Cerridwen: Wise Crone to be Honored near Samhain
Each month, I pick a specific deity to honor and celebrate. This month, the honor goes to Cerridwen, Welsh goddess of transformation and wisdom, aspecting both as Mother and Crone. Cerridwen shows that the boundary between fertile Mother and wise Crone can be blurred.
Cerridwen was mother to two children: Creirwy, a beautiful and shining daughter; and Afagddu, an ugly, misshapen, morose son. The goddess wanted to give her son the gift of all-encompassing wisdom to compensate for his ugliness, so she created a brew that would instill Awen, or shining knowledge, with three drops. Now, this special potion had to be brewed for a year and a day; being the busy goddess she was, Cerridwen, quite sensibly, chose to outsource the stirring and brewing of this potion. That job fell to Morda, an elderly blind man, and young Gwion.
When the potion was ready, after a year and a day, an accident happened. Gwion spilled three drops of the potion onto his thumb. Automatically, he licked his thumb and then consumed the potion (the rest, in the cauldron, was not fit for consumption: in this case, this was not a cauldron of plenty).
To say that Cerridwen was furious would be an understatement. Gwion, knowing that Cerridwen would be after his head, changed first into a hare; she changed into a hunting dog. He then changed into a fish; she changed into an otter. He then changed into a small bird; she changed into a hawk. Cerridwen chased Gwion through the seasons until finally, when he shapeshifted into a grain, she shapeshifted into a hen and consumed him. As a result, she became pregnant with Gwion.
She swore that she would kill the infant Gwion when he was born, but when the time came, she could not bring herself to destroy him. Instead, she placed him in a leather bag and set him afloat on the sea. He was found and brought up as Taliesen, who would become the master bard of all time.
The transformation of Gwion into Taliesen is obvious. Cerridwen, however, goes through her own meaninful tranformation in the process.When we invoke and work with Cerridwen, we invite this spirit of transformation in and around ourselves. Blessed Be!
One excellent way to work with Cerridwen, and many other aspects of the Goddess, is through the Goddess Tarot Deck by Kris Waldherr, available at my store Lune Soleil Enterprises. Stop by today to check out the Goddess Tarot Deck and numerous other Pagan supplies for ritual and for personal enrichment.