with little knowledge of my heritage. It wasn’t until this summer though I started really dabbling in Pagan arts. A Celtic Tarot deck called out to me, plus a book called Celtic Totem Animals by John Matthews. I got really into it. And it wasn’t long before I took my first journey to meet my spirit guides and forms. I also delved into the worlds of numerology and astrology.
My First Topic: Tree of Life
Now most paths have some version of the Tree of Life. In Celtic tradition this is one of the many central features. The name druid is a derivative of the Tree of Life, represented by an oak. I have seen many ways people have explained the origin of Druid. As someone who is delving into Wales, its history, language, and traditions, Druid coming from Welsh words derw (oak) + gwydd (to know) makes most sense to me. So in Welsh, the word is Derwydd.
The tree, particularly, is symbolic of wisdom and knowledge, as can be seen in its etymology. Not only does it also represent the connection to Earth, but ourselves and our spiritual journey. I like to explain it like this:
There are the things that are your roots, the things that ground you. The trunk is your core. Each ring of life represents parts of your core, some thinner, some thicker, depending on how life goes. The branches are what grow from your core, can be society influenced, you influenced, so on. Some branches break, these are the ones that aren’t truly you. Leaves represent transitions, and nuts/seeds represent growth. When the nuts and seeds fall, you have created some sort of impact, creating new life. As leaves grow, fall, and reborn, it is like our own transformation.Ren Losee, 2019
My Tarot guide explains it like this:
Roots – Journey of Finding Expression; Trunk – Journey of Finding Wisdom; Branches – Journey of Finding Truth.Kristoffer Hughes – Branches of the Celtic Tarot
So no matter how you look at it, the Tree of Life is exactly what it appears to be. This is why the tree is one of the cores of Celtic paganism.
Cariad a Goleuni ~Ren