not all druids identify as animists, but many are, whether they know it or not. the word comes from the latin word for a living being or spirit, mind or soul. animism considers the entire universe to be alive and conscious, from atoms forged in the blazing centres of stars through biological life-forms such as the plants and animals of our own planet to the great celestial organisms we see as the stars in the night sky.
many animists add that this all-pervading livingness makes itself intelligible to fey people through human-like plant and animal spirit people, fauns, fairies, elves, angels, benign devils and daemons, elementals, dryads, aerial weather spirits, gnomes, pixies and the myriad nature spirits of many other cultures, the local native cultures in particular, who can help us to attune ourselves to the wider contexts of the extended network they help us to weave.
science tells us that the material world is made of atoms, each one infinitely packed with structure and flow, like the organs of animals or the structures within a cell. they are all impressionable and responsive to stimuli, and capable of intricate proactive negotiation with their neighbour atoms in forming molecules or in their free states. there’s a constant exchange of information occurring across the interfaces between subatomic particles, between atoms, molecules, cells, plants and animals, and between the celestial bodies comprising the galaxies and other great beings of the cosmos. in effect there is a network of communication which incorporates the food web and the human communications networks.
what this means to a magician is that we are in continuum not just with those networks of the primitive contact telepathy of the social animals we still are, or the food-web and ecological systems; or the zodiac magic between us and the planets and stars; or the elemental forces of the material world all around us although all of those are vitally important; but also to the networks we as a species generate: the culture, the mass media and the world wide web.
the sum total of impressions held in each aeons-old atom of earth is like a causal ocean, a ‘ceridwen’s cauldron’, a rich brew of events and qualities, principles and dimensions, garnered from myriad ‘text-rich’ events and encounters in deep space and deep within the atmosphere, on their way to becoming part of the earth and during their evolution ever since. whatever is communicated across any of the interfaces forming this universal network is the result of much process, sorting of data, filtering, censoring, deleting, expending, filing away, etc, and the resultant emanation of meaning-replete patterns of flow and disturbance is nwyfre.
it is mindfully controlled by the negotiation among all its parts. it can be the mere nuance of an awareness glimmering instantaneously in the heart of an atom as it comes into being in a distant galaxy not yet born; or the sights and sounds of the whole of a hollywood movie; or the symphony of subtle, complex, deeply meaningful impressions we receive when communing in silent or chattery meditation with a tree or when reading a book.
if, as i’ve said, this nwyfre forms a vital, mindful fabric of constantly changing stimulus and response, cause and effect, stasis and flow, not unlike the turbulence and flow of human experience, surely by understanding it we can learn to read it, manage it skilfully and use it magically to optimise our own personal experience and to practice good magic worthy of the name of ‘druid’ in our troubled world.
just as our bodies are made of vast constellations of aeons old atoms, so our minds are constellations of knowledge, memory and thought, incorporating detailed impressions from a lifetime of experience, including all the films, books and music that enrich our lives, to say nothing of the people and animals and even plants that we include among our family and friends and wider social milieu.
any human being is a fountain of nwyfre. that’s why ritual touching is part of life – part of the subliminal knowledge we have of each other. a conscientious druid is able to harness and direct the nwyfre, extracting it selectively from consenting sources or learning to generate it and use it in accord with a finely focused magical intention. this is one of the many things a well-constructed magic circle facilitates, extending and fine-tuning the magician’s focus, power and influence in much the same way as an astronomer’s telescope extends and specialises the vision of the star-gazer, or as a detailed map assists a traveller.
with or without a circle, it’s fairly easy to learn to see a flow of nwyfre-rich energy using a wand or staff or a crystal with at least one good ‘shooting’ point, or just your fingers, at least to start with. you may just spontaneously happen to find yourself ‘energised’, exhilarated or vibrant with some exciting radiance from dancing or gardening or meeting with friends, or you may prepare yourself by casting a circle and doing a simple or elaborate light body ritual followed by three awens for attunement, or using chant, drumming or ritual dance.
when you feel radiant with power, hold your magical tool or your bare hands close to your solar plexus and breathe steadily, willing the nwyfre from your body to flow into the object and fill it.
you might chant something like ‘healing power in my hands (wand, crystal, etc), magic power in my fingers (etc), or just ‘magic fingers, healing hands’ or you might try a dramatic, commanding ‘healing
nwyfre flow!’ speaking words aloud or in our mind helps us be focused and articulate about our intentions, which helps the magic. this flow is easy to see, especially against a dark backdrop. it is similar to the energy that can be seen flowing between your fingertips if you hold them an inch or so apart and bring them slowly together. in a healthy, energised system this radiance appears sparkling clear.
