December 9th, 2007 by sabrina
Ceridwen (pronounced KARE-id-wen) is the Celtic Goddess of wisdom and magic. She had three children, a beautiful maiden named Creirwy, an ugly but strong son named Morvran, and an extremely ugly son named Afagddu. Unfortunately, Afagddu had no skills or knowledge that would compensate for his looks. Ceridwen, as Goddess of magic, decided to brew a potion that would give her son the gifts of poetry and wisdom. The potion took a year and a day to brew, and Ceridwen employed a blind man to tend the fire under it and a boy named Gwion to stir it. Just as the potion was ready to be used, three drops splashed out of the cauldron and burned Gwion’s thumb—he instinctively licked them off, thereby gaining the gifts of the potion. The rest of the potion was useless, and Ceridwen was so angry with Gwion that she chased him down. He tried to turn into a rabbit, but she turned into a dog. He turned into a fish, but she became an otter and followed him into the water. He turned into a bird, and she pursued him as a hawk. Finally, he turned himself into a grain of corn, hoping that she would not be able to distinguish him from the other grains. But, of course, Ceridwen immediately recognized Gwion and, turning herself into a hen, she ate him.
Ceridwen soon found that she was pregnant, and knew that her child would be Gwion reborn and that he would remember his previous life and retain all the knowledge that he had stolen from her son. She swore that she would kill him as soon as he was born, but the baby was so beautiful that she couldn’t bring herself to do it. Instead, she wrapped him in a sealskin and set him out to sea. The baby was rescued by a Celtic prince named Elffin, who named him Taliesin. He grew up to be one of the greatest bards of Celtic history.
Ceridwen’s name means “blessed poetry”, and has several variations, including Caridwen, Cereduin, Cerridu, Cerridwen, Keridwen, Kerridwen, Kerituen, Kerrituen, Kerritwen, Kyrriduen, and Kyrrituen.
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