7 of 31 Questions for Reflection. Today’s question is inspired by reading Dṛg Dṛsya Viveka: An Inquiry Into the Seer and the Seen alongside reading a book called From the Cauldron Born by Kristoffer Hughes.
What questions arise when I focus on “the womb of the witch goddess” as an object of Vedanta meditation?
Cerridwen is a woman who is feared and revered for her power to enchant. She gives birth to a beautiful daughter and a hideous son. Like any loving mother, she wants what’s best for her children, so she creates a brew that will give her hopeless son all the knowledge and wisdom of the seen and unseen worlds. To make the brew, the fire under the cauldron must be maintained at the right temperature. The exact herbs must be added at the precise times, and the brew must be stirred constantly over the span of a year and a day. She can’t do it all herself, so she hires an old man and boy to help her. The boy’s name is Gwion Bach.
There are different versions of this story, but today we’ll say that just as Cerridwen was going to get her son to receive the only three drops of the potion that would contain this power to confer wisdom, Gwion Bach — who was stirring — notices the potion suddenly bubbles wildly. Those only three magical drops jump out of the boiling cauldron and onto Gwion Bach’s thumb. Instinctively, he sticks his thumb in his mouth because it hurts. Accidently, he sucks the drops and gains the knowledge and wisdom that was meant for Cerridwen’s son. She gets mad and chases him. They transform into birds, fish, and farm creatures. She eventually eats him, and he develops as a baby in her womb. After he is born, she wraps him in reeds and sends him up the river to be raised by the king and queen of another realm. He becomes the Prophet of Poetic Spirit, Taliesen.
Reading Cerridwen’s story inspires a Jnana yogi to ask, “Will you tell me your magical tale? Please, will you sing of everything that combined to create you? Shall we sit and Witness, together, every combination of events, every chemical reaction, every cause and effect that arises to transform us? Shall we see clearly that from the Brew of Awen to the light of Brahman, the reality of Existence, Consciousness, Bliss pervades all?”