The Welsh goddess Ceridwen was a great sorceress with powerful prophetic skills. She brewed form-changing potions that could also inspire knowledge and beauty in others.
Ceridwen was one of the most powerful witches in all of Celtic mythology and is typically depicted as simultaneously a mother and a wise woman. This goddess is bestowed with the gift of Awen, which denotes prophecy, wisdom, and the ability to bestow inspiration.
In this article, I am going to talk about how to connect with Ceridwen and work with this altruistic goddess. In many of her stories, she is profoundly concerned with helping others. Ceridwen is still widely worshiped by neopagans today, who cherish her deep knowledge and powers to create and inspire change.
Ceridwen: The Myth
This goddess features in the Book of Taliesin, and this appearance marks one of the most famous in Celtic mythology. In this story, Ceridwen creates a potion to help her son, Morfan. The concoction, when finished, would make him both wise and beautiful. To aid her in this task, Ceridwen asked a blind man to tend the fire below the cauldron. Meanwhile, she set Giwion Bach ap Gwreang, a serving boy, to stirring the potent concoction. Neither was aware that just three drops of the potion would bestow beauty and wisdom…but the rest would be deadly poisonous.
After carrying out their tasks for a year, Gwion accidentally spilled three drops of the potion onto his thumb. Upon feeling the burning liquid strike his skin, the boy put his thumb to his mouth, imbibed the potion, and hence became instantly wise and beautiful.
Ceridwen, then realizing what had happened just in time, pursued Gwion, who had fled, fearful of Ceridwen’s wrath. He, now possessing the same magic as the goddess, transformed into different animals in an attempt to escape. But Ceridwen thwarted him. When Gwion transformed into a fish, she changed into an otter. When he shifted shape to become a bird, she subsequently transformed into a hawk.
Finally, Gwion turned himself into a grain of wheat – and Ceridwen, finding the grain, ate it. But Gwion did not die – instead, the grain took seed, causing Ceridwen to become pregnant. When the child was born, he was the most beautiful thing that the goddess has ever seen. Rather than killing him, as she had resolved, she set him out to sea in a leather skin bag. Eventually, the child was found by Prince Elffin ap Gwyddno, who raised him as a prince. He was given the name Taliesin, and he grew up to become a great advisor to kings and a wise bard.
Ceridwen has also appeared in literature and poetry throughout the ages, where she is sometimes cited as a goddess of poetry. The story of Ceridwen and Morfan can also be found in Arthurian legend. Some scholars suggest the goddess’ cauldron is a manifestation of the Holy Grail sought by the knights in the myth.
The Power of Three
Three is a number of great power in Celtic lore, and this is reflected in Ceridwen’s status as a triple goddess. She is at once the Maiden, the Mother, and the Crone. These multiple facets help bestow the wisdom and compassion for which this goddess is revered. She is all the aspects of the divine feminine at once.
Morrigan is also a Celtic triple goddess. She often appears with her two sisters, Badb and Macha – and sometimes she is depicted as a fusion of all three. The Morrigan is often referred to as the Phantom Queen, and she’s associated with battle and fate. Like Ceridwen, she’s a shapeshifter, able to change her physical form at will. However, while the Morrigan is usually depicted as fierce and beautifully fearsome, Ceridwen is portrayed as being a largely benevolent goddess, keen to use her powers to help deserving others.
Symbols of Ceridwen
The concept of transformation is a key component of this goddess, as are knowledge and inspiration. She’s closely associated with fertility and is linked to depictions of a white sow, pointing to her motherly strength.
Ceridwen may be portrayed as a goddess of the Underworld and is thus closely associated with the moon, intuition, death, and rebirth. In her dual aspect as a Dark Goddess, she is tied to the pursuit of justice, too, linked to the idea of planting seeds and powerfully manifesting change within our lives.
Listening for Ceridwen’s Voice
If you feel a deep tug within telling you that change is needed or imminent, then you may be hearing the voice of Ceridwen guiding your steps and lending you strength as you prepare to make the journey. Work with the goddess by examining, with clarity and honesty, the things that no longer serve you, and prepare to let them go.
Similarly, if inspiration has been sparking at the corners of your awareness for some time, and you’re not sure how to get started with bringing your vision to reality, then you may discern Ceridwen’s words of encouragement at the edges of your consciousness.
Find a quiet space, relax, and enter a meditative state as you become calm and listen to your inner voice. Allow yourself to visualize what your life would look like if you made the changes you’re considering or if you took tangible steps to harness your inspiration.
Calling Upon Ceridwen
Harnessing Ceridwen’s power of Awen is key to approaching this goddess. Honor this element and the goddess herself by acting from a place of kindness, grace, courtesy, and consideration wherever possible.
