"A true artist is not one who is inspired, but one who inspires others."—Salvador Dali
At times the world can feel uninspiring and disenchanted; there is not a single person on the face of the earth that has not felt profound challenges and crisis during the Covid-19 Pandemic. Being inspirational in a world that may not feel inspired is a difficult task, but help is at hand. Cerridwen's function in Welsh myth and lore and in the practise of Celtic Magic is as the conduit of inspiration. In the Welsh language we have a name for the kind of inspiration that Cerridwen represents; it is called Awen.
This small four-letter word packs quite a punch; in essence, it describes the creative force of the Universe itself that flows through all existences, and all things that have the spark of life sing to this force inwardly and externally. It causes us to feel inspired and to be inspirational. The etymology of the word means "holy" or "blessed breath," and it blows through us from the great cauldron of Cerridwen. Her cauldron gives shape and form to the ever flowing, ever blowing spirit of Awen, and she is its director.
Cerridwen stands at the edge of the great cauldron of creation that brings the un-manifest into manifestation. Imagine if you will a conductor of an orchestra with her baton cutting through the air; Cerridwen serves a similar function in casting a spell that brings about inspiration. For the conductor of an orchestra that magic is to invoke the ensemble power of music, while for Cerridwen the spell is one of transformative inspiration, Awen. It is infectious and only apathy can cause its dimming in the heart and spirit, but even that cannot withstand the sheer power of the Awen to break its spell. But what do we when we just don't feel inspired?
First, let's look at the meaning and function of inspiration. Derived from the Latin inspirates, meaning to breathe into or the drawing in of air, and simultaneously the influence of the divine upon an individual or collective, it shares a commonality with the word Awen. Both terms speak of the power of the breath. When we are inspired we are awoken to new possibilities, and it allows us to transcend our everyday mundane experiences. Inspiration allows us to break down the restraints of our assumed limitations. The sheer force of inspiration has the power to propel us from the bondage of apathy to the potentiality of possibility.
Inspiration has 3 specific components: evocation, transcendence, and catalyst. The process of evocation causes us to call something forth from within ourselves; these can be initiated by internal or external stimuli that gives us a "eureka" moment where an idea is conjured in the mind that causes a rushing forth of inspiration. The process of evocation responds to the currents of inspiration as it blows through us. In turn this leads to a sense of transcendence where our limitations are crushed under the weight of inspiration; we suddenly feel the tangible sense of, "I can do this!," or, "I know what I must do!" From this state we are led automatically to become the catalyst for that inspiration and are compelled to transmit it through expression; this is the act of being inspirational. As catalysts of inspiration we cause a proliferation of Awen to blow through the world.
Apathy is an infection that blocks the rivers of Awen and redirects its currents. In an apathetic state we can feel so far from inspiration that we no longer feel the breeze of its power to lift us from melancholy. It is apathy that gives voice to our internalised demons, to our inner saboteur, it feeds the blind spot within us that prevent us from seeing our own potential. The dam of apathy cannot be resolved on the same conscious level that we created it. The cure for apathy is not to dismantle it, but to blind it with the light of Awen, to become inspired. Apathy cannot thrive in the light of joyous Awen.
Cerridwen as the Goddess of inspiration stands poised at the great cauldron, her hand outstretched, with wand aloft pulling and guiding the currents of Awen and their direction as they blow through our Universe. By connecting to and working with Cerridwen we align ourselves with that power and are better positioned to receive and perceive its currents. In difficult times Cerridwen serves to remind us of the power of Awen and inspiration, and that even when we feel the least inspired, we can conduct ourselves to move consciously into its stream of influence. Her wish is for her children to be the Awen that the world needs. Your life is a message to this world, and yet life is so brief, there is little time for bickering and bitterness, loathing and resentment, we have only time for love and joy and inspiration. Our task is to help ourselves and others to transform their anxieties into joy.
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Inspiration is not just a concept; it is not something we believe in, it is something that we do. There are many ways to stir the cauldron of Awen and feel inspired.
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Working with Cerridwen and the power of Awen/Inspiration helps us to be the light in the darkness, to be kind and genuine, to be gracious and charming. Cerridwen teaches us that where there is inspiration, there is hope; where there is hope there is magic; and where there is magic there is always a brighter future.
Cerridwen stands where Awen and matter meet, so let us join her there at the edge of the great cauldron, and make magic that made the universe.