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Cerridwen by ThaliaTook Cerridwen by ThaliaTook
Cerridwen by ThaliaTook (print image)

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Cerridwen is a shape-shifting Goddess of Wales Who keeps the cauldron of awen, or poetic inspiration. Her name probably contains the Welsh word 'cerdd', meaning poetry, though other interpretations give the meaning of Her name as 'White Sow' or 'White Crafty One.'

She famously set about to brew a potion of wisdom for Her relentlessly ugly son in an attempt to make up for his ugliness; however the completed potion accidentally fell on the young servant boy, Gwion Bach. Realizing at once that Cerridwen would not be happy with that, Gwion Bach fled, and Cerridwen followed, each shifting into different shapes during the pursuit; at last the boy transformed into a single grain of wheat and settled on a threshing floor among thousands of others. Cerridwen became a black hen then, and soon found him and ate him.

Nine months later She gave birth to a boy; She intended to kill him, as She had been unwilling, but when She saw how beautiful the baby was She didn't have the heart. So She set him out to Sea in a coracle, a kind of little boat. He was found, of course, and fostered elsewhere; he became known as the greatest of all bards, Taliesin.

Though She is a mother in this tale, She is often thought of as a hag or crone; I've made Her a little bit old here, with bone-white arms. On Her upper arm is a bracelet of iron, and She leans over Her cauldron as She adds more ingredients to Her inspirational brew.
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Submitted on
September 11, 2012
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