July 3 – Festival of Ceridwen

Posted on July 3, 2015

Ceridwen was an enchantress in Welsh legends that were told and retold during the Middle Ages.

You probably know that Wales is one of three countries found on the island of Great Britain. (The other two countries are England and Scotland. United Kingdom is the name of the nation that comprises Great Britain plus Northern Ireland. It's pretty confusing when you first come across all these country and nation names!)

Ceridwen was said to have a “hideous” son and a beautiful daughter and to live with them and her husband near Llyn Tegid. She had the cauldron of poetic inspiration, and a tale is told of Ceridwent swallowing one of her servants (while the servant had shape-shifted into a kernel of corn!), and that that servant was reborn through her as the poet Taliesin.

Ceridwen is also considered a Celtic goddess by some modern Pagan people. She is supposed to be the goddess of rebirth, transformation, and inspiration.

For some reason, a “white sow” (white pig) is supposed to be Ceridwen's special symbol. Some Pagan followers have a special feast today; they eat pork and also foods that pigs love to eat, such as corn, nuts, and truffles. Decorations for the feast table could include a cauldron or images of white pigs.

The Welsh legend and the white pig makes me think of Lloyd Alexander's delightful Prydain series, which are based partly on Welsh legends. Check out The Book of Three first; if you love it you can move on to read the other four books of the series!

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