The Dark Goddesses Of Autumn
You may have guessed that one of my favourite stories to tell is Cerridwen’s Cauldron. This is known by other names too, The Cauldron of Awen and Taliesin being two alternates, but to me it will always be Cerridwen’s Cauldron.
Cerridwen is a complex character. She’s a mother, a goddess, a witch, a fairy: all of these things. I love the story because there is a conflict that lies within Cerridwen throughout and it’s a conflict that we often find within us: the conflict between the dark and the light.
In Celtic mythology these energies exist within us all. We must work to keep them in balance and call on them at appropriate moments. These two energies and their co-existence are the key to being human. Cerridwen can show us how to do this, teach us lessons and help us to keep both these elements in check so that along our path we work to do no harm.
Furthermore, for me, Cerridwen holds a place within the triple goddess.
The triple goddess is a tryptic of women who represent the different people we can or may be throughout or lives. This is a concept first developed by Robert Graves, and the archetypes are The Maiden, The Mother & The Crone.
You do not have to play all three of these parts and you may find that you do not serve you at the times you might expect. The maiden element does not denote youth, the mother element does not necessarily mean you have children and the crone element does not mean you are an old hag living on the periphery of community. These energies can mean many things to different people.
For me, when I’m working with the triple goddess, it helps me to call upon three different goddesses. These goddesses are Blodeuwedd, Rhiannon and Cerridwen. They all have their own stories and I love each of these stories for different reasons. Blodeuwedd for her blind optimism and her refusal to take the path she has been forced to take. Rhiannon for her quiet persistence and her dignity. Cerridwen for her power, conflict and overriding wisdom. When I have a problem to solve, I know one of these goddesses and the stories that they have given me, will hold the answer.
By default you might expect this tryptic to have a female energy but they do not have to be represented by female deities or even beings. Fr me they do but they don’t have to for you.
In many cases they are represent by the phases of the moon: the waxing crescent, the full moon and the waning crescent. But perhaps they are the animals of the forest: lark, bear and boar? Or perhaps they are trees: birch, ash and oak. It is entirely up to you.
What’s important to remember is that these are complex archetypes. All three of these elements within the triple goddess also hold light and dark. There is no right answer when it comes to walking the path with your chosen guides, and the ways they may help you may not be the ways you expect.
Later this month I will be exploring the dark goddess within, with two different groups both in storytelling sessions and workshops. I will be looking at how we can connect with the energy she holds and use it to guide us, as well as the other archetypes within the triple goddess motif.
You can also listen to my podcast episode exploring the Cailleach below:
Cerridwen’s Cauldron is a community and I would love for you to be a part of that community and share your thoughts on the dark goddess, the triple goddess and what they represent to you. Join the conversation in the comments below.
(Click on the links for more information on my October events):
October's Recommended Read:
Henwife, Cailleach, Wild Woman, Bone Mother and Yaga, Blackie covers them all in a mythic journey which encourages women to embrace ageing and step into their power. Full review coming soon.