Friday, July 6, 2012

Cerridwen, Goddess of Knowledge

I was gonna post this yesterday but a big freakin' storm blew in from nowhere and wiped out the power, so no internet and no blog post. YAY...Not!!! So I'm posting this late which means that I'm gonna have to bump back my Pagan Blog Project post to tomorrow (if I have time cus I have a babysitting gig). I hate technical difficulties :( ...

A painting of Cerridwen by Jessica Galbreth
(My favorite artist)

So anyway this post is on Cerridwen. I thought it would be cool to dedicate some time to her because she is one of my favorite and I mentioned her in my blog on Wednesday, so cue the very researched, probably very dry (I'm trying to make them more interesting), information packed post on the lovely goddess Cerridwen. (I am aware that I am slightly off :)) (I think I just gave my smiley a double chin)



Cerridwen depicted as all three aspects
of the Triple Goddess
Cerridwen is one of my favorite goddesses because she represents all three aspects of the Triple Goddess: the Maiden, the Mother, and the Crone. She is mostly seen as the Welsh Crone goddess, however, and therefore embodies the darker, more mature aspects of the Triple Goddess. She has powers of prophecy and is the goddess of knowledge and inspiration, as well as being a goddess of the Underworld. She is well known for her magickal cauldron which contains the elixir of knowledge and transformation that bust be brewed for a year and a day for maximum potency (hence the tradition of studying for a year and a day before dedicating oneself into a particular tradition or coven). Her cauldron not only represents the idea of transformation, but also stands as a symbol of femininity as it represents the womb of the Great Goddess from which all things are born and reborn.

For her role as the Mother, she is sometimes symbolized as a white sow, representing her fertility and strength as a mother. She is also closely connected to the full moon due to its association with fertility.

In legend Cerridwen had two children: a daughter Crearwy, who is fair and light and caring and a son, Afagddu or Morfran, who is dark and ugly and malevolent. In order to compensate for his ugliness, Cerridwen set out to brew a potion (called greal) to make him wise. For a year and a day she painstakingly chose the best ingredients and added them at the optimal planetary moment while chanting words of power. One day while Cerridwen was away, her servant boy Gwion was stirring the cauldron and three drops of the boiling liquid from his finger and gained all of the knowledge meant for Morfran. With his newly acquired wisdom, Gwion knew how angry Cerridwen would be and ran. Cerridwen pursued him when she learned what had happened.

Cerridwen adding ingredients to her greal as the
"faces" of the moon depict the passage of time

To aid in his escape Gwion used his new powers to transform himself into various animals. However, Cerridwen also possessed the power of shape-shifting. When Gwion turned into a hare, Cerridwen chased him as a greyhound. When he became a fish, she became an otter and when he transformed into a songbird, she shifted into a hawk. Finally Gwion transformed into a grain of corn but Cerridwen turned into a hen and ate him. When she regained her human form, she conceived a child. Knowing it was Gwion in her womb, she was determined to kill the child at birth. However the child, a  son, was so beautiful she was unable to harm him. She threw him into the sea, protectively sewn into a leather bag, from which he was rescued by the Welsh prince Elffin and grew to become the legendary bard Taliesin.

Statue of Cerridwen showing a hen eating grain

This is definitely not all of the information to be found on Cerridwen, so I definitely recommend doing your own research, but I hope it as sparked interest. To get you started here is a link to a great page that not only includes basic information on Cerridwen but also has the wytches own personal interpretations of what the legend of Cerridwen symbolizes and what lessons we can learn from it.

No comments:

Post a Comment