Dancing with the Awen: How to Be in Poetic Flow

Encountering the word awen sparked the first revelatory moment I had when I started out on the path of Druidry. As a poet, I was very excited to know that what I had been dancing with all my life had a name—and what a perfect name! 

Awen is a Welsh feminine noun with a fascinating history and a magnetic, enchanting quality to it. The English translation is “essence” or “inspiration,” which waters it down entirely too much for my taste. The experience of awen is more like whiskey served neat. Even the sound of the word, just those two syllables of aw and wen, is rather magical. It’s why we often chant it in druidic ceremonies.   

I’m often asked what inspires me or how I get ideas for my poetry. I wish I had a left-brained answer for that question—something I could flowchart for you—but alas, I do not. What I know for sure is that when I attempt to chase, reach, or grasp, then I am not in a creative flow. The awen will surely elude me if I hunt it down. It likes me quiet, calm, and receptive. It likes the wee hours of the morning. It likes me undistracted, even though modern life runs on the fuel of distractions. How, then, to feel the awen in such a busy, frazzled world? 

Extend the Invitation

First, you must extend the invitation. Poetic inspiration won’t go where it isn’t invited. Do you want to be touched in this way? Do you want to allow part of yourself to be in communion with something higher, greater? Because it is somewhat like having a lover, and between lovers, there should always be consent.  

Be Receptive

Next, you must be in state of receptivity, and there are many ways to get there. I’ve had some of my best lines come to me in the shower or while driving, but I also make time to be courted by the muse, so to speak. Saying yes to the muse often means saying no to other people and numbing behaviors.  I’m not trying to escape—I’m actually trying to go deeper and feel more than I normally do. That’s a scary prospect for some, but that is the life of a poet.  

So, I allow myself to wander a little, to get outside of the routine, to have a bit of space for this creative energy to fill. The feeling I get inside when a poem is brewing is that the world around me fades out, and I am completely, utterly rapt by the words that bubble to the surface level of my consciousness. Nothing compares with that feeling, other than being at one with a lover, but again, the energy is the same. If your sexual energy is free and flowing, then it’s likely that your poetry will flow, too. (I’ll write more on that in a future post.)        

Pay Attention

Then, you must pay close attention to the nudges and the niggles. It’s rare to get a fully-fledged poem all at once. What you get is more like the scent of a perfume that you must follow and keep following until you reach the source. I know that the scent of a poem is worth following when I get that fluttery sort of feeling in my womb that says, “Yes, this is the way.” I don’t know how else to describe it, but if you are a creative person, you know what I mean. Even your body will let you know when you’re on the right track. You have that sense that what is coming through you goes beyond the personal to touch the universal.       

Give Thanks

Finally, offer gratitude for the gift of poetry. Bless every line. Honor what you are given by offering it back to the world. That is the surest way to maintain the flow of awen, which is around us all the time. It’s only a matter of tuning in.

Jen Miller

Jen Miller

Jen Miller is an inspirational writer, sacred circle facilitator, and ovate-grade member of the Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids. Her passion is inspiring others to reconnect with their own power, magic, and creativity. Jen explores themes of earth-centered spirituality, women’s empowerment, transformation, nature, and healing in her poetry and prose. Her work has appeared in Rebelle Society, SageWoman, The Tor Stone, and others. She posts regularly on Facebook and Instagram @quillofthegoddess.

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  1. Pingback: The Powerful Connection Between Womb and Voice

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