About Morfran Storiwr
I am a storyteller, naturalist (in both senses of the word), and student of neo-pagan druidry living in the southeastern United States. I am a member of the Order of Bards, Ovates, and Druids (OBOD), and am currently working my way through the Ovate grade.
I was a Christian for much of my youth and early adulthood – first non-denominational, then Episcopalian. I was very involved in the church, until one day it suddenly no longer felt true. After a period of searching and learning, I ended up settling somewhere between Deism and atheism. I joined OBOD because while I no longer believe in any gods, I missed the fulfillment I got from following a spiritual path. My love of nature, ritual (hence my earlier conversion to the Episcopal church), music and storytelling made joining OBOD seem like a no-brainer.
Despite my borderline atheism and naturalist orientation, I tend to behave as though I believe in things like spirits and magic. I do this because I find it both enjoyable and useful. I have begun to practice magic to see whether I can find any evidence that it works. I have adopted an animist worldview because it helps me treat the world around me with an appropriate level of care. I practice divination because it forces me to look at questions with a perspective other than the one that comes naturally to me. Plus it’s all just plain fun!
While I do not personally believe in gods, I have nothing but respect for those who do. And I am open to having experience change my mind.
About Morfran’s Name
Morfran Storiwr is a pen name. The surname, Storiwr, is the Welsh word for “storyteller.” The name Morfran (pronounced MOR-vren) originally came from the tale of Taliesin. Morfran, which means “great crow,” was the terribly ugly son of Ceridwen. In later versions of the story he was called Afagddu, which means “utter darkness.”
Because he was so ugly, his mother set about brewing a cauldron of Awen, a potion which granted limitless wisdom and poetic inspiration to whomever consumed the first three drops. The potion had to be stirred for a year and a day, so Ceridwen hired an old blind man named Morda and his young companion Gwion to tend to the fire and stir the cauldron. On the final day, the fire got too hot and three drops of the potion exploded from the boiling pot, landing on Gwion’s thumb. The youth instinctively put his thumb into his mouth to reduce the burning sensation, and in doing so consumed the first three drops of the Awen, gaining the wisdom and inspiration that was meant for Morfran.
Thus Morfran was left with neither beauty nor great wisdom. And thus Gwion became Taliesin.
I did not adopt this as my pen name because I think I am hideously ugly. When I first read the tale of Taliesin, a question lingered in my mind – and continues to linger to this day. What became of Morfran? The whole tale – which goes on for much longer than what I have shared here – started because of his mother’s desire to give him the gifts of wisdom and inspiration. But he never got those gifts.
I imagine that as he got older, he must have heard the story of what happened when he was just a child. In some versions of Arthurian legend, Morfran became a knight in Arthur’s company, whom no enemy would touch for fear that he was a demon (due to his appearance). Did he become a knight out of a desire to quest? What was he questing for? Perhaps the object of his quest was the Awen that his mother tried to provide him so many years earlier.
And for that reason, I can identify with Morfran. For I, too, am seeking Awen.
About Seeking Awen
Seeking Awen is a place for me to work through my thoughts and experiences, and to share them with the world in case anybody finds them useful. The process of writing about a topic forces me to really think about it and organize my thoughts into something coherent. For that reason, please take everything I say with a grain of salt. Much of what I write about will still be under development, and an early post may very well be completely supplanted by a later post where my thinking has evolved further.