Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Edward Williams spent his working life as a stonemason. It is as Iolo Morganwg that he is remembered, chiefly for his role in (re)creating modern bardic ritual and philosophy. He founded the first Gorsedd, Gorsedd Beirdd Ynys Prydain, at a ceremony in 1792 at Primrose Hill, London. He also authored fairly substantial works (most of which might uncharitably be considered forgeries) claiming that the druidic/bardic tradition had survived intact in Wales despite the Roman conquest, Christianity, the persecution of the bards under Elizabeth Tudor, and other adversities. Iolo's philosophy represented a fusion of Christian and Arthurian influences, a proto-romanticism comparable to that of William Blake, the revived antiquarian enthusiasm for all things Celtic, and such elements of bardic heritage as had genuinely survived among Welsh-language poets.
Iolo was the author of the "Druid's Prayer", which is still a staple in the ritual of both gorseddau and Neo-Druidism. His metaphysics outlined a theory of concentric 'rings of existence', proceeding outward from Annwn (the Otherworld) through Abred and Ceugant to Gwynfyd (purity or Heaven).
Among his writings was Cyfrinach Beirdd Ynys Prydain, or "The Mystery of the Bards of the Isle of Britain".
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