Welsh Mythology

The Gods and Spirits of Wales

CERIDWEN

Welsh Inspiration Goddess

Also known as Cerridwyn, Caridwen

Picture of the Welsh Inspiration Goddess Ceridwen from our Welsh mythology image library. Illustration by Chas Saunders.

A witchy goddess who brews inspiration

She may be a part-time mother goddess, but in hag mode her appearance is hideously horrible. Which is a shame as no-one ever sticks around for a cup of tea and a slice of wisdom.

She is married to Tegid Foel and together they had a son and daughter. The daughter, Creirwy, was astoundingly beautiful, but her brother Afagddu was the ugliest boy in the world. Even his name was ugly.

Not to worry, thought Ceridwen. Brains before beauty is my motto. So she fetched her cauldron and set to work boiling up knowledge for a year and a day so she could bestow world-shaking intelligence upon her blighted boy.

A young scullion called Gwion Bach who worked around the house was given pot-watching duties. For months and months he sat watching it in case the knowledge boiled over. Just as the brew was due, a blob of the stuff dripped onto his finger. Of course, he licked it off. And again. And again.

It’s first come, first served with knowledge and it was all concentrated in these three blobs. Gwion Bach felt his neurons multiply and his brain swelled with all the wisdom meant for Afagddu. We’re not sure, but we imagine his first magically-enhanced thought was probably ‘get the hell out of there’.

Ceridwen was furious. She chased after the lad, giving him the opportunity to show off his new-found knowledge of transforming into extremely fast animals in his attempts to escape. But somehow she caught him — and in her fury ate him.

Later she relented and regurgitated him as her son, but he escaped into a river and later became Taliesin the Great Bard. Poor old Afagddu stayed ugly ever after.

Ceridwen had another son called Morfran. He went on to be a warrior, but no one would fight him because he was too ugly.

Ceridwen Facts and Figures

Name: Ceridwen
Pronunciation: Coming soon
Alternative names: Cerridwyn, Caridwen

Gender: Female
Type: Goddess
Area or people: Welsh
Celebration or Feast Day: Unknown at present

In charge of: Inspiration
Area of expertise: Inspiration

Good/Evil Rating: NOT OKAY, be careful
Popularity index: 279

Cite this article

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Article last updated on May 22, 2019 by Rowan Allen.
Editors: Peter J. Allen, Chas Saunders

References: Coming soon.

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