Book Review – Cerridwen: Celtic Goddess of Inspiration by Kristoffer Hughes

Book Review

Cerridwen: Celtic Goddess of Inspiration

by Kristoffer Hughes

Published by Llewellyn Publications

336 pages

Publication Date: March 8, 2021



Cerridwen, keeper of the cauldron, the “Goddess” of Awen, mother of Taliesin—any modern day pagan would be hard pressed to not have heard her story. But, who is she really? What is her history? How did she become so revered? Luckily, author Kristoffer Hughes elegantly answers these questions and more in his new work Cerridwen: Celtic Goddess of Inspiration. Hughes, a native Welshman, Chief of the Anglesey Druid Order, and a Haemus Scholar has given us a definitive guide to all things Cerridwen. As he follows her from “muse to witch to Goddess,” Hughes combines scholarly research with personal gnosis to give us a new well-documented perspective of this deity.

What makes this work so unique is that while Hughes’ fact finding is plentiful he didn’t just fall down the academic rabbit hole, instead he looked to the the Welsh bardic tradition that “preserved and germinated the seeds of Cerridwen.” As he follows her trail through the bardic line, he uses his innate knowledge of Welsh language and culture to dissect the subtle inflections of the bards. With a critical eye, Hughes makes new translations, corrects mistranslations and clarifies the different meanings of Welsh words giving a more accurate window into the tale of Cerridwen. Language is important here, these adjustments, made by the author, helps us understand what the indigenous Welsh people intrinsically knew— and what these translations missed: “the most significant component… emotion and feeling.”

Another missing component in some of the original translations was the occult aspects. Hughes himself never loses sight of the magical essence of the bards, telling us that “it is a tradition that has at its core a learned foundation of metaphysics and a profound understanding of supernatural forces.” This in fact is the purpose of this book: understanding the mysteries of myth and the magical intertwining of the land and people where the origins of Cerridwen reside and the bards hold the key. It is through this comprehensive knowledge that will hopefully lead the reader to try and make a connection with Cerridwen and build a working relationship. Hughes gives us plenty of tools to do this, throughout this work—there are exercises, and rituals to build an association with Cerridwen; instead of meditations, there are signals to work with and included in this work is a Welsh pronunciation guide. Also there are poems that are listed in both Welsh and English. Hughes encourages the reader to try the Welsh pronunciations to get the feel of the language, making the verses sing.

Cerridwen: Celtic Goddess of Inspiration, while not the easiest read, should probably be read more than once to absorb all the information. Worthy of its subject, this groundbreaking work is Kristoffer Hughes’ labor of love to the Goddess Cerridwen, Wales and the Welsh people. It is a study of love and joy and we are grateful that he shared with us.

Kristoffer Hughes is Chief of the Anglesey Druid Order, a Mount Haemus Scholar, and a member of the Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids. He is a teacher, writer, workshop leader, and guest speaker at Pagan conferences, camps, and festivals throughout the United Kingdom, Europe, and North America. Kristoffer has also contributed to Welsh and English television and radio. He’s the author of four books and the creator of the Celtic Tarot. He works professionally for Her Majesty’s Coroner service and is a teacher of Death Midwifery. He lives on the isle of Anglesey just off the northern coast of Wales. 


Cerridwen: Celtic Goddess of Inspiration on Amazon



About the Author:

Raye Snover is a freelance writer whose work has appeared in The New York Times Book Review, The New York Daily News and The Village Sun. She was also co-editor of The Temple Bell –the newsletter for The Temple of Witchcraft

Having been a witch for over twenty years, Ms. Snover is a High Priestess in the Cabot Tradition and a member of The Sisterhood of Avalon. She is also a Veriditas trained Labyrinth facilitator, and lives in New York City.