[KARE-id-oo'in or KARE-id-win]
Cerridwen is a sow Goddess, famous for her great cauldron of knowledge. She is also a moon and grain deity with many crone and mother attributes.
Her cauldron's name was AMEN, in which her potion of wisdom called greal was made, the origin of the Halloween image of the cauldron-stirring witch and witch's brew. To make her potion of knowledge, the brew had to simmer for a year and a day. This is a common passage of time in Celtic lore, and the source of the traditional study period before formal initiation. Her servant, Gwion, was sent to take care of it, but splashed some on his fingers. Without thinking, he licked his fingers and ingested three drops of
the potion. Instantly he gained all knowledge, including that of being able to see into the future and past, and knew he had to flee.
Cerridwen discovered this and pursued him through many forms until, when Gwion became a speck of grain, she became a chicken and consumed him. The grain took root and she gave birth to him as the great bard Taliesin. Some Pagans believe this mystic chase relates to various levels of Druidic initiation rites, and it parallels the teaching of Merlin to the young King Arthur as he is allowed to inhabit, various animal bodies in order to gain knowledge.
Cerridwen lived on an island in Lake Tegid (named for Her husband) with Her children.
She is often equated with the famous Greek crone, Hecate, and to the Irish Badb. She is also sometimes related to the Greek Muses, only in a more violent and dark form.
Cerridwen is at home during harvest rites, in all spells for wisdom and knowledge, and at waning moon festivals. She can also help teach us about past lives and aid in divination.
CORRESPONDENCES- Pigs, cauldrons, vervain, the dark moon, hens.