Cerridwen

Areas of Influence: Cerridwen's name is derived from the Celtic word "cerru," meaning cauldron. Like the Goddess herself, the cauldron symbolises the transformative power of magic, wisdom, rebirth and creative inspiration.

For these reasons she is seen as a patron Goddess of witches and wizards. She is also associated with the moon, fertility, science, prophecy and poetry.

Other spellings of her name include Ceridwen, Cereduin, Keridwen and Kerridwen.

I'm often asked how to pronounce Cerridwen? (Ker-RID-Wen) so I thought it would be useful to include that piece of information on this page.

Origins and Genealogy: Married to Tegid Voeland and was mother to three children: Creirwy, Morfan and Taliesin. There is no mention of her own origins in the surviving myths.

Strengths: Wise, powerful and resourceful.

Weaknesses: She tries to interfere in her children's lives.

Cerridwen's Symbolism

The Cauldron and the dark moon are associated with this Goddess.

Sacred Animals: This Goddess often transformed into a white sow to address her people.

In her myths she also shape shifted into a greyhound and an otter

Sacred Birds: Hawks and hens.

Sacred Plants: Corn.

Cerridwen's Myth

The Goddess uses her knowledge of magic and herbs to create a potion to transform her ugly son Morfan into a wise boy.

The potion needs to be boiled in her cauldron for a year and a day. She leaves her servant Gwion in charge of the mixture until one day when he accidentally spilled three drops on his hand and licked it off, empowering him with the brew's knowledge and power.

Frightened of the Goddesses reaction he turned himself into a rabbit. Cerridwen gave chase in the form of a greyhound. He then became a fish and jumped into a river and she became an otter. He turned into a bird and she followed as a hawk. Eventually Gwion transformed into a grain of corn and is eaten by the Goddess who had by then become a hen.

The grain took seed in her womb, and nine moons later, she gave birth to the Taliesin. She is unable to kill the child, instead she wraps him up in a leather bag and sets him out to sea. He survives and becomes the famous Welsh poet Taliesin


For more information about  Cerridwen and the story of Taliesan, follow the link to Lady Charlotte Guest's translation of the Mabinogion.

Cerridwen's Archetypes

The Crone

The Crone represents the wise old woman whose child bearing days are behind her. Other associations with this Archetype include: compassion, transformation, healing and bawdiness death and endings. She is the respected older woman or grand parent at the heart of family who enjoys life and sharing her experience.

Unfortunately the word Crone or Hag often has negative connotations as many wise woman and midwives were persecuted as witches in the middle ages.

Shadow Crone is the bitter, old woman who has failed to learn from her life. She blames all her failings and unhappiness on a society that no longer respects the elders. As a result she becomes increasingly isolated and fearful.

This Celtic Goddess is often depicted as a Crone Goddess as she is wise and due to her cauldron's associations with transformation and rebirth.

The Shape-shifter

The shape-shifter has the ability to change her physical appearance. They are also able to adapt easily to different environments by altering there behaviour.

Shadow shape-shifter is fickle, lacking conviction and constantly reinventing themselves like politicians to appeal to most people.

Cerridwen has the power to transform herself into many different creatures. As well as being regarded as a Crone Goddess she is also said to represent the Mother and Maiden aspects of the Triple Goddess.


Please follow this link to the Archetypes page to discover which other Goddess Archetypes resonate with you.

How To Work With These Archetypes

The Crone: This maybe one of your Archetypes if you have gained wisdom, learning from your mistakes and showing a willingness to adapt to changing circumstances.

You are experiencing the Crone's shadow if you have become rigid in your beliefs and have become stuck in a rut having lost all ability to let those areas of your life go that no longer serve you.

The shape-shifter is a useful archetype to have if you need to be flexible or perform lots of different roles.

The shadow side asks whether your chameleon like tendencies reflect a deep insecurity and inability to commit to any particular path.







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