The Coelbren Alphabet

Devised by the infamous Welsh poet Iolo Morganwg, the Bardic alphabet called Y Coelbren has long been shrouded in mystery and controversy. The Coelbren has always seemed to hold great promise, but as long as nobody knew how to properly use the system for divination, it has remained nothing more than a relic of a bygone era . . . until John Michael Greer’s recent realization of a key to its symbolic meanings.

 The Coelbren Alphabet reveals the secrets of this esoteric alphabet, and restores the Coelbren to its rightful place as a powerful magical tool. Unlike the Ogham or runes, the Coelbren letters take their symbolic meanings directly from the sounds they represent, and from the shapes made by the mouth in the process of pronunciation. This book shows how to use this unique symbol system for divination, meditation, and ritual.

If you’re interested in history, European history, dialects, or just never want to stop learning then this is a must buy; particularly as John Michael Greer’s writing is not the normal textbook language where you feel like this could easily replace your Ambien to knock you for a good night’s sleep. His talent from writing over forty books and being an award winning author is evident in his strong writing style, sentence structure and all that boring stuff people who give out awards care about.

 What I as a reader and someone whose background in the Irish culture care about is the accuracy and sound of the knowledge he’s trying to impart on a new generation who doesn’t have the familiarity with this long dormant language. On that aspect I can happily attest that his extreme attention to detail and the plethora of research he plowed through has proven his time well spent.

 Greer makes you want to know about the people who once used Coelbren the way I’m using these letters. How did it evolve, why was it used, what it sounded like and so forth. He provides examples for you to try out how the letters sound which adds this sense of logic and understanding to the work. As you dive through the letter’s images, meanings and symbolism you get a sense of the type of people who used it; you’re able to be transported back to a long ago age when communication still meant something as an art form and not a right to be fought over.

 I loved the section on meditation because too often people think it is the sole property of the Eastern cultures but others adapted it as well for philosophical and theological reasons. Greer even provides some instructions on how to do it properly in order to achieve more positive results.

 Hopefully by the time you are done reading his incredibly breathtaking study you will have gained a greater appreciation for the people, the history, and Welsh the culture.

 Thank you to Netgalley and Llewellyn Worldwide for allowing me to review this book.

 *synopsis and pic from

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