I recently came across a haunting story called ‘Gestation’ by Catriona McDonald, author of the blog ‘A Druid’s Well’. The Story of Taliesin is well known but I haven’t seen it written from Ceridwen’s perspective before.
Catriona records Ceridwen’s transition from a woman ‘beloved and fair’ to ‘bent and white’ through ingesting Gwion / Taliesin in the form of a ‘wheat kernel’. During her pregnancy Ceridwen undergoes a period of madness which drives her to wander the landscape ravaged by the poison spilled from her cauldron.
The poisoned landscape where Gwyddno’s horses lie dead has haunted me too and illustrates the dire consequences of the brewing of Awen. I believe this story may be linked to lead mining and smelting in Maes Wyddno and perhaps has some historical root in an industrial disaster.
At the end of ‘Gestation’, Ceridwen announces her intention not to give up on her intention of brewing a potion to confer a blessing on Afagddu (her dark and ugly son) ‘What? Did you think I would give up so easily?’
The Story of Taliesin and Catriona’s re-telling of it continues to provoke questions about our ideas of perfection, our quest for perfection through progress and the cost of the Awen.
‘Gestation’ can be read HERE.