In the middle of a deep, dark lake, Ceridwen, gifted enchantress & devoted mother, set to work to brew a potion for Her disfigured son, Afagddu, in the hopes that the wisdom & talents the mixture would give him would make up for his unfortunate appearance and still grant him a successful life. While She gathered ingredients, mixed & measured, She employed a young boy from the nearby village named Gwion Bach to stir Her cauldron.
For a year & a day, She devoted Herself to the creation of this elixir of Awen; of divine inspiration & understanding. When the final ingredients were added, She sat back to rest as the potion bubbled. She closed Her tired eyes, but only for a moment. She was awoken suddenly when She heard a thunderous cracking noise. Leaping to Her feet, She surveyed the scene– broken cauldron, dross oozing everywhere, Her son off to one side, & in the center of the mess, Gwion Bach, alight with the radiant power of those three precious drops of Awen.
Gwion did what any sensible kid would do in such a situation. He ran for his life. And so begins the initiatory chase as he & Ceridwen transform themselves through the elements becoming hare & greyhound, salmon & otter, wren & hawk, and finally a kernel of grain & a devouring hen. Ceridwen consumes Gwion as seed & falls pregnant with him, facilitating his rebirth as Taliesin, legendary Welsh bard & he of the Radiant Brow.
In the Sisterhood of Avalon, this is our last of four moons to work with Ceridwen, this Cycle. Working with Ceridwen deepens my understanding & experience of the foraging, brewing & distillation processes that takes place during the Station of Confrontation in order to create my very own Graal of Wisdom. Working with Her, I gather up all the little bits & bobs I need to examine by foraging in my own history. These give me the ingredients I need to surrender to Ceridwen’s Cauldron. All the ingredients collected from this dark corner of my inner forest to that dim shoreline of my own lake within– petals of memory, seeds of discontent, branches of my family tree, the bones of the creatures I have been at different points along my timeline– are what I need to give over to Her to be dissolved, devoured by the steaming hot brew in order to distill the wisdom I will need to imbibe for the chase. Continue reading “Radiant Brow: Fire in the Head & How to Light It by Kate Brunner”