Cerridwen, Keeper of the Cauldron

Cerridwyn, Ceridwen, Cyrridven, Caridwen, Kyrridwen

  • Cerridwen is a Welsh goddess of inspiration, wisdom, rebirth, transformation and prophecy.
  • She is known as the keeper of the cauldron of knowledge, the mother of transformation and change, and the white lady of inspiration and death.
  • Cerridwen holds great power and knowledge and is often described as a crone goddess, creating a triad with Blodeuwedd and Arianrhod.
  • She often represents the darker aspect of deity and has connections to the Underworld.

  • She was married to Tegid and lived on an island with her daughter Creirwy the fair, and Morfran/Afagddu the dark.
  • Cerridwen is associated with a great white sow.

Cerridwen

  • Cerridwen is mentioned in the Mabinogion, a collection of Welsh myths.
  • In one story, Cerridwen brews up a magical potion in her cauldron of poetic inspiration (Awen) in order to make her son Morfran/Afagddu wise and knowledgeable to make up for his ugliness.
  • She leaves young Gwion Bach in charge of stirring it, warning him not to taste a drop.  However three hot drops of potion fall onto his thumb, which he instinctively put into his mouth.  Tasting the potion, he was granted the sacred knowledge meant for Cerridwen’s son.
  • Furious, Cerridwen chases Gwion through the seasons, changing forms and shapeshifting, until finally she swallows Gwion.  She becomes pregnant, and nine months later she gives birth to Taliesin (“radiant brow”).
  • Initially thinking to kill the child, she has a change of heart, and instead throws Taliesin into the sea. He is later rescued by the Celtic prince, Elffin, and becomes a great Welsh bard.
Thalia Took Cerridwen
  • Cerridwen’s cauldron contained a potion that was brewed for a year and a day in order to reach its full potency.
  • The cauldron is a symbol of transformation (both physical and spiritual), enlightenment, wisdom, the womb, the Mother Goddess, and rebirth.
  • Through the Mabinogion, Cerridwen is also associated with the legend of King Arthur.  Her son Taliesin became associated with the legend of Merlin through his role of bard of the court of Elffin (Arthur).

About.com – Cerridwen
Sacred Mists Blog
Wiki Ceridwen
Thalia Took – Cerridwen
Goddess School – Cerridwen

© The Celtic Journey (2013)

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