The Love for Our Animals – Cerridwen’s Creatures  

The Love for Our Animals – Cerridwen’s Creatures  

Many of us understand the beautiful relationships we can share with animals and birds. Kirsty brings this to life with a look at the creatures in the story of Cerridwen, exploring some of the folklore associated with them. 


Beltane is a time of love, a time of passion and a time of blossoming within ourselves and also around us. Looking around, we can see our lands truly coming alive, we can feel the Awen truly around us and Cerridwen’s blessings.

Cerridwen’s blessings can be very small and pollinate Her herbs and flowers that we admire and nurture and ask for help with healing, they can carry Her seeds to bring about new life within their fur, they can make beautiful patterns as they slither across golden sands; they sing beautiful songs as we sing and dance through woodland and meadows, they bring us comfort during our darkest of times and are our familiars during our magical work; I’m talking about Cerridwen’s Creatures, her beautiful animals.

The love for animals is not conditional – it is a pure and joyous love that is there for us everyday and is reciprocated. They are beautiful souls that help us on our own soul journeys. Our guardians, protectors and companions come in all shapes and sizes and we love them for their individuality and uniqueness, from their beautiful piercing eyes to their ability to create and weave webs. Cerridwen’s passion to help Her son caused a rage that ignited Her transformations into animals with unique features and individuality to try and catch Gwion.  Her story demonstrates that all animals are unique and play a part in the transformation and beauty of our world. 

The Hare and the Greyhound is a definite game of chase, with the fast paced and champion runner Greyhound versus the smooth, quick and silent Hare. Dogs have been our companions since ancient times. Our ancestors would have had dogs for hunting and protection and in Ancient Egyptian times they were worshipped and honoured in respect to the God Anubis and Goddess Anput. They were mummified in exactly the same way as their owners and held in the highest regard. Fast forward to the present, we still have that sacredness and respect and most importantly, love, for our dogs. They are our children, our best friends and our guardians and they hold a special place in our hearts. My dogs as a child were my best friends and there was nothing like a Basset Hound chasing a Golden Retriever through a meadow with a bark loud enough that it could be heard in Avalon from Scotland.

Springing forward is the Hare. A symbol of Goddess, abundance, fertility, the moon and new life and growth; a creature that is a mystery in itself, a joy to watch if they are playing in fields and grasses. A sacred animal in Celtic and Norse traditions and an inspiration for a character in a story about a girl who falls down a rabbit hole into another world. You would need to be as mad as this hare to not see the beauty behind these animals and their sacredness on our lands – a Goddess who roams free through our wilderness and is free to gaze at the moon and dance under the stars.

The depths of our oceans contain life that is clouded in mystery – animals that live in swaying anemones to the enigmas of the ocean trenches. Who wouldn’t want to have gills for the day and swim through these depths to admire this hidden world and its residents? Gwion got this chance as he transformed himself into a fish to escape Cerridwen’s grasp. Fish have a palette of colours and have inspired artists to try and recreate their beauty. Their bodies are perfectly streamlined to perform their own water dance. From our goldfish to the mighty Great White Sharks, fish are animals that we admire and respect and are based in many stories around the world –  one is the story of the Lone Koi. The story tells of the Koi fish who swam up the Golden River in China and came to a waterfall. The Koi fish tried to overcome this by leaping to reach the top. Some failed and turned away, being carried back by the river, others kept going until one finally managed to jump and reach the top of the waterfall. For the Koi’s efforts, skill, determination and resilience, they were transformed into the Golden Dragon. This story is very much linked to transformation and looking at what we can achieve if we persevere  to find that true magic within all of us, linking to the magic and love of our dragon guardians that lie within Avalon. 

As Gwion transformed into a fish, Cerridwen adapted and turned into the very playful and furry Otter. A perfect choice to catch a fish with their webbed toes and feet, streamlined bodies and sharp teeth, the Otter is a very unique animal with an adorable squeak. Otters are no exception when it comes to ancient stories. The Volsunga Saga tells of the dwarf Ótr who transforms into an Otter and Li Ban’s dog takes the form of an Otter in Irish mythology while she swam in the oceans as a mermaid. Seeing an Otter in the wild reminds me of Cerridwen’s intelligence and also Her playful side. The Otter is  seen as a furry, cute and cuddly animal that is sociable and loves to play, but there is a fierceness that remains hidden, to defend their families and habitat. Quick acting and quick thinking are attributes that cannot be denied when thinking of an Otter.


Our story would not be complete without mentioning our feathery friends; birds. Hearing birdsong after the sun breaks the horizon in the morning is a song of hope to me, a light in the darkness, a song of grounding and joy. These songs are unique to each bird, just like our voices. Birdsong is determination and fight within a beautiful sound, defending what you believe in – a natural balance within our world. A wren, a Hawk and a Black Hen, are birds with character, a commanding presence and attractive appearances, perfect works of art. The Wren would seem to be the wrong choice, but Gwion understood that the Wren is small, fast, clever and is able to make itself known with its loud birdsong. The Wren is known as the King of the Birds with it being able to outsmart its competitors and fly the highest. The sight of a hawk in flight is enough to make us stop and stare. Cerridwen’s transformation into a hawk shows Her passion, strength and determination to catch Gwion. They are powerful birds and to be in the presence of one is a privilege.

I had the pleasure of meeting a beautiful hawk at a recent event in Glastonbury. The call of her was enough to touch my soul to its very core. It was a sound that could reach out to the ancestors, to Annwn. They could definitely be called defenders of the sky. The final animal is one we all know and love and come with a variety of gorgeous feathers and personalities; hens. Cerridwen’s final transformation was into a black hen. In this form, She consumed the grain and managed to ingest Gwion. This act caused Cerridwen to become pregnant with Taliesin. Hens are a symbol of new life and creation and in Greek mythology they are associated with Athena, Goddess of Wisdom.

This Beltane, take the time to connect with your pets, your animal spirit guides, and guardians and remind yourself of the love that you have for them and the love they share for you. Think about what they represent to you. Honour the animals now in Annwn, the ones who make our world a better place, the ones who fill you up with passion and love for just being them, for being unique and individual. A beautiful way to honour Cerridwen at Beltane is to remind ourselves of Her transformations and Her love and passion as a mother. I will definitely be taking the time with my little furry companion and familiar, Endeavour.

Cat Familiar

Blessed Beltane. 



Kirsty, Priestess of Cerridwen in Training

Somerset, UK

Kirsty Reade

Kirsty is a Death Priestess of Avalon, Priestess of Anubis and is currently on Spiral One of the Priestess of Cerridwen training. She is a Wiccan and Witch with a passion for divination, ancestral work and research of ancient practices. A qualified teacher, Kirsty is developing learning practices to help others who are interested in the Pagan Pathway.

FaceBook Page: The Rainbow Wiccan

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