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Muse of Taliesin 3 – In The Bosom of Ceridwen

May 7, 2014

In the third (final?) part of the Muse of Taliesin quest stories, Kal and I found ourselves taking the difficult path up the hillside towards Deganwy Castle. high above the mouth of the River Conwy. As usual we were making it hard work, or rather let me say that all of the work in this particular quest was characterised by having to really work to find and arrive at the correct location. Perhaps that was a part of the work?

No matter how much effort was involved in getting there, at the top Kal and I split into our respective places – him staying at the old outer fortifications, and me heading to the very centre of the old castle grounds. We seemed to be arriving at exactly the right time. I’ll explain that in a moment when you see the celestial objects some together in a perfect synchrony.

Deganwy Castle - April 2014 (11)
Sunset over the River Conwy from Deganwy Castle

As I walked into the barely-lit dark cauldron of the castle I was faced with the two silhouetted breasts of Ceridwen. These were two hills which a well-known feature of the castle’s upper formation – like the Paps of Anu in Kerry, Ireland. To me they were symbols of the Mother Goddess. My thoughts moved back to Taliesin whose mother was Ceridwen the crone goddess associated with inspiration. Surely, I thought, I was now in the bosom of the goddess at this site associated with her son? For Kal, he has experience of the crone goddess in the form of Cailleach. For me, currently, it is Ceridwen. She is the owner of The Cauldron of Poetic Inspiration (awen).

A Peculiar Spiral

Here’s a funny coincidence. On the Wikipedia page for Ceridwen (which I hadn’t looked at until I did this research) there is the painting “Ceridwen” by Christopher Williams.

Ceridwen by Christopher Williams

It is exactly the woman that I saw in my dream last year when I did a spirit release within the dream. Here is a link to that story. At the time when I wrote the post I found the nearest picture I could, but it never matched completely. This painting does!

I thought I must have done a real release of a trapped spirit. Maybe there was something more profound going on instead, involving Ceridwen and her son Taliesin? She did give him away as a baby, setting his adrift in a leather bag in the Menai Straits. At the time of the dream I dismissed her, thinking she was asking for release from her anguish. Now I seem happy to be cushioned in her bosom. Funny, how these things come back as echoes rippling through our minds to re-surface as the spiral swirls around and re-threads itself through our living consciousness.

Ceridwen's bosom
Ceridwen’s bosom

Cerdwen’s Cross

At that moment stood on a power centre at the very highest point of the castle, and with a view in all four directions, I was inspired by the sights around me – the setting Sun, the just-visible blood-red rising full Moon, the distant hills and the sparkling sea. I laid out my new elemental angel crystals to match this set of four inspirational points.

I called on each angel to help me gather the Awen of Taliesin. I felt them all around me as I respectfully invited them to come work with me, and asked my spirit guide to mediate the relationship so as to ensure that it was done correctly and with the right energy. I held out my cupped hands, in supplication. The fifth clear crystal glistened in the last rays of sun and the first rays of moon. In turn the angels added the Awen of Taliesin to my “bowl” (or “cauldron”?). The energy wove itself into a loose bundle of threads, sloshing around in my “bowl” and writhing like eels, alive with subtle energy from a dimensions I could only glimpse in dreams.

This moment made me think that this was the third “Awen gift” – the third “transformation” that I had received at the hands of Taliesin’s Awen, and it finds a parallel in the essay on the British Druid Order web site, which talks about the story of Gwion Bach‘s transformation into the bard Taliesin:

“It is tempting to interpret the whole story as an instruction manual for Bardic initiation. Gwion encounters three receptacles of transformation: the cauldron, the womb, and the leather bag from which he finally emerges as Taliesin. He encounters each through the actions of Ceridwen, who acts as initiatrix throughout. We could further speculate that the three receptacles represent a series of initiations as Bard, Ovate, and Druid: the drink from the cauldron opens the mind of the Bard to the gift of Awen; the sojourn in the womb of the Goddess gives the Ovate wisdom to understand it; the ordeal of being cast into the sea in the leather bag (perhaps a coracle?) enables the Druid to conquer the ultimate fear: the fear of death.” (source: BDO)

So far on my quest I had received Taliesin’s Awen in the “womb” of the Maen Y Bardd dolmen, then in a “woven bag”, and now within Ceridwen’s cauldron at Deganwy Castle. The similarities intrigue me.

The full moon rose as the sun finally disappeared. As it rose it shifted from red to white all the while we left, and we stared at it all the way home, enraptured by its fullness, its power of attraction. Was this the final Awen influx, or was there more to obtain before Beltane?

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