The Hedge – The Lowerworld (Annwn)

Annwn translates as “in-world” or “the very deep place”. The translation
of “Ceugant” most roughly approximates “infinity”, or finding or
returning to some sort of “source” or “god”. It is found at the base of the
World Tree, deep within its roots. It’s a place of mystery, of power,
memory and grounding. In the Hedge Druid’s Craft, if we look to the
wisdom of the oak, we know that the roots of an oak tree extend as far
beneath the ground as branches overhead, with the trunk as the middle
ground between the two, connecting and supporting them. This
knowledge can be applied to the three worlds of the Lower, Middle and
Upper, positing that each world is as important as the other, and that
what is hidden only reflects what is apparent.
The Underworld holds the memories of our ancestors, of generations
upon generations of beings that have made up the soil that carries life to
us today. It is a place of quiet mystery and deep power. It is also the
domain of spiritual beasts, and of a stag headed god who guards the
Well of Segais. It is not a place of fear or condemnation, but rather a
place where transformation and knowledge work hand in hand to allow
things to come out into the light.
Annwn held the cauldron of transformation, which was warmed by
the breath of nine maidens. It is often equated with the feminine,
however, the Dagda, that wonderfully lusty and great god, had a
cauldron of his own, from which one could come back to life. His
cauldron was called Undry, or the Cauldron of Plenty. Deep in the
Underworld, within Annwn we can rest, contact the ancestors, and find
transformation through the slow process of warming our own cauldron
of potential. It is where the physical is broken down, much like
vegetable matter is broken down into compost, to become something
that can nourish and sustain us.
The Underworld or Annwn is also often equated to the lands of the
Sidhe. The term sidhe can be a difficult one, as it can mean so many
things, from a faerie or fey type being, to an ancestor. In the
Welsh/British tradition, the Sidhe lived in hollow hills, and so by
travelling into the hills and going deep into the land, we find
Otherworlds of great magic. Not always a place of darkness, when we
travel to these places we might find worlds that mirror our own, bright
as day or dark as midnight. Often they are described as neither day nor
night, as having no sunrise and no sunset. Time does not move the same
there as it does in the Middleworld, the world where we spend most of
our time. We can journey to the Underworld by travelling down into the
roots of the World Tree.

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