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Cerridwen (Keridwen)

Cerridwen can be seen as a form of the dark goddess, associated with wisdom, magic loss and renewal. In Welsh mythology her dwelling place was said to be in the middle of lake Tegid, which is also called lake Bala in Gwynedd Wales. She is the accidental creator of the great bard Taliesin: She gives birth to two children, a daughter called Crearwy who is the most favoured woman in the world, beautiful in every way, and a son Affaggdu who is born malformed and ugly and the dark aspect of her coupling.

To offset her son's ill fortune, she sets about creating a potion of inspiration, which needs to be boiled for a year and a day. She sets Gwydion Bach (who is to become Taliesin) to the task of stirring the cauldron of wisdom for her, however three drops from the cauldron burn his fingers, and putting them to his mouth he is gifted with clear sight and knowledge.

Ceridwen is outraged at this and chases Taliesin through a variety of animal guises until she finally eats him as grain of wheat in the form of a hen. Nine months later she gives birth to a child, and not having the heart to kill it, sets it afloat on a river to be discovered by Elphin. The year and a day time-span in which the cauldron is set to boil, is a common motif in Welsh mythology.



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