In Welsh medieval legend, Ceridwen (kair-id-wən), also spelled Cerridwen, was an enchantress, mother of Morfran and a beautiful daughter Creirwy. Her husband was Tegid Foel, and they lived near Bala Lake (Llyn Tegid) in north Wales. Medieval Welsh poetry refers to her as possessing the cauldron of Poetic Inspiration (Awen) and the Tale of Taliesin recounts her swallowing her servant Gwion Bach who is then reborn through her as the poet Taliesin. Ceridwen is regarded by modern Wiccans as the Celtic goddess of rebirth, transformation, and inspiration.

According to the late medieval Tale of Taliesin, included in some modern editions of the Mabinogion, Morfran (also called Afagddu) was hideously ugly, so Ceridwen sought to make him wise. She had a magical cauldron that could make a potion granting the gift of wisdom and poetic inspiration. The mixture had to be boiled for a year and a day. Morda, a blind man, tended the fire beneath the cauldron, while Gwion Bach, a young boy, stirred the concoction. The first three drops of liquid from this cauldron gave wisdom; the rest was a fatal poison. Three hot drops spilled onto Gwion’s thumb as he stirred, burning him. He instinctively put his thumb in his mouth, and instantly gained great wisdom and knowledge.

Ceridwen chased Gwion. He turned himself into a hare. She became a greyhound. He became a fish and jumped into a river. She turned into an otter. He turned into a bird; she became a hawk. Finally, he turned into a single grain of corn. She then became a hen and ate him. When Ceridwen became pregnant, she knew it was Gwion and resolved to kill the child when he was born. However, when he was born, he was so beautiful that she couldn’t do it. She threw him in the ocean instead, sewing him inside a leather-skin bag. The child did not die, but was rescued on a Welsh shore – near Aberdyfi according to most versions of the tale – by a prince named Elffin ap Gwyddno; the reborn infant grew to became the legendary bard Taliesin.

From Wikipedia.

CERRIDWEN/CARIDWEN/CERIDWEN:  Wales.  Moon Goddess; Great Mother; grain Goddess; Goddess of nature.  The white corpse eating sow representing the Moon.  Wife of the giant Tegid and mother of a beautiful girl, Creirwy, and an ugly boy, Avagdu.  Welsh Bards called themselves Cerddorion (sons of Cerridwen).  The Bard Taliesin, founder of their craft was said to be born or Cerridwen and to have tasted a potent brew from Her magick cauldron of inspiration.  This potion, known as “greal” (from which the word Grail probably came), was made from six plants for inspiration and knowledge.  Gwion Bach (later called Taliesin) accidentally drank the remaining three drops of the liquid.  Her symbol was a white sow.  Death, fertility, regeneration, inspiration, magic, astrology, herbs, science, poetry, spells, knowledge.

From “Celtic Magic” by DJ Conway

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