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~ Cerridwen ~
(Information provided by Jenny)
Cerridwen ("White Sow", or "White Crafty One") is the Welsh grain and sow-goddess, keeper of the cauldron of inspiration and goddess of transformation. She was worshipped by the people of Wales -- who call themselves the Cymri or friends, for the term "Welsh" means "foreigner" in the language of their British neighbors.
Cerridwen lived on an island in the middle of Lake Tegid (named for her husband) with her two children -- her beautiful daughter Creidwy and the ugliest boy in the world, Afagddu. To compensate her son for bestowing such a body on him, the goddess brewed a magical formula, called greal, that would make her son the most brilliant and inspired of men. For a year and a day, she added six different herbs at the precise astrological times and kept the herbs simmering in her cauldron, which she left under the care of a little boy named Gwion Bach.
On the day the brew was ready a few drops of the bubbling liquid splattered onto Gwion's finger. Scowling in pain, he stuck his hand instantly into his mouth. Miraculously, he was able to hear everything in the world and to understand the secrets of both the past and the future.
His enchanted foresight showed him how angry Cerridwen would be when she found a mere mortal had acquired the inspiration intended for her son. So he ran away; the all-knowing Cerridwen realized what had happened and pursued him. Gwion changed himself into a hare; Cerridwen pursued him as a greyhound. So they ran: he as a salmon, she as an otter; he as a sparrow, she as a hawk; and finally he as a grain of wheat, settling into a pile of grain on a threshing-floor, and she as a black hen.
It was in the final form that she caught and devoured him. The grain took seed in her womb, and nine moons later, she gave birth to the radiant child who was later named Taliesin. She could not find it in her heart to kill him, by reason of his beauty, so she wrapped him in a leather bag, and cast him into the sea, where he was rescued by a prince and grew into the poet Taliesin, the greatest poet in his language. He had inherited the gift of perfect poetry that could blow the seas into a rage, heal all wounds and foretell the events of the future. Thus the Welsh expressed their understanding that death and rebirth were necessary for true inspiration to be brought into this world, showing the Muse, the goddess of inspiration, in a somewhat more terrible form than she appears in other cultures.
Called "The White Lady of Inspiration and Death", Cerridwen's ritual pursuit of Gwion Bach symbolizes the changing seasons. Her cauldron contains awen, meaning the divine spirit, or poetic or prophetic inspiration. Her link as the Mother of Poetry is seen in her reborn son Taliesin, and in the Welsh word that makes up part of her name, cerdd, which also means poetry.
Cerridwen is a Triple Goddess; she represents all three stages of the Goddess power (maiden,mother and crone). Cerridwen is the Goddess who rules wisdom and hidden knowledge revealed only through initation. She is a goddess of dark prophetic powers. She is the keeper of the cauldron of the underworld, in which inspiration and divine knowledge are brewed. She is often equated with the famous Greek crone, Hecate, and to the Irish Badb. She is also sometimes related to the Greek Muses, only in a more violent and dark form.
She is the tigress mother, dark goddess, prophetic crone, who pursues her interpretation of justice with unfailing energy. If Cerridwen is speaking to you today, you should also pursue your goal with equal energy (if you're sure it's what you want).
If you have invested the energy in the fertilization of the project you have been nurturing (as Cerridwen did in her magical potion), then so should you equally defend and fight for your right to see it to fruition.
When you tap into the archetypal energies of Cerridwen, you evoke the ability to change consciousness. Cerridwen serves to remind us that nothing is static; life evoles from one moment to the next. Cerridwen is the archetype of initation, inspiration, and The Crone stage of the Goddess.
Information gathered by Jenny from
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