The Calm after the Snow Melt

The Calm after the Snow Melt

The snow-capped mountains reach towards the blue sky, and as they do so the white begins to fall away. Rivers of melted snow rush downward and soon join as one with the river below. Soon the river is flowing so fast it’s uncontrollable. It has a life of its own, its own purpose. It grows as more snow-melt joins. The water is one being, one life, as it rushes through the valley, out, to reach the oceans.

When the Awen is flowing, that’s what it feels like. Overwhelming, uncontrollable, exhilarating, and that’s the flow I’ve been swimming with for the past three years working on the First and Second Branch of Y Mabinogi. It has felt like these albums have had a life of their own, almost as if they were desperate to be created. I remember when I finished the First Branch and was instantly being mobbed by crows each day as I walked Oscar by the river as if Bran and Branwen were saying, “Come on! It’s our turn now! Get on with it!”

But the Second Branch was quite some ride. By the end, after living with the tale for a year I had such mixed emotions. I loved the end result and was so happy to release it so you could all hear it. But I was also emotionally exhausted – the story had taken its toll on me, and so I decided I needed a break. I could feel that need before I finished, and I remember saying to my Bardic Buddy Arthur Hinds that I was done for a while and that I was going to have some time away from the Y Mabinogi albums to record some songs. His response was, “But what if the Lady wants you to carry on?” My reply was, “Well if that’s so, the Lady will get her wish.”

The Awen is a complicated Mistress. Right now it feels like the river I had been enjoying so much for the past three years has slowed. The peaks have melted and now the waters have settled into an almost imperceptibly gentle meander. Life has been incredibly busy (with great stuff, but still very full) and at times like this, I sometimes wonder how I ever have any time to actually sit down and write songs. The temptation is to jump in and swim. To try and force the Awen to flow faster by trying too hard. But I know from many lessons in the past that this isn’t the way. It’s possible, but songs that spring from that kind of effort are always the ones that either don’t make the album, or that wait to be changed by a more free-flowing Awen dive.

So I have been wondering if the Lady does indeed want me to remain focussed on the tales. To finish the task. But then I question that and ask if I’m just being lazy when it comes to writing new non-Mabinogi songs. Or is my life right now just so busy, with the Awen directed in other areas, that I should just surrender, leave things for a while, and go where the Awen is taking me. I’ve never been very good at ‘going with the flow’, but sometimes that is the best thing to do – to surrender and see where life is going, rather than trying to force it to go somewhere it doesn’t seem to want to go.

I’ve never been torn between two projects before. I’ve always known what would come next, where I would point my wand. Now I think the best thing to do is to let the Cauldron bubble and brew.

To allow the ingredients to do their work.

To surrender, wait, and stir.

And trust.

9 responses to “The Calm after the Snow Melt”

  1. I was once told “only dead fish go with the flow” not entirely true if course, but I understand where they are coming from.
    But sometimes you do have to stop and be directed where the Goddess and the Gods want to take you..and to fight that is often futile. I will await and see what the Cauldron brews for you next.

  2. So very powerful to think that we are part of the ‘flow’ of life and that, if we alow it to, the Earth and universe will guide us to what is next. I have never been good with the statement ‘just go with the flow’ either! I have always been one to plan and make sure I know what is next and feel now that letting life do it’s thing might be ok lol
    You will know what is next, for the flow of life will guide you to it and whatever it is it will be magical no doubt!!!

    I wait with baited breath /|\

    Blessings to you Damh }:-)

  3. If you once have experienced the coming into existence of a flow , then following it until it naturally ends in a greater stream or the sea, it is quite difficult just to wait and trust that an equally exiting thing will appear again. Still, starting to dig a hole and force a well into existence isn’t just the same thing flowing. So, in the end there is nothing to do, but trust, and keep up your skills in practicing and performing, and take care for your instruments. And then, when the Awen comes around in full bliss, you will be ready.

  4. After being immersed in the flow and “completing” a project, I like to head to the banks and float along in “observation mode.” See what I can see, even if it is looking at the same trees on the same path I walk. In that mode, I always find something different, something I’ve missed, or something our Earth Mother has changed. From those I recharge the energy bank of inspiration for the next round.

    We must all rest, recover and renew. During this phase, we may feel that “nothing is getting done”, when in reality, leftover energies are being purged and purified, new energy is being stored, and, if we keep our senses alert, new inspirations arriving.

    Listen to the Small Voice inside. He/She will tell you when it is time to engage Awen again.

    Thank you for the gift of music you share with us.


  5. indeed wait and see what is revealed to you sir –
    go with the flow and see where the path leads – u may not yet be ready to continue this journey right now
    u will know when it is right
    much love for the first 2 in this quartet and in fact your back catalogue it is inspirational to say the least
    blessings sir

  6. As far as I can tell, this is the important part: “the story had taken its toll on me, and so I decided I needed a break. I could feel that need before I finished, and I remember saying to my Bardic Buddy Arthur Hinds that I was done for a while …” You were heard and acknowledged, and this is the break. The part about non-Mabinogi songs? Maybe you’re more tired than you know, and aren’t finished resting yet; or maybe inspiration will be specific and hasn’t happened yet; or maybe the Lady feels you need a break AND she only wants you working on Mabinogi songs, both. Whatever it may be, the flow will deliver you to the right place in the right time.

  7. i really really know how it feels to put everything you have into a creative project and need to rest afterward. In my case it is writing. When i have written a book, sometimes the best thing to do is to keep writing, but on a less regular schedule, and to write things that take little sustained effort to produce, unlike a novel! It is good for me to find new, fun and lighthearted ways to use my craft, like writing shorter stories, sometimes for children or ‘big kids,’ like me, and filling them with characters that are deliberately light and funny, keeping pressure off myself to write anything ‘serious.” It brings the joy back to my craft.

    Or I allow the Awen to lead me into music, woodwork, painting, crochet, or gardening, all of which keep me creating and inform my future writing, and which yet allow me to rest my ‘writing glands’. 😀

    I’m pretty sure you have been still creating in many ways, Damh, having recently experienced a beautiful ceremony you, Cerri and Kris created for us.. The song-writing will come back around. Much love to you and Cerri. xxx

  8. When I am involved in a project, be it crafts such as knitting or sewing or when I’ve been studying or writing I am very aware when the time comes to “take a break”. I feel sluggish, I make mistakes & I get frustrated with what I’m doing. I feel very strongly that by having time away helps my creative juices flow. I ask the Lady for help & wait for Her to give me a sign that it is time to start again. She has always been there for me & I give Her grateful thanks. Enjoy your rest & come back renewed & refreshed whether non-Mabinogion or the Third Branch it is sure to be enhanced by not forcing the Awen.

  9. i so get what you mean….it is the same for me with my art. and whatever will be will be. you will know soon enough what to do 🙂 BB to you and yours. )O(

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