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Oh Deep Cauldron Goddess
Mistress of Mysteries
Maker of Witchery
And Mother of Craft
Come take me as your Maiden
Let me serve at your Altar
And learn of your Secrets!
Grant me Wisdom, Healing, Herblore and Prophesy.
And as I drink from your cup,
Give me Courage for initiation into your Fold!
Grant me a Name that will bind me to You.
I bow and I thank you for guiding my feet along this path.
_ Holley Diana

Written  1996 before an initiation:

I have always known that I was dedicated to the Goddess. I was raised a Catholic and spent my childhood in devotion to the Holy Mother. From the age of seven until I was about thirteen, every May Day, I made an altar in the corner of my bedroom to Mother Mary. I crowned her statue with a wreath of flowers every day of the month of May. I also used to play witch and roamed the neighborhood with my little wagon collecting flowers, bugs and plants to make "pretend" magickal potions for my dolls. I thought my name was Gwendolyn. When I was seventeen or so I began an intense study of the occult and again was mostly drawn to the manifestations of the Goddess. Since then She has guided me upon the path of midwifery, healing and witchcraft.

Cerridwin has been, for me, the most elusive of all Goddesses. I have known and loved Diana most of my life and know her as the Maiden. Strong and swift. Running with the hunt in the forest of youth. I have worshiped Mother Mary and Quan Yin, and Isis, and know them as manifestations of the Great Mother. I have known Pele, Hecate and Kali as both the Mother and the Crone guarding the doorways to birth and death. I have also worshiped, prayed to and found comfort in other Goddesses. I love Shakti or Parvati, Astarte, Venus, Yemaya and Green Tara who shines above, around and inside them all. For me the Goddess is threefold in her nature: Maiden, Mother and Crone. But Cerridwin had not, until very recently revealed herself much to me. She is like the moonless night. She is darkness herself, the Crone of Wisdom, secretive and watchful. I have begun to sense her since I have come (back) to the Wiccian way. In her I greet the Crone. She is a dark mirror reflecting her threefold nature simultaneously.

To the Celts of the British Isles and Brittany. Cerridwin is the "Lady of Inspiration." Her annual reenacting of the slaying of Gwion mimics the change of the seasons. Some say that she is the protector for women who have been through the traumas of life and have come out the other side. She is often depicted with Her Cauldron of Wisdom. Sacred to Cerridwin are vervain and the dark moon. Some say that Cerridwen corresponds with Brigit. She is connected with wolves, dogs and the mother sow. Some believe that her cult dates to the Neolithic era and that she was originally a corn goddess. I have also read the Druids knew her as The Mistress of Art. Her symbol is a white sow. She also is associated with the greyhound, the otter and the hawk. As Mother of Tailisin, wisest of all the Bards, She is a Patron of the poets. According to Welsh tradition Cerridwin represents the Cailleach or crone aspect of the Goddess in her guise as initiator.

The Legend:

Cerridwen had an ugly son, Afagddu ("ugly"), whom she wished to make wise to compensate him for his appearance. She brewed a magical liquid in a cauldron, which stewed for a year and a day. She set an old man to stir it and ordered a young boy, Guion Bach, to fetch the wood. The brew, in the end, would bestow on the receiver the wisdom of the past, the knowledge of the present, and the secrets of the future. (Methinks I have stewed in her cauldron for a year!)

After a year and a day three drops of the precious brew scalded Guion's hand. He licked them off, instantly acquiring all the knowledge. In a wild hunt Cerridwin pursued him: first she became a greyhound and he a hare, then she an otter and he a fish, then she a hawk and he a rabbit. Finally, she became a hen and he a grain of corn, and she ate him. She became pregnant with him and he was born nine months later, a boy of astounding grace and beauty whom she named Taliesin and put into a little leather bag in the sea. Later Taliesin was found and became recognized as the famous bard and poet.


Cerridwin is Guardian of the element of earth, death, fertility, regeneration, inspiration, inspiration, the arts, science, astrology and the zodiac. She represents many of the same aspects and elements as Herne. Perhaps that is why they come together as the Goddess and her Horned Consort for my initiation process. Reading the poem/invocation at the beginning of Gerald Gardener's Witchcraft Today brought it all together for me. So then, for me, Cerridwin is also a Patron of Guardeniarian Witchcraft.



(Author unknown)

Nine are my natures

Through many spheres.
Who dares meet the sow and her nine?
Lleu Llaw Gyffes was a tasty feast
at the foot of the pine.

It was the son of the Hazel
who brought me to shore.
Then was sown wheat and barley -
bread and beer for women and men.
Amathaons store.

But best is the ferment of the bees:
only their honey shall sweeten
the mead in the high cup.
Best for the honey-isle
a dragon who drinks deep of the draught.

And my fine eagle,
fosterling of the Wood-Seer:
he shall himself endure,
baiting on a high tree
til a ladder of words shall lure.

My bright one, My dark one,
contentious to the end,
brothers of one womb,
I am your beginning,
and your sure doom.

In the northern court of Don,
my lawful chair is set:
giver of wisdoms gift,
keeper of the caers,
weaver of the weft.

My shifting fingers
reckoning all rents,
counting each herb and flower
to their own potency,
shall stew to the hour.

And ninefold the waves
shall batter the land.
The cauldron overset
shall poison the honey isle,
its swift horses fret.

In every turning or the caer,
in every shapings shift -
I am the Mistress of the Brew,
Ceridwen of the Chair,
in acorns, milk and dew.