Ceridwen's Cauldron of Transformation
|Red Lion Spring|
I wanted to see the Goddess Temple in Glastonbury, so after having visited Stonehenge and Chalice Well earlier in the day (yeah, it was a BIG day), I walked into town with directions to the alley off the main road where the Temple was located. Having done research before I left home, I knew that the Temple was holding a special day of healing in honor of the Fall Equinox that day. When it was my turn, I was guided into the room where two priestesses (Mellissae) were working.
I explained that I'd been carrying a lot of sorrow following a hysterectomy for almost two years and that, in my mind, the residual pain I felt in my "frozen shoulder" was energetically tied to that sorrow and unwillingness to let go. They asked if I wished to work with any particular emanation of the Goddess, and I told them to work with which ever dark goddess/crone they were used to working with. One said, "Ceridwen," and I affirmed. Now, mind you, I'd already bathed in and drunk from the sacred waters of the red spring at Chalice Well. And, I'd been setting my intention for healing for weeks.
The priestesses began their energy work, one setting sacred space and the other calling on Ceridwen and the white sow with which she is associated, to assist with the healing. One priestess began keening, a vocalized mourning or lamentation, seemingly to complete the grieving process on my behalf, as the other priestess held space and then brought in golden light to replace whatever was being removed. It was a profound and remarkable experience. Tears flowed down my cheeks as I listened to the deep gutteral cries and moans. Ceridwen, the ancient Celtic Goddess of rebirth, transformation and inspiration of Welsh tales, was there to help me cross into my cronehood. Within minutes I felt lighter, and that day, the shoulder pain began to decrease. A month later now, the pain's gone.
|Pentre Ifan with Carn Ingli in background|
Little did I know, but I was on a pilgrimage to meet and honor Ceridwen, along with my ancestors from Wales. Several of the stops on the trip were associated with her. The cromlech of Pentre Ifan was known as the "womb of Ceridwen" and according to local lore, was the site of ceremonies in which the initiate was given plant medicine, presumably cooked up in a suitable cauldron, and left to spend the night on a vision quest inside the burial chamber. The initiation was a descent into the dark, the realm of greatest fear and a rebirth as a stronger, more integrated, and changed individual. The area is reputed to be the haunt of fairies, and the hill in the distance out towards the sea, Carn Ingli, is where the Irish saint Brynach was said to have lived and meditated and conversed with angels. Before we drove to Pentre Ifan at sunset, we'd visited the church of St. Brynach, where a grove of "bleeding" yew trees stand among the spooky gravestones in the churchyard, a story for another day. The trees, sacred to the Goddess, "bleed" a red sap, likened to menstrual blood.
|Nevern Cross at St. Brynach's Church|
While I didn't spend the night at either locale, I can tell you it would have been a daunting act of bravery, given the feeling and energy of the places! Ceridwen has been calling me into her cauldron to be reborn, a crone, an elder, a wise woman and storyteller. It is She who has awakened in me this inspiration to write, to tell the stories of my spiral path.