If you’d like to approach this goddess and ask her to work with you, then there are some simple ways to connect with Ceridwen and ask for her aid and inspiration. First, create a space dedicated to the goddess. This doesn’t need to be intricate, but be sure to bring your creativity into play. Incorporate items that symbolize what inspires you, and also include a small bowl or pot of your choosing to represent the goddess’s cauldron.
Next, while sitting or standing in front of this special space, call Ceridwen, either aloud or in your mind. Visualize the energy of Awen emanating from the goddess and streaming through you. Feel the beautiful potential and gentleness of this energy. Finally, honor Ceridwen in your daily life by embracing inspiration and finding ways to feel inspired.
Here are some ways to honor the goddess by welcoming inspiration into your life:
- Swap scrolling through your phone just before bed with writing in your journal.
- Put up art prints that you love in places around the house where you’ll see them regularly.
- Have a go at writing a poem, without expectation or thinking about what others would think of it.
- Read a book from your childhood.
- If there’s a friend or family member who inspires you, tell them so, and why.
- Take up a class in a subject you’ve long been interested in but never gotten around to studying.
- Look up at the stars before heading to bed.
- Watch a film or read a biography about someone who inspires you.
Making Offerings to Ceridwen
You may wish to use the special space you’ve created dedicated to Ceridwen to leave symbolic offerings to the goddess. Green and white candles are perfect choices to honor Ceridwen, so place these colored candles around the space. Set an intention as you light the wick of each, and take a moment to visualize the manifestation of your intention. How it will feel, what your life will look like, and how you will appear in this changed existence.
Some of the best offerings to make to the goddess are your own poems, prayers, or songs. You could also offer acorns, wheat, barley, poppy or sunflower seeds, and vervain. Rather than leaving an offering of wheat, you may wish to refrain from eating wheat or pork for a period to honor Ceridwen.
Using Crystals to Connect with Ceridwen
Ceridwen is the epitome of a goddess who embodies both the ‘light’ and the ‘dark’ side of the divine feminine. She fuses, therefore, these dual elements into a powerful force that symbolizes death and rebirth, change, and potential.
To this end, honor Ceridwen by working with sunstone and moonstone together to create a beautiful duality that represents both faces of the goddess. Sunstone crystals can be used to promote feelings of empowerment and openness and bestow emotional balance. Moonstone is a wonderful crystal for connecting you with your intuition. It can help you to listen to the voice within and encourage you to follow your instincts.
Program your sunstone and moonstone by holding one crystal in each hand, clearing your mind, and allowing your energy to mingle with theirs. Ask them to work with you to help you serve your highest purpose and make the changes in your life that will bring happiness and fulfillment.
Keep your crystals close and work with them every day. Place them in your bath water to enjoy a meditative soak. Have them next to you as you journal, every evening, the things that have inspired you and the steps you’ve taken on your journey. Use your intuition: you may wish to work with your sunstone during the day and your moonstone as night falls. Alternatively, it may feel right to keep them both together at all times.
Embracing Herbology to Approach Ceridwen
Ceridwen is closely associated, through her use of potions, with the practice of herbology. If this practice appeals to you, it can be a wonderful way to approach the goddess.
Getting started with herbology is easier than you think! You are probably already using some of a herbalist’s most-loved plants in your cooking, such as garlic and oats. Many stores now stock a wider range of growing herbs than ever before, so try switching out, for example, dried parsley for fresh or growing parsley to get closer to the spirit of the herb and more hands-on in your new approach to herbology.
Why not consider attending a course for beginners to learn more about the uses and medicinal qualities of various herbs and how to safely harvest your own? Other plants that herbalists esteem for their wellness-boosting properties include dandelion, nettles, burdock, and bilberry. Once you’ve learned how to gather and use them, have a go adding these herbs to soups and stews, or try making homemade herbal teas.
Goddesses of the Moon
Ceridwen isn’t the only goddess connected to the moon. Another Celtic deity with powerful ties to our lunar sister is Rhiannon, the renowned horse goddess. She is also connected to sovereignty – including over the self. Said to have been born during the first moon rise, Rhiannon is closely affiliated with, like Ceridwen, wisdom, magic, transformation, poetry, and artistic inspiration.
You may wish to honor both of these goddesses, reaching out to one or the other (or both) according to your instincts. Offerings to leave for Rhiannon include figurines or drawings of horses, hay, milk, sweetgrass, or something symbolizing music.
Welcoming Ceridwen into Your Daily Life
Listening to Ceridwen’s gentle yet powerful voice, approaching the goddess with respect and an open mind, and inviting her to work with you in your daily life is likely to be a profoundly enriching experience.
Use the guide above as inspiration to begin your journey of finding Ceridwen. Follow your instincts and be guided by your intuition. When you sense her steps coming closer, open your heart and mind and be prepared to allow inspiration, kindness, and compassion to take center stage in your life.
Featured Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons