Along the beach an arctic wind is whipping the waves into froth and stinging my face with sand. I head up to the cliffs to watch the foaming water in the collapsed blowhole called the Witch’s Cauldron, as it roars and slaps the gleaming black slate walls. Yes, Autumn has arrived, and with it the goddess whose broom will soon whisk everything clean and bare again.
The Celtic goddess of this season is old and fierce and takes no prisoners. Like Ceridwen, she boils away all the inessentials of life in her cauldron, leaving only the distillation of all that is precious and true. Three drops of Awen – the quintessence of our spiritual progress this year: so small and so hard-won.
Up on the hills above Cardigan Bay, I crouch within the bones of her stony torso at Pentre Ifan, the cromlech known as Ceridwen’s Womb. This is holy ground: framed by the pillar stones is Carn Ingli, the sacred Mount of Angels, while below, the dark and ancient woodland closes around the Druid’s Cave. An avenue of stones is thought to have once wound up to the cromlech, which back then would have been covered with earth, a rounded belly within which Druid neophytes, perhaps aided by an intoxicating brew, might have experienced initiation into her Mysteries.
In our world today we are being called to new ways of being, thinking and doing, as events on the planet are reaching a crisis point. The original meaning of the word ‘crisis’ is ‘opportunity’: At this season we have an opportunity to boil away all that is stagnant, overgrown and peripheral in our lives, distilling only what is important so that we may emerge from winter’s womb as one of the Cauldron-Born, ready for a new Spring.
Yours very truly,
Mara Freeman has been a leading teacher of Celtic spirituality for over twenty years. An international presenter and well-known storyteller in the Bardic tradition, she has also produced three albums of Celtic stories and meditations set to music. Mara founded the Avalon Mystery School, a three-year training programme in the Western esoteric arts. She also has a private healing practice – The Chalice Centre – in the Celtic tradition of Anamcara, or soul-guidance work, using her extensive training in the arts of psychotherapy and seership.
Mara also offers sacred journeys to the magical places of Wales and England. See www.celticspiritjourneys.com for the latest offerings.