Saturday, July 21, 2012

The Mystical Magical White Cats of Ceridwen Go On a Blog Hop

My friend Lisa Lodge of Pine Ridge Treasures came up with a lovely challenge and blog hop.  You can find some of Lisa's work here and here and here.  It's the Summer Color Surprise Blog Hop, and that's because each of the participants got bags of beadie treasures in a surprise color.  The challenge?  Make something with them.  

Mine were white and clear: beads of lucite and Czech glass, snow jade, white berry beads, sparkly bits and frosted pieces and clear treasures.  I had already gone a little nuts with frosted white glass earlier this year, when I decided I could recreate snow in the bead cave, so getting bags of beads with more frosted white in it was all I needed to make... well, it's me.  I made a cat necklace and three pairs of matching earrings.

I probably should have photographed the beads before I started, but I was digging through them about 10 seconds after the box hit the front porch, so you'll have to take my word for it that they were cool beads.  And in no time at all, I got beading.  In fact, my challenge was to hang onto these pieces and not show them to everyone RIGHT AWAY!

With the white cats I added, it seemed like a good time to re-tell the story of the Mystical Magical White Cats of Ceridwen... so that is what I will do with my color surprise.

Long, long ago, as told in the Tale of Taliesin, under King Arthur there served a warrior so ugly, he was called Big Crow, or Morfran.

His mother, Ceridwen, was a beautiful goddess.

Ceridwen decided that, if she could make Morfran spectacularly wise, perhaps no one would notice that he looked like, well, a big crow.  She had a magical cauldron with which she could whip up a potion that would grant Morfran the gift of wisdom and poetic inspiration. With the help of her white cats, who carried out all her orders on earth, Ceridwen assembled the necessary ingredients.

The mixture had to be boiled for a year and a day, which was no mean feat, even for a goddess. But Ceridwen had help, even beyond her white cats.

Morda, a blind man, tended the fire beneath the cauldron.  And a young boy name Gwion Bach stirred and stirred and stirred as the cats circled around his ankles.

The first three drops of liquid from this cauldron would give wisdom.  The rest would be a fatal poison, not fit for the compost heap.

When at last the potion was ready, three hot drops from the cauldron spilled onto Gwion's thumb, burning him.   Gwion immediately put his thumb in his mouth, to numb the pain.  And instantly he gained great wisdom and knowledge.

Ceridwen was furious.  Her work had been for naught.  She chased Gwion. But, now being very clever, he turned himself into a hare.

So Ceridwen became a greyhound.

Gwion became a fish and jumped into a river.

Ceridwen turned herself into an otter and went after him.

Gwion turned into a bird...

...and so Ceridwen became a hawk.

Finally, Gwion turned himself into a single grain of corn.

Ceridwen turned herself into a hen...

...and ate him.

The white cats just watched.

When Ceridwen became pregnant, she knew it was Gwion, and she was determined to  kill the child when he was born.  But when he was born, he was so beautiful that she couldn't kill him.

Instead, she sewed the baby into a leather bag and threw him in the ocean.  He was rescued on a Welsh shore, near Aberdyfi, by a prince named Elffin ap Gwyddno.

The reborn baby, who had once been Gwion (and a kernel of corn) grew up to became the legendary bard Taliesin.

Ceridwen, meanwhile, returned to life with her cats... and a son who looked like a Big Crow.

 Their legend, as a necklace and earrings, can be found here.

And if you'l like to go on the blog hop, you just started.  Next go here.


  1. Such lovely pieces ! And I love the legend. Great work !

  2. What a wonderful way to display your lovely creations by weaving them into a timeless and whimsical tale. The mystical white cats were surely sending their magical vibes your way as you were creating. Your work is so elegant and all the pieces turned out so lovely. I'm sure Ceridwen would wear any of them with pride. Maybe not as a hen.

    1. Yeah. Hens look so tack with earrings. ;0)

      Thanks, Lisa!

  3. Fantastic combinations in the necklace, kept going back and seeing something new each time. Great work!

  4. Beautiful pieces and a wonderful tale to go with it!

  5. Oh, my, that's a very ingenious and beautiful way to present jewelry: with a legend! You're talented - not only as a designer. I love your pieces, all of them! [did you make the beaded beads?]

    1. Thanks, Alicia.

      Didn't make those beaded beads. According to Fearless Leader Lisa, those are blackberry beads, or simply berry beads.

  6. I totally love the way you presented this and the story that you told that tied into the beautiful jewelry. I love anything Celtic/Welsh/Irish.....I am sure you get the picture. I named my daughter Trinity for the Maiden/Mother/Crone that all women go through. Blessed Be!

  7. What a great way to present your creations - with an engrossing tale! I was so interested in the story, that I almost forgot that I am supposed to comment on the jewelry. I really love the earrings you made with the white rondelle disks. The necklace came together really well also. I like the way you used a variety of beads to add visual interest. It all came together really well. Thanks for being in the hop!

    1. Thanks for having me, Lisa. It was a perfect hop. Just the right length so you could enjoy everything.

  8. Wonderful! I love what you did with the clear and white beads!

  9. Very pretty necklace and earrings. They are nice any time of year, but reminded me of Winter. Very elegant.

  10. I love how you incorporated the story with your beautiful pieces. White always reminds me of snow and winter.

    1. Thanks! I am attempting to think frosty thoughts!

  11. I love the tale. The necklace is really wonderful. Were those flat, disc-like beads in your package? Did you add many beads to the necklace? I love the play and the texture changes in it. The necklace is quite brilliant!

  12. I think the disk ones were in my package, but I also had quite a stash pf Czech glass and they may have come from there. I did add beads - cats and butterflies, especially. Thank you so much!

  13. I would love my own Ceridwen necklace. How do I buy it? I am a very proud 70 year old Welsh lady and guess my name? Yes, of course, I am an original Ceridwen! I have always hated my name although I used to love the story of Ceridwen and Taliesin found in the infamous Mabinogion, which was a basis to Lord of the Rings and Games of Thrones and others.My niece Ceridwen is 50 next week and your necklace would surely be the perfect birthday presant. Glad I've found you