Cerridwen; and her cauldron of mysteries – by Mumtaz Sodha

Cerridwen is the Mother, Magician, and Crone from Welsh mythology and can be closely connected to the witch that is present at Samhain. Cerridwen’s themes are fertility, creativity, harvest, inspiration, knowledge, and luck. Her symbols are the cauldron, pigs, and grain. The Welsh mother Goddess, Cerridwen, also embodies all lunar attributes and the energy of the harvest, and specifically grains. In Celtic mythology, Cerridwen owned a cauldron of inexhaustible elixir that endowed creativity and knowledge. At the halfway point of the year, her inspiration comes along as motivation to keep on keepin’ on. Her symbol is a pig, an animal that often represents good fortune and riches, including spiritual enrichment. (Patricia Telesco, ‘365 Goddess: a daily guide to the magic and inspiration of the goddess.’)

the magic circle john william waterhouse 1886I am woken in the midst of the night with a yearning so deep that I quickly put on my clothes to go outside and walk.  The Moon is new and there is no light in the night sky. There is no sound just a rustle of the trees as the night breeze flurries through them.  I hear her whisper in my ear.

‘Draw Near’

My legs are moving as if drawn by an unknown force moving briskly into the dark woods, despite my anticipation I cannot resist the magnetism pulling me deeper and deeper.  I near an entrance to a cave that is hidden by undergrowth.  As if guided by an invisible force without hesitation I clear the entrance and enter the cave.  There is an all-encompassing darkness and I use my torch to see ahead I go further and further into the depths, it smells damp and uninviting.  Yet although my heart is beating like a consistent drum I continue, as if possessed by the spirits of my forgotten self.

I clamber deeper and deeper my arms aching and my legs grazed and bruised from brushing up against the rocks and losing my step and slipping on the damp stone. I can’t understand my own bewildered state, as I continue despite the pain and the fear. The battery on my phone is used up with the torch and now I’m in complete darkness. I clamber about and I become fearful, my breath becomes thick and heavy.  I gasp as I am now in a state of such anxiety that I feel that I going to die in this cave and no-one will find me.  I start to sob and wail, my cries echo in the cave and reflect back in their hysteric state.  As I am deep in my frenzy I see a faint light coming closer and I stop my wailing; curious and yet terrified. I see a figure hooded in black holding a lantern.  I feel a hand grasp mine and as I look closer.  The hands is bony and pale.  I am pulled through the cave briskly until the narrowness of the rocks start to widen and we enter a room. It is a round room, with a fire burning and candles in little crevices.  There are shelves full of books and bottles, jars full of herbs of all kinds.  The room is warm and inviting, I start to feel at ease and my breathing is calmer and deeper.  The figure that has led me here, stands in front of me and removes her hood.

She stands before me an old woman, her skin pale like the silvery moon, her skin as weathered as the books on her shelves.  Her grey hair long and wild around her face.  Her eyes are as black as the night and as deep as the mysteries of the Universe. She cackles at my astonished face;

Well look at what the cat‘s dragged in!’ She exclaimed in amusement.

‘Well now you’re here, come closer so I can take a good look at you.’ She pulled me near the fire and inspects me with her unwavering eyes.

‘Come dear daughter Priestess of Cerridwen.’ She exclaims to me as she pulls over a little stool for me to sit and she pulls one for her as we sit opposite one another.

I am surprised at the name she has pronounced, but said nothing.

‘I know what you’re thinking, what do I mean?’ She again comes closer.

Cauldron

 ‘You are my daughter, daughter of the Moon and the Star, full of Mystery and Magic dear one.  I am Cerridwen and I hold the key to all creation through my cauldron.’ She beckons me to come over to the Cauldron placed over the fire.

‘Can you see?’ I look into the cauldron, it is bubbling away and I can see nothing but some liquid boiling over the fire? I look back at Cerridwen and she smiles.

‘You see nothing but broil!’ she laughs in amusement and then turns to me.

‘That’s because you do not look with this,’ and she point to my forehead. ‘This is your third eye is it not?  It is where you see beyond the veils of illusion’.  She beckons me to look again in the cauldron before us.

This time I focus my third eye and as I become more focussed, I see that the cauldron no longer has any liquid boiling yet it is full of the galaxies swirling in motion to some creative force. I look up at Cerridwen and she smiles her black eyes are luminous and she as if in a trance starts to talk;

‘Long ago the Crone was revered and understood for the power she possessed, people came to me as Cerridwen to help them with their ailments and prayed to me to help them with my wisdom and strength.  Yet as time went by and patriarchy took its hold. I was banished, anyone who called me or followed my path was killed and tortured.  I was driven from the villages shamed and beaten, my magic was labelled as dark and evil.  Something to be feared and banished not to be trusted.  Elderly women were devalued of their mysticism and wisdom.  They no longer could access their inner cauldron or mystery and creativity as they feared the very thing that gave them power.  Instead they were taught that they needed to be meek and mild, civilized and contained.  It became the norm that women possessing any kind of power was seen as threat, so women started to hide their power and over time they forgot that they had any power at all.’

She walks over to me and holds me by the shoulder, looking into my eyes she proclaims;

‘You are the daughter of creation itself, you have the power to create worlds, yet you shy away from your power.  You are My Daughter, as the season changes from spring to winter as do the phases of womanhood from maiden, lover, mother to crone.  You not only experience these phases through your lifetime. Each stage bringing its own power and glory, you also experience them within yourself with the changes of the seasons and the Moon, as she waxes and wanes.  So tell me Daughter how can you not be connected to Creation itself?’

‘You stand before me as if broken and powerless to your own fear, what is it that’s you are afraid of? Is it not the power that grows within you that you can no longer deny? Break the chains of captivity that have held you back for so long.  Those chains can no longer hold you, for your power is stronger than the chain that bind you and you know this.  Yet you pretend that you are bound still.  Look me in the eye and tell me this is not so.’

I lowered my eyes in shame and she cups my face and gazes into my eyes lovingly.

‘Do not allow guilt and shame to form further binds dear Daughter, now is the time to rise. Sever all that no longer serves you.  Forgive and let go of the past, forgive yourself and love yourself as I love you.’

With these words she embraces me so tightly that I melt into her, allowing her love to hold me through my pain, my changes those transitions and the unknown mysteries that lie ahead.

‘Know that I am with you always holding you through the unknown, you need to trust in me.  So you trust me dearest?’

I nod and snuggled into her further as she strokes my hair.

‘Then so it is.’

With these words I enter a swirling as if held in the cauldron moving with the Universe. Held deep in the womb of the Mother, allowing the forces of her will to carry me.  I am no longer afraid of my own power, the re- remembering has begun.

Written with Love

© Mumtaz ❤

To find out more about Mumtaz read our interview here. Check out her website or follow her on facebook – Love Alex – editor & founder

Art work: ‘The Magic Circle’ by John William Waterhouse [1886]

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