Two years ago my patron deity, Gwyn ap Nudd, a ruler of Annwn, showed me a cauldron filled with stars. The next time I saw it, it was broken. This inspired a quest to understand the significance of the broken cauldron in ancient British mythology.
The myths I studied were penned in medieval Wales but are rooted in an older oral tradition. All tell the story of the cauldron: the womb of Ceridwen, a goddess I have come to know as Old Mother Universe. Traditionally the cauldron symbolises inspiration, wisdom and rebirth. When it is broken or stolen, cataclysmic consequences are unleashed.
As I journeyed deeper into these myths and was called to consider how they relate to ecological disasters, the fragmentation of meaning, the oppression of women, chemical and biological warfare and atomic energy, I became increasingly certain of their relevance for today.
My attention was drawn to the violence of Arthur’s raid on Annwn and assault on its inhabitants. The moment Lleog thrusts his flashing sword into the cauldron came to symbolise the patriarchal worldview which has dominated Western Europe for nearly two thousand years and is founded on the oppression of the Other.
Therefore, I have endeavoured to tell the stories of others: marginalised figures overshadowed, oppressed, or slaughtered by Arthur and his court. Some of the pieces are written from my perspective and some speak from other viewpoints.
By re-telling the story of the broken cauldron I aim to show how it relates to our current crises as a warning from the gods and storytellers and as a wake-up call.
My second book, The Broken Cauldron, will be released on Tuesday 4th October. I’m immensely proud to have commissioned the stunning cover art from Tom Brown and have appreciated the helpfulness and professionalism of the printer, Biddles Books.
The Broken Cauldron is available for pre-order HERE.