Saturday, 3 May 2014


"The Magic Circle" by John William Waterhouse

Origin: Welsh
Meaning: "blessed poetry"
Gender: feminine
Pronunciation: ke-RID-wen

Ceridwen is the name of a Welsh witch and goddess. She was the mother the beautiful daughter, Creirwy and the hideous son, Morfran, who was so ugly people called him Afaggdu, meaning "utter darkness". To compensate for Morfran's looks, Ceridwen boiled a cauldron of Poetic Inspiration, called Awen, for a year and a day so that Morfran would become wise and respected, and she set Gwion Bach to watch over the pot. Then, the Awen over-heated a bit and caused three drops to fall on Gwion Bach's thumb, and he unthinkingly sucked it. But in that moment that the Awen was ready, and Gwion Bach received the magic of the Awen.

When Ceridwen found out, she set after him. She almost caught him when he turned into a hare, so Ceridwen turned into a hound and kept chasing after him. While near a stream, Ceridwen almost caught him when he turned into a salmon, so she turned into and otter and chased after him. Again, she almost caught him, but he turned into a swift and flew up the sky, so Ceridwen turned into a hawk. Gwion Bach realizing he would never outrun her, saw a pile of grain, and fell from the sky, turned into a grain of wheat and fell in the pile, so Ceridwen flew down and turned to a hen, and pecked him. It was then when Gwion Bach began to grow inside her as a baby, Taliesin, and when he was born Ceridwen sewed him up in a bag and dropped him in a river.

   Related names:

Cerridwen - Welsh (f)
Cerridwyn - Welsh (f)
Cyrridven - Welsh (f)
Keridwen - Welsh (f)
Kerridwen - Welsh (f)

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