Followers of Cerridwen soon learn that she is much more than just the keeper of the cauldron. She is more than just a mother, a goddess and a witch. She is also a shape-shifter, an initiator and a force of transformation. When she chases us, transform we must or we will be consumed. Just as Cerridwen chased Gwion Bach through the three realms of Land, Sea and Sky, through numerous transformations, so are we challenged by her to transform our own lives. Gwion was the young, innocent boy that Cerridwen assigned to stir her magical cauldron, but symbolically he is all of us. As followers of Cerridwen, we are also asked to stir the cauldron and boil the broth ourselves. If you are a son or daughter of Cerridwen, you can be certain she will challenge you through the three realms. When she pursues us, we grow and change into something different than we were before. If we do not, we become stagnant and overtaken.
The legend says that Cerridwen as a greyhound chased Gwion Bach as a hare. This is the realm of the Land. The land represents our life on the material plane. Working, paying the bills, putting food on the table, material possessions and taking care of our health are all associated with the land. Cerridwen challenges us to be the best we can be in these areas. Are you unhappy with your current job? Do you have health issues or money problems? Look to her for inspiration on how to address these issues. The land also relates to herbs, plants, animals and nature. Have you lost your connection to the natural world? Make it a priority to spend time in nature on a regular basis. Visit a park or go for a hike. Study herbal lore and learn how to use plants in your magical practice. As Cerridwen chases us through the realm of the Land, she also encourages us to examine our goals and ambitions. Ask her for guidance about how best to achieve them. Cerridwen in her Mother aspect wants to see us succeed.
As Cerridwen’s story continues, we learn that as an otter, she chases Gwion Bach as a salmon. This is the realm of the Sea. The sea represents our emotions and feelings. Not only our anxieties and fears, but also our lusts and passions. Cerridwen challenges us to examine our feelings, to embrace our emotional selves as part of who we are. Allow her to inspire you with ways to keep your emotions under control. Ask for her assistance dealing with strong feelings like anger and vengefulness, for she has experienced these things. As a powerful witch, Cerridwen can help us gain confidence and self-esteem. She can help us gain mastery over our emotions. She can inspire us on how to love others better and have temperance when our emotions are getting out of control.
Further along in the ancient tale, we read that Cerridwen as an eagle chased Gwion Bach as a wren. This is the realm of the Sky. The sky represents our connection to divinity, to spirituality and to magic. Cerridwen challenges us to develop our magical selves. As a goddess she desires to see us remain sensitive to the unseen realms. As a witch she wants us to become adept in the ways of magic and enchantment. As a mother she longs for us to maintain our connection to her. Do you have a spiritual practice? Do you set aside time to connect with your divine guides on a regular basis?
The story of Cerridwen is many-layered and filled with hidden lessons. Indeed, it is the foundation of modern Druidry. She is the archetypal cauldron-stirring witch. She is a goddess of inspiration and transformation. She is a fiercely devoted mother. She chases us through the realms of land, sea and sky for our own benefit, and we are transformed.