The Riddle of Cerridwen

(c) The Glynn Vivian Art Gallery; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation
Ceridwen by Christopher Williams (1910)

I am flint-struck spark;
I am warming winter hearth
I am fire beneath cauldron

I am the fire of the Smith
I am the fire of the Healer
I am the fire of the Bard

My flame is bright and burns forever.

I am sun on the water
I am water from the spring
I am the well

I am green-clad maiden, midwife and mother
I am milk of the breast and suckling infant
I am cow and calf

I am hidden snake among the rocks
I am dawn-crowing cock
I am frightened frog amongst the reeds

Surrounded by nineteen sky-stones

My green mantle the mountains
I am Queen under the Hill.


©2017 ARF   

From a work in progress.



Author: Uisce úr

Though I am old with wandering Through hollow lands and hilly lands, I will find out where she has gone, And kiss her lips and take her hands; And walk among long dappled grass, And pluck till time and times are done, The silver apples of the moon, The golden apples of the sun.

One thought on “The Riddle of Cerridwen”

  1. Nineteen lines; six verses of three plus one. A victory.
    The circle of nineteen stones of the old story become nineteen nuns in the new.
    So much to find and decipher. So far to travel – so much time to unravel.

    Thoughts on feminine power, matrilineal succession and uncles.
    Son of three fathers – may refer to a time when women had greater control and powers under the Goddess and chose who they slept with. It was not unusual for a woman to have several consorts who all accepted the woman’s control of their relationship. Thus in a stable four-way relationship a child may be said to have three fathers.
    As a man could not know whether a child was his own blood, traditionally it was the duty of the women’s brothers (who could at least be sure their nephews and nieces were related to them) to be the guardians of their sisters’ children. It was all about knowing which womb you came from.
    There are clues in the Mabinogion of the changes in power structure between the old tribes and the new.
    Query?? The story of Cerridwen and her cauldron (womb) and of Gwion who became Taliesin born of it, represents the transfer of power and knowledge from women to men??? Is there a link between the ancient Síle na Gig and her open vulva/womb (was she of the Fir Bolg?) and Cerridwen? If not, is it within artistic licence to create one?


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