Today is the second of the monthly devotions, and it is dedicated to Cerridwen.
Like Isis, Cerridwen isn’t exactly a deity I have much experience with. For some reason, I like to deal in the Greco-Roman pantheons–though lately I’m becoming interested in other mythologies. From the little research I’ve done, however, I know it’s a rather debatable question of whether Cerridwen was ever considered a Goddess by the Celts. Ronald Hutton, for one, has suggested that she was created exclusively for the Tale of Taliesin, which dates only to the mid 16th century–just a couple decades before he era of Shakespeare. The earliest reference to her was, however, in the twelfth century.
In modern recreation, however, Cerridwen is a Welsh Goddess, and one who is often depicted as a Triple Goddess. She is highly associated with the cauldron, and through its greal, change and wisdom. Because of her pursuit of Gwion and all the forms they took, she is a patron of shapeshifting and magic. Roderick notes that Wiccans associate her with inspiration and the inner knowledge revealed through initiation. She is that which can change consciousness. Above all things, though, she is a reminder of constant change.
Build an altar in Cerridwen’s honor today. When the altar is complete, face it and intone her name one syllable at a time (prounouced: KER-i-dwen) until you sense her energies surrounding you. Once she has arrived, spend some time contemplating what it might mean to serve her. Internally ask Cerridwen what it would mean to live life through her energy. Listen for her answer and follow her advice.
I had a devil of a time constructing this altar. It was hard to find things that screamed “Cerridwen” to men. Ultimately, though, I chose the obvious cauldron. It’s resting on my copy of House of Mirth, which I will be writing on this term. It is a text that inspires me (and which I’d like some cosmic help on!). There’s also a card depicting Susan Seddon Boulet’s Gaia, which shows the Goddess surrounded by a multiplicity of animal forms. It’s being propped up by a moonstone. A quartz point, a small pentacle, a claddagh ring, and a couple candles stand by. I included the moonstone because Roderick lists it as one of Cerridwen’s stones. The quartz and the pentacle are for Cerridwen’s interest in knowledge and the occult. The ring is there because it symbolizes transformation and return to me, and the two candles are included for the knowledge and passion I find in the Cerridwen myths.
I had to try the devotion twice, however. The first time, I couldn’t settle. I kept getting up and fidgeting. The second time, however, I persevered and after a moment, I felt this blossoming of limitless potential and discovered that to live within this energy, I would have to find a way to live without barriers–to recognize them, then to see around their construction to the limitless truth.
In a way, this is the object of my work as an English graduate student: to recognize how culture is a creation that limits, to demonstrate this, and to find the alternate potential. Perhaps I should learn more about this Goddess?