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Kerridwen means  Welsh crone or goddess of dark prophetic powers. The sow is her totem animal. It represents the fecundity of the underworld, and the terrible strength of the Mother. She was a shape-shifting goddess of dark powers. Kerridwen’s Cauldron is a symbol of transforming magic. She had two children representing the dark and the light aspects: her daughter Crearwy being eight and beautiful, her son Afagddon being dark and ugly. She lived isolated upon an island.

Kerridwen is the keeper of the Cauldron of the deep known as Awen in which inspiration and divine knowledge are brewed. She brewed a magical potion in order to give her son a birth gift of an easy life as a brilliant and inspired man.

She made this potion with herbs and waters of prophecy and she was able to add each herb, each root at the proper times observing the movements of the Moon, the Sun and of  the Stars. As the Cauldron brew began to boil she arranged for a blind old man to keep the fire burning and for a young lad named Gwion to stir the contents of the Cauldron.

Nine women stood by. Some say they were Druidesses who could take the form of any animals, who could blow the seas into a rage with their perfect poetry, and foretell the events of the future. They breathed upon the magic Cauldron as it boiled night a day for one year.

After one year, Kerridwen placed young Morfan by the Cauldron to receive the legacy that she had done for her son. She was sleeping and Gwion pushed Morfan aside and drank three drops of the brew. The remainder of the water split the sides of the Cauldron apart and poured out upon the ground.


The thundering noise of the Cauldron woke Cerridwen from her sleep and she moved to punish Gwion.

Using his power gained from the Cauldron, Gwion changed into a hare.

Carridwen, followed in swift pursuit, transformed himself into a greyhound. He took the form of a fish to sleep in a river and Cerridwen changed herself into an otter.

About to be caught again, he became a bird and she took the shape of a hawk, continuing after Gwion.

Finally Gwion became the tiniest of the grains of a wheat pile, and was pecked by Cerridwen who had taken the form of a black-crested hen. The seed took root in her womb and she became pregnant.

For nine months, Cerridwen proclaimed that on the day that Gwion would be born she would destroy him, but, finally, when the day arrived she relented and placed the child in a leather sack and threw him into the raging waters of the river.

The wisest and most profound of Gaelic poets, Talieisin, claimed that he had once been that Gwion, born of Cerridwen’s womb and the heir of her Cauldron of Transformation.

Saying that his leather sack had been fished from the river on All Hallow’s Eve, (Halloween), he made it very clear to all who listened that Celtic wisdom, poetry, magic, and foresight had once been stolen from the Cauldon of Carridwen.

Carridwen is the tigress mother, the dark and prophetic goddess.

(Carlo Calzolari, Merico Alessandra III b iternaz)