1. Elements of the Myth

The questions asked on this course are an opportunity for you to clarify your thoughts. You will remember things better if you write down what you’ve learned in your own words. Use a digital or paper journal for your answers and for any notes you need to make.

A question to consider . . .

  • The witch’s brew that confers magical enlightenment, that gives Gwion Bach transcendent knowledge that survives his reincarnation as Taliesin, is a concoction of natural ingredients gathered by Ceridwen, a woman who, in a mythological sense, is both Great Destroyer and Great Mother, Nature embodied. What could the potion be a symbol for? What is Ceridwen’s gift?


  • Cerdd Dafod – ‘Tongue Craft’: The history of cerdd dafod can be traced to 6th century Welsh poets such as Aneirin and Taliesin, but is probably much older.[1] It is comparable to ancient Irish poetic forms and therefore point to an older shared Celtic inheritance. The composition of cerdd dafod requires strict observance of the rules of cynghanedd: an intricate system of sound-effects such as stressalliteration, and internal rhyme within each line.[1] One of the earliest texts on the subject is credited to Einion Offeiriad (fl c. 1320–c. 1349). In 1925 the Celtic linguist Sir John Morris-Jones published Cerdd Dafod, an in-depth study of the traditional metres of the cynghanedd and a text now seen as the definitive work on the topic.[4] This was brought about after his desire to see a return to traditional poetry and use of strict metre in eistedfoddau. The end of the twentieth century saw a renaissance in cerdd dafod, especially in the metres known as englyn and cywydd.
  • Here’s a quick introduction to what awen means in the Welsh tradition: