Are you familiar with the Celtic Goddess Cerridwen?
I confess that I’d only just heard of her up until last week.
Over the last couple weeks, between anxiety attacks and deep sea diving, I’ve been formulating an idea for a group page, one that followed the energies around the Wheel of the Year and focused on symbols prevalent in each season…......and I apologize, explaining how my brain works is really boring and possibly dangerous.......
So, the point is, I’ve become somewhat slightly obsessed with Cauldrons; The practical and the spiritual uses. In the course of my research I’ve read the myths from Hekate, Medea, Bran and Daghda.
When I came cross Cerridwen and her magical Cauldron of Awen, She stepped out from the shadows and I knew we’d be working together for a while.
Quick rundown of the story:
Cerridwen wants to make a brew for her son. He’s hideously ugly and scorned but she believes if she can magically make him wise, he’ll earn the respect of the community.
Over the course of a year and a day she brew’s this potion, when it’s finished the first 3 drops will hold the magic and the rest will be poison. She hires a local kid to watch the pot. At the end of the brew time, the kid gets splashed with the first 3 drops and gets all the magic.
Cerridwen is livid and chases the kid in a magical shape-shifting pursuit. She finally catches him after he shifts into a grain of wheat. She shifts into a hen and eats him.
Nine months later she gives birth to the famed poet, Taliesin, who of course contains all the magic.
Having bonded with the babe in utero, she’s no longer angry and can’t bring herself to kill him so she wraps him in a coracle (a small round wicker boat) and sends him down the river. He drifted for 40 years before being fished out by the son of a king.
The concept of a cauldron is symbolic of germination, transformation and rebirth. Sometimes it represents an ever-flowing abundance.
Physically, it’s related to home and hearth.
It’s the pot you cook your famous spaghetti sauce in; adding a little of this a little of that, some vegetables, some herbs….simmering and stirring until the flavors meld together. *Cooking is like magic.*
Spiritually, it represents the Womb of the Great Mother; where we all came from and where we all return to, often many times in one life.
We can retreat back to the Source of All when we need to regenerate; when we’re ready to change.We can trust that whatever we need will be provided by Cauldron.
Sometimes we choose this and sometimes it just happens.
In the story, we witness the magic of three cauldrons. Each aspect can represent a number of things in our own personal lives.
The first is the physical pot that steeps the brew.
Cerridwen spent a year and a day, collecting the ingredients at their peak magical powers, letting them simmer and meld together until the magic was complete.
Personally, this can relate to a commitment; a conscious decision to dedicate our efforts to a change in our life. Maybe it’s a physical transformation, a creative endeavor or a lifestyle change. Whatever it is there’s a definite plan. We are focused and involved during the whole process. When we choose to work with the Great Goddess, the steps are logical but the results are amplified.
The second cauldron was womb of Cerridwen.
The transformation was the gestation of Taliesin, growing in her belly for 9 months and absorbing the magic of Awen into his entire being.
This is more of a spiritual aspect; wherein we find ourselves shedding old beliefs and seeing things from a different perspective. Sometimes it’s a choice to study something that pulls at us, like the Craft or Buddhism or Yoga. We make a conscious decision to study and learn and we know we're going to be changed.
Sometimes it’s not so obvious. We find ourselves retreating from the world. Maybe in response to a trauma or maybe because we’re just tired of the status quo.
Whether we choose to enter the cauldron or just happen to stumble in, we will connect with our source; we will swim in the Waters of Awen and when we return, we will not be the same person that entered.
The Third symbolic cauldron is the coracle.
The waterproof wicker boat that carried the infant Taliesin down the river to begin his life, some 40 years later. *I personally thing the '40 year thing" was added by a Christian monk somewhere along the translation line. In Christian myth, 40 represented a period of trial or probation*
This is the vessel of our journey, after we have been reborn, after we’ve received the magic. We find ourselves cocooned in safety for a while, marinating in our newly found enlightenment. Wiggling into the connection with the Divine, like a baby adjusting to a new world. We will stay in this cocoon until we are ready to share our new gifts and enlightenment with the world.
At this time of year, when our world is darkening and we’re preparing for winter; the cauldron represents both the warmth and comfort of home as well as the opportunity to go within and return to Mother Goddess.