Cerridwen, Keeper of the Cauldron
Submitted by: swampy
“I obtained my inspiration
From the Cauldron of Cerridwen”
- Hanes Taliesing
Cerridwen (also called Caridwen) is a Welsh Crone Goddess. She is known as a Goddess of the Moon, and is also Goddess of death, fertility, regeneration, grain, nature, dark prophesies, and knowledge. Cerridwen is known as the Great Mother Goddess and the Keeper of Souls. She is often pictured as a great white sow. Cerridwen lives upon an island in Lake Tegid, in a place known as ‘The Land Beneath the Waves’.
Cerridwen is Keeper of the Cauldron of the Underworld, in which inspiration and divine knowledge are brewed along with the souls that will be reborn. Cerridwen married the giant Tegid and had two children – the girl child named Creirwy was beautiful, but the boy named Avagdu (some call him Morfan, because he was black as a raven) was born ugly and dark. Cerridwen worried that Avagdu’s life would be very hard because of his appearance, so She decided to give him a birth gift of the magical powers that She possessed. In Her magickal cauldron (named Awen, the Cauldron of the Deep), Cerridwen made a potion called greal (from which the word ‘Grail’ probably came). The potion was made from six plants for inspiration and knowledge. She arranged for a blind old man to keep the fire burning, and for a young lad named Gwion to stir the contents of Her Cauldron. Unfortunately three drops from the cauldron fell out of the cauldron and onto Gwion’s finger, and he absorbed the potency of the brew. Cerridwen then pursued Gwion through a cycle of changing shapes, which correspond both to totem animals and to the turning of the seasons. The ending came when Cerridwen, in the guise of a hen, swallowed Gwion, in the guise of an ear of corn. Nine months later Cerridwen gave birth to a radiant child, known as Taliesin, a title attached to the greatest of Welsh poet bard.
Call upon Cerridwen for help with moon magick, enchantment, glamouries, love spells, protection, Earth magick, and fertility magick. She is also at home in harvest rituals, and can aid you in divination and past life searches.
Cerridwen’s associations include pigs (especially white sows), grain, cauldrons, Vervain, the dark moon, wolves and hens.
Modern Welsh Witchcraft traditions still celebrate ‘Gwyl o Cerridwen’ (the Feast of Cerridwen) yearly on July 13th – starting at sundown.