you can easily train yourself to see the radiant electromagnetic field, which is a major ‘smart’ carrier of nwyfre, especially surrounding your fingertips. it is at its brightest and most active when you are in tip-top health, happy and confident and have optimised your relations with your social, natural and magical environment enough to have the good will of most of your neighbours, since like it or not we are all contributing to a collective mentality and nothing is more empowering than the common consent.
even a beginner can successfully charge magical items such as charms and amulets, or cast exquisite circles for seasonal rituals, fizzing with good, exciting, effective magic, using a wand, hands, symbolic items or crystals or whatever charged in this way. or it can be discharged beneficially into the life field of a sick friend or animal, plant, garden, city or town, or even the earth itself via whatever symbols you choose to attune for the purpose.
it is important to understand that the flow we see here is not ‘in’ everything, but is like a specific medium which carries nwyfre, and flows around the all material objects, even subatomic particles
and vast galaxies, like the interstitial fluids that carry the biochemically coded information around the body of an animal or plant. it’s real and dowsers can detect it, and it registers on scientifically designed sensors as real energy capable of having real physical effects.
there are good reasons to believe it is not inert – not much in nature is – but interacts with the information it carries in a way that you might call ‘smart’, trafficking intelligently organised nwyfre about from one part of the system to another, from the atmosphere to the birds, for example, and vice versa, keeping us all separate but engaged in a kind of eternal conversation, in the loop, so to speak, in accord with the wisdom of the higher collectivities, the spirits, devas and angels, for example, in negotiation with the inner potential mediated through our genes and our humanity. or from the tip of a well-crafted wand to a collection of symbolic items selected for inclusion in a druid’s egg.
the interstitial fluids of a human being convey chemical information, while the electromagnetic field is rich in what psychics call psychometric energy. it’s a confusing term, referring to the psychic impressions that certain gifted people can gain bringing past scenes to vivid consciousness upon holding an object such as a ring or watch that once belonged to someone else. the psychic might see and hear actual scenes from that person’s life, or from the past experience of the actual object held. so whether you are reading it or not, it is high resolution data which different beings can extract their own species specific experience from.
this is as true of objects as of people. so the nwyfre channelled by the ring in the psychometrist’s hand is the equivalent of a psychical experience or a dream or a vision in human awareness. of course it is possible to argue that the ring has no consciousness of the experience flowing through it when a human being wears it next to the skin, within his/her electromagnetic field, but how could anyone know? for all our pride in human science with its most advanced knowledge of the biochemistry of thought and emotion in human beings, the ‘seat’ of consciousness remains a beautiful, totally elusive mystery.
as so often the case in magic, the proof of the pudding is in the eating. anyone who takes a few simple steps in developing a working interface with a properly enchanted magical tool risking little or nothing in a few moments of suspended disbelief now and then will observe without doubt that the tool responds as a responsible being in its own right. wands communicate intelligently, crystals bond with you, druid’s eggs call you and feed from you and need you to incubate them, and stranger things happen as you go deeper in. it is therefore customary to address your tools with great respect and treat them as kindly and considerately as you would a room-mate or dancing partner.
allow, for example, that they have minds of their own. they are constantly streaming experience and communicating experience-rich energy to everything around them, just like everything else. experienced practitioners will agree that your magical life becomes deeper, richer, friendlier and more meaningful if you talk to your wands, show concern for their welfare and ask with pleases and thank yous, and give them treats: a song, a poem, incense, a ring.
everything contributes impressions to the nwyfre circulating and percolating through the material world. it’s like white noise, and like the colour white, can be made to show its inner spectra. theoretically it should be possible to do this in an infinite number of ways, but nature uses a restricted palette, leaving a major part of the artistry to us.
magic is a kind of metaphysical technology. it uses mind over matter to influence events using metaphysics, governing the flow of change, the shifts of emphasis, the management of morphic resonance etc., through symbols, ritual, metaphors, stories, myths, fantasy and folklore and the sentimental and practical poetic of everyday life.
almost all of this magic involves the management of nwyfre, so it is worth dedicating some time and energy to the study of it. a web search will show you how others are using the word, and how they make use of whatever they think it is. keep adding to and enriching your sense of what it is by trying to maintain an awareness of it in everyday encounters. meditation upon the word itself is sure to be rewarded by an enhanced sense of what it means.
advanced meditators should theoretically be able to penetrate to the collective sense of the word and thus intuit a deeper sense of its meaning, but most of us are not quite so advanced and besides, our cooperation in crafting new meanings for these old magical words is all part of the magic.
naturally the most important magical tool is yourself, and the nwyfre you carry and communicate will pervade your magic, so let it be healthy, vital and smart, and may its radiance be for the good of all beings.