Stories are a glimpse into the mysteries of the land and their origins. Knowing the folk-tales of a place helps us access its genus locus, and the psyche of its people. These stories get under our skin and work with our sub-conscious in the language of our dreams to access the wisdom held within them.
So it is with the Mabinogion, the oral stories of Wales recorded by monks in the 12/13th Century, however, the stories date back far earlier than that. Miraculously they survived both time and Man by being in plain sight as a harmless set of stories for the young.
The Mabinogion contains bizarre and dark imagery, brutal truths and archetypes untainted by political correctness. At times they are raw, crude and convoluted as they have been told many times before being transcribed by monks who would have had little or no inkling of their origins or original significance. Even so it is possible to meditate upon their symbolism and grasp the inner teachings and enjoy the tales with a fresh insight.
The amazing story of Taliesin offers an insight into Bardic mysteries and with meditation on its symbolic content it holds the key to Bardic initiation.
As Gwion Bach, he is the initiate and Ceridwen, the initiator. He drinks from the cauldron, enters her and becomes twice-born. The awakened Taliesin receives the Shining Brow, opening his Third Eye. This is something we all can do by asking for the Awen, we can be Cauldron Born.
In effect we sup on the inspiration of the cauldron by reading the tales, listening to them; visiting the ancient sites and landscapes they come from. We take from the cauldron and add new things to it and this is the circle of Bardic Tradition.
© Gwion chan Beithe