from Giraldus Cambrensis  Description of Wales (1194)

CHAPTER XVI: Concerning the soothsayers of this nation,and persons as it were possessed

THERE are certain persons in Cambria, whom you will find nowhere else, called Awenddyon *, or people inspired; when consulted upon any doubtful event, they roar out violently, are rendered beside themselves,and become, as it were, possessed by a spirit. They do not deliverthe answer to what is required in a connected manner; but the person who skilfully observes them, will find, after many preambles, and many nugatory and incoherent, though ornamented speeches, the desired explanation conveyed in some turn of a word: they are then roused from their ecstasy, as from a deep sleep, and, as it were, by violence compelled to return to their proper senses. After having answered the questions, they do not recover till violently shaken by other people; nor can they remember the replies they have given. If consulted a second or third time upon the same point, they will make use of expressions totally different; perhaps they speak by the means of fanatic and ignorant spirits. These gifts are usually conferred upon them in dreams: some seem to have sweet milk or honey poured on their lips; others fancy that a written schedule is applied to their mouths and on awaking they publicly declare that they have received this gift.

*  ‘persons inspired by the Muse’, derived from Awen ( inspiration, or the gift of poetry) and Awenydd (bard).


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